Commentary Magazine


Gitmo Tip Led to bin Laden

The killing of Osama bin Laden seemed to come out of nowhere, but officials have reportedly been on the terror leader’s trail for over four years—before President Obama “directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda,” that is. And according to the Washington Examiner, it was intelligence gleaned from a Guantanamo Bay detainee over four years ago that ended up leading to his whereabouts:

Some time after Sept. 11, detainees held by the U.S. told interrogators about a man believed to work as a courier for bin Laden, senior administration officials said. The man was described by detainees as a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and “one of the few Al Qaeda couriers trusted by bin laden.” Initially, intelligence officials only had the man’s nickname, but they discovered his real name four years ago. Two years ago, intelligence officials began to identify areas of Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated, and the great security precautions the two men took aroused U.S. suspicions.

If it wasn’t for Guantanamo Bay, it seems highly unlikely that the government would have been able to uncover this information. We can thank the counterterrorism policies put in place by the Bush administration—and President Obama’s savvy decision to continue them—for leading intelligence officials to bin Laden.