Bin Laden intel revealing new leads every hour

Bin Laden computer files
(FILES) This undated file picture shows Saudi dissident Osama bin Ladin speaking at an undisclosed place inside Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed late on May 1, 2011 in a firefight with covert US forces deep inside Pakistan, prompting President Barack Obama to declare 'justice has been done' a decade after the September 11 attacks. AFP PHOTO / FILES (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Osama bin Laden raid will continue to reveal new angles of interest for some time. On Tuesday, the CIA invited members of the House and Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees to view the pictures, in private.

CBS News correspondent David Martin reports that more is also being learned about what happened when the SEALs went in to get him, including the fact that a painstaking effort was made to collect valuable evidence at the compound.

The target was bin Laden, but a U.S. official says the terrorist leader was killed "relatively early" in the operation. "At least half" the 40 minutes the Navy SEALs spent on the ground went into collecting lap tops, hard drives, CDs and paper files.

As President Obama told Steve Kroft in his "60 Minutes" interview, the follow-through was as daring as the hit.

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"They killed bin Laden and they had presence of mind to still gather up a whole bunch of bin Laden's material, which will be a treasure trove of information that could serve us well in the weeks and months to come," Obama said.

A task force is now working around-the-clock to analyze and exploit that intel, and not just the videos released over the weekend, but a staggering 2.7 terabytes of data, the equivalent of 220 million pages of text. A U.S. official says the task force comes up with another intelligence nugget on the average of once an hour, including leads on everything from other terrorists leaders to how bin laden communicated with the rest of al Qaeda.

"We've got a chance to, I think, really deliver a fatal blow to this organization if we follow through aggressively in the months to come," Obama said.

Every minute the SEALs spent collecting intelligence from bin Laden's compound was another minute the Pakistani police and military had to react. Two backup helicopters carried more SEALs in case the ones in the compound got into a firefight with Pakistani forces. U.S. warplanes orbited just on the other side of the Afghan border, ready to come to the aid of the SEALs on the ground or to intercept any Pakistani jets that attempted to shoot down the helicopters.

If it had ever come to that, an already rocky relationship with Pakistan would have been ruined.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.