Sunday, October 25, 2015

The New York Times triples down on bizarre bin Laden story

By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst
Updated 3:15 PM ET, Sat October 24, 2015

Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden -- From 9/11 to Abbottabad."

Fact checking Joe Biden's new retelling of the Osama Bin Laden raid

Story highlights:
  • Bergen: The Times tries to defend piece offering an unsupported account of Osama bin Laden's killing
  • He says history is about trying to get at the truth, not about treating all narratives equally
(CNN) Last week the New York Times Magazine ran a cover story headlined, "What Do We Really Know about Osama bin Laden's Death?"

In the story, Times reporter Jonathan Mahler asserted that it was "impossible to know what was true and what wasn't" about the saga of the hunt for bin Laden and his death in Pakistan, a story that he asserted is now "floating somewhere between fact and mythology."

Mahler wrote at length about investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who authored a piece in May in the London Review of Books asserting that every element of the story of the hunt for bin Laden and his death that has been widely and exhaustively reported was false. Hersh maintained that the 2011 raid on the compound where bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan was not a firefight involving U.S. Navy SEALs, but instead was a piece of theater in which Pakistani officials gave bin Laden to the SEALs so that he could be executed.

In Hersh's account, Obama and many of his senior advisers have for the past four years been spinning a dense web of lies about the hunt for bin Laden. Those advisers included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who may well be the next president of the United States.

(More here.)

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