By Pam Benson
Some of the mystery that shrouded Osama bin Laden will be partially lifted as the public gets its first opportunity to read some of the documents seized during the U.S. raid on the al Qaeda founder's hideout in Pakistan one year ago.
A selection of the more than 6,000 documents will be made available Thursday on the website of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
Michael Birmingham, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said 17 al Qaeda-originated documents will be released in their original Arabic as well as English translations. The CTC will provide a short report with an overview of the materials.
The documents were found on the five computers, dozens of hard drives and more than 100 storage devices, such as thumb drives and discs, confiscated from the Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound after bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs during the May 2011 raid.
U.S. officials have described the cache as a treasure trove of material, the single largest collection of senior terrorist material ever obtained. It included digital, audio and video files, printed materials, recording devices and handwritten documents.
By Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank
The editor and star contributor may be dead, but that hasn't prevented al Qaeda in Yemen from issuing the eighth and ninth editions of its online English-language magazine, Inspire.
The eighth edition of the high-color magazine includes the most detailed advice yet from radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on launching attacks against Western countries. In a five-page article entitled "Targeting the Populations of Countries at War With Muslims," al-Awlaki justifies the killing of women and children and the use of chemical and biological weapons in addition to bombings and gun attacks.
Al-Awlaki and the man widely believed to have been Inspire's editor, former North Carolina blogger Samir Khan, were both killed in a drone attack in September in Yemen. It's unclear why it's taken so long to publish their articles. FULL POST
By Mike Mount
The United States does not expect an agreement with Russia this year to settle a dispute about a U.S.-backed plan to place an anti-ballistic missile shield in countries around Europe, according to the senior U.S. government officials leading a U.S. delegation to a missile defense conference in Moscow this week.
The admission comes just over a month after President Barack Obama unknowingly spoke into an open microphone to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev saying he would have "more flexibility" to negotiate on missile defense after the U.S. elections.
The U.S. officials now openly acknowledge there will be no agreement this year.
Speaking to reporters on the phone from Russia on Wednesday, Ellen Tauscher, the U.S. special envoy for strategic stability and missile defense, and Madelyn Creedon, assistant secretary of defense for global and strategic affairs, said because the United States is in an election year and Russia is just coming out of one, there is too much uncertainty for there to be an agreement.
CNN's Stan Grant spoke by telephone with Chen Guangcheng and his wife in Beijing. Chen tells Grant he feels the U.S. government let him down, and in fact wants to leave China. Chen told Grant he wanted to make a personal plea to President Obama to help him leave the country. That seems to be at odds with the U.S. account of the situation given to Jill Dougherty in an interview with Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell earlier in the day in Beijing.
You can watch Stan's report here, and read the transcript of the interview with Assistant Secretary Campbell:
QUESTION: Let’s start with this issue of whether he wanted to leave the Embassy or didn’t want to leave the Embassy. Because some of his friends are saying that Mr. Chen was threatened with his wife being killed if he didn’t leave.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Well, all I can say is I spent an enormous amount of time with him over the course of the last several days. And we have very strict protocols on how we handle these things, and I saw, on at least three occasions, our wonderful ambassador here, Ambassador Locke, ask him specifically, as we are required to do with witnesses around: Mr. Chen, are you ready to leave the Embassy voluntarily? And each time he said, “Zou,” which means let’s do it, let’s go.
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker talks to CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the attacks that followed President Obama’s surprise visit to Afghanistan and whether he believes the bombing was a message to the U.S. President.
Crocker calls the attacks "tragic" but he does not believe the attacks were related to the President's visit and Crocker says Kabul is "a pretty normal, pretty secure city."
The full interview airs at 3pET on CNN International.
Update (12:44p): The State Department is continuing to defend its handling of the Chen Guangcheng deal. New reports this afternoon say the Chinese activist was relayed threats against his family by U.S. officials. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland just released this statement denying that is what occurred:
At no time did any US official speak to Chen about physical or legal threats to his wife and children. Nor did Chinese officials make any such threats to us. US interlocutors did make clear that if Chen elected to stay in the Embassy, Chinese officials had indicated to us that his family would be returned to Shandong, and they would lose their opportunity to negotiate for reunification. And at no point during his time in the Embassy did Chen ever request political asylum in the US. At every opportunity, he expressed his desire to stay in China, reunify with his family, continue his education and work for reform in his country. All our diplomacy was directed at putting him in the best possible position to achieve his objectives.
By Mike Mount
After spending more than $40 billion on an emergency program to save U.S. troops from roadside bomb attacks, the U.S. Army is trying to figure out what to do with tens of thousands of mine-resistant vehicles headed home from the battlefield.
The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle program was rushed into design and production at the height of the war in Iraq as the military struggled to identify a way to protect the troops who were being killed in large numbers each day.
The hulking, heavily armored trucks, designed with a V-shaped hull to deflect the devastating effects of shrapnel and explosions from roadside bombs, played a unique and successful combat role in Iraq. But the MRAP’s extended height and extreme weight means most models can only be used in flat, open terrain or on wide roads, eliminating them from use in narrow and more rugged terrain.
By Paul Cruickshank, CNN Terrorism Analyst
Editor’s note: On Tuesday an American of Bosnian descent became the third man to be convicted of a suicide bombing plot against the New York subway. This account draws on court testimony and documents as well as interviews with U.S. counter-terrorism and intelligence officials.
The e-mail was sent from somewhere in Pakistan at 7:14 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 6, 2009. It was instantly logged by the massive data-gathering computers of the U.S. National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, and at GCHQ, the UK's signals intelligence agency.
The sender was someone known to U.S. and UK security services as "Ahmad," who'd been on the radar of British intelligence since a suspected al Qaeda cell had been uncovered in Manchester that year, according to senior U.S. counterterrorism officials.
But the recipient was previously unknown, with the address firstname.lastname@example.org. Whoever it was lived in the Denver area. Alarm bells rang across the U.S. intelligence establishment. Who in Colorado was in touch with a man suspected as a handler for al Qaeda?
Within two hours, njbzaz replied, "Listen I need a amount of the one mixing of (flour and ghee oil) and I do not khow the amount."
Minutes later, he sent a follow-up: "Plez reply to what I asked u right away. the marriage is ready flour and oil."
U.S. authorities quickly established that the Denver-based e-mailer was Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old Afghan resident alien. He had moved to the Denver area from New York in January 2009 and taken a job as an airport shuttle van driver.
He appeared to be asking for clarification on the quantities of chemicals needed to make a bomb. Flour had frequently been part of the mixture in al Qaeda bombs in the West.
But U.S. intelligence agencies had no idea what Zazi was planning or whether he had co-conspirators. The FBI decided to track his movements and was soon trying to keep up with him.
Zazi left Denver in a rented Chevy Impala early September 9. The FBI was on his tail and asked a highway patrol officer to find a pretext to stop him - and find out where he was going.