Senior U.S. sources reveal details of the intelligence operation that led to the identification of the compound where the al-Qaida leader was hiding.
The compound that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was hiding out in for the last few months raised the suspicions of American intelligence officials, according to two senior officials in the U.S. administration and the country’s intelligence agencies.
American analysts checked the information that piled up ‘from every possible angle’ and came to the conclusion that no possible candidate was as suited to the profile as bin Laden was. “We were confident there was a high value target hidden in the compound,” an official said.
osama bin laden – AP – October 1 2010
“We tried to establish whether the terrorist who lives there is Osama Bin Laden,” a senior administration official said in a briefing to reporters. “We tracked his personal couriers. One courier in particular got our attention, the protégé of Khaled sheikh Mohamad, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.”
The official said that detainees also recognized this man as a courier of Bin Laden. “Four years ago we uncovered his identity. We identified the areas in Pakistan where they operated.”
The official said that the heavy security surrounding the compound that bin Laden was living in aroused the suspicion of intelligence officials as early as eight months ago. “In August 2010 we found the residence. It is an extraordinary, unique compound, eight times larger than the other homes in the town,” the senior U.S. official added.
“In the last six years some residential homes were built there. The security was extraordinary. Access to the compound was restricted by two security gates,” the official continued. There was no internet installed on the premises, the official said, and could not ascertain the source of the wealth of the compound’s owners.
“Our best assessment is that Bin Laden was living there with several wives, including his youngest wife,” the official said.