How Did Bin Laden Send Email?

Editor-in-Chief
05.13.11

One of the things that has long vexed American intelligence officials is how Osama Bin Laden was able to communicate with his minions across the globe via email without being detected by the NSA’s super-duper spy satellites and such that allow it to basically monitor any type of electronic communication it chooses to. The people tracing Bin Laden have known for years that he’s been emailing with people, they just had no clue how he was doing it without being caught.

Now they know:

Holed up in his walled compound in northeast Pakistan with no phone or Internet capabilities, bin Laden would type a message on his computer without an Internet connection, then save it using a thumb-sized flash drive. He then passed the flash drive to a trusted courier, who would head for a distant Internet cafe.

At that location, the courier would plug the memory drive into a computer, copy bin Laden’s message into an email and send it. Reversing the process, the courier would copy any incoming email to the flash drive and return to the compound, where bin Laden would read his messages offline.

It was a slow, toilsome process. And it was so meticulous that even veteran intelligence officials have marveled at bin Laden’s ability to maintain it for so long. The U.S. always suspected bin Laden was communicating through couriers but did not anticipate the breadth of his communications as revealed by the materials he left behind.

Well I bet that got old pretty fast!

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