Veteran US journalist Seymour M Hersh, who raked a controversy in the past over then Indian PM Morarji Desai and settled it in an out-of-court settlement, resurfaced again with a similar piece on “The Killing of Osama bin Laden” in the London Review of Books.
Hersh wrote in his 1983 book “The Price of Power” that Morarji Desai had been paid $20,000 a year by the CIA during the Johnson and Nixon administrations, which startled the nation and Desai filed a $50 million libel suit against Hersh.
Owing to Desai’s age (93), his illness to attend the trial made the case turned defunct but Henry Kissinger testified under oath that at no time did Desai act in any capacity for the CIA, paid or otherwise.
Hersh, who looks for controversial stories and then sources them to anonymous people, took up the vibrant issue of Osama bin Laden’s killing this time. In his September 2013 interview with The Guardian, he had already claimed that the 2011 raid was “one big lie, not one word of it is true” and changed it to say that the lie related to post-death PR management by the Obama administration.
In his new article published in the London Review of Books this week under the title: “The Killing of Osama bin Laden”, he claimed that one ISI officer actually tipped it to the CIA, American spy agency about Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad. Hersh also claimed that the PR as it was an all-American affair helped Obama win Presidential race again.
Essentailly, the entire operation was based on a tip off from an officer of ISI who was promised $25 million in reward, he claimed refuting the earlier CIA theory that a doctor tipped them off.
The Pulitzer prize winning journalist, known for his exposure of the My Lai Massacre in 1969 in Vietnam, how post-9/11 massacre detainees were treated at the Abu Ghraib prison, however, went overdrive on his revelation that surely irked the CIA.
Hersh claimed that both Pakistani General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief General Ahmed Shuja Pasha were also aware of the raid. By roping in these two generals, Hersh claimed that the mission by the US assault team was carried out without any resistance at the site where Osama bin Laden was kept secretly.
The Seal Operation was conducted on the night of 2 May 2011 to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. While President Obama claimed that there was a firefight, Hersh contested the theory that there was a gun fight at all.
Next, the famous journalist pondered the possibility of the sea burial as claimed by the US administration and said the body was simply thrown off the Hindu Khush mountains bordering Afghanistan.
Both the CIA and the White House refuted the claims made by Hersh. “There are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one,” said White House National Security Council spokesman Edward Price and asserted that Hersh’s contention was “patently false.”