The location of Osama bin Laden, who was a prisoner of ISI in Abbottabad, was ‘sold’ for a $25 million reward by a former Pakistani intelligence official to the US, said journalist Seymour Hersh.
The White House’s contention that May 11 2011 mission resulted in bin Laden’s death was an all-American affair and that Pak Army generals and ISI were not told in advance is false, Hersh said, challenging the Obama administration’s version.
He learned from US sources that bin Laden “had been an ISI prisoner at Abbottabad since 2006” and that General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general, ISI made sure the two helicopters carrying US Navy Seals to Abbottabad “could cross Pak airspace sans triggering any alarms”.
The CIA learnt of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad when a former Pak intelligence officer approached Jonathan Bank, then CIA’s station chief in Islamabad, in August 2010 and offered to give the information in return for a reward.
The former Pakistani intelligence official said bin Laden was “very ill” and ISI had ordered Amir Aziz, a doctor and a major in the Pakistan Army, to provide treatment to him in Abbottabad.
Meanwhile, Kayani and Pasha asked Aziz to obtain samples of the terrorist’s DNA when Obama sought proof of Laden’s presence in Pakistan. Later, the media found out Aziz had been living in a house near the said compound, but officials denied he had any link with bin Laden.
Aziz was also given a share of the reward because he provided the DNA sample that had showed decisively bin Laden was living in Abbottabad compound. Later, Kayani agreed on a raid by the US, but said the US would have to kill bin Laden or there would be no deal, Hersh said.
A worrying factor was Saudi Arabia, which was financing bin Laden’s upkeep since his capture by the Pakistanis.
Though the US agreed to keep the raid on Abbottabad secret for at least a week, an argument began inside White House as it became clear that the mission had succeeded.
Suprisingly, bin Laden’s funeral at sea on aboard the USS Carl Vinson also didn’t take place as told by two consultants of the Special Operations Command.
“His remains were photographed and identified after being flown back to Afghanistan. At that point, the CIA took control of the body and said it was flown to USS Carl Vinson. The killing of bin Laden was purely political intended to further Obama’s credentials,” he said.