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News | May 9, 2019

This Week in DIA History: DIA and the Abbottabad Raid

By DIA Public Affairs

The two-decade hunt for Osama bin Laden ended on May 2, 2011 with the successful raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Prior to the raid, DIA deployed personnel to participate in the Joint Operation Abbottabad Intelligence Community Integration Team, which designed clandestine operations that provided insight for the raid. Initially after the raid, DIA led a U.S. government scientific effort that confirmed the identity of bin Laden by applying technical procedures unique to DIA/ST at that time. The statistical basis for the conclusions exceeded the national forensic community’s threshold for “absolute identity.” In a press conference following the raid, a DoD spokesperson noted, “The possibility of a mistaken identity on the basis of the analysis is approximately one in 11.8 quadrillion. I’ll let you count the zeroes.”

DIA then provided over 20 personnel to the Joint Operation Abbottabad Media Exploitation Task Force to produce site exploitation spreadsheets, tippers & products. DIA also sent three of its most experienced analysts to assist the CIA site-exploitation team at Dulles and contributed to the NCTC/FBI/DHS tear line operation for state and local entities. In November 2017, nearly 470,000 of the files recovered in the raid were released to the public.

Following the raid, DIA immediately published a warning to support DoD Force Protection Condition changes around the world and completed a comprehensive global threat review. The demand for analysis from customers increased and DIA operated at a higher tempo. The Joint Intelligence Task Force-Combating Terrorism (JITF-CT) disseminated 59 written products related to bin Laden’s death, 27 site exploitation updates, 55 National Media Exploitation Center reports, 27 daily production reports, & near-daily Combined Joint Intelligence Operations Center – Afghanistan intelligence summaries.

DIA received the National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation for its efforts in the Abbottabad raid.