One of the things about the GoogleEarth maps function is that it allows anyone to try their hand at being their own intelligence photo analyst, which is what I just spent the last 30 minutes doing. I’m surprised we haven’t seen any semi-official confirmation in the media from any military source of the exact location of Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, but from a variety of links (including the fellow who is thought to have unwittingly live-blogged the event on Twitter), it appears as though the place in the photo below is it.
Here’s the link to the Google map, if you want to play with it yourself and check out the neighborhood.
UPDATE from Joe:
Here’s the place.
Here’s the link in Google Maps; here’s the Google Earth link.
The bunker and its components are situated like this:
Marc Ambinder, who writes for National Journal, has put together a nice snapshot of the team that carried through the operation. It’s SEAL Team Six, DevGru. based in Dam Neck, Virginia:
DevGru belongs to the Joint Special Operations Command, an extraordinary and unusual collection of classified standing task forces and special-missions units. They report to the president and operate worldwide based on the legal (or extra-legal) premises of classified presidential directives. Though the general public knows about the special SEALs and their brothers in Delta Force, most JSOC missions never leak. We only hear about JSOC when something goes bad (a British aid worker is accidentally killed) or when something really big happens (a merchant marine captain is rescued at sea), and even then, the military remains especially sensitive about their existence. Several dozen JSOC operatives have died in Pakistan over the past several years. Their names are released by the Defense Department in the usual manner, but with a cover story — generally, they were killed in training accidents in eastern Afghanistan. That’s the code. […]
In an interview at CIA headquarters two weeks ago, a senior intelligence official said the two proud groups of American secret warriors had been “deconflicted and basically integrated” — finally — 10 years after 9/11. Indeed, according to accounts given to journalists by five senior administration officials Sunday night, the CIA gathered the intelligence that led to bin Laden’s location. A memo from CIA Director Leon Panetta sent Sunday night provides some hints of how the information was collected and analyzed. In it, he thanked the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for their help. NSA figured out, somehow, that there was no telephone or Internet service in the compound. How it did this without Pakistan’s knowledge is a secret. The NGIA makes the military’s maps but also develops their pattern recognition software — no doubt used to help establish, by February of this year, that the CIA could say with “high probability” that bin Laden and his family were living there.