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Technology: Bin Laden’s Downfall

Posted by: iExperience


Image of Osama bin Laden by Anxo Resua

It is simply ironic that Osama bin Laden’s decision to avoid having communication tools like the telephone and Internet in his villa hideout were one of the clues that lead US officials to his doorstep. The very same technology he dismissed, assisted Central Intelligence Agency (
CIA) officials in eventually tracking him down.


The al-Qaeda leader had successfully avoided capture for over a decade and was branded as the world’s most wanted criminal with a $25 million (that’s just under R166 million) bounty on his head.


Despite the speculation that he was roughing it somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghan border, he was eventually found in a well-resourced villa in a military cantonment in Abbottabad, a small town north of the Pakistan capital, Islamabad.


The absence of the basic tools of modern technology in his mansion was one aspect which aroused US officials’ suspicion. A US administration official said it was doubtful that a property worth about $1 million (just over R 6,6 million) would have no telephone or Internet service.


The CIA worked alongside the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the US government's main mapping agency responsible for satellite and other imagery. A series of satellite photographs of the bin Laden hideout and detailed information about the premises was gathered by these officials. The NGA went as far as getting the precise heights of the various walls surrounding the complex through their surveillance… a little creepy if you ask me.


The elaborate security as well as the location and design of the compound, according to intelligence analysts, was custom built to hide someone of significance. Their information checked out when, on Sunday evening US Navy Seals captured and killed the 9/11 mastermind in his hideout.


It is presumed that bin Laden did not make use of the Internet and telephone services to prevent detection through electronic eavesdropping. Little did he know that, because these communication tools are being used more and more by people all over the world, it would make his mansion stand out by not using them.


The use of the Internet is clearly a practice in modern society all over the world, even in the little town of Abbottabad, where the news of bin Laden’s death was broken on Twitter. You might have difficulty pronouncing the name of this little town but it has definitely made its mark on world history and in cyberspace.


Related articles:

Timeline: How News of Osama Bin Laden’s Death Unfolded on Twitter

The World Responds to Osama Bin Laden’s Death

One Twitter User Reports Live From Osama Bin Laden Raid

Name Fail: The Media’s Most Embarrassing Obama/Osama Gaffes

Comments (3)Add Comment
Mobile Kugel
written by Mobile Kugel, May 04, 2011
I also heard on the radio that the US army knew about bin Laden since August, and especially waited until after the Royal wedding to nail him! How is that for power?
written by GeraldineKent, May 04, 2011
Hi Janey
Just thought this article would interest you, following on from this blog post...
It's worrying to think that with or without technology, you can still be found!
written by iExperience, May 05, 2011
@Mobile Kugel: Thanks for your comment. I have a very interesting article by Paul Joseph Watson that you might want to look at:

@GeraldineKent: Thanks for the link. Its a very interesting article that we don't think too much about.

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