CIA Agent Who Tracked Osama a Complicated Heroine

She's described as ambitious but prickly in 'WaPo' profile

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 11, 2012 6:51 AM CST

(Newser) – It's the stuff of movies—quite literally. The Washington Post today takes a fascinating look at the minefield-filled career of the undercover agent who was key to tracking down Osama bin Laden and at the center of the Kathryn Bigelow film chronicling the manhunt. Described by the Post as a "headstrong young operative," her time with the CIA has not been without drama, according to current and former officials: The 30-something, who joined the CIA before 9/11 and was stationed in Islamabad, was recently missed out on a promotion that most assumed was a given considering her bin Laden achievements.

She was apparently one of the early champions of the idea to target the couriers used by al-Qaeda as a way to find bin Laden. But she tussled with colleagues over credit for his killing after awards were handed out this spring, going so far as to send out a mass email arguing that, in the words of a former official, "You guys tried to obstruct me. You fought me. Only I deserve the award." She has also "come under scrutiny" for her relationships with those making the movie after it was revealed that she met with writer Mark Boal (the character of Maya, played by Jessica Chastain, is based on her). Former associates describe her as prickly but successful: "She’s not Miss Congeniality, but that’s not going to find Osama bin Laden," says one. Click to read the Post's entire profile.

This is an undated file photo shows then-al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan.
This is an undated file photo shows then-al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo)
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