Washington, April 27 (IANS) Pakistan helped the US get Osama bin Laden, a US investigative journalist has said.
“More than ever,” said the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh on Tuesday when asked if he believes Pakistan helped the US get Al-Qaeda group founder Osama bin Laden.
When Hersh made this claim in an article published last year, the White House rejected the story as false. Major US media outlets also rejected his claim as incorrect.
Hersh repeated the claim in his new book “The Killing of Osama bin Laden” published this week, insisting he was right, Dawn online reported.
Since last year, Hersh said, his belief has cemented as the journalist found new evidences, and was deceptive of the US’ official account of how bin Laden was found in his compound.
Hersh said Pakistan had detained bin Laden in 2006 and kept him in prison with the backing of Saudi Arabia.
The US and Pakistan struck a deal that the US would raid bin Laden’s compound but make it look as if Islamabad was unaware.
“Pakistan is in constant alert because of India. Their radars are watching, their F16s are up all the time,” said Hersh, arguing that it was not possible for US helicopters to enter Abbottabad without alerting the Pakistanis.
“The then head of Pakistan’s Air Defence Command was very, very upset. He was ready to go public,” said Hersh.
Hersh earlier said the US and Pakistan had jointly created the myth “we (US) discovered” where Osama bin Laden was living.
“What I know is … in August of 2010, a Pakistani colonel … came into our embassy, went to the then CIA Station Chief Jonathan Bank, and said: ‘We’ve had bin Laden for four years’.”
“The Pakistani intelligence picked him (bin Laden) in the Hindu Kush area, built the compound in Abbottabad and put him there,” Hersh said.
“Pakistani officials did so because the Saudis asked them to. The Saudis did not want Americans to interrogate bin Laden.”
According to Hersh, when the CIA asked Pakistan to make the May 2, 2011, operation at bin Laden’s compound a surprise raid, they agreed “because they had kept bin Laden in custody without telling us”.
The US was already very upset and Pakistan did not want to make it worse, he added.
“I wrote the name of Jonathan Bank but he did not attack me for doing this. He did not contradict my story. If there is one guy who can end my story, it is him,” Hersh said.