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An Iraqi working for CIA aided Lynch rescue

From Barbara Starr
CNN Pentagon Correspondent

Lynch, carried from a transport plane at a Maryland Air Force base, arrived in the United States on Saturday.
Lynch, carried from a transport plane at a Maryland Air Force base, arrived in the United States on Saturday.

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Former POW U.S. Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch remains in satisfactory condition at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports (April 14)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A trusted Iraqi on the CIA payroll gathered key information that led to the raid in Nasiriya, Iraq, that freed Pfc. Jessica Lynch from captivity, CNN has learned.

Sources tell CNN the operative was trained and equipped with a hidden video camera to tape images of the hospital, including the location of her room and the route the special forces team would take.

The video gear was supplied by the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the recordings became the final piece of solid intelligence before the rescue.

U.S. officials say the video confirmed information obtained from other sources and allowed them to proceed with the rescue.

The other sources -- including an Iraqi man who told U.S. military personnel that Lynch was at the hospital -- were not considered fully reliable by the intelligence community.

Other information had also come from two enemy prisoners of war, who had told the United States that Lynch was injured but alive.

At that point, however, U.S. officials did not have confirmation of her location. It is now believed she was held at elsewhere before being moved to the place in which she was rescued.

The actual rescue was then carried out by a special forces unit that had been formed to hunt for leaders of the former Iraqi regime. Members were diverted to this mission and acted only after analysis of the videotape.

The principal assault force inside the hospital was a team of Navy SEALS. Army Rangers outside the facility provided security. Marines conducted some deception maneuvers nearby, and Air Force Special Operations provided helicopters to transport Lynch.

Once inside the hospital, U.S. forces found it to be largely deserted.


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