Bin Laden Got 'Complacent' in Compound

Al-Qaeda leader seemed comfortable with security, lacked escape plan
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 13, 2011 9:17 AM CDT
In this May 5, 2011 photo, Pakistani army troops guard the perimeter of the walled compound.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

(Newser) – Though “it could take months” to go through all the material discovered at Osama bin Laden’s compound, one thing seems clear: Bin Laden “became complacent” in the hideout, suggesting the existence of a support network in Pakistan, US officials tell CNN. The al-Qaeda leader doesn’t appear to have had an escape plan, nor did he or his men try to destroy the vast amount of data available in the compound. “How could he be so comfortable living in that location for that period of time with so little security?” asked one official.

There were just three men in the compound when bin Laden was killed; the Navy SEALs had been ready for a bigger fight. US officials had long assumed he would be heavily guarded, though the small number could have been a means of avoiding attracting any attention in Abbottabad—and couriers who visited the compound showed a “quality of tradecraft” that was “very high,” maintaining an irregular schedule and only turning on their cell phones once they were out of town. Meanwhile, bin Laden continued to plan: “This wasn't a retirement home for terror,” said the official. The al-Qaeda leader hoped to attack small US cities and recruit US minorities, the official added.

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