Pak. intelligence officer disclosed Osama’s hideout

U.S. journalist Seymour M. Hersh calls Obama administration’s narrative on Osama killing ‘a lie’

May 11, 2015 11:49 pm | Updated September 02, 2016 12:38 pm IST - ISLAMABAD:

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

A former Pakistani intelligence officer disclosed the hideout of Osama bin Laden to CIA in exchange for $25 million bounty on the head of the al-Qaeda chief, who was living as prisoner under ISI protection in the garrison town of Abbottabad, according to a report.

“In August 2010 a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then the CIA’s station chief at the U.S. embassy in Islamabad. He offered to tell the CIA where to find bin Laden in return for the reward that Washington had offered in 2001,” the Dawn reported, citing American investigative journalist and author Seymour M. Hersh.

The intelligence official, Mr. Hersh said, was a military man who is now living in Washington and working for the CIA as a consultant.

U.S. informed ISI The U.S. confirmed the information provided by the official and put the compound under satellite surveillance. Americans later informed the ISI which set up a cell in Ghazi, Tarbela, where “one man from the SEALs and two communicators” practised the raid before executing the operation, Mr. Hersh said, adding that it was difficult decision but Pakistan was ultimately taken on board and told about the script to kill Osama.

Mr. Hersh said that whatever the Obama administration told about the operation to kill Osama was part of fiction and the real story was totally different.

“The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders — Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani [the then Army chief] and Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha [the then ISI chief] — were never informed of the U.S. mission,” he told Dawn .

Mr. Hersh said the Saudi government also knew about Osama’s presence in Abbottabad and had advised the Pakistanis to keep him as a prisoner.

He said President Barack Obama did not consult Gen. Kayani and Gen. Pasha before releasing the cover story that he shared with his nation in a live broadcast.

Mr. Hersh also said that Dr. Shakil Afridi, the physician now jailed in Peshawar for helping CIA trace down Osama’s hideout, was a CIA asset but he did not know about the operation.

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