The world’s most wanted man, responsible for one of the worst terror attacks in world history, was caught and killed four years ago in a night raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by a group of US Navy Seals. Or so we thought. US President Barack Obama gained huge political capital. It may even have helped his re-election.
However, according to a recent 10,000-word report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the Osama coup was all one big lie. He challenges the claim that someone like Bin Laden would hide ‘in the open’, and asserts that it was impossible that Pakistani Intelligence had no clue of the US mission. Hersh also writes that the CIA did not learn of Bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House version had claimed, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the country’s dirty secret in return for a cash reward offered by the US.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist’s account makes for a riveting read. Predictably, this has set off a furore, with the White House flaying Hersh’s account for being ‘riddled with inaccuracies and outright falsehoods’ and re-asserting that Neptune Spear was a ‘US operation through and through’. Some scribes have also dismissed Hersh’s account since it hasn’t been ‘independently confirmed’ and ‘relies on a single unnamed American source’.
Hersh has defended his account, calling editors too chicken-hearted to run stories without supporting documentary evidence. Whether Hersh’s source can be trusted enough to believe that America’s biggest anti-terror strike was a hoax may make for another story. But until then, anything that calls this piece of history a farce makes for a fascinating read.