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The White House and CIA director John Brennan stated that the process began with a fragment of information unearthed in 2002, resulting in years of investigation. According to journalist Seymour Hersh and NBC News, however, the U. was tipped off about bin Laden's location by a Pakistani intelligence officer who offered details of where the Pakistani Intelligence Service held him in detention in exchange for a bounty. In May 2015 the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was aware that bin Laden was in Pakistan with the knowledge of Pakistani intelligence services.
The official passed polygraph tests, after which the U. began local and satellite surveillance of bin Laden's Abbottabad residence. According to the official, retired CIA officials emphasized the importance of bin Laden's courier to the press, because they were nervous over torture scrutiny and possible prosecution.
He and his brother Abrar and their families were living at bin Laden's compound, the officials said.
A 2010 wiretap of another suspect picked up a conversation with al-Kuwaiti.
Pakistani officials have found no record of an Arshad Khan in that area and suspect the men were living under false identities.
The CIA used surveillance photos and intelligence reports to determine the identities of the inhabitants of the Abbottabad compound to which the courier was traveling.
Because both Mohammed and al-Libbi had minimized al-Kuwaiti's importance, officials speculated that he was part of bin Laden's inner circle.
Bagram is about 850 miles (1,370 km) from the North Arabian Sea (straight line distances, as travel distances significantly more). officials as stating the operation was "a kill-or-capture mission, since the U. doesn't kill unarmed people trying to surrender", but that "it was clear from the beginning that whoever was behind those walls had no intention of surrendering". Brennan said after the raid: "If we had the opportunity to take bin Laden alive, if he didn't present any threat, the individuals involved were able and prepared to do that." CIA Director Leon Panetta said on PBS News Hour: "The authority here was to kill bin Laden. Obviously under the rules of engagement, if he in fact had thrown up his hands, surrendered and didn't appear to be representing any kind of threat, then they were to capture him.
Neptune's spear is the trident, which appears on the U. Navy's Special Warfare insignia, with the three prongs of the trident representing the operational capacity of SEALs on sea, air and land. But, they had full authority to kill him." Another source referencing a kill (rather than capture) order stated, "Officials described the reaction of the special operators when they were told a number of weeks ago that they had been chosen to train for the mission.
'They were told, "We think we found Osama bin Laden, and your job is to kill him,"' an official recalled.
The design of bin Laden's compound may have ultimately contributed to his discovery.
A former CIA official involved in the manhunt told The Washington Post: "The place was three stories high, and you could watch it from a variety of angles." The CIA used a process called "red teaming" on the collected intelligence to independently review the circumstantial evidence and available facts of their case that bin Laden was living at the Abbottabad compound.
official had told him that the United States had direct evidence that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lt. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, knew of bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad, but ISI, Pasha and officials in Washington all denied this. Der Spiegel questioned the veracity of the report, produced in the midst of a scandal over BND and NSA collaboration. official had stated that by 2002, interrogators had heard uncorroborated claims about an al-Qaeda courier with the kunya Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti (sometimes referred to as Sheikh Abu Ahmed from Kuwait).