The story regarding Hersh's reported claim that Cheney ordered the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was published on our website among other publications. We regret the error.
WASHINGTON American journalist Seymour Hersh on Monday denied news reports that quoted him as saying a 'special death squad' working under former US vice president Dick Cheney had killed Benazir Bhutto.
The award-winning journalist described as 'complete madness' the reports that the squad headed by General Stanley McChrystal - the new commander of US army in Afghanistan - had also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and a Lebanese army chief.
'Vice President Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Ms Bhutto. I have never said that I did have such information. I most certainly did not say any thing remotely to that effect during an interview with an Arab media outlet,' Hersh said.
'General McChrystal ran a special forces unit that engaged in High Value Target activity. While I have been critical of some of that units activities in the pages of the New Yorker and in interviews, I have never suggested that he was involved in political assassinations or death squads on behalf of Mr Cheney, as the published stories state.'
'I have never been asked by any journalist...about such allegations. This is another example of blogs going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their job -- and that is to verify such rumours,' Hersh said.