Editor's note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst and the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad," from which this essay is adapted.
By Peter Bergen
There is no better way for historians to assess Osama bin Laden's thinking and the real state of al Qaeda as it was understood by its leaders in the years after 9/11 than the "treasure trove" of more than 6,000 documents that were recovered by the U.S. Navy SEALs who raided bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a year ago.
In those documents we hear bin Laden speak in his own voice, unaware, of course, that one day his most private musings would end up in the hands of the CIA.
The documents paint a portrait of a man who was simultaneously an inveterate micromanager but was also someone almost delusional in his belief that his organization could still force a change in American foreign policies in the Muslim world if only he could get another big attack organized inside the United States - something some of his subordinates were quite skeptical about given al Qaeda's diminished capabilities.
By Barbara Starr
The U.S. Southern Command expects to finish questioning early this week 12 military members suspected of potential misconduct in Cartagena, Colombia during President Barack Obama's recent visit there, a Defense Department official said Monday.
The investigating officer conducting those interviews will then forward his report, along with recommendations, to military lawyers for review, and then to Gen. Douglas Fraser, commanding general of the U.S. Southern Command.
Hundreds of documents were discovered by German cryptologists embedded inside a pornographic movie on a memory disk belonging to a suspected al Qaeda operative arrested in Berlin last year. Details of the documents were obtained by CNN and reveal an inside track on some of the terror group's most audacious plots and a road map for future operations.
Future plots include the idea of seizing cruise ships and carrying out attacks in Europe similar to the gun attacks by Pakistani militants that paralyzed the Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008. Ten gunmen killed 164 people in that three-day rampage. Read the full story FULL POST
By Suzanne Kelly
The Obama administration publicly justified its use of unmanned drones to target suspected terrorists overseas for the first time Monday, with a top official saying the strikes are conducted "in full accordance with the law."
John Brennan, President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser said strikes are used when the option of capture is not feasible. Brennan discussed the strikes during a Monday address at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think-tank.
"President Obama said here five years ago, if another nation cannot or will not take action, we will," Brennan said. "And it is an unfortunate fact that to save many innocent lives we are sometimes obliged to take lives - the lives of terrorists who seek to murder our fellow citizens."
The program utilizes unmanned aerial vehicles, often equipped with Hellfire missiles, to target al Qaeda operatives in remote locations overseas - often on the territory of U.S. allies such as Pakistan and Yemen. Brennan said the United States "respects national sovereignty and international law" and is guided by the laws of war in ordering those attacks.
By CNN Wire Staff
As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepared to depart Monday night for China, President Barack Obama was tight-lipped about the whereabouts of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng and his potential impact on the discussions to be held this week in Beijing.
"Obviously, I'm aware of the press reports on the situation in China, but I'm not going to make a statement on the issue," Obama said in response to a question about whether Chen was under U.S. protection and whether the United States would grant him asylum if he were to ask for it.
"What I would like to emphasize is that every time we meet with China, the issue of human rights comes up," Obama said during a joint news conference with Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the White House.
"It is our belief that not only is that the right thing to do, because it comports with our principles and our belief in freedom and human rights, but also because we actually think China will be strong as it opens up and liberalizes its own system."