Wandering Eye: Larry Hogan vs. Mayor SRB, examining previous efforts to revitalize Sandtown, and more

If Seymour Hersh is right—and his prior work suggests that is more likely than not—almost everything the U.S. media reported about the killing of Osama bin Laden is a lie. Hersh's piece in the London Review of Books says, contrary to most reporting, the Pakistani Interservice Intelligence Agency (basically Pakistan's CIA) not only knew where bin Laden was—they were holding him prisoner in the walled compound Navy Seals raided in 2011. The fortified house in Abbattabad—ironically located less than two miles from a major Pakistani military academy—was bin Laden's prison after 2006. That is why U.S. military officials heard "no com"[unnication] from the compound and had such a hard time confirming bin Laden was actually there: bin Laden's "hideout" was actually a more secure prison than Baltimore's jail. The daring "raid," subject of a book and a major motion picture, was actually a pigeon shoot. Or, really, because bin Laden was never released, a bearbaiting. Hersh names few sources in his report, which is understandable given the nature of the story. But it holds together logically, and explains the heroic cover story released for American consumption. As one source Hersh quotes explains, bin Laden was very sick by the time the SEALs got to him: "The truth is that bin Laden was an invalid, but we cannot say that," the retired official said. "You mean you guys shot a cripple? Who was about to grab his AK-47?" There's more here, including why a CIA station chief was outed, and why, in contrast to the days after 9/11, you hear so little about Saudi Arabian ties to bin Laden's operation. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


For a brief period over the last couple weeks, the entire country turned its eyes to the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood where Freddie Gray lived and died. Now that CNN and Fox and the others have rushed on to their next calamity, it is incumbent on us not to allow things to "return to normal," but to continue to do the difficult work of trying to understand. Yvonne Wenger's deeply reported piece on a decade-long project, headed by James Rouse, to revitalize Sandtown-Winchester is fascinating, instructive, and endlessly frustrating, showing how intractable the problems related to poverty can be—and how throwing money at them doesn't always help. (Baynard Woods)


The Washington Post has an interesting breakdown on the frosty relationship that developed between Gov. Larry Hogan and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as riots broke out in Baltimore on April 27. Hogan sent Keiffer J. Mitchell, a former city councilman in Baltimore and member of the House of Delegates, as a liason to Rawlings-Blake. "The governor felt the mayor was uncommunicative and slow to act. Rawlings-Blake bristled over Hogan's gibes, which she saw as evidence of his inexperience as a recently elected governor," The Post says. Add in some missed phone calls and more delays to act, and suddenly you've got two of the most prominent political figures butting heads. After the mayor finally agreed to have the governor declare a state of emergency and bring in the National Guard, the two held a joint press conference in which Hogan said, "She finally made that call, and we immediately took action." SRB was none too pleased about that wording. "She thought it was a rookie move. And you can quote me on that," spokesman Kevin Harris told The Post. (Brandon Weigel)

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