Washington, May 12: Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize has called the White House account of the Osama Bin Laden raid a bluff. The account given by Hersh is very similar to what Assad Durrani, the former ISI chief had said back in February 2015.
Durrani had in February said that there was probably a deal between the US and Pakistan on Bin Laden. He had also said that Pakistan may have handed over Bin Laden to the Americans as part of the deal.
Hersh basically puts forth the same point in his 10,356 word article. There have been doubts raised about the article and the White House has wasted no time in denying it. However, there are several questions that one could raise about the White House account of the Osama raid [Read]
Do we take the Durrani-Hersh account with a pinch of salt?
The main contention that is being raised by several persons is that Hersh in his account has attributed his story to several unnamed sources.
The point that Hersh makes is that Bin Laden was a prisoner of the Pakistani intelligence service in his Abbottabad compound since 2006. The United States got to know of Bin Laden's whereabouts through a former Pakistani intelligence officer. Pakistan's military helped Washington plan the raid.
Durrani had in February too stated the same thing and had claimed that the killing of Bin Laden was a result of the deal that America and the Pakistanis struck.
Whether these accounts need to be taken with a pinch of salt? Several Indian officials feel that there is some amount of truth in what both Durrani and Hersh have said. Pakistan has been getting a surprising lot of military aid from the Americans. The funds have been pouring in on one side while on the other Pakistan has been accused of funding terror with the same funds.
Obama needed to pull off a political stunt:
If one reads through the various accounts that the Americans have been giving on Osama Bin Laden, it becomes amply clear that they knew it all, but wanted to say nothing. After a series of aerial attacks in Afghanistan, the Americans had claimed that both Mullah Omar and Bin Laden could have escaped on horse back.
The fact that the most wanted man in the world, Osama Bin Laden stayed in a compound in Abottabad and the entire world did not know about it is a story that does not match up in any sense.
There is no doubt that Obama had a lackluster first term as US president and was running out of ideas when he was all set to commence a campaign seeking a second terms. Osama Bin Laden was one of the most emotive issues for the Americans and killing him gave Obama the necessary plank to fight the elections.
There was economic gloom in America and the "Yes We Can" slogan had turned into a damp squib. It was interesting to see that the death of Bin Laden raised the prospects of Obama who repeatedly said during his campaign on how he personally oversaw the raid at Abottabad.
Pakistan was ready to give up Osama:
The Americans hit Osama Bin Laden when the man had become completely useless for the Pakistanis. Obama needed an election issue and the Pakistanis wanted military aid. The deal seemed fair enough to be struck.
Osama Bin Laden had been shifted out of Afghanistan and placed in a safe house in Pakistan way back in 2004 itself. He was commanding the Al-Qaeda from his home with the blessings of the ISI. However, by the year 2010-2011 he had become useless for the ISI due to his failing health.
The several documents that were seized from Abottabad reveal clearly that Osama himself was upset with the manner in which the Al-Qaeda was functioning. To put a long story short, Osama had given up and was depressed, thus making him useless for the Pakistanis.
How covert can it get?
Zero Dark Thirty, the movie on the raid at Abottabad is probably one of the best made movies in recent times. However, the depiction of the operation raises several questions and one could ask this question, " how covert can an operation get?"
Choppers flying over international skies without the knowledge of the Pakistanis who probably have one of the best spy agencies in the world. An operation in the Abottabad compound lasting several hours without the neighbours getting to know of it. These aspects raise several doubts in one's mind.
Indian Intelligence Bureau officials say that the fact is that Pakistan was ready to give up Osama. They have done it several times in the past and the classic case is of Ilyas Kashmiri who was threatening not just to lead a successful Al-Qaeda but was also becoming dangerous for the Pakistanis.