A WikiLeaks Gitmo File Contained a Clue to Bin Laden's Hideout

Information from one of bin Laden's couriers had been made public

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If Osama bin Laden had carefully read the latest release of U.S. government documents by WikiLeaks, he could've seen that the U.S. was on to his whereabouts in Abbottabad, Pakistan. That's the stunning takeaway from the trove of classified government documents leaked just days before President Obama authorized the helicopter raid that led to the Al-Qaeda leader's death.

One of the keys to finding bin Laden, as reports citing U.S. officials detail today, was tracking bin Laden's couriers. As Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin writes:

The stream of information that led to Sunday's raid began over four years ago, when U.S. intelligence personnel were alerted about two couriers who were working with al Qaeda and had deep connections to top al Qaeda officials. Prisoners in U.S. custody flagged these two couriers as individuals who might have been helping bin Laden, one official said

"One courier in particular had our constant attention," the official said. He declined to give that courier's name but said he was a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and a "trusted assistant" of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, a former senior al Qaeda officer who was captured in 2005.

"Detainees also identified this man as one of the few couriers trusted by bin Laden," the official said. The U.S. intelligence community uncovered the identity of this courier four years ago, and two years ago, the U.S. discovered the area of Pakistan this courier and his brother were working in.


The Guantanamo file on one of those couriers, Abu Faraj al-Libbi, was released last week. Here's the information made public by WikiLeaks that anyone in the world could've accessed and found out that the U.S. was at least interested in Abbottabad. It's not a lot, but it seems the kind of information the most wanted man in the world might have acted on.

The full PDF of Al-Libbi's file is here.

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