The following photo was obtained by a Pakistani secret service agent currently working at the 7-11 here in Bayonne, New Jersey.
This is an exclusive to Planck's Constant: for those who are wondering now that Bin Laden is officially dead (1), who is in line to take over:
(1): OK, seriously:
It started with a courier's name.
Senior White House officials said early Monday that the trail that led to Osama bin Laden began before 9/11, before the terror attacks that brought bin Laden to prominence. The trail warmed up last fall, when it discovered an elaborate compound in Pakistan.
"From the time that we first recognized bin Laden as a threat, the U.S. gathered information on people in bin Laden's circle, including his personal couriers," a senior official in the Obama administration said in a background briefing from the White House.
After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, "detainees gave us information on couriers. One courier in particular had our constant attention. Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, his pseudonym, and also identified this man as one of the few couriers trusted by bin Laden."
In 2007, the U.S. learned the man's name.
In 2009, "we identified areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. They were very careful, reinforcing belief we were on the right track."
In August 2010, "we found their home in Abbottabad," not in a cave, not right along the Afghanistan border, but in an affluent suburb less than 40 miles from the capital.
"When we saw the compound, we were shocked by what we saw: an extraordinarily unique compound."
The plot of land was roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area. It was built in 2005 on the outskirts of town, but now some other homes are nearby.
"Physical security is extraordinary: 12 to 18 foot walls, walled areas, restricted access by two security gates." The residents burn their trash, unlike their neighbors. There are no windows facing the road. One part of the compound has its own seven-foot privacy wall.
And unusual for a multi-million-dollar home: It has no telephone or Internet service.
This home, U.S. intelligence analysts concluded, was "custom built to hide someone of significance."