Pakistan was in on bin Laden raid - report
11 May 2015, 15:53
London - The White House version of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden was false, and senior Pakistani military officials were in fact aware of the mission, according to an article published on Sunday.
"The White House's story might have been written by Lewis Carroll," Seymour Hersh wrote of the official version, which says the US tracked the al-Qaeda leader to a compound in Pakistan by following his couriers, and took him out with a secret commando raid.
Veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh's 10 356-word article in the London Review of Books said the top officers of Pakistan's military and spy agency were aware of the raid in advance, citing a retired senior Pakistani intelligence official and corroborating US sources.
It also said the US was actually informed of bin Laden's whereabouts from another former senior Pakistani intelligence officer, who presented himself to the embassy and sold the information for $25m, and in exchange for being relocated to Washington DC.
Top Pakistani officials ensured that no alarm was raised when the two helicopters carrying the US special forces team over the border from Afghanistan to the compound in Abbottabad to kill bin Laden in May 2011, the report said.
"It had to be done," one Pakistani with ties to the leadership of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency was quoted as saying. "Not because of personal enrichment, but because all of the American aid programmes would be cut off.
"The deal was not only to keep the taps open, but [ISI chief General Ahmed Shuja] Pasha was told there would be more goodies for us," he was quoted as saying.
The report said bin Laden was actually in Pakistan's custody in the Abbottabad compound since 2006, and one source said his health had failed to the point of making him an invalid.
Asad Durrani, a former chief of Pakistan's spy agency in the early 1990s, was quoted from an earlier interview saying that it was "probable" that Pakistani intelligence had known where bin Laden was before the raid.