Al Qaeda Surrounded in Konduz--But We Are Ordered to BACK THE FUCK OFF AND LET THEM ESCAPE?!?!?
SY HERSH: I think it's a losing game. I think it's a losing game and I think there's a lot of evidence that Musharraf is certainly much more interested in his own survival than ours. I can't give you chapter and verse of things. He came to American when and when there was tremendous concern about the fate of Danny Pearl, the WALL STREET JOURNAL reporter.
And he was here about a week or so before it became known that Pearl was dead. And the whole time, we later learned, that he was here, when he was saying, you know telling us that he was doing everything he can. He was sure he was alive. He knew that Pearl was dead. We now know that. We knew he was deceiving us.
JANE WALLACE: How do we know that?
SY HERSH: Because--
JANE WALLACE: Time of death on Pearl?
SY HERSH: More than that. There's-- we were able to unravel a lot of information, WALL STREET JOURNAL reporters and others about when he died. And there was, if you remember, there's been a trial. And everything that showed up in the trial indicated that-- witnesses told about telling the government things-- weeks before we thought they had.
JANE WALLACE: There is a man facing death, facing hanging, Saeed Sheikh, in the murder of Daniel Pearl. Saeed Sheikh is reported, in various quarters, to have been an ISI Pakistani intelligence agent.
SY HERSH: Asset. Yeah.
JANE WALLACE: Do you believe that?
SY HERSH: This certainly is a case when he gave up, he turned himself in basically eventually to ISI and-- who-- not-- not right away, but pretty immediately. He turned a-- he was made available to the ISI and they debriefed him first.
JANE WALLACE: Why would he turn himself in to Pakistani intelligence as opposed to the police?
SY HERSH: There's no question he has some connection. There's no question he had some deep standing-- long standing connection to Pakistani intelligence.
JANE WALLACE: Now let me draw the picture ... If in fact he has a deep long standing connection to Pakistani intelligence, we are supporting a government that has some responsibility in the murder of an American reporter?
SY HERSH: What can you do?
JANE WALLACE: Let's talk about Konduz. During the war with Afghanistan--
SY HERSH: Great story.
JANE WALLACE: -- you reported that during a key battle our side in that battle had the enemy surrounded. There were a reported perhaps 8,000 enemy forces in there.
SY HERSH: Maybe even more. But certainly minimum that many.
JANE WALLACE: It's your story, take it.
SY HERSH: Okay, the cream of the crop of Al Qaeda caught in a town called Konduz which is near ... it's one little village and it's a couple hundred kilometers, 150 miles from the border of Pakistan. And I learned this story frankly-- through very, very clandestine operatives we have in the Delta Force and other very...
We were operating very heavily with a small number of men, three, 400 really in the first days of the war. And suddenly one night when they had everybody cornered in Konduz-- the special forces people were told there was a corridor that they could not fly in. There was a corridor sealed off to-- the United States military sealed off a corridor. And it was nobody could shoot anybody in this little lane that went from Konduz into Pakistan. And that's how I learned about it. I learned about it from a military guy who wanted to fly helicopters and kill people and couldn't do it that day.
JANE WALLACE: So, we had the enemy surrounded, the special forces guys are helping surround this enemy.
SY HERSH: They're whacking everybody they can whack that looks like a bad guy.
JANE WALLACE: And suddenly they're told to back off--