Okay, not quite done: witness the birth of deatherism.
After President Obama took office, he and the new Central Intelligence Agency director, Leon Panetta, reorganized the team of analysts devoted to finding Osama bin Laden. The team worked out of ground-floor offices at the Langley headquarters. There were at least two-dozen of them. Some were older analysts who had been part of the C.I.A.’s various bin Laden-hunting efforts going back to the late nineteen-nineties. Others were newer recruits, too young to have been professionally active when bin Laden was first indicted as a fugitive from American justice.
As they reset their work, the analysts studied other long-term international fugitive hunts that had ended successfully, such as the operations that led to the death of the Medellín Cartel leader Pablo Escobar, in 1993. The analysts asked, Where did the breakthroughs in these other hunts come from? What were the clues that made the difference and how were the clues discovered? They tried to identify “signatures” of Osama bin Laden’s life style that might lead to such a clue: prescription medications that he might purchase, hobbies or other habits of shopping or movement that might give him away.
The Langley analysts were one headquarters egghead element of the hunt. Similar analytical units, at Central Command, in Tampa, and at the International Security Assistance Force, in Kabul, sorted battlefield and all-source intelligence, designated subjects for additional collection, and conducted pattern analysis of relationships among terrorists, couriers, and raw data collected in the field. Detainee operators in Iraq, in Afghanistan, at Guantanámo, and at secret C.I.A. sites also participated. Apparently, the breakthrough started several years back from detainee interrogations; it’s not clear yet how or by what means the information about the courier who led to the Abbottabad compound was extracted.
Overseas, C.I.A. officers in the Directorate of Operations and the Special Activities Division—intelligence officers who ran sources and collected information, as well as armed paramilitaries—carried out the search for informants from bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Units from the military’s Joint Special Operations Command, which includes the Navy Seals, Delta, and other specialized groups, joined in. Often, Special Operations and the C.I.A. worked in blended task-force teams deployed around Afghanistan, and, more problematically, as the Raymond Davis case indicated, around Pakistan.