Sy Hersh accuses Obama of lying about Bin Laden raid

Serial fabricator Seymour Hersh is at it again, this time accusing the Obama administration of lying about details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

In an essay in the London Review of Books, Hersh says that Pakistani intelligence was holding bin Laden prisoner at the compound in Abbottabad since 2006 and that military leaders in Pakistan were fully aware of the raid in advance. Hersh also says that the president's announcement of the death of Bin Laden was "premature" and that our military and special forces had to scramble in order to "corraborate" what the president was saying.

He uses a single, anonymous sources for the story - a retired intelligence official who told Hersh he had knowledge of the raid and had read after action reports. 

The Hill:

Hersh’s source alleged that the Pakistani government had an active role in approving and implementing the raid on bin Laden’s compound.

In addition, the source said that the Obama administration originally agreed to announce bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike rather than shot during an active Special Forces mission.

“Obama’s speech was put together in a rush,” Hersh wrote of Obama’s announcement of Operation Neptune Spear to Americans.

“This series of self-serving and inaccurate statements would create chaos in the weeks following,” he added.

“This was not the fog of war,” Hersh quoted his anonymous source as saying.

“The fact that there was an agreement with the Pakistanis and no contingency analysis of what was to be disclosed if something went wrong – that wasn’t even discussed,” the source added.

“And once it went wrong, they had to make up a new cover story on the fly,” the source said of Obama’s advisers’ response to his speech on the raid, Hersh wrote.

Hersh’s report also accuses the Obama administration of embellishing the details of the raid itself and presenting al Qaeda as a bigger threat than it actually was before bin Laden’s death.

The White House did not comment on Hersh’s claims.

Some of this rings true - Obama "embellishing" the details of the raid. And it wouldn't surprise me a bit, given the close relationship between the leadership of the ISI and our military that a couple of very high level Pakistanis knew of the raid in advance. It is understandable why the president would keep that detail to himself when announcing Bin Laden's death. 

But the rest is typical Hersh - overblown, exaggerated bombast using poorly sourced "facts" to tell a tall tale.

Six times during the Bush administration, Hersh put pen to paper to warn us of an imminent American invasion of Iran. He still insists to this day that Iran is not interested in developing a nuclear weapon, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

Hersh also accused the Bush administration of assisting Sunnis in Lebanon in developing terrorist militias as a counter to Hezb'allah. Needless to say, the militias, to this day, are invisible.

I'm not sure what Hersh is so concerned about. The raid to kill bin Laden was kept secret. Details will probably be hidden for years. The raid roiled Pakistani politics to the point where if ISI knowledge and even assistance had been revealed, there is no telling what could have happened. There are reasons to keep some things secret - not always good reasons, but in this case, if we did get help from Pakistan, it's hard to fault the president for keeping that detail from the American people and the world.

 

Serial fabricator Seymour Hersh is at it again, this time accusing the Obama administration of lying about details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

In an essay in the London Review of Books, Hersh says that Pakistani intelligence was holding bin Laden prisoner at the compound in Abbottabad since 2006 and that military leaders in Pakistan were fully aware of the raid in advance. Hersh also says that the president's announcement of the death of Bin Laden was "premature" and that our military and special forces had to scramble in order to "corraborate" what the president was saying.

He uses a single, anonymous sources for the story - a retired intelligence official who told Hersh he had knowledge of the raid and had read after action reports. 

The Hill:

Hersh’s source alleged that the Pakistani government had an active role in approving and implementing the raid on bin Laden’s compound.

In addition, the source said that the Obama administration originally agreed to announce bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike rather than shot during an active Special Forces mission.

“Obama’s speech was put together in a rush,” Hersh wrote of Obama’s announcement of Operation Neptune Spear to Americans.

“This series of self-serving and inaccurate statements would create chaos in the weeks following,” he added.

“This was not the fog of war,” Hersh quoted his anonymous source as saying.

“The fact that there was an agreement with the Pakistanis and no contingency analysis of what was to be disclosed if something went wrong – that wasn’t even discussed,” the source added.

“And once it went wrong, they had to make up a new cover story on the fly,” the source said of Obama’s advisers’ response to his speech on the raid, Hersh wrote.

Hersh’s report also accuses the Obama administration of embellishing the details of the raid itself and presenting al Qaeda as a bigger threat than it actually was before bin Laden’s death.

The White House did not comment on Hersh’s claims.

Some of this rings true - Obama "embellishing" the details of the raid. And it wouldn't surprise me a bit, given the close relationship between the leadership of the ISI and our military that a couple of very high level Pakistanis knew of the raid in advance. It is understandable why the president would keep that detail to himself when announcing Bin Laden's death. 

But the rest is typical Hersh - overblown, exaggerated bombast using poorly sourced "facts" to tell a tall tale.

Six times during the Bush administration, Hersh put pen to paper to warn us of an imminent American invasion of Iran. He still insists to this day that Iran is not interested in developing a nuclear weapon, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

Hersh also accused the Bush administration of assisting Sunnis in Lebanon in developing terrorist militias as a counter to Hezb'allah. Needless to say, the militias, to this day, are invisible.

I'm not sure what Hersh is so concerned about. The raid to kill bin Laden was kept secret. Details will probably be hidden for years. The raid roiled Pakistani politics to the point where if ISI knowledge and even assistance had been revealed, there is no telling what could have happened. There are reasons to keep some things secret - not always good reasons, but in this case, if we did get help from Pakistan, it's hard to fault the president for keeping that detail from the American people and the world.