In a safehouse in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a small team of CIA spies lived and worked for months. Their mission: collect information on a nearby compound suspected of housing the world's most notorious terrorist.
The base of operations - abandoned once its mission was accomplished - had been established shortly after Osama bin Laden's hideout had been identified as a suspicious complex last August. Their surveillance efforts, according to this New York Times report, were extensive:
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 mobile phone calls. A satellite used radar to search for possible escape tunnels.
The one thing they were never able to get was a picture of bin Laden himself. But amazing that for months they were there watching, waiting, and wondering when the iron would be hot enough to strike. [Washington Post, NY Times; Photo credit: Anjum Naveed / AP]