Eavesdropping Satellites Helped US Catch bin Laden
Snowden documents reveal tools used by NSA, CIA in hunt
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2013 9:50 PM CDT
Osama bin Laden in an undated file photo.   (AP Photo, File)

(Newser) – The latest Edward Snowden revelations in the Washington Post show that the US spends a mind-boggling $52.6 billion a year on its massive surveillance programs. And just what have we gotten for the money? Well, the feds would argue, Osama bin Laden. A separate Post story details how the CIA and the NSA used all kinds of high-tech wizardry to guess at his hiding spot in Abbottabad and then carry out the raid. For example, the NSA was "able to penetrate guarded communications among al-Qaeda operatives by tracking calls from mobile phones identified by specific calling patterns," write Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman. CIA analysts then zeroed in on the location of one of the phones—at the Abbottabad complex.

The story explains how a branch of the NSA called the Tailored Access Operations group, experts in the ways of spyware and tracking devices, managed to collect intelligence from the phones of other al-Qaeda operatives. The agencies also made use of satellites and even a stealth drone to get hundreds of images of the Abbottabad complex before the raid and to intercept still more electronic communications. Even with all that, however, agents were only about 50% sure of bin Laden's whereabouts when the raid went down. And, of course, this kind of spying is different than the type of domestic surveillance that has so rankled critics of the NSA.

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Showing 3 of 25 comments
Mad
Aug 31, 2013 10:50 AM CDT
Forever and always, the fact Obama got Bin Laden, when GWB never came close, will make republicans choke on their own vomit. Right- thefuck -on
westside
Aug 30, 2013 11:07 PM CDT
We spent 52 billion to kill one rag head. He is probably laying on the beach somewhere. Remember they had to bury him right away and no one saw him. Buried him at sea so there's no way to prove anything one way or another.
saucier111
Aug 30, 2013 10:45 AM CDT
Another bullshit articule, what about the doctor who is in Pakinstan prison for telling the where about of Osama. Any ways who cares about Osama Bin Laden the CIA asset, he never made the FBI's most wanted list, can you say false flag. They are trying in a secret military court, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for masterminding 9/11. So what if Obama and our government is lying to us again about Syria, it seems lying is what these crooks do best.