UCLA Students Figured Out Osama Bin Laden's Hideout in 2009


President Obama said the CIA first suspected that Osama Bin Laden was hiding out in a house in Abbottabad in August 2010. Well, a class of UCLA students figured it out more than a year before that.

LA Weekly writes:

With the help of geography professor Thomas Gillespie, the students used "information from satellites and other remote sensing systems, and reports on his movements since his last known location" to come up with an 80.9 percent probability that Bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad.

Gillespie's system was originally designed to calculate the habitats of endangered birds.

"It's not my thing to do this type of [terrorism] stuff," Gillespie told the Science Insider. "But the same theories we use to study endangered birds can be used to do this."

A February 2009 article in USA Today detailed the UCLA findings:

Essentially, the study generates hiding-place location probabilities. It starts with "distance decay theory," which holds that the odds are greater that the person will be found close to where he or she was last seen.

"Of course, it all depends on the accuracy of the information on most recent whereabouts," Gillespie says. "I assume that the military has more recent information that would change the hiding place probabilities."​


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