'Phone nos found on Osama's clothing turn out to be useless'

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Osama bin Laden
New York, Jul 15: Two telephone numbers found sewn into the clothing of Osama bin Laden when he was killed by US commandos in Pakistan have turned out to be useless to investigators, who had initially thought that they could provide vital clues about the al-Qaeda chief's contacts.

Beyond the planning for a 9/11 anniversary attack, the bin Laden trove, recovered from his hideout in Abottabad near Islamabad, produced few concrete leads of any sort, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

This is largely because information that might have located other terrorist leaders, such as phone numbers, ceased to have any value almost the instant the US government obtained it, the Journal said quoting officials.

"The treasure trove has not led to any big takedowns, because the bad guys knew we had it" and adapted, a senior US official said.

For example, the two phone numbers that bin Laden had sewn into his clothing at the time he was killed did not provide actionable leads, the official said. One connected to a public phone centre in the tribal areas of Pakistan, while the other turned out to be a dead end.

Phone numbers retrieved from phones obtained at the bin Laden compound also led nowhere, the report said. Bin Laden, 54, was killed by US commandos in Abottabad in a covert cross-border raid on May 2.

PTI

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