The Original Blueprints of Osama Bin Laden's Compound

See what the compound's architects filed with Abbottabad city officials

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The special forces raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout required planning so meticulous that the military actually created a life-sized mock-up of the compound for the commandos to practice on. Coming up with enough information to create the model called for all the powers of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which has been described as the "eyes of America's intelligence network." The agency used "a global network of imagery satellites and sensors, some of which are so precise they’re banned from being sold on the commercial market."

When you're hunting for the most wanted man in the world, you don't want to tip your hand, and that means you don't go walking into Abbottabad City Hall and asking for the blueprints for his house. But those blueprints are available now, and the Independent's Andrew Buncombe went and found them. "A file held by the local authorities in the town shows that plans for the “pucca” (or proper) house were filed in the summer of 2004 by the man known as Arshad Khan, who is thought to have been Bin Laden’s courier." The file shows construction was completed by 2005, and that the occupants never paid any property tax. The architecture firm of Modern Associates, which drew up the plans, reportedly worked with Khan through a property agent. Here's some closeups of the blueprints above:

Here's the finished product:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.