Hassan Ghul was a top al-Qaeda operative. He was arrested in Iraq in 2004. Ghul told the CIA Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti was a courier who was especially close to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s replacement, Faraj al-Libi, who ascended to second in command to Osama bin Laden with Mohammed’s capture. Years later the CIA discovered al-Kuwaiti’s real name was Sheikh Abu Ahmed – and today he is a dead courier.
Then in 2005 Faraj al-Libi was captured. He talked but gave a false name for the “courier,” and said he did not know Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. His denial was not convincing and the CIA believed they now had confirmation of the courier’s identity. After he was identified as Sheikh Abu Ahmed, the trail went cold.
But in the middle of last year, Ahmed had a telephone conversation with someone being monitored by U.S. intelligence, according to an American official, who like others interviewed for this story spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation. Ahmed was located somewhere away from bin Laden’s hideout when he had the discussion, but it was enough to help intelligence officials locate and watch Ahmed.
In August 2010, Ahmed unknowingly led authorities to a compound in the northeast Pakistani town of Abbottabad, where al-Libi had once lived. The walls surrounding the property were as high as 18 feet and topped with barbed wire. Intelligence officials had known about the house for years, but they always suspected that bin Laden would be surrounded by heavily armed security guards. Nobody patrolled the compound in Abbottabad.
Navy helicopters dropped the SEALs over the 18′ tall walls. They knew the family would be on the 2nd and 3rd floors. First they secured the remainder of the compound and then found bin Laden’s room. Ahmed is dead.
Then, the SEALs killed bin Laden with a bullet just above his left eye, blowing off part his skull, another official said. Using the call sign for his visual identification, one of the soldiers communicated that “Geronimo” had been killed in action, according to a U.S. official.
Fitting that Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti died at the same time as bin Laden.
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