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Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claims bin Laden was an invalid when he died


WAS Osama bin Laden an invalid when Seal Team 6 stormed his Pakistan compound and shot him dead?

Were his body parts tossed out of a helicopter instead of being buried at sea, as America claimed?

Did the US Government make up details of a firefight that never took place?

Those are the explosive allegations from an investigative journalist who spent the past four years pouring over details of May 2, 2011.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Seymour Hersh says much of what President Barack Obama told Americans about bin Laden’s assassination was a lie.

WAS Osama bin Laden an invalid when Seal Team 6 stormed his Pakistan compound and shot him dead?

In a long-form essay for the London Review of Books, Hersh paints a picture of bin Laden as a man of ill-health, under Pakistani watch, far removed from the fast-moving al Qaeda leader portrayed by the world’s press and perpetuated by the US Government.

Hersh’s essay, based on testimony from an anonymous retired senior intelligence official, meticulously dissects the Obama Administration’s retelling of the operation.

Hersh says Obama jumped the gun on making a speech immediately after bin Laden’s death and that the government was forced to cover for erroneous claims.

Immediately after the operation, the White House press corps was told the death of bin Laden was “the culmination of years of careful and highly advanced intelligence work”.

Reporters were told Pakistan was left out of the loop as a precaution against interference and to ensure no possible intelligence leak compromised the Navy SEAL team whose job it was to take down the world’s most wanted man.

Instead, Hersh claims, Pakistan was in on it all along.

“The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false,” Hersh said.

He said Pakistan not only knew about the mission, but that the ISI had captured bin Laden in 2006 and were keeping him locked up in the high-walled compound.

“In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad, and offered to tell the CIA where to find bin Laden in return for the reward that Washington had offered in 2001,” Hersh said.

When America approached Pakistan about the informant’s claims, they agreed to cooperate in return for the continued release of American military aid.

Hersh claims the ISI’s two most senior officials — General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha — took money to guarantee Pakistan would not interfere.

The retired official told Hersh: “Pasha got a commitment that the United States would turn the money back on, and we got a guarantee that there would be no Pakistani opposition. Pasha also insisted that Washington stop complaining about Pakistan’s lack of co-operation with the American war on terrorism”.


America would have the world believe bin Laden was a formidable enemy until his end. It reads better than admitting they killed an invalid. But Hersh claims that’s exactly what the 54-year-old was.

Hersh’s source said bin Laden was very ill and that early on his confinement at Abbottabad the ISI had ordered a doctor to move in nearby for regular treatment.

“Bin Laden was very ill,” the retired official said.

“The truth is that bin Laden was an invalid, but we cannot say that. ‘You mean you guys shot a cripple? Who was about to grab his AK-47?’”

The White House told reporters bin Laden was killed because he was a threat and that Seal Team 6 opened fire in self-defence. But Hersh’s source again tells a different story.

“They knew where the target was — third floor, second door on the right,” the retired official said.

“Go straight there. Osama was cowering and retreated into the bedroom. Two shooters followed him and opened up. Very simple, very straightforward, very professional hit.”

He said six of the Seals’ finest, most experienced men faced off with “an unarmed elderly civilian” and claims by the White House that only one or two bullets were fired into bin Laden’s head “was bulls**t”.

“The squad came through the door and obliterated him.”


The last lie Hersh says the Americans told after bin Laden’s death was that the Saudi national was buried at sea.

“Obama said that after killing bin Laden the Seals ‘took custody of his body’,” Hersh said.

“The statement created a problem … everyone now expected a body to be produced.”

The retired official told Hersh the remains of bin Laden’s body were scattered over the mountains from a helicopter.

“The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains,” Hersh said.

No official photographs of the sea burial have ever been made public. The Pentagon says none exist.


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