US intelligence intercepted satellite phone calls made by Bin Laden’s bodyguard

May 3, 2011 at 8:14 am | Posted in Aerospace Law Interfaces | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Karachi, Pakistan – Satellite phone calls that Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard made from July to August last year are believed to have helped US forces hunt down the Al Qaeda leader in the Pakistani compound where he was killed early Monday, according to local Pakistani intelligence sources.

It is widely reported that the detained 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave his US interrogators the pseudonym of a man he described as Osama bin Laden’s most trusted courier, whose whereabouts were tracked last fall to a fortress-like compound in Abbottabad city, some 75 miles north of the capital Islamabad. But US intelligence was also monitoring the satellite calls made by bin Laden’s bodyguard, which also helped lead US forces to bin Laden’s hiding place.

Bin Laden avoided e-mail and phones for fear those lines could be tracked, and instead relied on a system of personal couriers who carried his messages to the outside world. His compound lacked any telephone or Internet connection, according to local sources, but he did have at least one satellite phone. Further backing their story, a Reuters reporter visiting the scene reportedly saw a satellite dish in the compound. [Full story]

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