May 3, 2012

Osama bin Laden Documents Released Online

On Wednesday, West Point's Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) released a "treasure trove" of documents recovered from Osama bin Laden's compound in the raid that killed that former al Qaeda leader last year.
The accompanying report, "Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Ladin Sidelined?" studies 17 declassified documents totaling 175 pages in Arabic and 197 pages in English, including letters and electronic correspondences dating from between September 2006 and April 2011. According to the CTC, the letters authored by al Qaeda leadership including Osama bin Laden largely focus on Muslims "suffering at the hands of his jihadi 'brothers.'"

One letter presumed to have been forwarded to bin Laden shows that the group Jaysh al-Islam's sought financial assistance to "support jihad," as well as legal advice. In a separate letter purportedly authored by bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind responds to the Arab Spring.

U.S. Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan announced on Monday that the bin Laden documents would be published online. In the report, the CTC describes how the documents were retrieved the night bin Laden was killed. "The professionals conducting this operation were trained to survey the site and collect any electronic media, papers, or pocket litter that might inform future operations," the report notes.

According to CNN, more than 6,000 documents were recovered from the computers, harddrives, and over 100 storage devices seized in the raid.
Osama bin Laden was killed last year in a U.S. Navy SEALS raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The correspondence shows a leader revered but sometimes ignored by field commanders, who dismissed him as out of touch even as he urged them to keep attacking U.S. targets. White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said this week that bin Laden's own words confirm that America is safer with him gone.
Brennan says bin Laden wrote of his worries that his leaders were being killed so quickly the group would not survive.

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