An aerial view of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh has put forth a series of explosive allegations about the Obama administration’s role in the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011. In a long essay in the London Review of Books, Hersh accuses the administration of “high-level lying” in describing the al-Qaida founder’s death and what preceded and followed it. The essay cites a source who claims that bin Laden’s presence in the Abbottabad compound was known to senior Pakistani intelligence officials all along, as they were holding him prisoner there. Hersh also claims that bin Laden’s whereabouts were divulged to the CIA by a former Pakistani intelligence officer in exchange for a large reward.

The White House and the CIA have blasted the allegations, dismissing them as “utter nonsense.” But if Hersh is correct, then almost everything we know about bin Laden’s death is false, especially the events sensationally depicted in the blockbuster movie “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Each of the major allegations made by Hersh against the Obama administration is listed here, courtesy of The Stranger’s Christopher Frizzelle.

• Pakistani officials knew about the raid and even helped the US pull it off.

• There never was a firefight, neither in the yard outside the house nor once the Seals got inside.

• The story of the courier whom the reportedly CIA traced, leading them to bin Laden, was a fabrication.

• The story of the courier dying in the firefight was a cover-up “because he didn’t exist and we couldn’t produce him,” a retired senior intelligence official told Hersh.

• The way the CIA actually found out where bin Laden was is that a “Pakistani walk-in” who wanted the $25 million reward came in and told the CIA about it.

• Osama bin Laden was not armed, contrary to reports that he had a machine gun and was killed in a firefight, and he was not killed with just one or two bullets but “obliterated.”

• “Seals cannot live with the fact that they killed bin Laden totally unopposed, and so there has to be an account of their courage in the face of danger. The guys are going to sit around the bar and say it was an easy day? That’s not going to happen,” that same retired senior intelligence official said.

• “Despite all the talk” about what the Seals collected on site, the retired official said there were “no garbage bags full of computers and storage devices. The guys just stuffed some books and papers they found in his room in their backpacks.”

• The story about bin Laden’s sea burial may be a fabrication.

• The retired official told Hersh that bin Laden’s “remains, including his head… 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—or so the Seals claimed.”

• Obama was going to wait a week until after bin Laden’s death to announce it, and he was going to tell the American people that bin Laden had been killed by a drone, but after the Seals had to blow up their malfunctioning helicopter onsite, attracting attention locally, everything changed.

• The story about the vaccination program carried out locally in an attempt to get bin Laden’s DNA—a story that “led to the cancellation of other international vaccination programmes that were now seen as cover for American spying”—wasn’t true.

• Retired official again: “It’s a great hoax.”

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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