After Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, the White House released a photo of President Barack Obama and his Cabinet inside the Situation Room, watching the daring raid unfold.
Hidden from view, standing just outside the frame of that now-famous photograph was a career CIA analyst.
In the hunt for the world’s most-wanted terrorist, there may have been no one more important. His job for nearly a decade was finding the al-Qaida leader.
The analyst was the first to put in writing last summer that the CIA might have a legitimate lead on finding bin Laden.
He oversaw the collection of clues that led the agency to a fortified compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. His was among the most confident voices telling Obama that bin Laden was probably behind those walls.
The CIA will not permit him to speak with reporters. But interviews with former and current U.S. intelligence officials reveal a story of quiet persistence and continuity that led to the greatest counterterrorism success in the history of the CIA.
Source: Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo for the Associated Press.