the bin laden death mythology.

The White House’s story of how US special forces hunted down and assassinated arch terrorist Osama bin Laden in his secret lair in Pakistan is unraveling.

The official narrative of the bin Laden raid is that for over a decade, US intelligence hunted for the terror chief until a surveillance/torture-enabled breakthrough tracked him to a secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. On 1st May 2011, US Navy Seals entered the compound and assassinated him in a furious firefight.

The operation demonstrated how far the US military intelligence community had come since the days of 9/11, proving how its disparate agencies had now developed a tremendous capacity to share and process often obscure intelligence data, to guide precision covert counter-terror missions.

After killing bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader was buried at sea. When the raid was officially announced, Pakistan, a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, was incensed at the US operation on its own soil.

According to veteran reporter Seymour Hersh’s scoop in the London Review of Books, all this is a convenient fairy-tale. Rather, Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) captured and detained bin Laden in 2006 with the support of another US ally, Saudi Arabia.

Bin Laden’s location was brought to the CIA’s attention in August 2010, by a former ISI officer and CIA consultant who wanted to claim the reward money. In 2011, the US staged the military intelligence ‘raid’ on bin Laden’s compound with ISI complicity.

There was no firefight. Bin Laden was torn to pieces quickly and easily under rifle-fire, and his remains were thrown out of a helicopter over the Hindu Kush mountains.

Hersh’s account has been rejected by some on the grounds that he relies on unverifiable anonymous sources. This investigation conducts a systematic review of open sources and key journalistic reports relevant to the events leading up to the bin Laden raid.