Citizens of the United States woke up on May 2, 2011, with the news that Osama bin Laden had finally been tracked down to a massive suburban compound outside of Islamabad, capital city of Pakistan, and not to the caves where he had long been rumored to be hiding. As details of the mission have been revealed, it’s becoming clear that the military logistics effort, in tandem with the intelligence gathering capabilities of the various agencies participating in the hunt, directly led to the pursuit, capture and ultimately, the death of bin Laden.
This article, from the McClatchy newspapers, sums up the operation in its headline: “Bin Laden raid years in the making, minutes in execution.” Fittingly enough, the genesis of the raid began with the CIA’s tracking of a courier said to be a protege of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Although the CIA knew at least four years ago the general area where the courier was operating, his exact whereabouts went unidentified until 2010.
As it turned out, the courier and others within his circle were tracked to a huge palace-like compound said to be located within the high-rent district on the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital city. We do not yet know much of the details of the Navy SEAL strike on the compound, other than that it took months to plan and less than an hour to execute, and that no U.S. lives were lost in the raid. And, of course, that bin Laden was finally brought to justice.