CIA Used Stealth Drones to Monitor bin Laden Compound

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 10:46 AM

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The CIA employed stealth drones to keep tabs on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound for months before the SEALs strike that killed him May 2. The unmanned aircraft were designed to operate at high altitude and evade radar detection, The Washington Post reported.

The CIA monitoring also included the use of satellites, eavesdropping equipment, and the previously disclosed use of operatives placed in a safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The CIA used the stealth drones “because they needed to see more about what was going on” sources told the Post.

The Air Force first acknowledged the existence of stealth drones in 2009 after a Lockheed Martin model, the RQ-170 Sentinel, was spotted at an airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The stealth drones were employed during the raid on the compound and provided real-time images of the operation for President Barack Obama and his national security team, the Post reported.

Despite all the high-tech surveillance and the use of human operatives, the CIA never photographed bin Laden at his compound or acquired definitive proof that he was there. However, months of watching the compound convinced the CIA that a man often seen pacing back and forth in the compound was probably bin Laden, the Post reported.


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