The Hunt for Bin Laden

The long and secret effort to track down Osama bin Laden has been called the biggest, costliest manhunt in history. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post, this reconstruction- compiled from reporting from more than two-dozen Washington Post correspondents and staffers from over more than 15 years- traces the hunt from its beginnings in 1997, during the Clinton administration.

THE HUNT FOR BIN LADEN is a behind-the-scenes narrative that reveals the fourteen-year, billion-dollar effort that brought the hunt to a swift and conclusive end, including:

  • The numerous times CIA agents had bin Laden in their crosshairs prior to 9/11, only to have missions canceled at the last moment.
  • Vivid details of bin Laden’s behavior in the wake of the attacks on September 11th.
  • The myriad of ways he evaded detection in his years on the lam, including his narrow escape from the caves and tunnels of Tora Bora.
  • How the war in Iraq drained resources and diverted the spotlight from the hunt, turning the mission to kill or capture bin Laden into a back-burner operation and political liability for the Bush administration.
  • It wasn’t until the Iraq war began to wind down that the search gained its endgame momentum, the Post shows, reclassified as a highest priority again by a new president.
  • How increasingly punishing drone attacks, interrogations of captured al Qaeda operatives, and an ever-expanding network of informants finally began to yield a trail that led to bin Laden’s courier, a cell phone interception, and ultimately, bin Laden.

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