Gareth Porter writes: A few days after US Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a “senior intelligence official” briefing reporters on the materials seized from bin Laden’s compound said the materials revealed that bin Laden had, “continued to direct even tactical details of the group’s management.” Bin Laden was, “not just a strategic thinker for the group,” said the official. “He was active in operational planning and in driving tactical decisions.” The official called the bin Laden compound, “an active command and control center.”
The senior intelligence official triumphantly called the discovery of bin Laden’s hideout, “the greatest intelligence success perhaps of a generation,” and administration officials could not resist leaking to reporters that a key element in that success was that the CIA interrogators had gotten the name of bin Laden’s trusted courier from al-Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo. CIA Director Leon Panetta was quite willing to leave the implication that some of the information had been obtained from detainees by “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Such was the official line at the time. But none of it was true. It is now clear that CIA officials were blatantly misrepresenting both bin Laden’s role in al-Qaeda when he was killed and how the agency came to focus on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
In fact, during his six years in Abbottabad, bin Laden was not the functioning head of al-Qaeda at all, but an isolated figurehead who had become irrelevant to the actual operations of the organization. The real story, told here for the first time, is that bin Laden was in the compound in Abbottabad because he had been forced into exile by the al-Qaeda leadership.
The CIA’s claim that it found bin Laden on its own is equally false. In fact, the intensive focus on the compound in Abbottabad was the result of crucial intelligence provided by the Pakistani intelligence agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Truthout has been able to reconstruct the real story of bin Laden’s exile in Abbottabad, as well as how the CIA found him, thanks in large part to information gathered last year from Pakistani tribal and ISI sources by retired Pakistani Brig. Gen. Shaukat Qadir. But that information was confirmed, in essence, in remarks after the bin Laden raid by the same senior intelligence official cited above – remarks that have been ignored until now. [Continue reading…]