The Problems With Seymour Hersh’s Osama bin Laden Story

Now, the chaser — writing at Vox, Max Fisher dissects Seymour Hersh’s blockbuster report on the killing of bin Laden:

Why, for example, would the Pakistanis insist on a fake raid that would humiliate their country and the very military and intelligence leaders who supposedly instigated it?

A simpler question: why would Pakistan bother with the ostentatious fake raid at all, when anyone can imagine a dozen simpler, lower-risk, lower-cost ways to do this?

Why not just kill bin Laden, drive his body across the border into Afghanistan, and drop him off with the Americans? Or why not put him in a hut somewhere in Waziristan, blow it up with an F-16, pretend it was a US drone strike, and tell the Americans to go collect the body? (Indeed, when I first heard about Hersh’s bin Laden story a few years ago from a New Yorker editor — the magazine, the editor said, had rejected it repeatedly, to the point of creating bad blood between Hersh and editor-in-chief David Remnick — this was the version Hersh was said to favor.)

My first concern when I started reading Hersh’s story was why wasn’t it published by The New Yorker? That doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but clearly it wasn’t up to their standards.

Monday, 11 May 2015