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Aug 30, 2013| Courtesy by : dailymail.co.uk
Top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden have revealed how a clandestine NSA unit helped bug phones to locate Osama Bin Laden, a previously undisclosed lab helped confirm his DNA and the SEALS who raided his compound were guided from space.
According to a packet of classified intelligence documents that were leaked to the Washington Postby former NSA contractor-turned-Russian émigré Edward Snowden, the successful raid on Bin Laden’s lair was made possible in part thanks to a team of top secret operatives known as the Tailored Access Operation group.
The elite hackers are tasked with breaking into computers and cell phone networks and installing spyware and locator devices. Such implants on devices owned by Al Qaeda officials were crucial to enabling the Bin Laden raid, according to the Post.
Documents also reveal the existence of a top secret lab Defense Intelligence Agency Lab holding Bin Laden’s DNA that was able to confirm his identity within hours, and that a network of NSA satellites guided the SEALs on the raid and intercepted communications from the surrounding area.
The newspaper reported Thursday that the CIA was then able to identify the location of one of the cell phones belonging to an al-Qaeda operative, which was linked to the walled-in home in the affluent suburb of Abbottabad.
The classified information about the lead-up to the 2011 raid carried out by SEAL Team 6 was mentioned in the 2013 fiscal ‘black budget’ for the U.S. intelligence community.
The leaked documents, which include pie charts and graphs, show that the 16 agencies received nearly $53billion, with the biggest share of the budget – $14.7bllion – going to the CIA.
The NSA got $10.8billion, nearly half of which was spent on collecting, processing and analysing data.
The secret documents filled in some gaps in information about the May 2011 raid, detailing how the operation was guided from space by satellites, which collected electronic data from Pakistan while the mission was in progress.
While the 178-page ‘black budget’ is scant on details, the fiscal documents mentioned that an NSA branch known as the Tailored Access Operation group was responsible for installing spyware and tracking devices to collect data from cell phones used by al-Qaeda operatives.
The budget also shows that a U.S. military laboratory in Afghanistan analysed DNA from Bin Laden’s corpse and confirmed his identity shortly after he was killed.
The Pentagon denied more than a year ago it had any records of these tests in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Associated Press a day after President Barack Obama announced Bin Laden’s death.
The Post reported that a forensic intelligence laboratory run by the Defense Intelligence Agency performed the DNA testing eight hours after the right, and the tests ‘provided a conclusive match.’
The AP’s request for records submitted on May 2, 2011, included DNA and facial recognition tests performed to ensure the body was Bin Laden’s, all videos and photographs taken during the raid on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the death certificate and other records related to the mission.
In a March 2012 response, the Defense Department said it could not locate any of the files.
Eyes in the sky: The documents stated that the raid on Bin Laden’s compound was guided from space by satellites
The AP reported in July that the nation’s top special operations commander, Adm. William McRaven, had ordered military files about the raid purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they more easily could be shielded from ever being made public.
The secret move appeared to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps the Freedom of Information Act as well.
The CIA has special authority to prevent the release of ‘operational files’ in ways that can’t effectively be challenged in federal court.
Spokesmen for the Pentagon and CIA denied the move was intended to avoid the legal requirements of the FOIA. The Bin Laden mission was overseen by the CIA, they said, which meant the records about the raid should be housed with the spy agency.
The CIA has not responded to a separate request for many of the same records about the bin Laden mission the Pentagon said it could not find.
A month before the launch of the operation to find and kill bin Laden, satellites operated by the National Reconnaissance Office collected hundreds of high-resolution and infrared images of the Abbottabad stronghold , which were ‘critical to prepare for the mission and contributed to the decision to approve execution,’ according to the classified documents.