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Osama bin Laden raid: Four fresh twists in the story

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Reports suggest that the CIA had a safe house near the compound where Osama bin Laden lived (pictured), but never actually saw him.

Anjum Naveed/AP

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2. The CIA's safe house

Despite the painstaking effort of intelligence officials to confirm bin Laden's presence at the Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound, at least one member of the SEAL team was apparently surprised that the US had actually found its man.

A “hot mike” worn by one of the Navy SEALs on the scene reportedly recorded him saying, “Damn, it is him,” when he encountered bin Laden on the third floor of his compound, a senior US military official tells the Monitor.

Reports in two major newspapers indicated the lengths to which CIA operatives went to try to confirm bin Laden's whereabouts, renting a house in bin Laden’s neighborhood months earlier. The house was tricked out with high-tech observation equipment and mirrored glass windows, but intelligence officials said that they were nonetheless unable to ever capture bin Laden in a photograph or definitively confirm that he was in the compound prior to the US commando raid.

“You’ve got to give him credit for his tradecraft,” a former CIA official told The Washington Post of bin Laden’s determined refusal to rarely if ever set foot outdoors.

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