The mystery started to unravel after the AP wrote a story about the man on July 5, noting that he was "hidden from view, standing just outside the frame of that now-famous photograph" of President Obama's national security team watching the raid that took down the 9/11 mastermind.
According to the Observer, John Young, a writer for Cryptome.org noted a man's yellow tie in that photo, then matched that tie with one worn by a man whose full face is revealed in other photos released by the White House.
From there, the Observer sought to put a name to the face and wrestled with the question about whether to publish it if they did. The piece is a classic detective story -- read the whole thing.
Fox News quotes former CIA operations officer Charles Faddis, who contends that revealing the man's identity "is a real serious matter."
"It's not entertainment, some people may think it is, but it's not ... There are real people out there that are going to be killed because of this."
"I implore you, do not publish this man's name," former deputy director of central intelligence John McLaughlin told the Observer.
Fearing for the man's life, the CIA has placed him undercover, according to Politico.