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Hersh Tells CNN’s Chris Cuomo ‘Not Out on Limb’ with bin Laden Story

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh appeared on CNN’s “New Day” this morning and host Chris Cuomo had Hersh defend his major story in the London Review of Books on lies President Barack Obama’s administration reportedly told about the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Hersh told Cuomo he was not “out on a limb” with this one. That is just what Cuomo thinks.

“Look, I’m sorry this goes against the grain. I’ve been doing this all my life. All I can tell you is I understand the consequences. I’ve been a reporter for fifty years in this town. I have a lot of good stories,” Hersh explained.

Cuomo asked, “What is the main reason why this would be a lie? Why would it be covered up if it was really just a cooperative agreement with Pakistan? Where’s the motive?”

“Motive is very simple,” Hersh replied. A “walk-in,” an officer from Pakistan’s intelligence agency, wanted the $25 million reward money the CIA offered for information leading to the whereabouts of bin Laden. He was willing to betray his country for the reward.

The alternative to this story, Hersh suggested, is that you believe “what I call a Lewis Carroll fairy tale, that bin Laden, the most hunted man since 2002 in the wolrd, decided a safe place to live is in a compound forty miles from the main capital of Pakistan.”

On this point, Cuomo agreed that this had always been a “point of intrigue.”

Cuomo claimed on air that Hersh had leaned heavily on one anonymous source. Hersh took issue with that characterization.

On sources for his story, he argued, “It’s very tough for guys still inside to get quoted extensively. And there are other people—America uses an awful lot of retired CIA people, military people in the War on Terror. And there are other people, who have retired with a great deal of information. So, it’s much easier to quote some of them than somebody on active duty.”

Hersh’s interview happened before the White House described the claims in his investigative story as “baseless assertions.”

For more on media reaction to Hersh’s bin Laden story, go here.

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."


  1. Geezer
    May 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Out his mind — maybe — but not out on a limb.

  2. bsbafflesbrains
    May 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Does every MSM reporter get a talking points memo each morning? All MSM repeats the same points almost word for word. Is there a contest and a prize for the reporter who repeats these talking points the most in one broadcast? Every “anonymous” source story should be thus vilified by these talking heads from now on. That will put the breaks to much of the stenographer press’s dissemination of the BS propaganda.

  3. Jan R.
    May 11, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    I do think it’s a fairy tale that he was living there with no ISI or Army knowledge and support. But I’m also pretty skeptical he was being held incommunicado as a prisoner. I think parts of ISI have always worked with core al Qaeda.

  4. PillBilly
    May 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    CBS and Charlie Rose did their part to discredit Hersh’ story. They again sucked-up to ex CIA dick Mike Morell (now a CBS “security consultant”), helping to pimp his new book warning of an “imminent 911 style attack” and letting him claim that nothing in Hersh’ article is true, “has no idea what he’s talking about.” Rose only adds to the confusion over the $25 million Bin Laden “finders fee”, which allowed Morell to claim “not true” to Rose’ sloppily worded question/assertion. Sick stuff.

  5. PillBilly
    May 11, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    From four years ago, an article by Robert Booth, showing how the White House story on the killing of Bin Laden had changed and evolved.

  6. nyctuber
    May 11, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I think it was over when Cuomo mentioned the compound was riddled with bullets.

  7. May 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Dr RJ HillHouse, which we’d had here for a book salon on her ‘Spy Who Billed Me’ wrote today… Hersh Did Not Break Bin Laden Cover Up Story

    b @ Moon of Alabama wrote a great piece… Why Is The Hersh Abbottabad Story Coming Out Now?

  8. sisterlauren
    May 11, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    AP. I call it the ‘Approved Press’ because EVERYTHING they publish has first been approved of by the White House. This system was set up when the telegraph was the leading news distribution technology, so it is NOT anything new politically. It is very, very well established.

    The other press organizations all look to the AP for the ‘OK’ on which stories they are allowed to publish. Once a story has gone out on the AP wire then all of the other mainstream US news media sources will feel free to cover it, but not before. They know who to look to for the green light on what is OK for them to talk about.

  9. marym
    May 11, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Jason Leopold ‏@JasonLeopold 12m12 minutes ago

    NBC News corroborating the part of Hersh’s story on OBL about the walk-in

  10. bsbafflesbrains
    May 11, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    My guess is the MOTU are fighting and anti D Motu think this will diffuse Obama D ability to claim Nat Sec victory. Billionaires fighting for the best power table at the trendiest place. It’s all about 2016 and who wins and like the super bowl you aint tryin if you aint cheatin.
    Many here at FDL thought it was a made up story but facts are unimportant things these days.

  11. pelham
    May 11, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Just on the face of it, Hersh’s account certainly sounds a lot more plausible than the rather-too-neat official narrative, which has evolved considerably over time.

  12. Miranda Keefe
    May 11, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Well, I just saw Andrea Mitchell do a lot of NSA type talking on Chris Hayes to discredit Hersh. But what do you expect from the Obamabot Cable News of MSNBC?

  13. Miranda Keefe
    May 11, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    By the way, before I posted here as LibWingofLibWing, I seem to have lost that. Oh well.

  14. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 5:14 am

    America has been lied to for years. From the USS Maine to the USS Maddox to yellow cake. Just waiting for the next fabrication to justify military force? “A Gulf of Aden Incident,” and blame Iran.

    McNamara admits It didn’t happen.

  15. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Fantastic link here. From a general turned president. How come this video does not manifest, like the previous “youtube,” link? This program will not allow me to post the link. Here is the link. What shows up in comments as link address, is not correct.

    Ike’s Warning Of Military Expansion, 50 years later

    On: Edit: Vid shows now!

  16. Patriarch
    May 12, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Hersh knows Bin Ladin, the bogeyman, aka CIA bagman, Tim Osman died of Mafan Syndrome in 2001.

    He hasn’t had a story in awhile.
    The truth is aka “obama” is a recidivist liar. That’s the TRUTH & the point of the story.

  17. Patriarch
    May 12, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Morrell left the CIA. NOW HE IS TROTTED OUT AS THEIR PROXY. HE’s a terrible amateur…& a liar.

  18. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Rep. Charlie Rose? Americans have forgotten how the CIA/NSA enabled A.Q. in the Soviet/Afghan War? Note location of Pakistan? derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..

    Is our society “brain dead?”

  19. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Its a Tobacco commercial!!!

  20. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    America is being played…….

  21. JamesJoyce
    May 12, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Hope Sey’s car is not the same as Hasting’s auto? What was that blockbuster story Hastings was going to release??? Never saw it!

    Sorry! The cynic, on my left shoulder made me type it!!!!!

  22. Austin Konrad
    May 12, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Fairly new, been lurking for a long long time though. What’s MOTU?