Nice to see the CIA getting some praise and credit instead of the normal drubbing they take (looking at you Nancy Pelosi).

WASHINGTON — After reviewing computer files and documents seized at the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed, American intelligence analysts have concluded that the chief of Al Qaeda played a direct role for years in plotting terror attacks from his hide-out in Abbottabad, Pakistan, United States officials said Thursday. . . .

The C.I.A. surveillance team in the rented house near Bin Laden’s hide-out took pains to avoid detection not only by the suspected Qaeda operatives they were watching but by Pakistani intelligence and the local police.

Observing from behind mirrored glass, C.I.A. officers used cameras with telephoto lenses and infrared imaging equipment to study the compound, and they used sensitive eavesdropping equipment to try to pick up voices from inside the house and to intercept cellphone calls. A satellite used radar to search for possible escape tunnels.

Still, the spying operation had its limits: the American surveillance team would see a man take regular walks through the compound’s courtyard — they called him “the pacer” — but they were never able to confirm the man was Bin Laden.

The aggressive effort across the intelligence community to translate and analyze the documents seized from the hide-out has as its top priority discovering any clues about terrorist attacks that might be in the works. Intelligence analysts also were scrubbing the files for any information that might lead to identifying the location of Al Qaeda’s surviving leadership.

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