The gun found next to the body of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan when Navy SEALs killed him in a midnight raid featured in 'secter' CIA museum.
The AK-47 is a recent addition to a collection that’s among the toughest tickets in the country for museumgoers. Tucked into various hallways at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., the museum displays the gadgets, artifacts and trophies of 70 years of spycraft, from World War II through the War on Terror.
The Russian-made assault rifle, identified on a simple brass plaque as “Osama bin Laden’s AK-47,” shares a glass case with an al Qaeda training manual found in Afghanistan soon after 9/11.
"This is the rifle that was recovered from the third floor of the Abbottabad compound by the assault team," said curator Toni Hiley. "Because of its proximity to (bin Laden) there on the third floor in the compound, our analyst determined it to be his. It's a Russian AK with counterfeit Chinese markings."
Neither Hiley nor the agency will say how the AK-47 got to the museum, other than that the agency director at the time of the operation, Leon Panetta, "asked that it come into the museum collection," said Hiley. But one source told NBC News that it came from the "dark side" of the agency, the operations staff that worked with the SEALs on the May 2011 raid.
In the movie "Zero Dark Thirty," which was written in consultation with military and intelligence sources, a member of the assault team is shown grabbing the weapon from a shelf above bin Laden's bed in his third-floor bedroom moments after the al Qaeda leader’s death.
Hiley said the weapon is in good working condition, but that the origin of the Chinese markings is a mystery. She said it’s not the weapon seen at Osama’s side in many propaganda videos.