A CIA Tip Eight Months Ago Led to the Death of Osama bin Laden

By Nicole Hahn

A CIA Tip Eight Months Ago Led to the Death of Osama bin Laden

May 2, 2011 Updated May 2, 2011 at 11:42 AM EDT

ABC News (abcnews.go.com) - It began with a tip to the CIA eight months ago about a possible Bin Laden hiding place, and led Sunday to the bold military operation that will go down in U.S. history.

Osama Bin Laden wasn't hiding in a cave, but in a Pakistani city of 90,000 called Abbottabad, just north of the Pakistani capital.

Tracking one of the Al Qaeda leader's trusted couriers, the CIA discovered an acre-large, million-dollar compound with 12 to 18-foot walls that had no telephones but was eight times the size of other homes in the area and just off a major highway.

President Obama gave the order for a small team of U.S. Navy SEALs in Afghanistan to go in Sunday night Pakistan time, even though bin Laden had never once actually been seen in the compound.

"I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action," said President Obama in a nationally televised address Sunday night, "and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice."

Bin Laden, who had been pictured over the years firing an automatic weapon, his son and three other people opened fire on the U.S. raiders.

President Obama said, "After a firefight, they killed Osama Bin Laden and took custody of his body."

None of the Americans was injured in the raid.

The U.S. team was on the ground for only 40 minutes, most of the time spent scrubbing the compound for information about al Qaeda and its future plans.

After the raid, blood covered the floor of one room inside the sprawling house on the right. In another room to the left that held a small kitchenette, broken computers could be seen, minus their hard drives.

Remarkably, Bin Laden was hiding almost under the nose of the Pakistani military, which has a major garrison in Abbottabad and the Pakistani version of West Point.

U.S. officials say Pakistan was not informed in advance of the military operation inside their borders.

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