Lies from Abbottabad

From the first announcement of the death of Osama Bin Laden, there’s always been something suspicious to the whole affair.

The well-respected investigative journalist Seymour Hersh (who’s most famous for uncovering the My Lai massacre and exposing Israel’s Samson Option) offers an intriguing explanation of Bin Laden’s death that completely undermines the narrative offered by the Obama Administration. With trust in the federal government at an all-time low, stories challenging the official narrative of the Bin Laden raid find an all-too receptive audience.

Nearly every point of what led to and how the death of Bin Laden occurred is called into question. According to Hersh’s account, what tipped off the CIA to the whereabouts of the most wanted man on Earth wasn’t good investigative work on the part of the agency itself, it was a defector from Pakistan’s ISI that told America where Osama was hiding. And he wasn’t really hiding. Instead, he was a prisoner of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, which would explain how the most notorious terrorist on the planet was able to live in the vicinity of a prominent military base in Abbottabad without being detected. His captivity was even known of and financed by Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, the raid was conducted with the help of Pakistani intelligence, contrary to the official report that local forces had no knowledge of the high-target mission. And, in Hersh’s telling, the Navy SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden wasn’t exactly a daring raid-by-night. For one, the SEALs encountered no resistance during the attack, especially from the Al-Qaeda mastermind himself, and it amounted to an execution of an unarmed, elderly man. They also did not collect troves of valuable documents and data relating to the terrorist organization while there, since the Wahhabi figurehead had had no interaction with his own group for nearly five years, and they didn’t quite rush out of the compound as they waited for nearly 20 minutes for a replacement chopper to arrive to compensate for a downed transport.

And when it comes to the corpse of the condemned man, the weird tale of his Islamic burial at sea is given a coherent explanation. The reason why the government couldn’t produce a body and haphazardly claimed he was dumped into the Persian Gulf owed to the fact that his assassination had ripped his body to shreds and some parts of it had been left behind back in Abbottabad. Thus, a burial at sea was thought up and the White House had a convenient excuse for why they couldn’t produce the corpse.

The whole story makes a compelling read and is somewhat convincing—even it relies almost entirely one unnamed former high-ranking security official. Naturally for any story that undermines the established media narrative, there’s already several critiques of its sourcing and information out there. Granted, the critics bring up some good points—such as why the Obama Administration kept the downed helicopter in the tale and the fact Al-Qaeda has referenced important documents that were taken from the Abbottabad compound—but the fact remains that many people, even the critics, will agree that the public is not getting an accurate story of what happened to the man who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.

If even a portion of Hersh’s report turns out true and it becomes widely-known that the government lied to its people, that can only further erode the trust the public has for its leaders.