Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bin Laden Bodyguard's Satellite Phone Calls Helped Lead US Forces to Hiding Place

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Bin Laden Bodyguard's Satellite Phone Calls Helped Lead US Forces to Hiding Place

Article excerpt

Pakistani intelligence sources told the Monitor that US intelligence intercepted satellite phone calls made by Osama bin Laden's bodyguard, which helped lead US forces to his hiding place.

Satellite phone calls that Osama bin Laden's bodyguard made from July to August last year are believed to have helped US forces hunt down the Al Qaeda leader in the Pakistani compound where he was killed early Monday, according to local Pakistani intelligence sources.

US intelligence agencies tracked the Kuwaiti bodyguard's calls from the compound to Al Qaeda associates in the cities of Kohat and Charsada in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, a narrative that was corroborated by several sources.

Their names and titles could not be disclosed because of sensitivities surrounding the operation, including whether the Pakistani government had any knowledge of it. The Pakistani government has not taken any clear stance as yet on the operation. The sources' information has provided the Monitor new details of the intelligence process that led to bin Laden's capture.

IN PICTURES: Global reaction to Osama bin Laden's death

It is widely reported that the detained 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave his US interrogators the pseudonym of a man he described as Osama bin Laden's most trusted courier, whose whereabouts were tracked last fall to a fortress-like compound in Abbottabad city, some 75 miles north of the capital Islamabad. But US intelligence was also monitoring the satellite calls made by bin Laden's bodyguard, which also helped lead US forces to bin Laden's hiding place.

Bin Laden avoided e-mail and phones for fear those lines could be tracked, and instead relied on a system of personal couriers who carried his messages to the outside world. His compound lacked any telephone or Internet connection, according to local sources, but he did have at least one satellite phone. …

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