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11 May 2015


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The Hersh tale fits quite nicely with the story FB Ali wrote here shortly after the raid.


The Twisted Genius

With all the claims and revelations in the Hersh story, the passage that most disturbed me was this.

"The White House’s solution was to silence the Seals. On 5 May, every member of the Seal hit team – they had returned to their base in southern Virginia – and some members of the Joint Special Operations Command leadership were presented with a nondisclosure form drafted by the White House’s legal office; it promised civil penalties and a lawsuit for anyone who discussed the mission, in public or private. ‘The Seals were not happy,’ the retired official said. But most of them kept quiet, as did Admiral William McRaven"

What the hell happened to STFU and taking a secret to your grave? The SEALs were not happy? What are they, a bunch of gossiping teenage girls at the mall? The only thing they should not have been happy about was the White House impuning their integrity by requiring another nondisclosure form.

The Twisted Genius

And yes, Brigadier Ali did scoop Hersh by several years.


Hersh doesn't explain how the helicopter went down. Any speculation?


Hersh's article is a fascinating read...and equally resistant to verification as are the original, official Obama administration account(s).

At the end of the day, Hersh wants Americans to feel bad that we may have simply murdered UBL. Good luck with that.


BTW, why did Sy Hersh publish this story now? Who benefits?


To me the key question is not whether the Pakistan military or ISI knew about OBL's whereabouts; it is whether they had advance notice of the US raid on OBL's living quarters.

Hersh does a poor job, conflating both questions, e.g., he cites Carlotta Gall, but her story is about whether the Pakistanis knew about OBL's whereabouts, and not about did the US notify them that a raid was imminent.

e.g., http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/magazine/what-pakistan-knew-about-bin-laden.html

To me, it would seem that the US would at the time of setting up the mission, have come to Col. Lang's opinion "that bin Laden could not have lived at Abbottabad for six years without the knowledge of the Pakistan military and intelligence" so therefore that giving advance notice to the Pakistanis of the raid on OBL's quarters or asking for cooperation from the Pakistanis even in the very last minute would compromise the mission.

Anyway, there is this criticism of Seymour Hersh's article at vox.com, that I just found:



While I have no doubt OBL could not have lived in Abbottabad without some in the Pakiastani military/intelligence knowing or at least pretending not to know, Hersh's tale seems a bit far fetched to me. One person knowing something is a secret, two people is a potential leak and this tale has dozens, if not hundreds involved across multiple countries.


There is, shall we say, some pushback.





FB Ali does indeed deserve our compliments. It encouraged close examination of the official story which now definitively is exposed as an exercise in total fabrication. The contradictions in that story were gross; yet none of the MSM picked up on them. Perhaps most troubling is that this fiction was concocted in the White House under the direction of President Obama by his political consultants with technical advice from John Brennan - then White House Counter-Terrorism "czar." The diplomatic fall-out was considerable and damaging to the security interests of the country. The broader baneful consequences from putting some of the final nails in the coffin of the American government's integrity will register indefinitely. The only open question is who are the bigger fools: Obama who sold what's left of the nation's birthright for the sake of burnishing his role in the melodrama or the public and its elites who are such easy marks.


Seymour Hersh's article is internally consistent as far as I can tell, that means its not a fabrication. My initial reaction to it is the same as MBrennner: The broader baneful consequences from putting some of the final nails in the coffin of the American government's integrity will register indefinitely. "

To put that another way if what Hersh says is true, then it is extremely dangerous for any country to trust America at all in any matter at all. The lesson for the current Ukrainian Government, as well as European and Baltic states Governments is profound.


There is also R.J. Hillhouse who wrote a similar story about the raid already in 2011:

ex-PFC Chuck

R. J. Hillhouse, whom Brigadier Ali cites a major source for his piece four years ago, calls plagiarism on Hersh.



I wouldn't be surprised if those non-disclosure agreements extended to 2300 AD, as someone I knew had to sign. It locks in the heirs and their diaries.

Babak Makkinejad

I would not call it "murder"; "justified retribution" is more apt.


Since when is Max Fisher such an expert on the bin Laden death that he could whip out this breathless dismissive piece on Seymour's article (implying that Hersh no longer has the juice) in less than 24 hours? http://www.vox.com/2015/5/11/8584473/seymour-hersh-osama-bin-laden


Again, an off-topic note, but sentencing was today in the Sterling case- he got 3 and 1/2 years in prison- which is 3 and 1/2 more than Petraeus recevied. The judge said Mr. Sterling had to be punished to send a message to other officials. “If you knowingly reveal these secrets, there’s going to be a price to be paid,” she said. Funny, it didn't apply to Petraeus.


Patrick Bahzad

Speculation and hear say yes, absolute certainty no


I, for one, am shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU to find gambling at Rick's Caf--...I mean, to find that any administration would engage in narrative control at the cost of factual accuracy.



a theory I've heard is that the chopper was operating at the edge of its performance envelope; weight / 4000' altitude / heat & humidity impacting engine efficiency / "ground effects" as it hovered & landed in a physically constricted zone (among buildings & walls)... a "combination of blows" like most accidents. I don't think the pilot has written a book, or made a movie deal.



I stopped communicating with the Sterling defense people after he was convicted. They chose to not put me and Manning (ex CIA) on the stand and I reckon that ended any obligation I had to participate. Did he get bail pending an appeal? pl



"Hersh's article is internally consistent as far as I can tell, that means its not a fabrication." Come now! You don't think fiction can be written that is "internally consistent?" pl



Yes, I am shocked as well, deeply shocked. IMO it would have been stupid to do anything that would further damage relations with Pakistan. They were bad enough without publicizing the cooperation of the senior Pakistani leadership in this matter, assuming that they did cooperate. Lying in international relations? Truly shocking. What I find deplorable in this story is the idea that Obama would feel it necessary to grandstand for the world in this. pl


Re. the Hersh story, there are some points that usefully could serve as pivots for this discussion.

1. The official administration story is full of contradictions which were pointed out 4 years ago. I was one of those who did and I wrote something in the Huffington Post at URL http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brenner/zero-dark-thirty-truth-or_b_2541371.html

2. The initial White House public comments were obviously rushed and full of lies (such as Brennan's description in detail of a Western shoot-out)which support Hersh's account.

3. As to what which Pakistanis knew what when, it is conceivable that they did not bring OBL to Abbottabad, as Hersh was told, but uncovered him there later and kept him on ice to use as a bargaining chip - as described.

4. A careful reading of the Hersh account makes it pretty clear that his unnamed CIA source was Bank - the former station chief in Islamabad. It's hard to imagine his interest in making up this story. In addition, the "walk-in" was a story that has been circulating in intelligence circles for 4 years.

5. Hersh has an excellent record as an investigative reporter - notwithstanding one minor slip-up 25 or 30 years ago. There clearly is now an orchestrated attempt to discredit him. People like Peter Bergen are trotted out; this is the CNN so-call security specialist who wrote the popular book on the Seals' OBL mission. He swallowed whole what was fed him by the CIA and McRaven and now his reputation turns on defending his witting or unwitting role as the purveyor of pulp fiction.

6. Instinctively, whom are we inclined to believe: Hersh who broke the stories on My Lai and Abu Ghraib or the people who have been lying to us and deceiving us routinely for the past 14 years?



"The official administration story is full of contradictions." Let's make a fresh start... Please point out the "contradictions," so that we can discuss them." BTW, based on what happened to Sterling, Bank (if he is the source) should expect trouble. pl

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