CNN: Panetta denies Seymour Hersh's story on bin Laden raid


Leon Panetta

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former C.I.A. Director Leon Panetta discusses his new book 'Worthy Fights' at George Washington University in Washington October 14, 2014.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta says journalist Seymour Hersh is wrong in his claims that America cooperated with the Pakistani government in the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

"I can assure you bin Laden was not in the custody of Pakistan," Panetta said at a news conference on Monday at the Monterey Conference Center in California, according to CNN. "[He] was operating, obviously, in this compound."

"As a result of that, and a result of what he did on 9/11, I couldn't be prouder of the operation that went after bin Laden and brought justice," added Panetta, who was CIA director at the time of the bin Laden attack.


Panetta's comments come on the heels of Hersh's report in the London Review of Books which alleges that the Pakistani government had known in advance about the raid on bin Laden's compound by American forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 1, 2011, according to CNN.

CNN says Hersh's report cites a "major U.S. source" claiming that President Barack Obama worked with Pakistani intelligence officials to bring down bin Laden.

Hersh went on CNN Monday morning to defend his report, saying "this is not a wager - this is a story that has to be dealt with by this government very seriously."


Panetta says he has not read Hersh's report but told reporters on Monday that "there are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one. We had been and continue to be partners with Pakistan in our joint effort to destroy al-Qa'ida, but this was a U.S. operation through and through."

In Panetta's memoir titled "Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace" published in November of 2014, Panetta describes in detail the stealth mission that killed Osama Bin Laden as he saw it unfold from CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

He does not make any mention of Pakistani involvement in the mission.

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