Days after U.S. Navy SEALs took hard drives, memory sticks and personal computers from Osama bin Laden's hideout, both Pakistan and the U.S. have launched major offensives against suspected Islamic militants. On Friday, a U.S. drone strike reportedly killed 12 militants in Pakistan and another U.S. drone strike in Yemen, the first since 2002, killed two suspected Al Qaeda operatives. And, as reported minutes ago, Pakistani forces have rounded up 40 people in Abbottabad suspected of having connections to bin Laden. Is the massive data trove recovered from bin Laden's compound already paying off?
"It’s hard to resist making an educated guess," writes Wired's Spencer Ackerman. On Tuesday, two days after the data trove was taken, U.S. intelligence officials told CNN and ABC News that they expected the information to lead to bin Laden's financial donors and to other top operatives of Al Qaeda. It was also reported that bin Laden had two phone numbers sewn into his clothing (not a bad lead!) and that he's continued to give "strategic guidance and direction" to militants from this compound. It wouldn't be unlikely that the U.S. would quickly act on the information it obtained in the raid given that bin Laden's inner-circle was probably scrambling to cover its tracks as soon as news of the raid spread. "All that raises the intriguing possibility that the strikes come as the result of intelligence exploited from the raid on bin Laden’s compound," writes Ackerman. Looks like the so-called "mother lode of intelligence" could be paying off big time.
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