Bin Laden's Death Raises Big National Security Questions

Officials wonder how he could have hidden in "plain sight."

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But that assessment was based on the assumption that bin Laden was hiding in a remote area far from a communications infrastructure that could allow him to oversee al Qaeda operations worldwide. Despite the fact that the Abbottabad compound had no internet or telephone connections (an unusual feature that piqued the interest of CIA analysts) it was just a scant two hour's drive to the Pakistani capital. "It raises questions about how much bin Laden has been involved in al Qaeda in the years since 9-11. How much of what we thought we knew was wrong?" asks one senior counterterrorism official, who was not authorized to speak on the record. 

Aside from killing bin Laden, one of the raid's key successes may be the exploitation of documents, computers, and other intelligence items that the Navy SEAL team may have picked up at the scene. Senior intelligence officials said Monday that those materials were being scrutinized for leads. Also, two women and an unknown number of children survived the 40-minute gun battle in Abbottabad. While both of the women were wounded, they could also provide useful information about how bin Laden could have laid so low for so long and who helped him along the way.

  • See photos of reactions to Osama bin Laden's death.
  • See a slide show of six potential terrorist targets.
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