Tags: Barack Obama | seymour hersh | bin laden | death | london review | pakistan

Seymour Hersh: I'm Not Backing Off on bin Laden Exposé

Image: Seymour Hersh: I'm Not Backing Off on bin Laden Exposé
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. (Brad Barket/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 15 May 2015 12:01 PM

While many are questioning the report investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has constructed about the details surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden, he says he is "not backing off."

Hersh writes in a 10,000-word article for the London Review of Books that the accepted account of how bin Laden was killed contains several elements that simply aren't true, including the report that Pakistan's senior military leaders didn't know about the raid, when, he says, not only did they know about it but they helped make it possible.

Criticism and questions about Hersh's account has come from a variety of news sources, including AFP and NBC News. Former Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill, who claims he shot bin Laden during the raid on the compound in Pakistan, also called the account "ludicrous" and "full of lies."

But in an interview with Slate, Hersh defended his account, saying that he's "not backing off any thing I said."

As for the Pakistanis being complicit in the raid and the problems that presents for the Middle Eastern country, Hersh said President Barack Obama was always going to mess with the Pakistanis.

Hersh also questions the veracity of the story that the Navy SEALs captured valuable documents from the raid.

"He was a prisoner under their control. He wasn’t beaten and could walk around, but it was a prison. He couldn’t get out," Hersh said of bin Laden. "They kept encouraging him to write stuff. And he did."

"But I am bothered by the contradictions. [The] president said it was a treasure trove so there had to be a treasure trove. Is it real? I don’t know. It was used in a trial. Is it real? Is it not? I don’t know."

Politico, along with other publications, say that Hersh published his story in the European publication because The New Yorker declined to print it, but Hersh told Slate that that is not the case.

The investigative journalist said that the reason it wasn't printed in The New Yorker was because it was his choice not to have it published there, saying that The New Yorker editor, David Remnick, offered to publish it as a "blog item," but Hersh refused because he said he believed his piece was "worth more" than that.

"In the case of the bin Laden story, [Remnick] is open for anything. It was I who made the decision," he said.

"I am the one that decided to publish it wherever the hell I please," Hersh said. "That's the story."

Hersh said that before the London Review of Books would print his article, the editor of that publication, Mary-Kay Wilmers, spent a lot of time asking "a lot of questions. A lot of nasty questions" until she was ready to allow it to be printed. 

"I can't believe it," he added, that "it is so immensely important to so many people to know where I published."

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While many are questioning the report investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has constructed about the details surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden, he says he is "not backing off."
seymour hersh, bin laden, death, london review, pakistan
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2015-01-15
Friday, 15 May 2015 12:01 PM
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