tv Democracy Now LINKTV May 12, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT
05/12/15 05/12/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> tonight i can report to the american people and to the world , the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda in a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men women, and children. amy: four years after u.s. forces assassinated osama bin laden, pulitzer prizer winning investigative reporter seymour
hersh publishes an explosive piece claiming much of what the obama administration said about the attack was wrong. hersh times at the time of u.s. rate, bin laden had been held as a prisoner of pakistani imprisoned -- intelligence in about a body since 2006. top military operators knew about it and provided key assistance and that a former pakistani intelligence officer identified bin laden's whereabouts in return for the bulk of a $25 million u.s. bounty. the white house claims the piece is "riddled with inaccuracies." we will give sy hersh a chance to respond. then as cia whistleblower jeffrey sterling is sentenced to 42 months in jail, we will air an exclusive interview with him. this marks the first time the public has heard his voice since he was arrested four years ago.
>> scared of me being sent to prison. for something i did not do. but i am comfortable with myself and the choices i have made and would not have done it any other way. i like who i see in the mirror. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the obama administration has granted shell conditional approval to begin offshore oil drilling in the arctic this summer, despite protests by environmentalists and a spate of safety problems. shell was previously allowed to begin arctic drilling in 2012, but its attempts were beset by mishaps, including an oil rig which ran aground. the interior department found the company "screwed up," failing on a number of basic tasks, including supervision of contractors.
but the department will now allow shell to drill in the pristine and highly remote chukchi sea, off the coast of alaska, an area roiled by extreme weather which would be extremely difficult to reach in an emergency. environmentalists soundly condemned the government's decision. rebecca noblin of the center for biological diversity said -- "scientists tell us that if we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to keep arctic oil in the ground. arctic drilling gives us a 75% chance of an oil spill and a 100% chance of climate catastrophe." in yemen, saudi-led airstrikes pounded the capital sanaa and southern port of aden, hours before today's ceasefire was due to take effect. the saudi government offered the five-day truce to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid amid mounting criticism of its airstrikes and blockade. on monday, the shiite houthi rebels saudi arabia has targeted
with airstrikes participating in the campaign. meanwhile, both the saudi and u.s. governments rejected perceptions of a rift between the two allies. saudi king salman was due to attend this week's summit of gulf nations but will not attend. in what is seen as a message of protest over the nuclear talks saudi arabia announced it would , send lower-level officials. white house press secretary josh earnest denied reports of a snub. quite the saudi's have said themselves the reason for the change in the king's travel schedule is not related at all to the substance of the meeting. i think what they've indicated is he has said he preferred to remain in saudi arabia to monitor -- >> another major earthquake has struck nepal, killing at least four people, setting off landslides, collapsing damaged buildings and sending panicked residents running into the streets. the 7.3-magnitude quake struck the town of namche bazaar, near mount everest.
it comes just over two weeks after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 8,000 people. in bangladesh, another blogger who supported secularism has been murdered. ananta bijoy dash was reportedly attacked by men wielding sharp weapons. his death marks at least the third killing of a bangladeshi blogger in less than three months. dash wrote for free mind, a website moderated by bangladeshi-american blogger aivjit roy, who was murdered in february. in the united states the senate , is expected to hold a key procedural vote today on a measure to give president obama fast-track authority to negotiate the transpacific partnership, or tpp. the 12-nation pact would encompass 40% of the global economy and is being negotiated in secret. critics say the deal would hurt workers, undermine regulations , and expand corporate power. senate lawmakers who support the deal need 60 votes to begin a full debate. a swedish court has rejected wikileaks' founder julian assange's appeal of an arrest
warrant which has kept him holed up in the ecuadorean embassy in london for nearly three years. assange sought refuge over fears the warrant on sex crime allegations could lead to his extradition to sweden, and then the united states. he has not been charged with a crime. sweden's supreme court rejected the appeal monday after granting him the right to submit it last month. swedish prosecutors are preparing to travel to london to interview assange, after refusing to do so for years. former cia officer jeffrey sterling has been sentenced to 42 months in prison for leaking classified information to "new york times" reporter james risen about a failed u.s. effort to undermine iran's nuclear weapons program. risen later exposed how the risky operation could have inadvertently aided the iranian nuclear program. in january, sterling was convicted of nine felony counts, including espionage, becoming the latest former government employee jailed by the obama administration for leaking information.
we'll have more on sterling later in the broadcast. we will hear an exclusive interview with him before he heads to jail. freed al jazeera journalist mohamed fahmy is suing the television network al jazeera for $100 million over its handling of his imprisonment in egypt. fahmy, who is egyptian-canadian, spent more than a year in prison along with two other al jazeera journalists. in a lawsuit filed in canadian court, he accused al jazeera of giving him misinformation about his legal status in egypt, and airing his reports on its egyptian channel after it was banned by an egyptian court. >> [indiscernible] instead of punishing the network. but i will not be as obedient as egypt and i'm here to announce that i will set the record straight and put al jazeera on trial. the network not only breached
contract [indiscernible] they also failed to reimburse me for my full legal fees. amy: in nebraska, two prisoners have been found dead after authorities reclaimed control of a prison following an uprising over the weekend. prisoners took control of half the housing units at tecumseh state prison on sunday, setting fires and tearing down walls ceiling tiles and security cameras. a prisoner told the lincoln journal star newspaper the uprising took place after repeated attempts to get prison officials to address poor conditions at the overcrowded prison, including a lack of access to jobs and exercise. prisoners said they had intended to deliver a petition to prison prison staff demanding improvements. authorities say the revolt began after a staff member tried to break up an unauthorized gathering. a new report finds baltimore police ignore injuries suffered by the people they detain. following the death of freddie gray from spinal injuries in police custody, the "baltimore
sun" found over the past few years, 2600 people have been denied admittance to the city jail because their injuries were too severe. that includes 123 people with visible head injuries. the findings came as the united states faced questions over police violence at the united nations human rights council in geneva as part of its universal peer review, which takes place every four years. member states grilled the united states over its failures to close guantanamo prison, prosecute perpetrators of cia torture, and address violence against native american women. but the review focused on racism and police violence, an area where u.s. justice department official james cadogan acknowledged the united states must improve. what's the tragic death of freddie gray and michael brown tamir rice have renewed a debate
about the hand of justice. these events challenge us to do better into were carter for progress through both dialogue and action. amy: amy: attending the review of the u.s. human rights record in geneva was the brother of rekia boyd, a 22-year-old african-american woman fatally shot in the back of the head by an off-duty chicago police officer in 2012. last month, dante servin was found not guilty for killing boyd and shooting and injuring her friend. servin claimed he thought the friend had a gun, although none was found. martinez sutton called for justice in his sister's death. >> i just want to see some justice take place. i just want to see justice. you know, they let this guy walk free, not guilty. my sister is dead. they tried to blame it on the guy who got shot in the hand but all of the charges were dismissed against him. so who's going to take this?
my sister didn't kill her self, you know. i would love for the department of justice to take a look at this case. amy: george zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder after fatally shooting the unarmed african-american teenager trayvon martin in 2012, has suffered minor injuries after police say he was shot at while driving in central florida. zimmerman was struck by flying glass and debris, not by a bullet. the man accused of shooting at him was involved in a previous encounter with zimmerman last year, when he said zimmerman threatened to kill him and asked him, "do you know who i am?" zimmerman has had repeated run-ins with police since his acquittal, including two arrests on allegations of domestic violence. an african-american man has been found hanging from a tree in the rural town of greensboro georgia. the man, roosevelt champion iii, had been questioned last week in connection with the murder of a white woman. he had not been charged. authorities say there is "nothing to suggest any foul play" in his death.
they're continuing to investigate. here in new york, an unknown amount of oil has leaked into the hudson river following an explosion and fire at the indian point nuclear power plant in buchanan, north of new york city. a transformer fire over the weekend in a non-nuclear section of the plant caused a holding tank to overflow, spilling thousands of gallons of oil. the fire marks at least the third at the plant in the past eight years. the riverkeeper clean water advocacy group said in a statement -- "indian point has a long disturbing history of operational and environmental problems. the plant's aging infrastructure has caught up to it and we must see that it is closed or these problems will only worsen with potentially catastrophic results." new york state senate majority leader dean skelos has stepped down from his post following his arrest on federal corruption charges. skelos is accused of soliciting payments for his son in exchange for political favors. his resignation comes months after new york assembly speaker sheldon silver resigned following charges he took millions of dollars in bribes.
the chief of police in gloucester, massachusetts is traveling to washington, d.c. today to meet with lawmakers and , tout the city's new approach to handling drug addicts. in a facebook post that's received 2 million views, police chief leonard campanello announced earlier this month gloucester police will no longer criminally charge drug addicts who seek help, instead guiding them immediately toward detox and recovery. the police department has also reached a deal with a local pharmacy to cover the cost of the life-saving overdose antidote narcan for the uninsured, using money seized from drug dealers. campanello discussed the plans with local news station wcvb. >> we wanted the police department to be one of the safe havens that you could walk in when you are ready, and we don't want to waste that moment when the addict is ready. we're done with an addict and criminally charged for the offense of addiction. we are going to take that extra
step and make sure they get the treatment that they need. amy: verizon has announced plans to buy aol in an estimated $4.4 billion deal. the purchase will reportedly let verizon expand its mobile video and advertising plans. and a new report has revealed walmart is getting its bottled water from california despite a historic drought. the drought prompted the state's first-ever mandatory water restrictions. california communities have been ordered to slash their water use by as much as 36%, while the curbs do not apply to agriculture and other industry. local news station cbs13 news found walmart is drawing its bottled water from the sacramento municipal water supply. at a massive profit. starbucks has also been drawn bottled water from california, although it recently vowed to move production to pennsylvania after the practice came to light. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron mate.
aaron: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. four years ago this month, president obama announced u.s. forces had killed osama bin laden in a raid on his hideout in pakistan. >> at my direction, the united states launched a targeted operation against the compound in abbottabad, pakistan. a small team of americans carried it out with extreme eric kurtz and capability. no americans were harmed. they took care to avoid civilian casualties. after a firefight, they killed osama bin laden and took custody of his body. aaron: but now, a new investigation says the official story is a lie. in an explosive report, the veteran journalist seymour hersh alleges a vast deception on everything from how bin laden was found, to how he was killed. according to hersh, pakistan detained bin laden in 2006 and kept him prisoner with the
backing of saudi arabia. in 2010, a pakistani intelligence officer disclosed bin laden's location to the cia. hersh says the u.s. and pakistan then struck a deal. the u.s. would raid bin laden's compound in abbottabad, but make it look as if pakistan was unaware. in fact, hersh says top pakistani military leaders provided key help. amy: the report also challenges the u.s. account of bin laden's shooting, saying there was never a firefight inside the compound and that bin laden himself wasn't armed. questions are also raised about whether bin laden was actually buried at sea, as the u.s. claimed. hersh says instead, the navy seals threw parts of bin laden's body into the hindu kush mountains from their helicopter. the white house has rejected hersh's account of the bin laden raid. press secretary josh earnest spoke to reporters on monday. >> i can tell you that the obama white house is not the only one
to observe that the story is riddled with inaccuracies and outright falsehoods. the former deputy director of the cia, mike morrell, has had every sentence was wrong and one of your colleagues at cnn put it best, peter bergen, described the story as being about 10,000 words in length and said, based on reading it that what is true in the story isn't new, and what is new in the story isn't true. so i thought that was a pretty good way of describing why no one here is really concerned about it. amy: in a statement, white house national security spokesperson ned price said -- "there are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one the notion that the operation that killed osama bin ladin was anything but a unilateral u.s. mission is patently false." but despite the white house's
denials, none of its statements have addressed hersh's specific allegations. meanwhile, other reporting is beginning to corroborate some key elements. according to nbc news, three intelligence sources have backed hersh's claim that the u.s. heard about bin laden's location when a pakistani officer told the cia. the u.s. has said it helped find bin laden by tracking his personal courier, which hersh says is a ruse. the nbc sources also backed hersh's contention that the pakistani government knew "all along" where bin laden was hiding. well, for more, we are joined by seymour hersh, whose 10,000 word article, "the killing of osama bin laden," appears online at the london review of books. it's hersh's latest major investigation in a body of work spanning decades. he who won the pulitzer prize for exposing the 1968 my lai massacre in vietnam, when u.s. forces killed hundreds of civilians. in 2004, hersh broke the abu ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. seymour hersh, welcome to
democracy now. why don't you, in your own words, describe what it is that you found. >> you guys did a pretty good job. basically, you cover the tracks. basically, i think you could say something that the president, as he said on television when he announced the raid ordered the raid and the seal team six, the most elite unit we have in our special forces group, they did conduct the mission. they did kill bin laden. they did take the body. that is all true. the rest of it is sort of hooey. aaron: we talk about the most shocking claim, pakistan finding bin laden 2006 and the u.s. not finding out until 2010, when you allege a pakistani officer told the u.s.. meanwhile, saudi arabia backing and paying for bin laden's imprisonment. this seems very improbable involving hundreds, thousands of officials in pakistan and saudi arabia and then the u.s. line >>
were to get the notion of what hundred thousand officials? we're talking about a closed society. the white house has a lot of control over the information. the senior pakistani officials have control over the information. we are talking about a country that went a dozen or 10 years ago through a wmd sort of cover-up. the notion are some magic conspiracy alleging is over the top. there's no major conspiracy. it is very easy to control news. we all saw that when the whole thing about saddam hussein and the alleged nuclear weapons. i should think that would be a model for what you might just not be so skeptical of the possibility of holding things. and let me also say, in the piece, it is not so much i am saying what happened. i'm quoting sources. of course, they are unnamed. you just announced what happened to jeffrey sterling today. what reported would want to name his source in this administration? he would be gone. there you are.
was simply happened is, at a certain critical point, we had a walk in. we were very angry about it, the united states pakistan is our ally. and underneath this, yet understand something, which i'm sure you do. just to tell the audience, pakistan has what, 100, 200, maybe more, still producing enriched uranium etc., etc., and never great deal of nuclear weapons -- and they have a great till of nuclear weapons. what would guess they're up to 200 now. we have to have a comity between the generals. this is something very important to us. the pakistani intelligence service, the isi helps trained people that guard the weapons. we work with pakistan very closely to watch out literally with them to monitor the people who are in control of the weapons, to make sure nobody is a secret nationalist or secret
jihadist who might grab a weapon and do something crazy with it. that is a serious big issue that is sort of -- that is behind the whole relationship. we give pakistan a lot of money through congress over the table and a lot of money to the leadership under the table. we have a great deal -- we also understand pakistan has its own agenda. and so 2006, they did grab bin laden. 2010, we learn about it. we're angry. we begin looking at abbottabad where he is located. we start observing it. this has been reported. we set up a team in a nearby house, mostly foreign nationals and pakistanis who work with us to monitor the house. we go to the president. the intelligence committee goes to the president about the information about the walk-in. anyone who was to sell money for information is automatically suspect. we have to become full. the president is appropriately cautious. very cautious. he is not when a make a move. he doesn't want in up like jimmy carter the desert in 1980, the
government tim to rescue the american hostages. he is not very popular in america. it is year before the elections. not much is going right. so we determine the only way we can be sure we have the right guy and this will work as we have to go to the pakistanis. so we go to the leadership. the head of the army general who is the head of the internal, what they call the isi, the counterpart to the cia. we go to those people and layout our case. we make it clear that a lot of goodies will be cut off. there is an f-16 that will be slow down, slow down congressional money. they have little option. ok, they start working with us. we set up a four man team. these are all details -- this is a 10,000 word article.
this is a lot of information in this article. we set up a team of another which the white house is responding to. they keep on saying, so many falsehoods, we can't correct it. by the way, the last time quoting peter bergen, i don't know the guy and i'm sure he believes what he believes, but the last time the white house actually quoted a reporter in the way they did would have been dick cheney quoting a story by judy miller and mike gordon in "the new york times" at the height of the wmd crisis about tubes that allegedly could be used for making or delivering nuclear weapons. a story that planted in "the new york times" and then dick cheney uses that story on "60 minutes" to buttress the argument. we know that. just get on with it, white house. just are denying specifics. a four-man team in gaza, a very important base in pakistan, a lot of black operations with us in the pakistanis are run out of it. it is not that well-known. there is an air base but also a
covert unit. the pakistanis also train most of the guard to monitor and watch over the nuclear weapons there. so it is -- we are there. our team is collecting data on the place in abbottabad where bin laden, you can call him a prisoner under supervision. there were steel doors leading to his apartment that were locked. he was on the third floor of this complex. there were a number of buildings in the compound. we have great detail. we're learning how thick the steel is how much done make any to blow it, how many steps are going, who else is there. this is all being passed by the pakistanis to us. the whole game, and the whole crux of the story i'm writing is that nothing was supposed to be made public after the raid. the seals were supposed to go in -- yet understand, we're talking about two blackhawks packed to the brim with seals. the seals are basically better off with a 210 people, and they had 12 in of them.
the plane was stripped down. they were coming and heavy. 24 seals going into a compound were presumably, if it was a secret raid would be someone with arms, certainly, if pakistan itself was a guarding it with arms people, bin laden would have armed guards because he is a man that a lot of people want to get to. they're going in, repelling down was the plan. perfect targets for anyone with a bb gun. they're going to go in like that without any air cover? it is a story -- and bin laden the most hunted man in the world at the time since 2001, number one international terrorist. he is going to hide out in a compound out of abbottabad, sort of a result -- resort town, 40 miles or so outside of the pack capital of pakistan. they are miles where they train.
and full of army troops. he is going to hide out there? it is a lewis carroll story. it doesn't sustain any credibility. if you look at it objectively. so the deal was, it was not to be announced. we were going to go kill the guy. of course, that was the mission and that is what the president had a talk about a firefight. there was no firefight. they acknowledged that within a few days of the raid, the white house did. bin laden did not havean ak and was not cowering behind some woman as initially was said. the point being, as i write carefully in this article, seven to 10 days after the killing was done in the body was taken away, we were going to announce, the white house, the president himself was going to announce a drone raid somewhere in the hindu kush mountain area, it would be vague as to where the area was but divides pakistan and afghanistan mountain area --
it was going to be vague as to which country this took place in. somewhere in that border area, a drone raid hit a building, we sent in a team to look at it there's a tall guy that looked like bin laden, we took some pictures of dna, my god, we got him. that protects everybody. why are they worried about being told? at one point in the last six or seven years, 8%, bin laden was hugely popular. if it was known to the public that the two leading generals had worked with us to kill the guy, they would be in real trouble. they would have to move to dubai or have armed guards. so once the president did it and this was done without notice -- of course, as you quoted some officers saying, it was unilateral. all america. pakistanis were not involved in the raid. our seals were.
as you said in the intro amy the denials are all sort of non-denials. amy: with your sequence of events, you say they killed him obama did not plan to announce it right away. what happened and what happened to bin laden's body according to your account? >> you have to understand, what i said was the seals initially reported -- first, they put a lot more bullets in it that has been publicly said. not in the head, but the body. there were six seals. seals are funny. they work in teams of six because that is how many fit into aging you. god no sense this war began, the american seals don't go to the water very much, which is a source of greater north's -- annoyance to them. the initial accounts, and i do have access to people who had access to it, i'm sorry i have these sources, i just do.
i'm sorry other reporters don't. but i do. that is just the way it is. they did talk about throwing out parts of the body over the hindu kush mountains from the chopper because it was shot up pretty badly. he had was intact. anyway, and by the way, if you think about the sequence i'm telling you that you will find another bin laden somewhere, you don't need the body. the only reason they took the body or needed to take the body is because the pakistanis wanted it out of there. they didn't want anyone to know anything about this. we just follow their orders. what happened that night it's funny how i remember this vividly, around 9:00, i think was cnn or some of the began to report on the night the raid was announced -- the night of the raid, after its excess, there was report something that happened to bin laden, something was coming quickly. 2.5 hours of debate, as i understand it, the debate was simply with a lot people around obama saying, you cannot trust
the story to be kept for seven to 10 days. among other things, bob gates who had been very critical of the plan very, very critical as he wrote in his memoir, very upset about what happened, he might start talking, some of you might start talking, they would start blabbing and you lose the edge, mr. president. this is reluctant time and presidents do strange things before reelection. we know that. and so obama delivered a speech that was written by his political people and not cleared by the national security team. it was a speech -- i can't begin to take a of obama state of mind. as far as i know, he got a speech and believes everything he read. he was believing what he was red. i'm not accusing him of lying but what was said was a lie. and in the speech, he lay down the foundation for an enormous scramble over the next weeks the next days and weeks they had to re-create a new story. he said, as you said in each reduction, there was a firefight
and obama was -- and bin laden was killed in it. that was the idea to cover it was an out and out murder. he also said in the fight that a treasure trove of material was recovered. we have yet to see it. i raised a lot of questions about what was collected. at one point, the seals were said to have taken 15 computers out of there. if you read everything that was written, it was also written and said many times there was no internet connection in abbottabad, no sign of operational capability of bin laden at all. one of the problems with protecting the walk in, which you had to protect, one of the reasons you did not to talk about a walk-in as you don't do that. and so -- amy: you mean the guy who revealed walking and? >> yes, they call him the walk-in. the president said in his speech, we had the lead in august of 2010, which really for a lot of people and
intelligence community, that was too close to the mark. a lead mean something specific happened. that is when the walk-in went to see a guy named jonathan bangs a confident guy from everything i hear, the station chief for the cia in islamabad. we had a call in my detector people from washington to debrief the guy and concluded was telling the truth. it was a big piece of evidence. but you have to get around that story. you create the courier story that the cia was at work and initially, they wanted to say enhanced interrogation, found out about a career who led them to bin laden. that is such -- that is really an outrageous story and they sold it to a movie -- amy: "zero dark thirty." >> what happened was we had a guy walk-in -- nbc last night about 6:00 about that story saying it and you hardly saw today.
i read in "the new york times" this morning that independent network has confirmed one of the major elements, not only a walk in, but it raises questions about the careers they talked so much about. let me just say this. here is my theory about this. in europe and the rest of the world, it is more open-minded, more willing to say, oh terrible things happen. in america, one of the problems with the press, and this is just -- there's nothing empirical about what i'm saying. one of the things that has them so agitated, people were writing stories accusing me of plagiarism in the present the last two days. politico, which does great stuff, has a blog in which they said this sort of wacky stuff. 10,000 word article that is plagiarized? anyway, i think there is a sense that everybody bought into the story post up everybody bought into the story after 9/11. the white house had it going. they had the press begging for
more information. briefings were given. the stories initially had come if you remember the initial stories, they had bin laden ready with an ak and it were shooting in the doorway, etc. the only firing they came across in the first wave of after action reports was stray bullets apparently hit a woman in the leg who was screaming. either before or after the bullet hit her, i don't know. there was no murder, there was no killing of people in the courtyard. if there had been a gun in the courtyard, if anybody had had a gun in the courtyard, it was cleared by the pakistani intelligence cleared all of the guards out before the seals landed. if anybody had a gun in the courtyard, the seals would not have gone near the courtyard the way it did, just flying in like in a world war ii movie. amy: we have to take a break but we will come back to this discussion. seymour hersh, his latest piece is headlined "the killing of , osama bin laden." it tells a very different story
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron mate. our guest is seymour hersh, the pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist who just published a piece in a london review of books called, "the killing of osama bin laden." it tells a very different story than president obama told the united states after obama -- after osama bin laden was killed. aaron: this morning on cnn, an analyst discussed the reporting. >> the assertion is not that somebody down the chain and the pakistani military security services might have known something. the assertion is that senior pakistani generals, including the head of the security service, new for years, so while that security service was losing officers in the fight against al
qaeda, they were also at the same time secretly sheltering the head of al qaeda. let me break some news for you this morning. aliens abducted president obama 15 minutes ago and darth vader is in the oval office taking decisions for the united states. of a secret source who told me that, widely published? this is nonsense. this is ridiculous. aaron: do want to respond to that, darth vader in the white house? >> of course not. i don't care. that is childish. the reality is, the pakistanis told that were meetings between the head of the pakistani intelligence service and leon panetta, that i write about. i write about them based on -- well, you get to read the article to find out. i write about it very carefully. one of the questions i was asked is, why did you do this to us? particularly, why bring in the saudis? the pakistanis are very close to saudi arabia and there's always been a chronic fear the great
islamic bomb might even give the saudis a bomb. we really have a serious concern about maintaining great relations. they're very good right now with us in the pakistani military. anyway, and so the answer that was given -- i will just take it exactly what it was. the way they explained it, first of all, they told the saudis and the saudis a meal he said, do not tell the americans about him. why? i can only give you the obvious reason that was given. because the last thing saudi arabia wants is the united states to begin interrogating osama bin laden and discover who might have been giving him money in saudi arabia in 2001 and 2002. and even after. that is not completely illogical. the second reason is, of course, once the pakistanis have bin laden, they have leverage. they can let both the television in afghanistan and pakistan that they have them. they can let the jihadist in
both countries also know that they have them, and they get leverage. they make it clear to both groups you have to talk to us more than you do. we want to know more about what is going on or we will string this guy out. that was the explanation given. nobody liked it, but there was an understanding that pakistan has its own point of view about the world and it isn't always the same as ours, so we accepted it. we had not much choice, we wanted their help. it is not a question of darth vader and silly stuff about that. this is serious. this is the president of the united states, if not knowing wrong information was given, certainly, sending it -- triggering it am in fact, the whole secrets of lies -- sequence of lies. wall street had to be created. nobody is writing about this or doctor, the one now in jail convicted of treason reviewed and now in jail on charges of
murder for 33 years or something like that. this is the guy that was going around providing vaccinations for various kinds of illnesses. hepatitis, i think, among them. i don't think was polio. it is providing that kind of service to the community, a physician. any was also an asset of the cia. we were so worried in america the story about -- we got dna via the pakistanis before 2010. you needed dna. you needed it to get into abbottabad and take dna from bin laden. we had samples from his family. the president wanted to know that was really bin laden. so a pakistani doctor was assigned to move next door to the house in abbottabad. in fact, journalists after the rate found his name on a door plate in one of the houses next to it. they had to protect him.
so they created a story, the cia and the wisdom, that alfretta was the one who tried to go in and take unsuccessfully, to get a dna sample from bin laden which of course, led to a huge outcry against the idea that the western intelligence media, the cia and the brits also often criticized for the same way, are behind some of the vaccination programs. this is the believe that is certainly prevalent in africa. and we had tremendously adverse consequences. amy: we have 10 seconds. >> implications for the health and well-being of people. a very dumb move by the cia. these are all things to be considered. not darth vader at the moment. amy: seymour hersh, thank you for being with us, we will link to your piece in the london review of books called, "the killing of osama bin laden." coming up, jeffrey sterling is
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron mate. aaron: on former cia officer monday, jeffrey sterling was sentenced to 42 months in prison for leaking classified information to "new york times" reporter james risen about a failed u.s. effort to undermine iran's nuclear weapons program. risen later exposed how the risky operation could have actually aided the iranian nuclear program. in january, sterling was convicted of nine felony counts, including espionage. he becomes the latest government employee jailed by the obama administration for leaking information. amy: since he was indicted for years ago, jeffrey sterling's voice has never been heard by the public at that changes today. practice sentencing, he agreed to do an interview with norman solomon. the piece is called, "the invisible man." >> they are he had the machine geared up against him.
the moment that they felt there was a leak, every finger pointed to jeffrey sterling. the word "retaliation" is not thought of when anyone looks at the experience that i've had with the agency, then i think you're just not looking. >> "the invisible man ergo cia whistleblower jeffrey sterling for january 26, 2015. >> jeffrey sterling has been convicted of espionage. he faces years in prison. >> sterling is the man who the cia is blaming for giving national defense information to "the new york times" reporter james risen, secret permission to give faulty nuclear plant to iran in an effort to slow down the country's nuclear ambitions. >> sterling denies leaking to james risen. >> he did nothing wrong.
he did nothing illegal. he expressed concern for our country. >> i reached out to the senate intelligence committee. i gave them my concerns about an operation i was involved in, and i thought it could have an impact, and negative impact on our soldiers going into iraq. >> operation merlin was a cockamamie, harebrained scheme developed by covert action operators who have lots of money. >> the senate intelligence committee and the house committee, they have clearances to hear this. that is what they're there for. they're there for oversight. >> they're not oversight committees, they are overlooked committees. >> before reporting operation merlin to the congress, sterling had sued the cia for racial discrimination. >> strolling became the first african-american case officer to sue the cia for racial
discrimination. he claimed a pattern of prejudice derailed his career. >> shortly after 9/11, i felt anger to the point -- i want to do something about this. i will drop my discrimination claims. i want to come back and help. the response i got of that offer, dropping my suit, was you are fired. john brennan, the head of the cia at the moment, he personally came down to the administrative office to tell me i was fired. some of told me, well, you pulled on superman's cape. >> eventually, his lawsuit was discriminated -- dismissed on grounds of state secrets. >> after i had been fired, i had nowhere to go. no one would hire me. i was living out of my car am essentially. i hit rock autumn.
by happenstance, fraser just had a baby in the st. louis area, a friend that i had gone to college with. that a small room for me and it was difficult to come to that realization that i go from being the case officer in the central intelligence agency, i have a lot of cash law degree, to i am a manny. but such is life. >> you are part of our family. a package deal. >> i got the job at the company a health insurance company. that was great. i felt, ok, things are turning around. i thought, well, why don't i put myself out there. and that is how i met holly, my wife. we hit it right off.
>> jeffrey and i have incredibly strong foundation in our relationship that has been since day one. we met via match.com. that was our first date. the second day we said we're going to get married on the beach barefoot. and that is exactly what happened. we got married in jamaica >> life was just feeling good. i had not heard anything. i had left that world behind and i'm moving on. i have been getting calls from previous attorneys that they're still looking into me -- in to me and i did not make sense to me. why? shortly after that, i received information about there's a possible leak of information and that everyone is pointing the finger at me. evidently, there had never taken me out of their sites. i need to find some help.
so i went to a local congressman , lacy clay, and one of his staff members looked at me versus simply and said, you should just leave the country. -- very sisi and said, you should leave the country. that hurt. here's a black man who works with a black representative, knowing what we have gone through this country, and me trying to stand up for my civil rights, and you mentioned cia to them. the only response i got was, i should run away. well, my mother didn't teach me that. you don't run away. you stand up for yourself. i grew up in missouri about two hours south of st. louis, right on the mississippi river. i was the youngest of five brothers. one went to the army, one was in the navy, and another went to the marines.
my stand up yourself, be yourself sort of attitude that was instilled to me by my mother . >> despite this extreme you ordeal that jeffrey and i have been through for over a decade, we both believe in standing up for ourselves and we will face this to the end, no matter the consequences. >> january 26, james risen reports about operation merlin in his book "state of war." >> in 2006, they started coming to our doorstep. >> they flew me out to virginia and i was -- i went to fbi headquarters and was interrogated for seven hours. the next day or they surrounded the home, actually. they just went methodically through the home. they went to my family. they went to my employer will step incredibly intrusive, and credibly disturbing. your whole sense of security in your home and privacy was
violated. kwok we were wondering what the next thing has to be, they're going to arrest me. we go over four years and nothing. not hearing a word. if i was so dangerous, where have they been? >> january 6, 2011. >> sterling is accused of leaking information's to "new york times" journalist. >> he made his initial appearance in leg shackles. prosecutors allege was trying to get revenge on ca -- cia. >> one morning i wake up and i'm behind bars. and for what? i didn't do anything. actually, three days before the trial starts and the government made a move that the judge did
not like. basically, the government said they could not go forward. so that day in september 2011, we're like, ok, this is over. >> are lawyers gave some indication they thought it was done. >> but the government appealed and that process took three years. my wife had to sit with this sort of -- with this over our head. and responses from the government, was all about the approach to the reporter to the mainstream press. it became the risen case and i'm the defendant, the one facing the charges. i was convicted january 20 6, 2015. it was a shock. i'm still in shock by the verdict.
>> the former c.i.a. officer spaces decades in prison after being convicted of -- faces decades in prison after the convicted of espionage on all night comes against him monday. >> five weeks after his conviction, news broke the former cia director david petraeus got a plea deal with no jail time for leaking top-secret information. >> top three past cia directors, including leon panetta including general david betray us including brennan, have all leaked covert identities as separate note consequence for it. >> very disturbing, not only the select a prosecution, but also the fact of african-americans on the jury. all of the evidence presented by the prosecution was circumstantial. e-mail and phone call metadata without content of any incriminating nature. >> the conviction as a major victory for the obama administration and its unprecedented crackdown on government leaks.
>> they shut me up with my discrimination case, and they have closed the door with the criminal case. >> they're trying to make an example of sterling. i don't know whether he did it or not, but whoever he did it did a service to our country because our country needs to know. >> the tremendous amount of support that we have received not only locally, but essentially globally, it is very encouraging. >> we're surrounded by wonderful friends and family. our family decided to make a gofundme account to assist with finances for jeffrey and i. it is been very well received. >>. we love you and thank you for your support.
it was over 50,000 people that signed the petition to address the charges against jeffrey. it is been incredibly difficult to watch them, not being able to change the circumstances. i married the love of my life and my best friend. my greatest fear is jeffrey going to jail. >> i'm absolutely scared of me being sent to prison, particularly, for something i did not do. but i am comfortable with myself and the choices that i have made because i know i would not have done it any other way. i like what i see in the mirror will stop amy: former cia officer jeffrey sterling. joining us now is norm solomon it was in the courtroom on monday when jeffrey sterling was sentenced to 3.5 years in
prison. we only have a minute, norman. what do you think is most important understand right now with the sentencing? >> there are a dozen aspects but it is really the continuation of a war on whistleblowing and journalism to clamp down on the absolutely essential flow of information for democracy. the obama administration continues its war on the first fourth and fifth amendment on journalism and whistleblowing and the courtroom sentencing yesterday was part of the attack on our freedom and liberties really. amy: and how it compares to what happened to general portray us -- the tray us? >> not even a slap on the wrist, but a fondle on the wrist was hovering in the courtroom. and jeffrey sterling going to prison for 3.5 years and petraeu s getting off shows the tyranny of what the administration
continues to do. i should say that democracy now! airing this documentary this morning as a world premiere is extremely important. i urge everyone to go to democracynow.org and sure this film because we really wanted -- want it to go worldwide. sterling's family fund is a central for jeffrey and holly sterling to really survive this transition into prison. people can find a link to it at rootsaction.org. amy: norm solomon, thank you for being with us longtime activist, , executive director of the institute for public accuracy, co-founder of rootsaction.org, and coordinator of exposefacts.org. among his books "war made easy: , how presidents and pundits keep spinning us to death." that does it for our broadcast. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]