Monitoring/ONLINE

LONDON - The family of a UK-based former senior officer of the Pakistan Army has strongly denied claims that he sold the secret location of terrorist Osama Bin Laden to the CIA.

Speculation about the identity of an unnamed informant has been rife following the publication of an article by Pulitzer Prize-winning US journalist Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books earlier this month.

It was alleged that retired Brigadier Usman Khalid, a British citizen who died a year ago from cancer, was the informant whose tip-off led to the assassination of the world's most wanted man in 2011.

The brigadier's family, however, has denied the allegations and is infuriated that he was publicly identified as the source of the leak, according to The Telegraph.

The White House and CIA have always maintained that their own intelligence agents pieced together the information that led to the Navy Seals raid.

Seymour Hersh, on the other hand, maintains that Bin Laden was being held prisoner by an intelligence agency in Abbottabad.

He claimed that an unnamed senior officer in the Pakistan Army had been the "walk-in" who provided details of the secret hideout in exchange for a substantial amount of a $25 million bounty.

According to Hersh's account, the Pakistani informant was supposed to also have been awarded with US citizenship.

However, the brigadier's family believes he has been wrongly implicated because of his outspoken views on Pakistani politics.

Khalid claimed political asylum in the UK after resigning from a 25 year career in the army in protest of the execution in 1970 of former prime minister and Pakistan Peoples Party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He died last year of cancer at the age of 79.

"It simply doesn't make sense. At the time that this was supposed to have happened, he was suffering from cancer and in and out of hospital," his son, Abid Khalid said speaking exclusively to The Telegraph.

"My father had not visited the US since 1976 and had lived in the UK since 1979 so there was no question of him of his family getting American citizenship," Abid continued. "He had no contact with the CIA and knew nothing about Osama Bin Laden, other than what he read in the newspapers, just like everyone else."

"He was politically very vocal, so he was an easy target."

The brigadier's family also denied claims that their father was involved in persuading Pakistani Dr Shakil Ahmed to set up a fake polio vaccination drive as part of CIA's plan to acquire DNA evidence of Bin Laden's presence in Abottabad.

"My father was an honourable and patriotic man," said Abid Khalid. "He was also a caring, family man and would be horrified to be linked to the fake polio vaccination programme.

"He would have been devastated to have been linked to anything which would put the lives of innocent people, especially children at risk, especially in the country he loved."

Critics have accused Hersh of allowing himself to be used to vent conspiracy theories. Questioning the quality of his reporting, people say Hesh relied too much on one US intelligence source, who appears to have known little about the inner workings of the operation to find Bin Laden,

Hersh declined to comment on the comments by Brigadier Khalid's family.