`NOTHING NEW IN HERSH REPORT`
By Mirza Khurram Shahzad | 5/13/201

AMERICAN investigative journalist and author Seymour M. Hersh, in his latest report about the US raid in Abbottabad in 2011 to kill Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, has revealed some startling information saying Pakistan collaborated with the CIA to track down and kill the world`s most wanted man at the time.

Hersh also revealed that US President Barack Obama changed his mind at the eleventh hour and did not give due credit to Pakistan for its cooperation in the operation in his official announcement on May 2, 2011.

The White House rejected Hersh`s assertion and called it a `baseless report`. Pakistan has so far not officially responded to the claims and allegations about the role of the Pakistan Army and the ISI in the operation.

Here are some excerpts of an interview with Ashraf Jehangir Qazi a member of the Abbottabad Commission set up by the government on June 21, 2011 to investigate the raid at the Bin Laden compound relating to the authenticity of the latest report.

Q: What do you think about the latest report authored by Seymour M. Hersh? A: He doesn`t seem to have adequate sources. He has his reputation but he could not confirm the contents of this report through evidence.

Q: Do you think there is any truth in his report? A: It seems more of a drama than being based on proof. He has quoted only one source and used only a Pakistani defector to substantiate his content.

Q: Who is that defector? A: I am not quite sure, but his name has been quoted in some reports.

Q: You were a member of the government`s commission that investigated the Abbottabad incident, does this report match any of the findings of the commission? A: I won`t comment on the Abbottabad Commission.

Q: The report contains a lot of details about the raid and recovery of Bin Laden, don`t you think some facts in it may be true? A: Anything is possible, but there is no evidence to prove the revelations. There is nothing new in this report.

Q: Can we say it`s reliable given Hersh`s track record? A: Hersh has written some very good reports, particularly about Vietnam and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. He gave evidence and proof in those reports to prove his investigation. It contained valuable documents, but then some of his reports were not substantiated and could not be confirmed.

As for this story, it`s at the moment not that interesting because it is not supported by proof. Facts can`t be interesting unless proved.

Q: Then, what is the reality of this report? A: It seems written more from the heart rather than the mind.

When somebody can`t confirm facts, they can`t be interesting.

Published in Dawn