Sunday 18 March 2018

Mystery man spent a decade tracking Osama

CIA mastermind who finally cornered Osama bin Laden is an unknown figure who dedicated years to pursuing his quarry, writes DAVID USBORNE

There are enough people in Washington who know who 'John' is, including US President Barack Obama and all of his top security team. Members of the Senate Committee on Intelligence won't forget him any time soon because of the way he almost choked up when he testified before them recently. And people of his sort don't usually do that.

As for the rest of us, we must satisfy ourselves for now with a deliberately obscured portrait of this man. We can be fairly certain that some version of him will come to a cinema near where we live relatively soon, played by Harrison Ford, if he isn't too old, or maybe Matt Damon. His story is that gripping and made all the more so because all of it actually happened. And it culminates in decisions that could have sunk a presidency.

He may be murky -- even his age has not been revealed and John is actually his middle name -- but we do now know of his existence. This, according to a report from the Associated Press, is the man who for almost a decade doggedly pursued every conceivable lead in the hunt for Osama bin Laden at the CIA and who finally persuaded his then boss, Leon Panetta, and Mr Obama that he had found him.

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