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Bin Laden raid yields 'mother lode' of intelligence

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Bin Laden raid yields 'mother lode' of intelligence

Computers and thumb drives recovered, White House says.

  • A rendering of bin Laden's compound.
    Dep't of DefenseA rendering of bin Laden's compound.

The U.S. Navy SEAL team that took down Osama bin Laden also secured a "mother lode of intelligence" contained in computer drives at his Pakistani compound, according to U.S. officials.

The special operations forces grabbed personal computers, thumb drives and electronic equipment during the lightning raid, Politico reports. “They cleaned it out,” one official reportedly said. "Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?"

Meanwhile, new details are emerging on the raid, including that the CIA knew as far back as February that the Al Qaeda chief was living at the compound in Pakistan, and that the team that killed Osama bin Laden would have taken him alive if it had the chance.

Navy SEALs prepared for the mission using a replica of the compound to carry out practice raids in early April, according to the National Journal.

On the day of the mission, originally scheduled for Saturday but delayed due to bad weather, a team of SEALs was reportedly flown from Afghanistan. They traveled in MH-60 helicopters that took off from Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan to Abbottabad about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad.

The raid itself lasted about 40 minutes and in the end 22 people were killed or captured. Bin Laden, held responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that killed thousands of Americans, was killed by two shots to the left side of his face. His body was placed aboard one of the choppers with the returning soldiers.

"If we had the opportunity to take him alive, we would have done that,” John Brennan, a counterterrorism adviser to President Obama, told reporters at the White House, according to Politico. 

U.S. officials confirmed that they identified bin Laden's body in Afghanistan using DNA tests, comparing brain matter from his sister, who died several years ago from cancer in Boston, the Telegraph reports.

President Barack Obama reportedly monitored the operation from the White House Situation Room on Sunday, a senior administration official told the LA Times.

Obama said Monday, “This is a good day for America." 

According to Politico, he added: "The world is safer. It is a better place because of the death of Osama bin Laden. Today we are reminded that as a nation, there's nothing we can't do when we put our shoulders to the wheel, when we work together. And we remember the sense of unity that defines us as Americans."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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