WASHINGTON - The U.S. commando raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden was guided from space by a fleet of satellites, according to a top-secret U.S. intelligence documents revealed Friday by the Washington Post.
As the May 2011 mission unfolded, the satellites aimed dozens of receivers over Pakistan to collect electronic and signals intelligence. The National Security Agency also was able to penetrate guarded communications among al-Qaeda operatives by tracking calls from mobile phones identified by specific calling patterns, the document shows.
The disclosures about the hunt for the al-Qaeda chief are contained in classified documents that detail the fiscal 2013 “black budget” for U.S. intelligence agencies, including the NSA and the CIA. The documents were provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
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U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team watch live feed from drones during the mission against Osama bin Laden, May 1, 2011 - Photo: Wikimedia Commons