The Corner

More Operational Details

Multiple outlets reporting some or all of these details (links when I get them, pulling together from TV reports):

U.S. Joint Special Operations Command Special Mission Unit (SMU) from the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU — formerly known as Seal Team Six) did the shooting. There were other JSOC spotters on the ground, as well as two special operations helicopters and an unmanned drone overhead. 

One of the special-ops helicopters reportedly suffered mechanical difficulties and crash landed onsite. It was destroyed by U.S. forces.

Bin Laden was killed along with two al Qaeda couriers and one of Bin Laden’s adult sons. A woman who was used as a human shield by one of the couriers was also reportedly killed. Several other women were wounded and are reportedly receiving treatment.

The compound was located in an affluent suburb 35 kilometers north of Islamabad and is being described as huge, with a central building many times larger than other houses in the area and ringed by a 12-15-foot tall security wall. The compound reportedly had no incoming or outgoing electronic communications.

UPDATE: The compound has already been mapped on Google. It’s just north of a children’s hospital and in spitting distance from the police station.

UPDATE: Confirmation of a lot of these details. And this:

The operation had been in the works for years. Since 9/11, the CIA gathered leads on those in bin Laden’s inner circle, including personal couriers. During interrogations and questioning, various detainees flagged individuals who may have been providing support to OBL and Zawahiri. One courier in particularly was identified by detainees as one of the few al Qaeda couriers who had bin Laden’s trust. He was identified as a “protégé” of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and a trusted assistant of Abu Faraj al –Libbi, the former #3 of al Qaeda, who was captured in 2005. There were even indications the courier may have been living with bin Laden.

In 2007, intelligence officers discovered his identity. In 2009, intelligence officials identified areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operate – but they were still unable to pinpoint precisely where.

In August 2010 came a big break. Intelligence identified a compound that aroused their suspicion – eight times larger than other homes in the area, built in 2005, on a property valued at $1 million. But access to the compound was severely restricted, with elaborate security and 12 to 18 foot walls topped with barbed wire. Incongruently, the compound has no phone service or televisions. The main building had few windows and a seven foot wall for privacy. Residents burned their trash.

Intelligence officials concluded that unit was “custom built” to hide someone. A third family was identified as living there – and the size and makeup matched the bin Laden family members most likely with him. The location and design of compound were consistent with what experts expected his hideout might look like. Their final conculsion: there was a strong probability that this was bin Laden’s hideout.

Daniel FosterDaniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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