Former CIA Deputy Director suspects Pakistan 'propaganda' behind Hersh information

Former CIA official suspects Pakistan behind Hersh info
intv amanpour Michael Morell_00115418

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(CNN)Pakistani officials embarrassed by the raid to kill Osama bin Laden are likely behind the information in an explosive new article by Seymour Hersh, Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

"At the end of the day, I think the Pakistanis are putting out propaganda that they knew about this in order to save face," he said.
"It must be that this American source [cited by Hersh] is somehow getting information from Pakistan and passing it on to Seymour Hersh. That's the only thing that I can conclude."
"But this person claims to have been at the center of the discussions in the U.S. government about this operation. And he was not in the meetings that I was in. I guarantee you that."
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    Hersh, a storied but at times controversial journalist, published a ten-thousand word article this weekend alleging that much of what we have come to know about the raid that killed bin Laden is false -- chiefly, he says, that Pakistan was in fact harboring the terrorist and authorized the raid only after an official walked into the American embassy and told all.
    That reporting was somewhat bolstered by The New York Times' Carlotta Gall, who has spent much of her career in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    She wrote this week that she "learned from a high-level member of the Paksitani intelligence service that the ISI had been hiding Bin Laden and ran a desk specifically to handle him as an intelligence asset."
    Morell told Amanpour he had "no doubt" a Pakistani official told her that, but said emphatically that it is "not true."
    Writing in his new book out this week, "The Great War of Our Time," Morell describes a conversation he had with Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI.
    "'Americans find it hard to believe,'" he says he told Pasha, "that no one in your Abbottabad detachment or in the Abbottabad police ever questioned what was going on in that compound.'"
    And while he told Amanpour that it is "very difficult to believe" that there was someone at a "local level who was protecting him in some way," he can "guarantee" that the Pakistanis did not know about the raid.
    The Pakistanis were "incredibly embarrassed" by America's intelligence on bin Laden, and by the military's ability to fly so far into Pakistani territory undetected, he said.
    "I was in every meeting at the CIA; I was in every meeting in the White House situation room; I was sent to Pakistan to smooth over relations with them when they were so angry with us after the raid."
    "I can guarantee you that the Pakistanis did not know about this. They didn't know he was there, they didn't know he was coming [sic], and they did not give us any information that led us to find Osama bin Laden."