CIA Agents Lived In Spy House Near Bin Laden’s Compound For Months In Most Intricate Operation In Agency’s History


bin-laden-pakistanThe CIA spied on Osama bin Laden for months from its own top-secret safehouse in Abbottabad, it has been revealed.  In one of the most intricate intelligence operations in CIA history, spies moved in to a property next door to Bin Laden’s fortified compound to establish his ‘pattern of life’.

The surveillance operation was so extensive that the CIA was forced to go cap in hand to Congress in December to ask for tens of millions of dollars more funding, which was met by creaming money from a variety of other agency budgets.

U.S officials refused to reveal how many agents were part of the close-quarters surveillance team but were at pains to stress the remarkable levels of care required because Bin Laden would flee the moment suspicions were aroused.

They used every possible means to gather information, including Pakistani informants, satellite images, telephoto lenses and listening devices in an attempt to record Bin Laden and his cohorts.

However, Bin Laden was so adept at hiding that the CIA admit to admiring his commitment, having rejected the suspicious-looking trappings of bodyguards and vehicles.

According to Pakistan security officials, the al Qaeda leader spent the last five years living in the same room of his mansion where he was shot and killed by U.S. forces.

The claims were made by the terrorist leader’s wife, who apparently told interrogators that she and her husband had not left the same room for the past half a decade.

The revelations of Amal al-Sadah, Bin Laden’s Yemeni wife, who is now in the custody of Pakistani intelligence, sheds new light on the existence of the world’s most wanted man.

But Pakistani authorities who are interrogating her are now threatening to cut their intelligence-sharing arrangement with the U.S. because of the country’s anger and embarrassment over the whole operation.

If the country makes good on that threat it would mean the U.S. faces a struggle to act on any new intelligence gleaned from Bin Laden’s compound.

‘You’ve got to give him credit for his tradecraft,’ a former senior CIA official who played a leading role in the manhunt told The Washington Post.

The CIA safehouse played no part in the actual capture and kill operation and it has now closed down.

While it would have been too dangerous for the team to remain on the ground in the aftermath of the operation, it has served the purpose for which it was created.

‘The intelligence work was as complete as it was going to be, and it was the military’s turn to finish the target,’ a U.S. official told The Washington Post, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The CIA were able to move into the Abbottabad spy-house for the same reasons that Bin Laden was able to remain in the city undetected.

It was not considered a terrorist stronghold like Quetta or Peshawar, and because it has many holiday homes and refugees from the recent earthquakes it has a transient population.

All those conditions made it easier for the CIA to slip in unnoticed.

But the intelligence gathering work did not stop once the spy-house team had achieved its goals. And with the ‘mother lode’ of information seized by the Special Forces team during the capture and kill operation, plans for a major terrorist plot have been uncovered.

The swathes of evidence found on computers, DVDs and documents recovered by U.S. Navy SEALs in Sunday’s shoot-out show that the terror mastermind was still keen on so-called ‘soft targets’ like trains and planes.

The only plot that looked nearly ready was one to derail a train on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, said the FBI.

As recriminations flew over the assassination of Bin Laden, Pakistan’s military strongman demanded cuts in the number of U.S. personnel on Pakistani soil and said it would slash ties altogether if the U.S. launches another anti-terrorist raid on their soil.

Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, who is seen as more powerful than Pakistan’s civilian leaders, was voicing widespread anger at American claims that the country’s intelligence agency the ISI sheltered the terrorist leader for a decade.

He told his colleagues that a decision had been made to reduce the number of U.S. military personnel to the ‘minimum essential’ levels.

A spokesman said General Kayani ‘made it clear that any similar action violating the sovereignty of Pakistan will warrant a review on the level of military intelligence cooperation with the United States’.

Earlier, the government had warned of ‘disastrous consequences’ if the U.S. staged a similar attack on its territory.

The UN’s independent investigator on extrajudicial killings has called on the U.S. to reveal more details of the raid to allow experts to assess the legality of his killing.

South African law professor Christof Heyns said in a statement today that Washington ‘should disclose the supporting facts to allow an assessment in terms of international human rights law standards.’

‘It will be particularly important to know if the planning of the mission allowed an effort to capture Bin Laden,’ said Heyns.
Although U.S. officials say the raid is legal under U.S. and international law, the Heyn’s call echoes similar appeals from other UN officials, human rights groups and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

But as the war of words between Pakistan and the U.S. escalated, a senior British source said the U.S. would ignore the threats and would launch another raid to capture or kill Bin Laden’s deputy Ayman Al Zawahiri – the new head of Al Qaeda – if they can locate him in Pakistan.

‘He’s next and they’ll get him if they can, however many feathers it ruffles,’ one official said.

‘It has always been likely that he is in Pakistan.’

Making decisions: General Kayani (centre) holds talks with Corps Commanders in the aftermath of the killing of Bin Laden, with threats to withdraw intelligence support to the U.S.

His – or her – identity remains a closely guarded secret after flying in to capture the world’s number one bad guy.

That may sound like the hallmarks of a super hero and, if the identity of the dog in question is ever revealed, it will be treated that way in the U.S.

The dog, part of the 80-strong Navy Seal team deployed to Bin Laden’s compound, is thought to be Belgian Malinois.

It was lowered into the firefight from a helicopter, strapped to one of its human comrades, and is likely to have been used for its bomb-detection expertise.

The dogs, according to the New York Times, can sniff out enemy combatants from up to two miles away, are a particular favourite tool of General David Petraeus.

‘The capability they bring to the fight cannot be replicated by man or machine,’ he said last year.

The source said that General Kayani’s comments were ‘intended for internal consumption’.

‘Whenever there’s an American Predator strike on Al Qaeda you always hear these public complaints but activities of that nature still continue with tacit consent’.

U.S. officials called for the £1.8billion in annual aid that America sends to Pakistan to be blocked until the government in Islamabad explains how Bin Laden lived unmolested just a few hundred yards from the Pakistani Army training school.

Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee that allocates foreign aid, said he was certain that some Pakistani military and intelligence officials knew that Bin Laden was hiding 30 miles from Islamabad.

‘It’s impossible for them not to have some idea he was there.’

Senior Pentagon official Michelle Flournoy said the Pakistanis must now demonstrate visibly and convincingly their commitment to defeating Al Qaeda by helping the U.S. exploit the intelligence hoard seized inside Bin Laden’s compound on Monday.

Prime Minister David Cameron has admitted that Bin Laden had an ‘extensive support network’ in the Pakistani security forces. Tory MPs want a review of the £650million in aid that Britain is sending Pakistan.

But Mr Cameron has insisted that the UK must continue to engage with the country.

That view was echoed yesterday by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

‘It is not always an easy relationship,’ she said.

‘But on the other hand, it is a productive one for both of our countries and we are going to continue to co-operate between our governments, our militaries, our law enforcement agencies.’

The former head of the British Army, General Lord Dannatt, defended the action of the U.S. special forces, saying Bin Laden’s killing had been ‘unfortunate but necessary’.

He added: ‘The special forces troops going in had been briefed, perfectly reasonably, that if Bin Laden was anything other than naked, he could be assumed to be wearing a suicide vest.

‘Unless he put his hands straight up and surrendered straightaway they had to assume that he had evil intent.’

{Daily Mail/ Newscenter}


  1. If Pakistan stands by their threats of throwing out American forces, then more terrorists will hide there. All this means is that Seal Team Six and Delta Force, the 2 anti-terrorists groups in the Military, will perform more covert missions that can’t be traced back to them. The State Department couldn’t care less what Pakistan wants, they do what they feel is right to protect U.S. citizens.

  2. If his hands were frozen in an up position before they came in they still would have killed him.No way they were going to take him alive.Too much to explain!