Ex-Navy SEAL blasts Hersh story as ‘baseless'

The ex-commado who claimed credit for killing al-Qaeda leader bin Laden slammed the controversial new investigative report challenging the White House account of the 2011 operation

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The former US Navy SEAL who said he shot and killed Osama bin Laden has joined the chorus of critics rejecting American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s controversial report on the al Qaeda leader’s death.

“When I was first sent this article, I thought it was a joke,” former SEAL Team Six member Robert O’Neill told Fox News on Monday night.

“This is so ludicrous; it’s almost an insult to the word ludicrous. For someone who wasn’t there to say stuff that I saw happen. It’s a comedy.”

The comments came a day after the White House rejected the allegations made by Hersh about the circumstances surrounding Osama bin Laden’s death in an article published in the London Review of Books on Sunday.

Ned Price, a White House spokesman said the story had “too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions” to fact check each one, and insisted that the death of bin Laden was the result of “a unilateral US mission.”

“As we said at the time,” he noted, “knowledge of this operation was confined to a very small circle of senior US officials. The President decided early on not to inform any other government, including the Pakistani Government, which was not notified until after the raid had occurred.”

Robert O’Neill, the ex-commado who claimed credit for firing the deadly shots that killed Osama bin Laden during the nighttime raid on Laden’s compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, said he couldn’t read Hersh’s piece on a possible cover-up by the Obama administration without putting it down.

“The story that our president put out is the truth,” O’Neill said. “Everything that we said we did, we did.”

The veteran journalist Hersh has claimed that Obama administration and top Pakistani army generals “assassinated” Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May 2011 under a mutually-agreed plan.

In the report published on the London Review of Books website Sunday, Seymour Hersh claimed that bin Laden had in fact been held captive by the Pakistan’s military intelligence service, ISI, since 2006 until his death in 2011.

Hersh claimed that the US Navy Seals had not engaged in any supposed heroic firefight to kill the al Qaeda leader, but in fact, bin Laden was believed to be unarmed and was likely an old cripple when he was shot dead.

TRTWorld and agencies