CIA releases a raft of files seized during Osama bin Laden raid

Material snatched by U.S. Navy SEALs in an pre-dawn raid which killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011 was released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on Wednesday.

Some 470,000 files extracted from the terrorist leader’s personal computer included a personal journal the Islamist militant kept, cartoons, videos and a documentary on his life.

The CIA had previously released documents taken from the terrorist’s Pakistan hideout on three different occasions, but this is the largest public release of documents related to the bin Laden raid to date.

“Today’s release of recovered al-Qaeda letters, videos, audio files and other materials provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.

Despite the large amount of files made public, the CIA withheld some data over national security concerns.  The CIA also admitted it had withheld bin Laden’s pornographic material and other data of which copyright laws mandated its safekeeping.

Beyond his personal journal, other documents include:  18,000 files on al-Qaeda strategy, the militant group’s plans for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, how the group planned to benefit from the Arab Spring uprisings and conflicts with ISIS and within the al-Qaeda network.

Additionally, the files also include a number of childrens’ films, a video of his son’s wedding and several documentaries on the terror leader himself.

Of particular importance was the discovery of a 19-page document apparently written by a top al-Qaeda official which outlined arrangements between Iran and al-Qaeda to conduct strikes against the U.S. in the region.

The document also disclosed Iran to be a main abetter of al-Qaeda in terms of both personnel and cash.


[Al Jazeera] [New York Post] [Sydney Morning Herald] [Photo courtesy AP via The Atlantic]