Does this mean that bin Laden isn’t dead? No, it just means there is a new report about the circumstances behind his death.
According to Democracy Now!, the new report written by Seymour Hersh for the London Review of Books says the Obama administration gave a false account of the hunting and killing of Osama bin Laden. It is normally claimed that bin Laden was shot dead four years ago this month in a U.S. raid on his compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.
Hersh is an American investigative journalist and author based in Washington, D.C. According to Wikipedia, he is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine. He has also won two National Magazine Awards and is a five-time Polk winner and recipient of the 2004 George Orwell Award.
He first gained worldwide recognition in 1969 for exposing the My Lai Massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War.
In his article, Hersh cites interviews with “a retired senior intelligence official” and American sources who “had access to corroborating information,” writes Slate magazine.
Hersh says top Pakistani military leaders knew about the operation and provided key assistance. The U.S. also claimed it helped locate bin Laden by tracking his personal messenger. But Hersh reports a former Pakistani intelligence officer identified his whereabouts in return for the bulk of a $25 million U.S. bounty. Pakistani intelligence was reportedly aware of bin Laden’s location and held him “prisoner” at the Abbottabad compound since 2006.
The White House claimed at the time the U.S. operatives entered from Afghanistan without Pakistan’s knowledge.
Hersh’s article also questions the U.S. account of bin Laden’s shooting, saying there was never a firefight inside the compound and that bin Laden himself wasn’t armed.
A retired American official says U.S. claims of finding information from bin Laden’s computers and documents was a “hoax” to give the false impression he was still operationally important.
Questions were also raised about whether bin Laden was actually buried at sea, as the U.S. claimed.
The White House has denied the accounts given by Seymour Hersh, and the CIA has called the Hersh article “nonsense.”