Satellite analysis might help locate bin Laden

A research team from the University of California at Los Angeles using satellite-aided geographic analysis believes that fugitive terrorist Osama bin Laden is in one of three compounds in a Pakistani border town, reports USA Today.

The team, led by geographer Thomas Gillespie, bases its conclusion on nighttime satellite images and other techniques to place bin Laden in Parachinar, a town 12 miles from the Pakistani border. The research incorporates public reports of bin Laden’s habits and whereabouts since his flight from the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan in 2001.

The results, reported in the MIT International Review, are being greeted with polite but skeptical interest among people involved in the hunt for bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

An official at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) said the agency plans to review the article. NGA is a Defense Department combat support agency and a member of the national intelligence community.

The study grew out of an undergraduate seminar on applying geographic profiling to real-world problems.

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