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Compound gives up bin Laden

By Marcie Geffner ·
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Posted: 10 am ET

Follow the real estate.

That's a liberal misappropriation of the usual cliched instruction that investigators should "follow the money." But it's nonetheless an apt idea in light of the fact that at the end of a 10-year manhunt, it was Osama bin Laden's $1 million house that gave him away.

Authorities found out that bin Laden was living in "a large home" within a "secured compound in an affluent suburb" of Islamabad, Pakistan, called Abbottabad, a town about 35 miles north of the city, according to a transcript of a midnight White House press conference with unidentified senior officials.

The compound first attracted the attention of U.S. intelligence agencies because one of bin Laden's personal couriers and his brother were discovered to be operating in the local area. It then took some time to find out their specific place of residence.

"When we saw the compound where the brothers lived, we were shocked by what we saw -- an extraordinarily unique compound," an official said. "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."

Built in 2005, the compound has 12- to 18-foot walls topped with barbed wire and internal walls that section off different portions to provide extra privacy. Access is restricted by two security gates. The main structure is a three-story building with few windows facing the outside world. A third-floor terrace has a seven-foot privacy wall. All that, but no wired telephone or Internet service.

"Intelligence analysts concluded that this compound was custom-built to hide someone of significance ... the location and the design (were) perfectly consistent with what our experts expected bin Laden’s hideout to look like," an official said.

That's an impressive piece of property, not all like the dank cave or spartan tent so often associated with a typical terrorist's residence.

An irreverent wit might wonder whether bin Laden paid cash or took out a mortgage.

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John Dinga
June 12, 2011 at 10:41 am

Instead of asking for the Obama Administration to provide photo proof that Osama Been Hiding was indeed dead, would it not have been better to ask the elusive man to stand up and be counted? In this way the US would avoid the bloody consequences that go with publicizing such photographs.

Areiel Wolanow
June 12, 2011 at 1:44 am

The death of Osama bin Laden stands as proof for the long-acknowledged maxim of home buying: one should never buy the most expensive home in a neighborhood. Let his demise stand as a warning to inexperienced home buyers around the world.

June 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm

The Seal operatives were given an order to capture bin Laden alive but at any sign of attempting to evade capture or elude arrest they had standing orders to terminate him. Nice and neat. He ran from one room to another hiding behind a woman who was screaming for mercy and they had no way of knowing if he was escaping or going for a weapon. Game over. Good riddance. They should have stuck his head on a pole for all to see as proof that we will get our man no matter how long it takes.

aooah wilson
June 06, 2011 at 7:50 pm

25 million dollar bounty did him in, end of story

June 06, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Almost 10 yrs ago Egypt reported in the press that bin Laden had died peacefully from disease. We knew he sufferred kidney failure and required dialysis. Every year after that there were reports of his death, each scenario different.

It seems reasonable that he died years ago, however, it was profitable to keep him alive for the public's delusion. His being alive has been used to rape this country of its wealth, foist the Patriot Act I & II on us which destroyed so much of our democratic traditions and our civil liberties, and allowed the (ill) logic of several other invasions of other mineral rich countries.

Conspiracy? Call it what you want, but all this planning went on behind closed doors, the public was lied to and manipulated, and this to me is conspiracy. There was nothing real that was transparent in this debacle.

Considering the details given the public, and then contradicted within 24 hours, I question whether they killed anyone of bin Laden's description at all. That is why there were no photos, no live capture, no autopsy, etc.

June 04, 2011 at 8:21 am

A few years back a CIA operative told the press that Bin Laden was in a country with whom the US had good relations so that we were unable to go after him.

At the time Saudi Arabia - where he had family and supporters seemed the reasonable place, especially when his publicly released statements always exempted the Saudis from criticism. Also the announcement of his premature "death" had originated there.

But now it appears he was hiding in Pakistan. It's not surprising that a rich man living in a highly secure compound would be ignored by the authorities. Even in the USA, rich inhabitants are free to live in opulent seclusion so long as they can pay for it.

We may never know all the details of the operation which killed him, but if it reduces support for Al Quaida more than it inspires new adherents, it was well worth it.

The sharpshooters and the rest of the team who carried out this 'surgical' strike are to be commended.

June 02, 2011 at 10:38 pm

It's a "Cat & a Mouse game " & well organised game which ended as per the script wherein the participants playing their rolls very well.

Lenita Cushenberry
May 29, 2011 at 6:00 am

Had Bin Laden been killed ten years ago this may well have signalled the death blow for Al-Quaida but the past decade has allowed it to grow independently of its founder so I think this death and the reported death of one of Gaddafi's sons, will only provoke further terrorist attacks on the West.

May 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm

making up assumptions? suppositions? guessing? gossip? complicit?, conspiracy? No not conspiracy, but just conspiracy theories.

Nothing of the negativity I have heard so far is concrete, or made me a believer of such gossips.

Hello !! facts please !!
The only thing that seems credible so far is that the US Intelligence agencies figured out by tracing and tracking people, looking for likely places a criminal would abode, fugitive like bin laden trying to avoid communication install or engage in modern electronic communication to avoid a trace or a surveillance, Unusual activities of a place or territory, inconsistencies of a place as opposed to normal and cultural norms of a living place, and finally a restricted large place that had less traffic coming in and out without a reason or anybody's knowledge.

Ike Manuels
May 26, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Bin Laden deserved everything he got. He had to know that one day, he will be caught. Caught? No. Absolutely, somebody high up in the Pakistani and US governments knew he lived there. There are so many schools of thought regarding this whole ordeal. If you can rewind your thoughts to two years ago, you'll remember when we were told that Bin laden is suffering from some kind of Liver or Kidney disease and was near death that some thought he was dead. Is it then possible there was a deal made at that time to give him the opportunity to surrender peacefully,save us some money from his manhunt, visit his relatives, tidy up a few things, receive medical attention, before surrendering or killed by US troops? What a win win situation for both parties.

The second scenario is that he was already dead before US troops faked Remember, he did not fire a shot and no US miolitary personnel was injured. and his body was disposed so fast in the ocean that the only autopsy performed was by only US military personnel. The real question then is, Why was he not captured alive if our intent is to obliterate Al Qaida? Don't you think by capturing him, we can waterboard him until he reveals where his compatriots are hiding. Your guess is as good as mine.