There's no question that Osama bin Laden's death at the hands of U.S. special forces was well-covered by the news media. In fact, ABC News decided it had enough reporting to fill a book, literally. So on Thursday, it released a multimedia e-book, Target: Bin Laden — The Death and Life of Public Enemy Number One, that provides the most complete account yet of the raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and the decisions leading up to it. Here, five intriguing new details:
1. Bin Laden's real code name was "Cakebread"
Forget "Geronimo." U.S. intelligence officials actually called the al Qaeda chief "Cakebread." ("Now they've done it," says a commenter at TheParadox.com. "All the bakers in the world are going to be offended.") The compound where he was found and killed had the less-enigmatic code name Abbottabad Compound One, or "AC1."
2. The hero war dog was a Belgian Malinois
For fans of Cairo, the much-heralded war dog on the mission, ABC News tells us his breed: Belgian Malinois. That's "going to bring delight to Belgian Malinois breeders," who have been harrassing officials to confirm Cairo's breed, says John Hudson at The Atlantic Wire.
3. Obama wanted to wait to announce bin Laden's death
Within hours of the raid, the U.S. had photographic evidence that bin Laden was killed and confirmation from his widows, but Obama wanted a DNA match before announcing the "the biggest story of the decade." There was no rush to tell the world, Obama reportedly told his aides, so why not "get all of our ducks in a row" first? His advisers and Pakistani Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani eventually persuaded the boss to announce the good news that night. The takeaway: "Obama likes to be right," even if it means waiting, says the International Business Times.
4. The U.S. stopped tipping off Pakistan years ago
It was a big gamble to keep Pakistan in the dark about the raid, but Obama and his team decided that the risk of details being leaked from Pakistani intel agents to bin Laden was bigger. In fact, says ABC News, the U.S. stopped giving Pakistan much warning about Predator drone strikes years ago, "after too many incidents where the targets had been tipped off, probably by components of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)." If the ISI would give a heads-up to "some mid-level thug," it could hardly be trusted with plans to take down bin Laden.
5. Obama's team was skeptical that bin Laden was even there
Up until the raid, CIA director Leon Panetta put the odds at only 60 to 80 percent that bin Laden was even in the Abbottabad compound. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was even more skeptical of the CIA's admittedly circumstantial evidence, and National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter rated the odds of finding bin Laden there at less than 50 percent. Obama himself says he thought there was only a 55 percent chance bin Laden was in Abbottabad.