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Without providing full details, aides said the Senate report illustrates the importance of the National Security Agency’s efforts overseas.

Intelligence officials have previously described how in the years when the CIA couldn’t find where bin Laden’s courier was, NSA eavesdroppers came up with nothing until 2010 - when Ahmed had a telephone conversation with someone monitored by U.S. intelligence.

At that point, U.S. intelligence was able to follow Ahmed to bin Laden’s hideout.

Feinstein and other senators have spoken only vaguely of the contents of the classified review.

But they have made references to the divergence between their understanding of how the bin Laden operation came together and assertions of former CIA and Bush administration officials who have defended harsh interrogations.

Responding to former CIA deputy director Jose Rodriguez’s argument that Mohammed and al-Libi provided the “lead information” on the bin Laden operation, Feinstein and Levin said, “The original lead information had no connection to CIA detainees.”

They rejected former CIA Director Michael Hayden’s claim that evidence on the couriers began with interrogations at black sites and Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s declaration that intelligence leading to bin Laden began with Mohammed.

The facts, they said, show that the CIA learned of the courier, his true name and location “through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program.” They have cited a “wide variety of intelligence sources and methods.”

Terror suspects who were waterboarded “provided no new information about the courier” and offered no indication of where bin Laden was hiding, the senators said.

Feinstein will hold a vote of her 15-member committee Thursday to release of a 400-page summary of the report, according to aides. Approval would start a declassification process with the CIA that could take several months before documents are made public. Among her strongest backers are Levin and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was tortured in a North Vietnamese prison during the U.S. conflict in Vietnam.

Senate investigators and CIA officials have yet to cool their dispute, which boiled out into the open earlier this month. Feinstein accused the agency of improperly monitoring the computer use of Senate staffers and deleting files, undermining the Constitution’s separation of powers. The CIA alleges the intelligence panel illegally accessed certain documents.