CNS News reports that senior intelligence officials were "shocked" by what they saw of the compound.
The first step on the trail was information about a courier, who had been a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11 attacks... "Detainees [in Gitmo] also identified this man as one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden,” the senior administration official said. “They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden.”
After first positively identifying this courier and then ultimately discovering the unusual compound where he and his brother lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan, U.S. intelligence officials believed they may well have discovered the hiding place of Osama bin Laden.
“When we saw the compound where the brothers lived, we were shocked by what we saw--an extraordinarily unique compound... we had high confidence that the compound harbored a high-value terrorist target...[we] assessed that there was a strong probability that the terrorist that was hiding there was Osama bin Laden.
...One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees [in Gitmo] gave us his nom de guerre or his nickname and identified him as both a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11th, and a trusted assistant of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the former number three of al Qaeda who was captured in 2005... Detainees also identified this man as one of the few al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin Laden. They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden. But for years, we were unable to identify his true name or his location.
Four years ago, we uncovered his identity, and for operational reasons, I can’t go into details about his name or how we identified him, but about two years ago, after months of persistent effort, we identified areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. Still we were unable to pinpoint exactly where they lived, due to extensive operational security on their part. The fact that they were being so careful reinforced our belief that we were on the right track.
Then in August 2010, we found their residence, a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a town about 35 miles north of Islamabad. The area is relatively affluent, with lots of retired military. It’s also isolated from the natural disasters and terrorist attacks that have afflicted other parts of Pakistan. When we saw the compound where the brothers lived, we were shocked by what we saw -- an extraordinarily unique compound. The compound sits on a large plot of land in an area that was relatively secluded when it was built. It is roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area.
When the compound was built in 2005, it was on the outskirts of the town center, at the end of a narrow dirt road. In the last six years, some residential homes have been built nearby. The physical security measures of the compound are extraordinary. It has 12- to 18-foot walls topped with barbed wire. Internal wall sections -- internal walls sectioned off different portions of the compound to provide extra privacy. Access to the compound is restricted by two security gates, and the residents of the compound burn their trash, unlike their neighbors, who put the trash out for collection.
The main structure, a three-story building, has few windows facing the outside of the compound. A terrace on the third floor has a seven-foot wall privacy--has a seven-foot privacy wall... It’s also noteworthy that the property is valued at approximately $1 million but has no telephone or Internet service connected to it. The brothers had no explainable source of wealth.
Intelligence analysts concluded that this compound was custom built to hide someone of significance. We soon learned that more people were living at the compound than the two brothers and their families. A third family lived there--one whose size and whose makeup matched the bin Laden family members that we believed most likely to be with Osama bin Laden. Our best assessment, based on a large body of reporting from multiple sources, was that bin Laden was living there with several family members, including his youngest wife.
Everything we saw--the extremely elaborate operational security, the brothers’ background and their behavior, and the location and the design of the compound itself was perfectly consistent with what our experts expected bin Laden’s hideout to look like. Keep in mind that two of bin Laden’s gatekeepers, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libbi, were arrested in the settled areas of Pakistan...
Consider the key aspects of this story:
• Gitmo detainees provided the critical intelligence regarding the courier.
• Interrogations of these detainees revealed the salient details.
• This data was uncovered during the Bush administration (in 2007, actually).
President Obama, of course, specifically omitted thanks of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, military brass, intelligence officials and others whose post-9/11 policies were viciously opposed by the Left and which led directly to this opportunity. Mark Levin notes:
For now, let me say not only how proud I am of our brave heroes in the military and intel services, but how troubling I found the president's comments last night. Not one word about General David Petraeus, not one word about CIA Director Leon Panetta. And even now, the White House is leaking information to the media aimed at building up Obama while diminishing the contribution of others. Well, he mentioned Panetta, but what I meant is, he did not praise or thank him, same with Petreaus... [and] Obama's single mention of Bush during his speech last night had nothing to do with all of Bush's efforts.
As Michelle Malkin points out, the President and his minions are now taking credit for the very policies they opposed.
Last night, I noted that much of the intelligence gathered that led to discovering bin Laden was developed by the detainees detained under the Bush administration at facilities like the one Obama wanted to shut down... Those facilities, US officials are now reporting, included the CIA secret prisons reviled by the Left, outed by the Washington Post, and condemned by... wait for it... President Obama.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Progressivism. But we already knew that.
I congratulate all the brave men and women who made this operation possible. We salute you.
Hat tip: TrendingRight.