As might be expected, defenders of the Obama White House are pushing back vigorously against a report by Pulitzer Prize-winning author and investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claiming that the president lied about circumstances surrounding the 2011 raid that resulted in the death of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. Writing in the London Review of Books, Hersh reveals that Obama rushed into the media spotlight to claim primary credit for the success of the raid by Navy SEALs, without acknowledging the key role of Pakistani special forces in the extremely dangerous mission.
According to an article in The Daily Mail:
The former New York Times reporter quotes former American and Pakistani intelligence sources, as well as Navy SEALs as he claims that the White House and CIA repeatedly lied to the public about nearly every aspect of the bin Laden raid.
He says ‘high-level lying’ and ‘bypassing the chain of command’ is standard fare in U.S. counter-terrorism and those who stand up to the White ‘say no’ to the consensus are usually phased out.
The Daily Mail report notes that Hersh makes a number of explosive claims in his piece that has sent the Obama administration into high-defense mode. Among them:
– The Pakistanis had been essentially holding bin Laden captive at the Abbottabad compound for years.
– The CIA learned of bin Laden’s location from a Pakistani intelligence official who tipped off American operatives hoping to claim the $25million bounty on the terror leader — not from interrogation of an al-Qaeda courier.
– There was no firefight during the SEAL raid — the only shots fired were those that killed bin Laden, whom Hersh described as a feeble, unarmed man.
In reporting on the startling claims by Seymour Hersh, CNN notes: “A former senior CIA official at time of the bin Laden raid told CNN on Monday that ‘this account is complete and utter fiction.’”
As of this writing, the White House had not yet formally responded to Hersh’s claims that a boastful President Obama allegedly lied about the bin Laden raid. However, as CNN pointed out, “at least one former administration official was out Monday morning vehemently rebutting Hersh’s claims. CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell dismissed the report in an interview on CBS’ ‘This Morning,’ calling it ‘all wrong.’”
One can certainly see why administration sources and others in the military and intelligence communities involved in the planning or execution of the raid that led to bin Laden’s death would be adamantly defending the initial story of how the operation took place. The CNN report on Hersh’s piece points out an especially damning claim regarding the U.S. Command-in-Chief:
“Hersh also alleges Obama’s speech announcing the successful mission was ‘put together in a rush,’ not vetted or cleared by national security officials and created ‘chaos in the weeks following.’”