The road to the custom-built million-dollar fortress in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that housed 9/11 financier and mastermind Osama Bin Laden began sometime in August 2010. For the first time, it has been revealed that Osama refused to allow any phones or computers near him. He fell off the grid, using age-old runners to relay messages rather than give anybody the ability to discover his whereabouts.
The compound? It was built in 2005 – and it’s practically across the street from Pakistan’s military headquarters, far removed from the mountainous area along the border with Afghanistan.
It was Osama’s personal runner that US intelligence officers wanted. The man was known of, but it took forever to find him. Al-Qaeda operatives being held at Guantanamo Bay and other so-called “black sites” gave up a lot of information while being interrogated – Osama’s runner, however, was a subject they were vehement about protecting. So much so that CIA operatives were convinced that if they found this guy, known then as Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, they’d find Osama.
It was a phone call made by the courier to an Al-Qaeda operative being trailed by US intel that finally identified and located him. His real name was Sheikh Abu Ahmed, born in Kuwait, currently holding Pakistani citizenship. They followed him to the compound in Abbottabad. The compound was unlike anything any CIA operative had ever seen before – two security gates, walls of staggered height ranging from seven to eighteen feet – all topped with barbed wire, a security structure and a main structure, and absolutely no telephone or internet lines anywhere near the place. They couldn’t be certain that Osama was inside. What they did know was that an Al-Qaeda operative of very high value was holed up inside. They wanted whoever it was. They hoped it really was Osama.
Navy SEAL Team Six was tapped for the raid. After months of preparation, more than twenty SEALs boarded four helicopters for a surgical strike on the compound on April 24. The entire raid lasted less than forty-five minutes; Abu Ahmed was killed, as was his brother. Osama, codenamed “Geronimo”, was hit by a SEAL bullet just above his left eye. Once his death was confirmed the SEALs communicated that Geronimo was down. Pakistani leaders were not warned about the raid and are now angry, but they have only themselves to blame.
Osama’s body was removed to the USS Carl Vinson in the Arabian Sea where Muslim traditions regarding the preparation of a body were afforded the man who had absolutely zero respect for any other faith and would never have offered anything resembling the same respect. He was wrapped in a white sheet, given a Muslim funeral, and buried at sea in the blackness of the pre-dawn hours. The burial has angered Mideast clerics, who say it was an insult that he was not buried with his head toward Mecca. The reason is simple: we do not want his grave to become a rallying point for jihadists. If I’d had it my way, he’d have been cremated and his ashes strewn across the Arabian Sea to make absolutely certain that his remains could never be recovered by anybody, EVER. But that’s just me.
Contrary to what some would have us believe, this was not solely the work of Barack Obama’s team. Osama’s death is the result of years of work on the part of our military and CIA – and the tools they were finally given, including “enhanced” interrogation techniques and black sites. President Obama wanted to shut down Gitmo and all of the black sites, wanted to end the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, and released classified information about US nuclear defenses. Hopefully now the Democrats see the importance of the PATRIOT Act and other policies put in place after 9/11.
Someday, when my brother and I are retired and watching his grandchildren grow up, I may get to finally hear about his experiences being deployed with Special Forces in Afghanistan. I hope we survive to see it.