Skip to comments.The Killing of Osama bin Laden
Posted on 05/10/2015 6:44:54 PM PDT by iowamark
Its been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obamas first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistans army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administrations account. The White Houses story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaidas operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.
The most blatant lie was that Pakistans two most senior military leaders General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI were never informed of the US mission. This remains the White House position despite an array of reports that have raised questions, including one by Carlotta Gall in the New York Times Magazine of 19 March 2014. Gall, who spent 12 years as the Times correspondent in Afghanistan, wrote that shed been told by a Pakistani official that Pasha had known before the raid that bin Laden was in Abbottabad. The story was denied by US and Pakistani officials, and went no further. In his book Pakistan: Before and after Osama (2012), Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank in Islamabad, wrote that hed spoken to four undercover intelligence officers who reflecting a widely held local view asserted that the Pakistani military must have had knowledge of the operation. The issue was raised again in February, when a retired general, Asad Durrani, who was head of the ISI in the early 1990s, told an al-Jazeera interviewer that it was quite possible that the senior officers of the ISI did not know where bin Laden had been hiding, but it was more probable that they did [know]. And the idea was that, at the right time, his location would be revealed. And the right time would have been when you can get the necessary quid pro quo if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United States.
This spring I contacted Durrani and told him in detail what I had learned about the bin Laden assault from American sources: that bin Laden had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbottabad compound since 2006; that Kayani and Pasha knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms; that the CIA did not learn of bin Ladens whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US, and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administrations account were false.
When your version comes out if you do it people in Pakistan will be tremendously grateful, Durrani told me. For a long time people have stopped trusting what comes out about bin Laden from the official mouths. There will be some negative political comment and some anger, but people like to be told the truth, and what youve told me is essentially what I have heard from former colleagues who have been on a fact-finding mission since this episode. As a former ISI head, he said, he had been told shortly after the raid by people in the strategic community who would know that there had been an informant who had alerted the US to bin Ladens presence in Abbottabad, and that after his killing the USs betrayed promises left Kayani and Pasha exposed.
The major US source for the account that follows is a retired senior intelligence official who was knowledgeable about the initial intelligence about bin Ladens presence in Abbottabad. He also was privy to many aspects of the Seals training for the raid, and to the various after-action reports. Two other US sources, who had access to corroborating information, have been longtime consultants to the Special Operations Command. I also received information from inside Pakistan about widespread dismay among the senior ISI and military leadership echoed later by Durrani over Obamas decision to go public immediately with news of bin Ladens death. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
It began with a walk-in. In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIAs station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad. He offered to tell the CIA where to find bin Laden in return for the reward that Washington had offered in 2001. Walk-ins are assumed by the CIA to be unreliable, and the response from the agencys headquarters was to fly in a polygraph team. The walk-in passed the test. So now weve got a lead on bin Laden living in a compound in Abbottabad, but how do we really know who it is? was the CIAs worry at the time, the retired senior US intelligence official told me.
The US initially kept what it knew from the Pakistanis. The fear was that if the existence of the source was made known, the Pakistanis themselves would move bin Laden to another location. So only a very small number of people were read into the source and his story, the retired official said. The CIAs first goal was to check out the quality of the informants information. The compound was put under satellite surveillance. The CIA rented a house in Abbottabad to use as a forward observation base and staffed it with Pakistani employees and foreign nationals. Later on, the base would serve as a contact point with the ISI; it attracted little attention because Abbottabad is a holiday spot full of houses rented on short leases. A psychological profile of the informant was prepared. (The informant and his family were smuggled out of Pakistan and relocated in the Washington area. He is now a consultant for the CIA.)
By October the military and intelligence community were discussing the possible military options. Do we drop a bunker buster on the compound or take him out with a drone strike? Perhaps send someone to kill him, single assassin style? But then wed have no proof of who he was, the retired official said. We could see some guy is walking around at night, but we have no intercepts because theres no commo coming from the compound.
In October, Obama was briefed on the intelligence. His response was cautious, the retired official said. It just made no sense that bin Laden was living in Abbottabad. It was just too crazy. The presidents position was emphatic: Dont talk to me about this any more unless you have proof that it really is bin Laden. The immediate goal of the CIA leadership and the Joint Special Operations Command was to get Obamas support. They believed they would get this if they got DNA evidence, and if they could assure him that a night assault of the compound would carry no risk. The only way to accomplish both things, the retired official said, was to get the Pakistanis on board...
Note that Mr. Hersh is a hard leftist.
what??? don’t you believe that a quick burial at sea is the “muslim way” ???
The killing of Osama bin Laden cleared Al Qaeda’s ossified leadership and made them more agile, flexible, and effective.
No wonder Obama is proud of it.
At the very least, we paid for it.
And I loved (/s) the early reports coming in from the MSM about the operation. They all but turned bin Laden to some sort of Dillinger-esque folk-hero by their breathless descriptions of a firefight between Navy SEALs and those cowardly thugs.
I’ve already seen enough of Hersh....., thanks.....
Was Dillinger “assassinated”?
Were the SLA “assassinated”?
Seymour Hersh?? You mean that Marxist hack is still alive???!!
Seymour Hersh and a group of senior Pakistani Army and ISI people come up with the real story about what happened with OBL? Are we kidding. These are the only people on the planet who lie more often than the Obama White House.
Traditionally what did they do? Pack them in sand as they transported them with an elaborate camel-drawn hearse taking them to the coast...where they would be loaded onto a US ship???
I still believe that Osama Bin Laden was killed at Tora Bora. In support of that I offer the recollection that after a lapse of a year or more from that event, a video of “Bin Laden” was circulated, which was said to be confirmed by the CIA or some other government agency to be him, but was quite obviously NOT him to “whoever had eyes”. At that point, I figured I was on my own, if you know what I mean.
I don’t believe the guy they killed was Bin Laden either
I’d like to believe you Ben, I’d really, really like to believe you.
Osama Bin Laden had a very elevated status, to say the least. The abject circumstances of the target of the “Bin Laden” raid just don’t square with this, whatever you believe to be the fate of the real Bin Laden.
Yep, it kind of shows... he meanders but the story gets down to the usual liberal bleedingheart “waterboarding-doesn’t-work” nonsense at the end.
Makes total sense...in 1832...
If Soeotoro’s lips are moving, he is lying. Lying about everything except for that fundamental change of the late great USA.
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