Twitter User Unknowingly Reported Bin Laden Attack

As U.S. forces in Pakistan swooped in on Osama bin Laden on Sunday, at least one Twitter user was unknowingly reporting details of the raid.

Some of the first public accounts of the military operation that killed the terrorist leader came in the form of tweets from Sohaib Athar, an IT consultant in Abbottabad, the city where bin Laden was found.

But the significance of Athar's posts wouldn't be clear until hours later when users of the social-networking site -- and the rest of the world -- learned of President Barack Obama's plans for a rare, late-night address to announce that bin Laden had been killed.

The first clue from Athar came after 4 p.m. ET Sunday (after midnight in Pakistan).

"Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," he wrote.

His first reaction? Annoyance at the noise.

"Go away helicopter - before I take out my giant swatter :-/," he wrote.

But soon, it was clear that more was going on than a random flyover. He reported seeing an airplane fly overhead. And he worried, as most anyone would, that terrorism might be involved.

"A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S," Athar wrote.

He posted an incorrect local media report that a helicopter had crashed, or been shot down (perhaps jokingly, calling it a UFO) and gave details of military cordoning off areas of the city.

Then, about eight hours after his first tweet, Athar acknowledged that he'd heard what happened.

"I guess I should unsubscribe from the #abbottabad search on twitter before it kills my machine," he wrote. "Leave Abbottabad alone, Osama and Obama... ."