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Ex-intelligence man told US about Osama’s hideout: author

Updated May 11, 2015 08:17pm


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WASHINGTON: The United States got to Osama bin Laden with Pakistan’s help, but disclosed the operation in a manner that made the country look like a villain, according to Seymour M. Hersh, an American investigative journalist and author.

“They helped. They totally helped. They helped a great deal,” said Mr Hersh when Dawn asked him if he believed Pakistan helped the US reach the Al Qaeda leader.

In a story published in the London Review of Books on Sunday, Mr Hersh described the official US version of the so-called “Operation Neptune Spear” as a work of fiction, a fairy-tale.

Know more: Pakistani officials reject claims of ISI handling bin Laden

He noted that the White House still maintains the mission was an all-American affair, and that senior generals of the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were not told about the raid in advance.

“This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll (the author of “Alice in the Wonderland).”

He argues that if Bin Laden would seek a hideout he would not go for a resort town forty miles from Islamabad.

Would OBL consider it “the safest place to live and command Al Qaeda’s operations?” he asks. “The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – (retired) Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani (who was chief of the army staff at the time), and Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission,” writes Mr Hersh.

Take a look: Bin Laden finds sympathy after death

In an interview to Dawn, Mr Hersh said the operation that ultimately led to OBL’s death began with a walk-in.

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

The former intelligence official, Mr Hersh said, was a military man who was now living in Washington and working for the CIA as a consultant. “I cannot tell you more about him because it would not be appropriate.”

Mr Hersh rejected the suggestion that Osama bin Laden was living in his own hideout and was free to move around. OBL was an ISI prisoner and never moved except under their supervision, he said.

Mr Hersh said the Saudi government also knew about it and had advised the Pakistanis to keep OBL as a prisoner.

He said when the Americans contacted the Pakistani government and asked for OBL, the ISI insisted that he be killed and his death should be announced a week after the operation.

The Americans were required to say that the Al Qaeda chief was found in a mountainous region in the Hindu Kush so that neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan could be blamed for keeping him, Mr Hersh said.

The author said the ISI wanted him dead because “they did not want a witness”.

According to him, the Americans set up an observation post in Abbottabad and later informed the ISI. Before the operation, the ISI set up a cell in Ghazi, Tarbela, where “one man from the SEALs and two communicators” practised the raid.

Mr Hersh said that President Barack Obama did not consult the then army or ISI chief, Generals Kayani and Pasha, before releasing the cover story that he shared with his nation in a live broadcast.

“The cover story trashed Pakistan. It was very embarrassing for them,” said Mr Hersh. “Pakistan has a good army, not a bad army, but the cover story made it look bad.”

Mr Hersh also said that Shakil Afridi, the physician now jailed in Peshawar for his links to the CIA, was a CIA asset but he did not know about the operation. He was used as a cover to hide the real story.

The Americans, and the Pakistanis, wanted to protect Amir Aziz, a doctor and a major in the Pakistani army. The ISI had moved Dr Aziz close to the compound where they had kept OBL because he was on his deathbed when found.

Obama steps in

Mr Hersh also said that former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates disagreed with the cover-up story and wanted the US to respect the arrangement they had made with Pakistan.

“President Obama changed the game because he was running for re-election,” he said. “The two-hour delay in the speech was caused by an internal debate.”

Asked did his investigation show Pakistan as a villain or an ally, he said: “Total ally.” Initially, he said, “here was anger (in Washington) that they had OBL for years, but did not tell us. But we understand people have their interests and act to protect them.”

He added: “The Pakistanis were treated quite badly by the Americans.”

He said the cover- up story soured US relations with the Pakistani military as it made it look bad. “We have a very strong background relationship with them. It continues and is now in a good shape.”

In the story he wrote for London Review of Books (LRB), Mr Hersh says that when the former Pakistani intelligence official walked into the US Embassy, Islamabad, with information about Bin Laden, the CIA did not believe him.

So the agency’s headquarters sent a polygraph team and the CIA began to believe the Pakistani official only after he passed the test.

Although Mr Hersh spoke to a number of people for the story, including a former ISI chief, his major source was a retired senior US intelligence official who told him that the Americans initially did not share with the Pakistanis what they learned from this retired Pakistani official.

Here is how Mr Hersh tells the story in the piece he wrote for LRB: ‘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 CIA’s first goal was to check out the quality of the informant’s 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 we’d 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 there’s no commo coming from the compound.’

In October, President 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 president’s position was emphatic: “Don’t talk to me about this anymore unless you have proof that it really is bin Laden.”’

Obama support

The immediate goal of the CIA leadership and the Joint Special Operations Command was to get Mr Obama’s 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’.

During the late autumn of 2010, the US continued to keep quiet about the walk-in, and Generals Kayani and Pasha continued to insist to their American counterparts that they had no information about bin Laden’s whereabouts. The next step was to figure out how to ease Kayani and Pasha into it – to tell them that we’ve got intelligence showing that there is a high-value target in the compound, and to ask them what they know about the target,’ the retired official said.

‘The compound was not an armed enclave – no machine guns around, because it was under ISI control.’

The former Pakistani intelligence official, described in the story as “the walk-in,” had told the US that bin Laden had lived undetected from 2001 to 2006 with some of his wives and children in the Hindu Kush mountains, and that ‘the ISI got to him by paying some of the local tribal people to betray him.’

The Pakistani official also told the CIA station chief that bin Laden was very ill, and that early on in his confinement at Abbottabad, the ISI had ordered Amir Aziz, a doctor and a major in the Pakistani army, to move nearby to provide treatment.

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

‘It didn’t take long to get the co-operation we needed, because the Pakistanis wanted to ensure the continued release of American military aid, a good percentage of which was anti-terrorism funding that finances personal security, such as bullet-proof limousines and security guards and housing for the ISI leadership,’ the retired official said.

He added that there were also under-the-table personal ‘incentives’ that were financed by off-the-books Pentagon contingency funds.

‘The intelligence community knew what the Pakistanis needed to agree – there was the carrot. And they chose the carrot. It was a win-win. We also did a little blackmail. We told them we would leak the fact that you’ve got bin Laden in your backyard. We knew their friends and enemies’ – the Taliban and jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan – ‘would not like it.’

A worrying factor at this early point, according to the retired official, was Saudi Arabia, which had been financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his seizure by the Pakistanis.

“The Saudis didn’t want bin Laden’s presence revealed to us because he was a Saudi, and so they told the Pakistanis to keep him out of the picture. The Saudis feared if we knew we would pressure the Pakistanis to let bin Laden start talking to us about what the Saudis had been doing with Al Qaeda. And they were dropping money – lots of it.

“The Pakistanis, in turn, were concerned that the Saudis might spill the beans about their control of bin Laden. The fear was that if the US found out about bin Laden from Riyadh, all hell would break out. The Americans learning about bin Laden’s imprisonment from a walk-in was not the worst thing.”

Despite their constant public feuding, American and Pakistani military and intelligence services have worked together closely for decades on counterterrorism in South Asia. Both services often find it useful to engage in public feuds ‘to cover their asses’, as the retired official put it, but they continually share intelligence used for drone attacks, and cooperate on covert operations.

“It’s understood in Washington that US security depends on the maintenance of strong military and intelligence ties to Pakistan. The belief is mirrored in Pakistan,” says Mr Hersh.

The writer notes that the bin Laden compound was less than two miles from the Pakistan Military Academy, and a Pakistani army combat battalion headquarters was another mile or so away.

He notes that President Obama’s worries about the information delivered to the CIA station chief were realistic, the retired official said. ‘Was bin Laden ever there? Was the whole story a product of Pakistani deception? What about political blowback in case of failure?’ After all, as the retired official said, ‘If the mission fails, Obama’s just a black Jimmy Carter and it’s all over for re-election.’

Mr Obama was anxious for reassurance that the US was going to get the right man. The proof was to come in the form of bin Laden’s DNA. The planners turned for help to Generals Kayani and Pasha, who asked Dr Aziz to obtain the specimens. Soon after the raid the press found out that Dr Aziz had been living in a house near the bin Laden compound: local reporters discovered his name in Urdu on a plate on the door. Pakistani officials denied that Dr Aziz had any connection to bin Laden, but the retired official told Mr Hersh that Dr Aziz had been rewarded with a share of the $25 million reward the US had put up because the DNA sample had showed conclusively that it was bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2015

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Comments (145) Closed

jj May 11, 2015 07:48am

Everyone wants a piece of cake. It's over and done with period.

Syed May 11, 2015 07:48am

Who to believe in this whole saga, the President of the USA or a book writer? In any case, this second version is more damaging to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia come out as financiers, mentors and protectors of terrorists. Caught between a rock and a hard place. Out of frying pan into the fire.

mitul May 11, 2015 07:49am

It was not possible for a criminal of that scale to take refuge in a country without help from inside. Same goes for dawood. He may or may not be in pakistan right now but he definitely was/is sheltered by pak.

Adil May 11, 2015 07:52am

Nothing new here..We Pakistanis are used to getting humiliated by our generals for their personal gains.

Hope. May 11, 2015 07:53am

The spy games! no common man in Pakistan or USA can understand it.

Hope. May 11, 2015 07:53am

The spy games! no common man in Pakistan or USA can understand it.

ahmad azhar May 11, 2015 08:04am

did i just read a fiction or this is real?

pakistani May 11, 2015 08:07am

what is fiction and what is reality, only almighty knows. I think we are still living in oceania of 1984 by gorge orwell. who is big brother nobody knows

L.Ahmad May 11, 2015 08:12am

Conflicting stories, hard to judge the truth.

Israr Khan IsmailZai May 11, 2015 08:15am

LOL, The drama of 9/11, the drama of Bin Laden, the drama of killing Bin Laden, and it continues.

Riaz May 11, 2015 08:19am

Everyone twisting history to make people believe that Osama was in Abbotabad at the time of the false drama of his death. He died much before due to non availability of dialysis facility. Else US would have loved to show the action live !!!!!

brr May 11, 2015 08:19am

And we believe Hersh because?

paggri sambhal May 11, 2015 08:21am

Mind boggling.Story has certain flaws.

Ridwan May 11, 2015 08:27am

If this is true, why didn't the pak army openly state the facts instead of allowing Obama to make us look like fools?

Third Party May 11, 2015 08:33am

Now all the hell broke loose !!! Let the sensible , patriots and very responsible Pakistani Citizens debate over it !!

Kepler-09B May 11, 2015 08:36am

We knew, they knew, Saudi knew. It seems it was a game of chess. At the end, Pakistan played the wrong move. They got help to fabricate the story. Pakistan got the bad name and Obama got the election.

Kamal Gupta May 11, 2015 08:37am

This one looks like an Alice tale.

Sultan Alvi, Canada May 11, 2015 08:39am

It just goes to show that in this day and age, it is just not possible to believe anybody, even if the guy giving the information is Barack Obama.

Abdul Malik Abbas (usa) May 11, 2015 08:53am

Whooooopy !!! What a story /? This sounds like a combo of Hollywood, Bollywood and even Lollywood. Thanx for the entertainment Seymour Hersh.

avi May 11, 2015 08:59am

Now this make sense

Qamar Faruqui May 11, 2015 09:04am

Big question mark on Pakistan's security? Perhaps truth will never come out.

Jawad May 11, 2015 09:04am

Makes sense.

Hashim Khan May 11, 2015 09:05am

There's a conspiracy theory on top of a conspiracy theory. Obviously the script writers are very good at spoon feeding the public. It still doesn't explain why not show pics of his dead body to prove the death??

wiserneighbour May 11, 2015 09:06am

This is a tight slap on the conspiracy theorists about OBL drama.ISI and pak army played this game to fool others and pretended ignorance about his whereabouts. One should not believe whatever pak army/ISI says to the public.

N May 11, 2015 09:09am

I hope there are no comments on this.

Observer May 11, 2015 09:10am

Amazing, yet not surprising, for us Pakistani's. The moral of the story would be, never believe what you read. Especially if it comes from the Americans, Pakistani's and our "brothers".

Nana May 11, 2015 09:22am

What a true story ! Thank you Seymour for your hard work.

Abdul May 11, 2015 09:30am

What this makes clear is that Pakistan hid OBL.

Hope. May 11, 2015 09:30am

The spy games! no common man in Pakistan or USA can understand it.

Random Indian May 11, 2015 09:31am

The whole story is sordid, and all actors in it are detestable in their unique ways.

Bil_VA May 11, 2015 09:32am

The complete picture is now clear: Obama wanted re-election, ISI wanted money for its generals, Saudis wanted to hide their connection with AQ...the losers were the Pakistani Tax payers, who are told to pay for the Army/ISI.

Bil_VA May 11, 2015 09:33am

The complete picture is now clear: Obama wanted re-election, ISI wanted money for its generals, Saudis wanted to hide their connection with AQ...the losers were the Pakistani Tax payers, who are told to pay for the Army/ISI.

Larkanavi May 11, 2015 09:34am

Amazing story! Just shows how little of the actual information is in the public domain. It also shows to what length politicians even in a democratic country can go just to take credit and get re-elected.

abdul sheikh May 11, 2015 09:35am

Money talk.

Karahore May 11, 2015 09:35am

So, Pakistani Intelligence knew about Osama's location and kept quite for 5 years. He lived in a large house with multiple wives and servants.... Why they didn't captured him?

Asad May 11, 2015 09:42am

A believable story requires evidence. Right now the main evidence is just from one source - an "anonymous Pakistani intelligence officer". I could make that source up in my head!

The story may be true, but it requires much more evidence for it to be taken seriously.

AH May 11, 2015 09:43am

Good fairy tale story

Anon May 11, 2015 09:52am

Wow, this is big news. Good that Dawn is breaking it. Let's see if western media publishes it. Given that Seymour M. Hersh is talking to Dawn my guess is they were not willing to take a stance contrary to their government.

raja hindustani May 11, 2015 09:53am

Some state actor ('ISI' mentioned in this article) of Pakistan was involved in hiding OBL. That's indeed make sense otherwise how come world's most wanted hiding behind a military academy can go undetected? Similarly, US Navy Seal operation against OBL was also held in collaboration with Pak Army/Airforce. Everyone knows that Pak defense is not so weak that it can not detect US Navy seal helicopter inside their territory.

NOBODY May 11, 2015 09:53am

So much deception, so many lies. Pakistan officials and govt has been telling they didnt know anything about Osama's whereabouts. And going by this article they even help and support the drone attacks on their own civilians. Don't know what to believe and what not to.

javaid May 11, 2015 09:54am

I knew that the official version put out was too good to believe. Pakistan army is not that incompetent. Now this version makes more sense.

Gaurav Arya May 11, 2015 09:56am

Why is everything in Pakistan so contradictory and hush-hush? Hersh is a journalist. But now his words will be held up as proof of Pakistan's innocence. No proof required. The mindset is - if its in your favour, go for it.

Ever since the raid took place, each Pakistani leader has his pet conspiracy theory. There is no single national narrative. Some say that Osama died long back and the entire raid was a sham. Some say that Pakistani sovereignty was violated. Some say that Pakistan tried to hide Osama. Some say that Osama is a Shaheed, a martyr. But with one voice, all Pakistani leaders accept that American dollars are good. Thats is the only common thread running through all the lies and deceit.

think_then_speak May 11, 2015 10:02am

A good fairytale, and many would believe it. Bin Laden's is a highly political issue and it may spin out different accounts half true half hallucination.

Syed Irfan Ali May 11, 2015 10:02am

Seems to be true.

Imran Hanif May 11, 2015 10:03am

A groundbreaking revelation from the seasoned investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that seems to make sense on the Machiavellian cum Goebbells template of deception and intrigue from the security establishments of US and its client state Pakistan.

Another glaring missing link which Pakistani media should look on to in future as these anecdotal points are supposed to be provided by them instead of someone sitting thousands of miles in far west.

Ihtesham Kayani May 11, 2015 10:03am

Controversial statements and independent sane voices from US and other parts of the world have given enough evidence that Osama was not there in Abbottabad. {Listen to Webster Tarpley and Alex Jones on youtube}. It was all but collaboration with Pakarmy that US staged a drama to increase budgetary support for beleaguered troops in Afghanistan and to re-elect Obama.

Sunil May 11, 2015 10:04am

All controversial or made up stories, Pakistan was being unaware, the presence of Bin Laden within the country.

Last Word May 11, 2015 10:11am

Well, this one appears to be the most authentic story published on OBL till date. Though the script was jointly written by US and Pakistan but twist to the tale was given by the former to make Obama the hero to win the Presidential elections.

Aftab Alam Khan May 11, 2015 10:14am

This all put question marks on ISI officials.

khanm May 11, 2015 10:15am

Oh please for god sake don't take the undue credit, don't even try to save your face... face the reality.. it was our intelligence failure...unfortunately in Pakistan..Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it......

Aakashvaani May 11, 2015 10:20am

Then why is Dr. Afridi in jail?

Dibaf May 11, 2015 10:22am

Good story but only speculation in absence of proof. To me the other version actually makes much more sense given the chopper crash and then destruction attempt of it by seal team before leaving and so on. Sorry conspiracy theories abound in Pakistan and they flourish but ...

Sami Qureshi May 11, 2015 10:27am

It is not a concocted story.

Republican May 11, 2015 10:28am

Either way, Pakistan is between a rock and a hard place. On the other hand, the election campaign slogan of Obama when he ran for presidency was that he will send U.S. forces into Pakistan. He and his Democratic party ran on anti-Pakistan sentiment and policies. Pakistan expatriates living in U.S. should consider that when they vote in the next election

Arshad May 11, 2015 10:34am

Please, Please for Pakistan Sake, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha tell the World the real Story and clean Pakistan's Image.

Please wake up, I have no hope from Pasha, but Kayani might do this nation some good.

annoyed May 11, 2015 10:34am

If this is true, the guy(s) who orchestrated and broke the story of Shakeel Afridi should be trialed for murders of innocent polio workers and spread of polio in the area, because they said shakeel afridi collected information as a polio worker.

Reader May 11, 2015 10:36am

I also noticed heightened security when last visited Abbotabad in 2008. Somehow seems realistic. Intelligence world is full of lies, deception & misinformation.

Idealist May 11, 2015 10:37am

In fact if you ask me being a Pakistani, I thank US and Pakistan Army to get rid of OBL. whatever the concerns, connections and the issues were at the end of the day, it is in fact their responsibility to roll back and clean the mess created during Operation Cyclone decades ago. (Full Stop) , they have to make their mess smell less like poop.

Mo May 11, 2015 10:47am

Those are some phenomenal statements. However it does make so much sense ! Great article, thanks for publishing Dawn !

Adnan May 11, 2015 10:52am

what a break up ? agree to more than some extent

Usman Hasan May 11, 2015 11:39am

You'll NEVER know the Actual Truth, until Many years have gone by.......

Pakistani American May 11, 2015 11:41am

Hersh is highly respectable journalist, he is not eye wash. He is real deal,

ravi vancouver May 11, 2015 11:45am

@Syed Irfan All Seems to be true, Pakistani army, air force and ISI are very professional and efficient, nobody with sane mind can believe that OBL 's presence was not known to ISI and Pakistan government. His killing was all jointly planned by Pakistan and America. Whole act was made to appear to public that it was all secret plan of America. Same goes for drone attacks by America, it is all done with mutual consent and publicly all blame passed on to America.

observer May 11, 2015 11:58am

So why has the above appeared now!!!, waiting patiently for part 3, by even a more "respectable" journalists. Thanks Dawn, there is a good reason to the saying that facts are stranger than fiction.

kp May 11, 2015 12:00pm

This seems to answer the unanswered questions, about who know what and when.

M. Asghar May 11, 2015 12:07pm

The OBL story has to be complex, because he was a highly geopolitical in nature.

Liberal May 11, 2015 12:11pm

it is making sense.

Adil Murtaza May 11, 2015 12:15pm

half-baked truth to cover up another lie

SAB May 11, 2015 12:44pm

The story is essentially saying that OBL was a prisoner and his care was financed by Saudis and then everybody wanted him dead. The only twist in the story is: how. But still there are no straight answers. Timing of the story is itself intriguing.

Osama Tahir May 11, 2015 01:32pm

Excellent Article!! Gives an insight on workings of Spy Agencies and Conflicting interests of a Global Power and its situational Ally. It is however surprising to note KSA's involvement in this matter. But at the end it goes to say the Pentagon Officials played their cards well, with the Collateral being totally shifted to their "situational Ally". For an average thinker its plausible to deduce that PAK had no clue about OBL's whereabouts. But its illogical to assume a high value target like OBL living in the general vicinity of a Military Base, and that the "Air Raid" went unnoticed within a High Radar Coverage Area which includes the Capital City, and Sensitive Facilities like Nuclear R&D centers , Air Bases, Tarbela Dam etc. (All Within a 50-60 KM Area). The Americans had Covert permissions to intrude (from the highest PAK Brass) but the timing & cover story was most definitely linked to the Presidential Re-Election Campaign.

Osama Tahir May 11, 2015 01:32pm

We cannot judge the extent of Blackmail / compensations agreed for this mission with PAK High Brass, but its a matter of perspective. Where the Americans sought the Assassination of OBL as Justice served with PAK ending up with the shorter stick. The PAK brass managed to get hands on their State of the art Blackhawk Stealth helicopter remains. Im sure this technical glitch will end up as a headache for Pentagon in the coming Years... A similar "Glitch" happened in 2001 when six "BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile's" crash landed in PAK during the Afghanistan Air Raid. The Technology has been reverse engineered into PAK Cruise Missiles and other Missile Platforms being produced by PAK itself.

Asif May 11, 2015 01:37pm

I don't know who is Hersh and what he has written. However, I always find it hard to believe that ISI and Army were not aware of the OBL hideout. It just doesn't make any sense at all. May 11, 2015 01:40pm

This is the right story- just one point makes the whole story correct-- ther is no way in hell any helicopters even if piloted by harry potter or superman with technology from star wars and x-men combined could reach abbtobad without being detected.

Luketer Massa May 11, 2015 01:40pm

Basically Seymour is saying that the US and American relationship is based on lies and deceit ....but yet pally on the surface....The hiding of OBL and his subsequent killing exposes this ...Secondly it also proves that with a few dollars any Pakistani general can be bought and will spill state secrets if proper amounts are dished out....On the other hand the US is secretly in bed with India with regards to economic and military cooperation......China seems like a more reasonable ally to Pakistan ....China also balances it's relationship with India and neither are at any others cost....Pakistan should be wise to this....

Sunil May 11, 2015 01:43pm

Controversial theories.

Haider Rehman May 11, 2015 01:49pm
            "Pakistan has a good army, not a bad army, but the cover story made it look bad."

True. America is not our friend. We helped them fight soviets and even Taliban (who turned against us).

R.Kannan May 11, 2015 02:04pm

Hersh himself is known for writing books in which he makes claims which are not always substantiated. The main issue is could the Pak army & ISI not have known about Osama's presence in Abbotabad ? The issue is clouded due to many conflicting political issues involved but can we accept Hersh's version as the truth ? I have my own doubts .

An observer May 11, 2015 02:06pm

US could have never got to OBL without Pakistan's involvement. Did anyone ever doubt that? My main problem with this account is why would Saudi Arabia want OBL alive?

Asgar May 11, 2015 02:20pm

This guy is good story writer. Now this is what I call an excellent fairy tale.

JP May 11, 2015 03:01pm

I am confused. Hersh still says that Pak & Saudis hid OBL from US. They were willing to "cooperate" (in cooking a cover story together) only after being found out. This does not make it an entirely "good army". The ex-Intel man was effectively betraying ISI for money. So it is hardly a matter of a co-operating ISI. Am I missing something?

lafanga May 11, 2015 03:07pm

Don't look at the story, pay attention to the why. Why it is released and why now? Is the story negative for Obama or for Pak army, ISI and the Saudis?

Imran May 11, 2015 03:08pm

Just look at Gen Aslam Beg's interview a couple of days after OBL's death. He clearly said that the US raid originated at Tarbela-Ghazi base, not from Afghanistan. This article simply confirms what most people suspect anyway. There's nothing new here at all.

zaheer ahmed May 11, 2015 03:12pm

This is not a strange story. It was the same as most of our people in Pakistan were expecting. Unfortunately the matters are being handled for the last many decades in the same lines and that's why the civilian govt are remained handicapped. The corruption and personal benefits are the main cause of corruption it may be from anywhere.

Raja FarhatAbbas May 11, 2015 03:13pm

@Sunil You and your fellow Indians will never swallow the truth regarding Pakistan , Trashing,bashing and defaming stories you enjoy.

zaheer ahmed May 11, 2015 03:13pm

It is a courageous attempt by DAWN, again for independent media.

Kazim Reza May 11, 2015 04:13pm

To shoot a lame prisoner with a fanfare! All is for an election ! The story will carry tremendous influence on the US voters in next election I believe. Whether the Republican uses the bomb shell against President Obama for alleged perjury to take an old revenge of Watergate scandal what made the victorious Democrat Carter during the elections of 1977 following the resignation of Nixon in 1974 is to be seen .The story will erode US respectability both in home and abroad further as well. However, the Pakistani media can dig more to get the whole truth.

ASHFAQ ALI May 11, 2015 04:14pm

The judicial commission which was formed to investigate this event didn't mention any such thing in the leaked report?.

Akhtar May 11, 2015 05:04pm

Bin Laden had been dead for at least 10 years. How can someone kill a corpse ? You simply can not trust the American government. They lied on Iraq WMD's .

M. Siddique May 11, 2015 05:29pm

Good story for a fiction novel or perhaps a movie as well. Someone can make millions.

Surinder Saini May 11, 2015 05:43pm

@paggri sambhal like what flaws, can you elaborate?

Bored May 11, 2015 06:00pm

Who to believe & who not to? I pity all the characters mentioned in the above article, what a sad, make believe world they all live, and they must be thinking the same about us common folks!!!. Supposedly the above article is the truth. We'll have to wait another five years to hear a new version.

Ghaznavi May 11, 2015 06:22pm

too late!! a bad perception for Pakistan has been developed. Unless the Republicans pick this up , American media will ignore this story

Shujaat Khan May 11, 2015 06:41pm

OBL is dead . Can we move on?

Take May 11, 2015 07:03pm

Conspiracy to derail asian tiger pak

IMRAN ALI May 11, 2015 07:07pm

it was Mr Hersh who for the first time reviled the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner the story is true..

Muhammad Matloob Khan May 11, 2015 07:30pm

Nothing new, however, a new story is being developed to save Dr. Shakeel Afridi. In the new story Dr. Amir Aziz is being declared as the official for DNA test of OBL. Again an effort to US interests.

Ali May 11, 2015 07:45pm

@Arshad Yes, I Kiyani & Pasha know the truth. It seems incomprehensible they were on bin laden, at any point in time.!

Baksh May 11, 2015 07:49pm

@brr A simple google search for "Seymour Hersh" could have told you why you should believe the author. He is a multiple Pulitzer and Polk prize winning author with a long track record of exposing government and military abuses of power.

qambar ali May 11, 2015 08:10pm

yet another story

Parvez May 11, 2015 08:19pm

Mr.Hersh's version appears believable.

shahid iqbal May 11, 2015 08:46pm

great story

dale May 11, 2015 09:06pm

@brr ...we believe him because he is the most respected investigative journalist in the world, with ground breaking stories going back to the Mai Lai Massacre in Vietnam to more recent exposes of the Bush "Redirection" from supporting Shiites in Iraq to the Sunnis, whom the US had been fighting, to the false flag operations concerning CW in Damascus, which British intelligence determined could not have been from the government. No one has ever refuted his investigative journalism, while the US government is famous for lying.

sara khan May 11, 2015 09:09pm

Its irrelevant now.... the good news is Pakistan got rid of him at American expense :)

This story will only hurt Obama and his democratic party in the next elections because lies matter in the US (unlike our homeland)

dale May 11, 2015 09:10pm

@Asad , Hersh's previous investigative journalism, over 40 years, have proven to be accurate. Why would you doubt him now and accept the lies of the US government?

dale May 11, 2015 09:11pm

@jj , government lies, starts wars with lies, mass murders with lies. So what? It's over. No use crying over an ocean of spilled blood............unless you want to prevent such atrocities in the future by holding government accountable for its lies.

Jay May 11, 2015 09:22pm

What a fake. If they know where he is hiding why did not they arrest him. It was not pakistan helped but the spies usa had in pakistan helped.

max May 11, 2015 09:26pm

@Observer Both stories are coming from Americans.

Hassan May 11, 2015 09:32pm

Wait a year more, and you will hear a very different story completely opposite to the above one. No is going to spill the beans about OBL. Interesting story, waiting for the release of new version

Yawar May 11, 2015 09:32pm

OBL neither worked for pakistan nor for saudis but yes he worked for US in the afgan war! Pakistan army has lost thousands of lifes in fighting terrorism and yet they will give haven to OBL ... thats too much to digest! Any proof of OBL death?

rana1 May 11, 2015 09:46pm

@sara khan .........then it seems the opposition has already done a good job at eliminating Obama's party with this new "revelations"and elect in the pro Israel party.

Obaid K2 May 11, 2015 10:08pm

Please give me a chance of story writing, I can write many different stories on one event. My hourly rate is $15.

sana May 11, 2015 10:35pm

Story is believable.......of course no one can go unnoticed there because of the reasons all the Pakistani knows and especially someone like OBL

And i think it was a good move by generals because if they had stated that OBL was killed with the help of army, all the saudi funded maulvis would have come out on the streets...

Truth makes it own way.......Obama is exposed by its own people!

Pramod USA May 11, 2015 10:36pm

As per the NY times the ISI guy sold the information to US for reward money and this guy from ISI is now staying somewhere in Washington .

Imran A. May 11, 2015 10:44pm

Wierd story... let me add a twist to the story. Obama's ratings were going down, they figured that since Bush could not catch UBL, it was perfect opportunity to silence the republicans and get re-elected. As proof, they will rely on a doctor to provide DNA evidence. It was a win-win situation. Pakistan proved they were fighting terrorism, and were not blacked listed as a country supporting terrorists (Something India was hoping). Fact is that I don't care. It's all politics and mind games for fools like us to speculate.

Tareen May 11, 2015 10:53pm

The story makes sense.

Black Sabbath May 11, 2015 11:25pm

This makes no sense. If Pakistan helped US get Bin Laden, then Why did Pakistan suffer the humiliation in the world of being labeled as the country that harbored Osama when in fact it should be taking credit? Why is Dr. Afridi in jail?

Mr. Hersh is just a journalist who is just trying to get some publicity especially considering that his assumptions are based on a single unnamed source. There are dozens of more credible journalists & intellectuals who refute Mr. Hersh's assertions.

Disappointed May 11, 2015 11:40pm

MUHAMMAD MATLOOB KHAN's comments make sense

Adnan Bashir May 11, 2015 11:47pm

The whole story is fake , I did not believed yet on this story ,even on Bin Laden's presence in pakistan ,not only in Abbottabad . thats was a great game 4m usa to terminate the story & to begin another one novel . which we see now years...........

AAA May 12, 2015 12:06am

Readers please relax and wait for some more stories yet to come up about UBL You may come across a totally new version like UBL is seen in Syria just 2 months back leading the forces fighting against Syrian President.

Imran muhammad May 12, 2015 12:12am

The world knows he was found within few kms of military ........ We still in confusion yes or no...

Aimal May 12, 2015 12:17am

Whatever may be the truth - in any case it does not give a clean picture of Pakistan . Very dubious indeed. Is there no way to tell the policy makers that this is not the way to success in the global community of civilised nations.?

On Looker May 12, 2015 12:17am

Since I believe that all Pak govts do not tell truth to its people or feel accountable to its citizens or courts - therefore - I'll give Mr Heresh story some credibility. Whole truth perhaps will never come out.

Naseer May 12, 2015 12:22am

Now this intellegence officer should also tell us that where they buried OBL

Jay Shakir May 12, 2015 12:22am

I would never believe what Pakistan army tells its public.

Richmond May 12, 2015 12:23am

@brr Lets see: 1 Pulitzer award, 2 National Magazine Awards, 5 Polk winner and 1 George Orwell Award. The question is how come we even question him more than politicians? If there is an informant for something this big, he would be the person he will be going to talk too. Just read his profile. Could he making it up ? Of course, he is human after all, but if I have to believe a politician that has been caught lying in the past or a highly recognized journalist, I take my chances with the second one.

Ajith May 12, 2015 12:52am

Now that our western master's have backed up the story, i think it will be more than enough reason for our slavery endured, confused souls and naysayers to say it anything but the conspiracy. Please read more at your Master's websites.


Freeman May 12, 2015 01:02am

Though truth is much different than the original story told by Obama but this new story too may not attract even someone in hollywood for a blockbuster. Truth is: No intelligence agency in this world speaks truth. It is against their manifesto. So truth will never come out.

Fazl Rab May 12, 2015 01:13am

At least, on one previous occasion, Obama has been proven to be a liar; he has publicly declared in a White House press briefing that Raymond Davis was a diplomat.The then Pakistan's Foreign Minister categorically denied this. Today, we know for sure, who was right. Relate this to the press briefing of Obama regarding OBL. One cannot give 100% credence to it.

abhishek May 12, 2015 02:06am

There will be another theory that Osama is not dead bit held prison in some secret location. Otherwise USA would shown body public. Wait and watch

sal May 12, 2015 02:30am

Politicians are same every where but Pakistan does not know to capitalize on any opportunity.

Roni May 12, 2015 02:54am

We should all ignore this foreign propaganda against our country. They are jealous of our successes, prestige and power. We should believe in our own security services and govt as they have never lied to us, always tell us the truth and treat we the people with dignity and fairness.

Sukhera May 12, 2015 04:06am

This is does not make any sense that Bin Laden was a prisoner of ISI of Pakistan and Pakistan collaborated with the US to kill Bin Laden. In order to get to the truth we always look for evidence and in this case, the evidence is not there. The telephone conversation picked up by the US between ISI chief and Gen Ashfaq Kayani after the attack indicated a complete surprise by both that BL was living in Abbotabad. The second claim by Seymour Hersh ( US Investigative reporter) that Saudi government was helping BL financially. The fact is that BL was against the Saudi monarchy and Saudi government had revoked his citizenship in 1994. Mr. Hersh’s claim that a Pakistani army doctor (Maj Amir Aziz) provided the blood sample to verify the DNA test of BL. If this is true, then why US hired Dr Shakeel Afridi to obtain DNA. Mr Afridi was sentenced in 2012 to 33 years in prison for treason. The man who contacted Islamabad Embassy(Assad Durrani) now maintains that ISI did not know about BL

Singh May 12, 2015 05:34am

@Syed . Mr. Seymour M. Hersh is highly credible investigative journalist. You may have believe him when he broke story of Abu Garib Torture. Now you suspect him when shoe is on other foot.

Singh May 12, 2015 05:35am

@brr Because his story on Abu Garib in Iraq.

India Always May 12, 2015 05:43am

@Roni : i hope you are being sarcastic..

Omran May 12, 2015 06:15am

You want us to believe this??

Sanjay Sharma May 12, 2015 06:29am

Suddenly this type of information seems an American conspiracy. Their grip in Pakistan is unlashing. China is regularly developing relation with Pakistan. America again tries to develop militant group in the territory

Fareed (usa) May 12, 2015 07:09am

Those who know Seymour Hersh will tell you he is not a fiction writer.Semour Hersh is man of integrity , his previous wrtings like Kissinger an Invasion of Cambodia are testimonial to his honesty and well researched work. So do n't question his work, it is authentic.

Gul khan May 12, 2015 07:12am

Amwricans caught Saddam and displayed him like a trophy. Why did the US not show Bin Laden Alive or Dead? Because there was no Bin Laden. American people were to be fooled once again on the 10 anniversary of 9/11.

rehan May 12, 2015 12:11pm

@brr Because he is more credible than Modi

Feeling Betrayed May 12, 2015 12:52pm

@Roni LOL

gopal May 12, 2015 01:11pm

@Omran Wheteher you believe this or not, is your problem. But the author is telling the truth.

Agha Asad Raza May 12, 2015 02:03pm

"Who killed Kennedy?" that was 1963!! It is still being written about and debated! Same thing here, people will continue churning out the 'truth' a 100 years from now.

amarinshiva May 12, 2015 05:35pm

what is the real truth.who should the we believe pakistan ya america

Zak May 12, 2015 05:41pm

@Gul khan there were 3 books written by Seal team members who were on the OBL mission. Each one had a different version. Two of them went on talk shows to say they were the ones who killed OBL. The US seeing the story unravelling, put a bar on any servicemen talking or writing about it. Freedom of speech?