FUGITIVE al-Qaeda warlord Osama Bin Laden disguised himself in a COWBOY HAT while hiding out in Pakistan, it was revealed last night.Bin Laden donned the John Wayne-style headgear to shield himself from US eye-in-the sky aerial surveillance when he strolled around his fortress style compound.
The world’s most wanted man believed that the broad brim of the sombrero would conceal him from United States spy planes attempting to seek him out from above.
Three of Bin Laden’s wives, who were with him when he was finally tracked down, disclosed how he used the cowboy hat in a bid to trick his pursuers.
At the time he was living in a purpose-built walled three storey complex in the Pakistan town of Abbottabad.
Bin Laden was there for six years from 2005 until he was finally cornered and gunned down two years ago.
His wives told an official Pakistan commission investigating his death that he pulled on the hat to “avoid detection from above”.
Bin Laden, who at one point shaved off his trademark beard, escaped capture on at least one occasion when the car he was travelling in was pulled over speeding.
It happened between 2002 and 2003 when he and his family were hiding out in Pakistan’s Swat region near the border with Afghanistan.
His wives said the vehicle was stopped as they were travelling to a local bazaar.
Wife Maryam told investigators that Bin Laden’s minder “quickly settled the matter".
His family claimed that while in Abbottabad he lived frugally and only had six pairs of Pakistani shalwar kameez traditional dress.
The commission’s report, which has yet to be officially published, recorded a series of blunders which allowed Bin Laden to stay undetected in Pakistan.
Investigators said the location for the hide-out was bought by a trusted Bin Laden henchman using a false ID card.
The identity and addresses were never “verified,” it was claimed.
A source disclosed that the “fort-type construction remained unnoticed by the police, intelligence agencies and locals".
No action was taken, it was also noted, even though the occupants of the complex paid no property tax for six years.
It was further noted that the building’s third storey was erected without planning permission - but again no action was taken.
Bin Laden lived on the top two storeys with three of his wives and three of his children.
His lair was uncovered when right-hand man Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti was unmasked and linked to the address.
The commission said that he was identified by an al-Qaeda terrorist captured over his involvement in attacks on a US warship and US embassies in Africa.
Bin Laden’s movements around the region before his discovery were also logged by the commission.
He was not only holed up in Abbottabad but also before that in Peshawar and in Haripur.
It was also claimed that Bin Laden never had a phone line or an internet or cable connection at any of the hideouts he used.
Pakistan’s government has yet to make the report public.
When a US Navy SEAL special forces soldier stormed into his bedroom, Bin Laden, who was armed, reached for a grenade before he was shot dead in the head.
Daughter Sumaya told the investigators that despite wounds to his head her father remained “clear and recognisable”.
His three wives and two daughters were among 300 witnesses interviewed for the commission’s 700-page report.
Culled from thesun.co.uk