The White House on Monday flatly rejected claims that Pakistan was told in advance about a 2011 special operations raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Veteran U.S. journalist Seymour Hersh claimed in a British publication that Pakistan’s security services not only knew about the raid, but had been holding bin Laden prisoner since 2006. That account was rejected by the White House.
“This was a U.S. operation through and through,” said Edward Price, a White House National Security Council spokesman. “The notion that the operation” which killed the 9/11 mastermind, “was anything but a unilateral U.S. mission is patently false,” he said.
The raid on Abbottabad caused public outcry in Pakistan and strained already uneasy relations between Washington and Islamabad. It was also seen as a hallmark achievement of Obama’s first term.
“Knowledge of this operation was confined to a very small circle of senior U.S. officials,” insisted Price. “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.”
Hersh, who rose to prominence by exposing atrocities during the Vietnam War, was writing in the London Review of Books.