The article in the London Review of Books purports to be an “alternative history of the war on terror,” and it relies largely on a single unnamed source to question President Barack Obama’s narrative about the death of the man behind the 9/11 attacks.
That narrative from the president claimed bin Laden was killed in a firefight with US officials and that Pakistani officials weren’t told about the raid in advance.
While Obama touted bin Laden’s capture in a Pakistani compound as an “all-American affair” as Hersh puts it, US officials got assistance from upper-level Pakistani officials, according to Hersh. Moreover, he writes, bin Laden wasn’t “hiding” in Pakistan when Navy Seals found him like the US government claimed.
Rather, Hersh alleges, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was holding bin Laden as a prisoner. A former senior Pakistani intelligence officer tipped the US off about bin Laden’s whereabouts in exchange for $25 million, Hersh writes in his article, which has attracted wide attention in just a few hours.
Hersh says his main source inside the US is an unnamed senior intelligence official with knowledge about the raid that killed bin Laden. Hersh also says he got corroborating information from two longtime consultants to Special Operations Command in the US, and that he spoke to sources “inside Pakistan.”