May 6, 2011

"The C.I.A. surveillance team in the rented house near Bin Laden’s hide-out took pains to avoid detection..."

"... not only by the suspected Qaeda operatives they were watching but by Pakistani intelligence and the local police."
Observing from behind mirrored glass, C.I.A. officers used cameras with telephoto lenses and infrared imaging equipment to study the compound, and they used sensitive eavesdropping equipment to try to pick up voices from inside the house and to intercept cellphone calls. A satellite used radar to search for possible escape tunnels.

Still, the spying operation had its limits: the American surveillance team would see a tall man take regular walks through the compound’s courtyard — they called him “the pacer” — but they were never able to confirm the man was Bin Laden.
And from the same NYT article: Documents indicate that it wasn't true that bin Laden "had been relegated to an inspirational figure with little role in current and future Qaeda operations."
[There is] a handwritten notebook from February 2010 that discusses tampering with tracks to derail a train on a bridge, possibly on Christmas, New Year’s Day, the day of the State of the Union address or the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks...

30 comments:

Hagar said...

This is beginning to sound like a Gene Hackman movie.

(Strike the "beginning" part?)

Crimso said...

Obviously, avoiding detection by Pakistani intelligence was crucial. In other news, moves being made at the highest levels of the Iranian government are conjuring up the specter of Salem, ca. 1692.

Hagar said...

Or, possibly, "The Looking Glass War"?

traditionalguy said...

Last night on CNN the new Brit named Piers Morgan spent his show getting the real answers on everything that just happened from that imminent expert on the USA...Michael Moore. The reason the media turns to Moore is Moore's great skill in creating false narratives. He is the Prog's version of Shakespeare. Surprisingly, Moore took the same line as many right wing spokesmen have taken the last few days: Killing Bin Laden with a hit team is fine, but the President is wrong to cover up that fact. I suspect that the great news about our killing Bin Laden has aroused a strong jealousy on both sides in the world of politics.

Hagar said...

and then there is the old, old story about the scientist who wanted to study monkey behavior ....

Sixty Grit said...

So more information dribbles out. We won't know the whole story until Joe Biden starts babbling, again.

Scott M said...

I wonder if the operatives had sandle-phones and turbans of silence.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Commenter "dolphin" h/t Lucianne.com

"Obama killed Osama and we got 72 versions."

And it ain't over yet.

Quayle said...

My guess is that the most important thing they're learning is how Al Qaeda is encrypting or hiding their messages and information in digital files.

MadisonMan said...

Derailing trains is probably a pretty effective way to screw up the economy. If you took out the rail bridge at Memphis, for example -- trains are ALWAYS crossing that bridge -- there's really no replacement.

AllenS said...

Good thing that there isn't a train line between Madison and Milwaukee.

Mark O said...

I wonder how much harm UBL did while Obama dithered and his team objected to killing UBL. That's from about July of last year.

If this is what can be called "gutsy," "pussy" has lost all meaning.

DaveW said...

Yeah, that rail bridge in Memphis across the Mississippi is the one that comes to mind if you really want to hurt the economy in the U.S. Cut that off and you really create havoc for us moving goods between the coasts.

It was pretty bold to have guys rent a place near there. Considering they were deep in the heart of what appears now to be OBL's support group with the Paks it's just very bold. At any time a search of their apartment would have turned up their cameras and listening gear and blown the whole thing apart. And the people involved would have had their lives forfeit.

Very, very bold IMO.

Maguro said...

If the terrorists fuck with our choo-choos, garage goes out and joins the Marines the next day, I guarantee it.

george said...

Wouldn't mirrored glass be suspicious? Wouldn't any outsider moving in be suspicious? We really did everything possible to blow this. Fortune favors the bold I guess.

It seems like every day we get multiple versions now. I just read where his wife said Osama did not leave his room for five years. Then I come here and read that he often paced the courtyard. And there is yet another version of how the killing went down with Osama poking his head around a doorway and being shot at. The first shot missing and then the next two doing the job once the Seals closed in.

In any case, I can't imagine someone sitting in a confined area and plotting evil, day after endless day. I imagine he was consumed with nothing but thoughts about how to kill as many innocent people as possible. And because of the evil in the heart of this one man the world came to a standstill. And you can ultimately trace it all back to the evil in the heart of another man long since dead --- Mohammed.

Couldn't Osama have had a healthier addiction than Islam? Something like porn, or crack, or World of Warcraft, or blogging? Everyone would have been better off.

Scott M said...

Wouldn't mirrored glass be suspicious?

Not necessarily. Depending on the orientation of the observation point to the OBL compound, they could have explained it off as the cheap anti-sun reflection anyone can get at a decent hardware store. Back when I was an apartment dweller, I put it up in a couple of different places I lived that got direct sunlight in the morning or afternoon.

A couple of agents that are up on their fieldcraft would think of something like this.

Titus said...

Jimmy Kimmel did this funny thing about The Real Housewives of Osama. I bet Troop would even watch.

edutcher said...

If he was going to take out Little Zero's high-speed green trains, he had to die.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Commenter "dolphin" h/t Lucianne.com

"Obama killed Osama and we got 72 versions."

And it ain't over yet.


Not to mention Osama getting 72 Virginians.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Firehand said...

So we're back to "If he was actively helping plan operations, how much intelligence did we lose by not capturing him?" Which brings us back to "Why were the team orders to kill and not capture? Or were they?"

72 versions, indeed.

Original Mike said...

Not the choo-choos!!!

BJM said...

None of this is as believable as a Hackman movie. I don't understand why this sort of detail is being released as it pretty much undermines any covert operations still in country and with nukes in the mix there damned well better be many of them.

Apart from scrutiny from the high level military brass living in the area, the entire village would have known there were strangers in the neighborhood. Even if the CIA operatives were Paki-Americans they would have still been outsiders, and thus noted. This is a country where military intrigue and coups are commonplace, the Paki brass hats would have known who was there for that reason alone.

Plus these are a tribal people and the local grapevine is incredibly strong...the women keep a close eye on what's going on.

I don't believe they didn't know UBL was there either.

I've lived in small towns and villages in Europe which is far more sophisticated, mobile, accustomed to outsiders and far less tribal than Pakistan. Everyone knows your face, your movements, what you eat/buy and an amazing amount of your personal bidness.

Original Mike said...

Speaking of garage, has he been seen since he went into the redneck bar?

Luke Lea said...

"[There is] a handwritten notebook from February 2010 that discusses tampering with tracks to derail a train on a bridge, "

And we spend $100 billion a year to guard against small-potato stuff like that? Ridiculous. Contra Bush, better to fight them over here than over there. Except for the military contractors. You'd think the Tea Party would object.

Original Mike said...

IF the Pakistani military knew we were watching the compound, that kind of mitigates the "they kept Osama's whereabouts a secret" meme.

mm said...

I don't know why ANY details are being released. Way too many retired senior officers have become media whores.

This op would have been so much better if we'd snatched the guy and put him in an undisclosed location FOREVER and never said a word about it.

What's happened here is a version of dancing in the end-zone or bragging about some stupid crime on facebook.

Just this morning I've seen an army general and navy captain telling the bad guys what they can learn from this or that and what to watch out for. Idiots.

dave in boca said...

"It seems like every day we get multiple versions now. I just read where his wife said Osama did not leave his room for five years. Then I come here and read that he often paced the courtyard."

Of course, it was the Pakis who said that his wife who is being closely held attested that reclusiveness. Two American versions from satellite and the safe/spyhouse nearby say someone very tall used the empty yard [with presumably the errant soccer ball] in the empty compound next to the house for exercise.

As someone who has been to Pakistan many times, I can attest that you always believe the American version.

"Good thing that there isn't a train line between Madison and Milwaukee."

Actually, I lived in a house just adjacent such a trainline in Waukesha. But the writer is correct, as this line has subsequently been changed into a bikepath...!

jb_big_boy said...

Anyone notice that there have been at least 4 train derailments this year? Another one yesterday. They used to be uncommon. Now they happen all the time, and the news about them remains localized.

I've been looking at this since I saw one several months ago. Very odd.

WV: inallyc:


I'll be right over, inallyc, inajiffy, whatever.

JAL said...

Maybe they watched some Burn Notice shows via satellite in their down time. Shoot, the surveillance team proabably did a lot of walking around *their* compound in the dark.

I mean, assuming some of the team were whiter cuacasians (some *had* to be middle Asian looking to make this work) what did they do? Go out in the dark of night to pick up their pizzas?

dick said...

I agree with BJM and MM that this is info that should not have been released at all. After the debacle of the NYT releasing that we were listening in on conversations by cell phone so that Al Qaeda could get rid of their cell phones and use throwaways so that we lost all that info gathering ability, whyever would anyone release the means we used to find OBL. Seems like a really dumb thing to do. Now the enemy can check out anything the least bit suspicious and nip it in the bud and also kill any agents they find. Look for more Daniel Pearl incidents in the future and the propaganda from that. Are these people truly that dumb that they cannot see the damage they are doing - or is that a feature. Althouse needs to think again about her hero here. He is losing it big time lately with his big mouth and his wonderful (snark) staff!