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Inside Bin Laden's House, 'A Fading Splash Of Blood'

The compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed. (May 3, 2011, file photo.)
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The compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed. (May 3, 2011, file photo.)

The New York Times writes this morning about a retired Pakistani Army brigadier's attempt to reconstruct what happened last May when U.S. Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden at the al-Qaida leader's hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

There aren't a lot of details about what it looked like inside the house before it was torn down last month. But there is this:

"Climbing the stairs to the second floor, [Shaukat] Qadir passed a body outline that marked the spot where bin Laden's 22-year-old son, Khalid, was shot dead. Then he turned to a small room with a low ceiling, an empty wardrobe and a tight cluster of bullets holes in one wall, he said. Above that, on the ceiling, was a fading splash of blood that, his Pakistani intelligence escort told him, belonged to Bin Laden."

Qadir, the Timessays, has pieced together a report that terrorism analyst Peter Bergen says is "larded with strange conspiracies" (for instance, that al-Qaida operatives betrayed bin Laden for the $25 million reward offered by the U.S.).

But in its story, the Times also sprinkles in this bit of news:

"Several American and Western officials, speaking in Washington and Pakistan on the condition of anonymity, said that the CIA had scanned millions of documents taken from computer disks found in Bin Laden's house yet found no evidence of official Pakistani support" for the al-Qaida leader, who it's believed was in Abbottabad for several years.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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