Among the report’s most explosive claims is that the U.S. did not find Bin Laden by tracking his couriers, as the government and most official accounts have reported. Instead, according to the Hersh report, the U.S. paid a $25 million reward to an unnamed former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who “betrayed the secret” of Bin Laden’s whereabouts. Hersh’s report says that this officer was relocated to Washington, D.C. and now works as a consultant for the CIA.
The story also claims that Bin Laden’s burial at sea never happened, that Bin Laden was an invalid when the SEALs raided the compound and killed him, and that there was no firefight at all during the SEAL raid. Additionally, Hersh’s account says that the ISI captured and set bin Laden up in Abbottabad in the first place, to use him as “leverage” in the country’s dealings with al-Qaida and the Taliban.
In the piece, Hersh provides a thrilling, if questionable, alternative account of how the U.S. learned about Bin Laden’s compound, of the raid itself, and of the internal political arguments that followed President Obama’s announcement of the assassination.