WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - The real breakthrough that
led to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden came from a mysterious
CIA detainee, Hassan Ghul, according to a Reuters special
report published on Thursday.
Based on interviews with two dozen current and former
senior intelligence, White House and State Department
officials, the special report explores the policies and actions
of the United States in its 13-year hunt for bin Laden.
According to the report, it was Ghul who after years of
tantalizing hints from other detainees finally provided the
information that prompted the CIA to focus intensely on finding
Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti, pseudonym for the courier who would lead
them to bin Laden.
Two U.S. officials told Reuters the U.S. government
believes Ghul was released by Pakistani authorities in 2007 and
has once again become a frontline militant.
Bin Laden was long believed to be holed up in rugged
mountain areas, but was found hiding in plain sight in
President Barack Obama's decision not to notify Pakistan
before the raid was in keeping with a greater willingness by
Obama and his team to "push the envelope" in relations with
Islamabad, according to a former Bush aide.
A key legal authority under which the raid was launched
remains a Sept. 17, 2001, presidential directive by former
President George W. Bush that authorized the CIA to capture or
kill top terrorism suspects.
Raid planners expected bin Laden would be killed, but they
also had a vaguer contingency plan about what to do if he were
captured, officials said.
(Reporting by Caren Bohan, Mark Hosenball, Tabassum Zakaria,
Missy Ryan and Warren Strobel; Editing by Claudia Parsons)
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