Bin Laden documents: Fear of drones
May 3rd, 2012
04:49 PM ET

Bin Laden documents: Fear of drones

By Pam Benson

The dire impact of CIA drone missile strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan certainly did not go unnoticed by Osama bin Laden, prompting the al Qaeda leader to repeatedly warn associates to take appropriate security measures, according to documents seized during the raid on the al Qaeda leader's Pakistan compound last year.

Read:  Security Clearance's coverage of the Osama bin Laden documents

The letters written by bin Laden were among a number of documents released to the public on Thursday by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center.

In an October 2010 letter to Atiyya Abdul Rahman, al Qaeda's top operational planner, bin Laden noted the experience the United States had in using drones to monitor activities in the tribal areas of Pakistan where many of al Qaeda's core members operated.

"They can distinguish between houses frequented by men at a higher rate than usual. Also, the visiting person might be tracked without him knowing," he wrote.

Drones had primarily been used for surveillance purposes in Pakistan, but in 2004, the CIA upped the ante by firing the first missile from a drone at a terrorist target in Waziristan. Hundreds of attacks have been launched since then.

In a May 2010 message to Rahman, bin Laden wrote, "I had mentioned in several previous messages ... the importance of the exit from Waziristan of the brother leaders, especially the ones that have media exposure. I stress this matter to you and that you choose distant locations to which to move them, away from aircraft, photography and bombardment while taking all security precautions."

He offered advice on where to live in Pakistan: "Kunar is more fortified due to its rougher terrain and many mountains, rivers and trees, and it can accommodate hundreds of the brothers without being spotted by the enemy. This will defend the brothers from the aircraft ..."

Bin Laden explained in an April 2011 letter to Rahman that people should live on the outskirts of cities so they will be less obvious and reduce the security dangers. For those in cities he had a particular worry: "And one of the important security issues in the cities is controlling children, by not getting out of the house except for extreme necessity like medical care, and teaching them local language; and they do not get to the yard of the house without an adult who will control the volume of their voices."

Bin Laden suggested other ways to improve security. On transportation, he warned about traveling in cars and added, "A warning to the brothers: they should not meet on the road and move in their cars because many of them got targeted while they were meeting on the road."

He recommended the timing for movement: "He should move only when the clouds are heavy."

He indicated how often they should meet: "The brother should visit you no more than once or twice a week."

Bin Laden wrote about the need to use code words and aliases and said, "Remind your deputies that all communication with others should be done through letters."

He even warned his colleagues to get rid of the bag that money might be exchanged in because the bag might have a tracking chip.

Sometimes his instructions were quite detailed. In the April 2011 letter to Rahman, bin Laden spoke about how a message to his son should be handled. "This thumb drive contains a phone number of one of our brothers contained in the message for Hamzah, so please do not copy the message for Hamzah and after Hamzah copies the phone number on paper, destroy the card for fear of compromise."

Bin Laden gave some very precise directions to Rahman in the May 2010 letter concerning the possible arrival into Pakistan of some al Qaeda members who had been held in Iran.

"They will go to the tunnel between Kuhat and Peshawar, and arrange a meeting between them and another brother," he wrote. "The meeting must be precise in timing and it will be inside the tunnel, and they will change cars inside the tunnel, so they will ride the car with the brother and they will meet instead of the car they were riding in, and the brothers who are going to drive the car must be instructed on the strict adherence to the timings."

He continued with instructions saying there should be additional car changes, the movement should happen when it is overcast, and they should get rid of everything they received from Iran, "like baggage or anything, even as small as a needle, as there are eavesdropping chips that are developed to be so small, that they can even be put inside a medical syringe."

Five days before he was killed in the Navy SEALS raid on his Abbottabad compound, bin Laden wrote to Rahman, "we with the grace of Allah have been adhering to these precautions for nine years and we haven't heard that any of the brothers were arrested after the events (a possible reference to the 9/11 attacks) while adhering to the precautions..."

Rahman, who rose to the number two position after bin Laden's death, was struck down last August by a drone missile strike in the mountains of Pakistan.

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. drone

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    January 13, 2016 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  2. drone

    Your humoristic style is awesome, keep it up!

    January 13, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  3. tires

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    May 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Reply
  4. Hahahahahahaha

    The sound of a drone attach: sssssssss, boom, baaaaaaa (that's the sheep that was tied to the headboard). Hahahahahaha

    May 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  5. JOSE0311USMC


    May 4, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      America, Europe, Japan, Australia, India and all of the free world NEEDS valiant little Israel.....

      ONLY b'coz while embedded in that hostile land they are the one's HOLDING BACK Islamic radicals from hitting us on our shores (cousins of Al-Qaeda and worldwide Islamic terrorist outfits).

      May 4, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
      • Keith

        Israel causes our problems it doesn't protect us from them.

        May 6, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  6. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Isn't it amazing that these Koranic educated zealots seem to understand so much about technology !!!!

    Ever wondered where all that knowledge came from.........from their Pakistani masters, and the educated Muslim Diaspora right here in the US & Europe (e.g. Afia Siddiqui, A Q Khan, Saleem Shahzad and scores of others and their 100's of 1000's of sympathizers!).

    No wonder the FBI, CIA, MI-6 are more engaged right here at home than in the ravines of Af-Pak.

    May 4, 2012 at 8:34 am | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      Islamic supporters like CNN's own Mr. FAREED ZAKARIA are part of this sympathetic group, given that he has JUSTIFIED Al-Qaeda's terror as a DIRECT RESPONSE to US actions, and NOT on their radical religious ideology.

      Just read Mr. Zakaria's following articles:

      1)Where he squarely blames the west, Russia and his native India for Muslim hatred, holding these nations SQUARELY RESPONSIBLE for NOT MERELY Muslim discontentment BUT ALSO MUSLIM TERROR, and CONCLUDING that the danger is from US and NOT from them!

      a) “Why do they hate us”-Newsweek Aug 22nd 2007 –
      b) “Reflections on 9-11 & Aftermath” Sept 11th 2011
      c) “Why America Overreacted to 9-11” – Newsweek Sep 4th-2010
      d) “How Russia created its own Islamic Terrorism Problem” Time Jan 27th 2011
      e) “Don't Overreact to Terrorism – Newsweek Jan 09th 2010
      f) “India Occupying Kashmir” – Rediff June 25th 2001. In a ceremony while receiving India’s third highest civilian award from the Indian Ambassador to US Mr. Zakaria condemned India for its role in Kashmir terming it Martial Rule and castigates India for its perceived illtreatment of Muslims.
      f) “India Please Stand up” CNN GPS Mar 26th 2012

      2) Where he tries to showcase Muslim radicalism as a direct result of their backwardness & poverty & NOT their radical religious IDEOLOGY (disregarding far more poverty ridden places such as Haiti, Nepal, much of Sub-Saharan Africa), URGING already HARD HIT Americans & Europeans to CONTRIBUTE more, w/o ever mentioning the oil rich Sheikdoms or their own rich people (for e.g. ONLY 1% of Pakistanis pay income taxes-many of whom are far more affluent than average Americans or Europeans who toil for more than 3 months a year JUST to pay their taxes!).

      a) “What People Will Die For – Newsweek Jan 5th 2008
      b) “Put Pakistan (Govt. & Miltary) on Notice” but keep pumping money! – CNN GPS May 13th 2011
      c) Plus all of the articles under (1) above.

      3) Where he deliberately DOWNPLAYS the threat of radical Islam in the west

      a) “Jihad against the Jihadis- How Moderates WON against extremists” – Newsweek Feb 12th 2010
      b) “Learning to Live with Radical Islam” – Newsweek Feb 28th 2009
      c) “Congressional Hearings on threats from radical Islam” Feb 11th 2011
      d) “When Terror Loses its Grip-Time May 20th 2011

      4) Where he PRETENDS to be concerned about America while CONSTANTLY highlighting the fact that America’s best days are over, and the emergence of other powers. While that may be somewhat true, you can see a definite bias in the coverage, almost wishing to see our downfall, just as most Muslims the world over want!

      a) “Are America’s Best Days Over” Time March 3rd 2011
      b) “Beyond Bush” June 11th 2007
      c) “The Future of American Power” Foreign Affairs May-June 2008

      5) Where he PRETENDS to be concerned about the economic decline of Europe & Japan holding their declining birthrates, aging populations, reduced employee productivity as the chief factors, and provides his own PRESCRIPTIONS all covertly designed at greater Islamization of the west – import labor from Muslim countries where population is exploding, thereby build greater BRIDGES between Muslims & the west, create greater opportunities, reduce poverty, and reduce Islamic radicalism & terror. All the while CASTIGATING Japanese & western societies for being biased against Multiculturalism

      a) “The end of an era for Japan-FZ-CNN GPS 01-29-12
      b) “Europe's real problem Lack of Growth” CNN GPS Nov 10th 2011
      c) “Turkey’s Economy is Sparkling” PortTurkey

      6) American school kids taking Mr.Zakaria’s words as Gospel!

      a) “Ohio School Curriculum” based on Mr. Zakaria’s articles & views CNN April 6th 2011

      7) Where he TACITLY DRUMS UP support for Iran’s quest for Nuclear Weapons, blames America for pushing Iran TOO HARD, talks of the nuclear equilibrium with Russia, and also portraying the nukes with Israel, US Europe and even Pakistan and India as a potential threat to Iran!

      a) “Iran is a Rational Actor” CNN GPS March 8th 2012
      b) “The Shape of a Deal with Iran” April 12th 2012
      c) Plus scores of other articles on Iran during March-April 2012 on CNN

      8) Where he PRETENDS to be a friend of Israel and Coptic Christians (in Egypt) while quietly making up a case for radical Hamas, Hezbollah and Muslim Brotherhood, praising them as moderates, and blaming Americans for viewing them as radicals! Also tries to scuttle the peace deal between Israel & Egypt as a treaty between two regimes & NOT two peoples! Holds America responsible for lack of democracy in the ME due to our support for dictators (disregarding the fact that of the nearly 50 Muslim countries NOT even one is genuinely democratic).

      a) “Israel’s Biggest Danger” – Feb 14th 2009
      b) “Middle East Revolt Youth-Tech Driving Change-Time Feb 17th 2011
      c) “In Middle East Democracy Deficit has its Roots in History” CNN GPS April 5th 2012

      9)Where he dilutes the threat of radical Islam, castigates the west for their baised attitude towards Muslims and tries to portray all communities as equally culpable.

      a)Norway “What is the Knights Templar”-CNN GPS July 31st 2011
      b) Plus scores of articles portraying isolated acts such as the Oklahoma bombing, even the case of bombing of the IRS building in TX etc as the job of religious radicals! Just look up on Google.

      So what Mr. Fareed Zakaria is doing in America is very much like what his highly educated BUT polygamist father Mr. Rafiq Zakaria did in India blaming India for much of the ills of Indian Muslims, and also famously deriding immensely patriotic Indian Muslims such as Dr.Abdul Kalaam (the father of the Indian Missile program and Ex-President of India) as a NON-MUSLIM due to Dr.Kalaam’s appreciation of Hindu values!!!!

      May 4, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
      • :)

        India treats its Muslims like shit. Always has. Hence the formation of Pakistan.

        May 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
      • Amit-Atlanta-USA

        If your assertion that muslims are illtreated in India are correct India would not be having as many Muslims as in Pakistan, and Muslim population would not be xploding with illgela migration from Muslim Bangladesh.

        In fact India's Muslim population may already have surpassed that of Pakistan if NOT for India's census board's lies not to scare the Hindus and other PATRIOTIC non-Muslim minorities!

        And ofcourse India would not have had a Muslim President, Muslim Chief Ministers, Head of Missile Program, Air Chief, Bollywood stars, richest Businessmen – the hugely patriotic Azim Premji etc. etc.

        May 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
      • :)

        Ahhhhhh......whatever you say, Amit. Muslims, and others, are still treated like shit in India. Hell, even Hindu's find themselves on the short end of the stick if they're of the wrong caste.

        May 5, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  7. popseal

    There can be only a few things in life more satisfying than participating in such a program as that which put fear in the heart of the ultimate badguy. Way to go 'drone people'!

    May 4, 2012 at 8:25 am | Reply
    • Charlie Brown

      Agreed !!!

      May 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  8. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Government Insider Says George W. Bush planned and Authorized the 9/11 Attacks...

    Stanley Hilton was a senior adviser to Sen Bob Dole and he has represented hundreds of families of 9/11 victims in a law suit against GWB for treason and mass murder!

    Go to for full details!

    Better properly vet and know the character and personality of your republican candidates before you cast your vote! Just remember its your future and your children's future at stake!

    May 4, 2012 at 7:16 am | Reply
    • ger republikins

      wii don lyk u demokrats calin uz republikins nams n stuf. wii don lyk u demokrats cuz al u wunt 2 du iz raz taxiz n tayk awey r gunz n stuf. wii vert fer republikins cuz da represunt uz per pepl. wii don ned taxiz fer skools neder. wii kin bii hom skoold lyk mi dadii an his siztr (mi mum). i haf 2 fex da lek un mi tralr. dos demokrats r makin et rane 2 dey.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  9. Gerald

    Yada Yada Yada has the post of the Day!!! LMFAO!!!

    May 4, 2012 at 3:36 am | Reply
  10. Issac

    Israel is the most endangered, we need aid NOW!!



    Israel comes first.

    If the Arab race has to be destroyed to prevent another Jewish slaughter, so be it.

    May 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • bfd007

      Why should we give Israel anything? And how does Israel help the world? Everyone that thinks running around the world murdering people is in real trouble because the U.S. government will murder anyone that does not agree with them. And you could be next! The United States Government are the real global terrorist remember it was not the Bin L. that has taken away your rights it was your own government!

      May 4, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
    • Jo

      This guy is a Muslim trying to rally the people to hate Israel based on his stupid wild comments. And Israel should fight their own wars. we are not your mom you start it you finish it.

      May 4, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
      • YoungMarine

        I respect muslims more then Israelis at least Muslims dont put up with Israel why does america

        May 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
      • Keith

        There are fundamentalist Jews just as crazy as Fundamentalist Christians.

        May 6, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  11. Everett Wallace

    HEY TERRORISTS! you better listen to the dead man talkin. Be afraid very very very afraid terrorists.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
  12. Facepalm28

    Ten years after 9/11, we still go about our daily lives without constantly worrying about when the next bomb will go off or next attack will come. The men who plotted that attack (those that are still alive) live in constant fear of when our drones or spec-ops teams will find them. THIS is how we should fight the war on terror; THIS is how we will win it.

    May 3, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • Jo

      Agreed! It would be nice if they could take care of it with the use of Drones alone, but unfortunately we have to be on the ground in many situations, to guide our precise munitions. Too many years over here.
      Master Sergeant Jo 18z Operations Sergeant 5th Special Forces Currently Deployed over here.

      May 4, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply
    • Keith

      We don't go about our lives without worrying!!! Your government is spending billions because they are worried, just because you don't happen to think about it doesn't make you any less responsible. They are doing it in your name.

      All the abuses of the TSA, in your name. All the deaths of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, all in your name.

      The inhumane incarceration of people without trial, questioned under torture, in your name.

      Are you that kind of person? If you aren't you better start worrying, and help us stop our Government.

      May 6, 2012 at 9:07 am | Reply

    We have been so crafty and wise Brother,I warn you to not....what? what is that whirring sound? Is that clunking on the roof? Are we beingggggggggg uh, ugh, gurgle, kurplunk...... GAME OVER!

    May 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • Jo

      Perfectly said. You forgot the loud Boom.

      May 4, 2012 at 8:12 am | Reply
    • :)

      I take it that's the sound you make when your step-dad rams his cock down your throat.

      May 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • :)

      Y'know what? I take it it back – it was uncalled for. Please feel free to ream me a new one.

      May 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Reply
  14. Issac

    Israel is the most endangered, we need aid NOW!!



    Israel comes first.

    If the Arab race has to be destroyed to prevent another Jewish slaughter, so be it.P

    May 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      Yeah, that's the same kind of logic the Nazis used to start the Holocaust. Good job, moron.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
      • Issac

        Too fucking bad. Israel comes first.

        Or did you not get the memo in your Madrasa??

        May 3, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Alfredo Fla.

      Issac you are out of your mind. Don't you have your own army? You do it.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
      • Issac

        I'm hardly out of my mind. Your own government AGREES with me.

        Israel comes first, pure and simple.

        May 3, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
      • Lord Haw-Haw

        No, Issac, our government does not agree with you. The chickenhawks, neocons and the demagogues of the religious right, who have gradually taken over the Republican party certainly kiss the asses of AIPAC and Likud – but Obama does not.

        May 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |


      May 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Reply
      • YoungMarine

        i also hate israel mainly cause they can't fight there own wars they need to drag America down too.

        May 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Kodak

      I used to love Israel until I had the chance to live there for a couple years. I'd rather eat fresh dog poop than support that place. Good riddance to Israel and the your god forsaken Muslim brothers!

      May 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Reply
      • Issac

        Israel will spill the blood of your gentile children, should you ever endanger Israel in any way.

        May 3, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
      • YoungMarine

        Sounds worse then Al-Qaeda at least they say not to intentionally kill women or children

        May 4, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Jo

      How do you figure that Israel comes first? You must be another Jihadist trying to rally everyone against Israel. In fact, in all of your posts it is very telling that you are a Muslim radical that is trying to turn the world against Israel.. Pretty Obvious Dipshit. You'll be the next Drone Target so you better hide LMAO

      May 4, 2012 at 8:01 am | Reply
    • Lloyd Roberts

      Lest you forget, Iranians are not Arabs. They are Muslim, but they are Persians. And G.W. Bush did them the biggest favor in the world by taking out the one thing they feared; Saddam. Iraq is now ruled by Shia's and they are hooking up with their Iranian Shia brothers to form a greater Shia theocracy in the middle east to challenge Saudi Arabia's Sunni rule. Great move Bush/Cheney. How did you Saudi masters let you take out Saddam, I don't know

      May 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • Keith

      How about my idea, Let both of them, Jews and Muslims, destroy each other and then the world would be a bit more peaceful

      May 6, 2012 at 9:09 am | Reply
  15. a disgrace

    doing everything they could to get the disgrace obama elected was the worse thing terrorists could ever due to america.obama's failure was their greatest victory!

    May 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply
    • nedgrace

      And you, my friend, are a disgrace to the English language. Have you considered a GED?

      May 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Reply
      • JayBee

        or perhaps a certificate of graduation from the local middle school, for that is a requirement for one to obtain a GED. Good luck identifying the difference between a plateau and valley on the big exam 'a disgrace'.

        I love how all of you silly conservatives offer no facts to support any of your claims. Typical. Has Obama made your life worse or more difficult in anyway? i doubt it.

        May 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |
      • JayBee

        @ nedgrace- agreed.

        May 4, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Alfredo Fla.

      That mad man Bush who started a war with a lie and ran the economy into ruin is the disgrace. Unpaid for wars and tax cuts... smart idea :/

      May 3, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Reply
    • Franky

      Your posts confuse, how did Obama fail, last time I checked these terrorists were falling left and right. Barak Hussein ain't to be messed with. Note Bin Laden wanted Barak Hussein dead! He said Mittens would be to busy counting his money and making up his next lay off list, as well as sending over the the outsourcing request, to be concerned with him, Bin Laden.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  16. Issac

    This tech should be used to kill the leading families in Iran, Gaza, Lebannon, and Syria.

    The children must be destroyed, or the terrorist vendetta against Israel will continue.

    Israel must be the focus of US interest in the middle east.

    These drones can destroy the enemies of Israel, and at a very afforable price.

    Israel comes first.

    May 3, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Reply
    • Franky

      Hey, Isaac that's cool and all, but did we ask you to fight our war? No we didn't. So, I'm just saying ... when you are ready to invade Afghanistan for us, we would appreciate it.


      May 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • Max

      Your country is played out. Sorry.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
    • JayBee

      Kill children? really? you are a radical islamist, I have no doubt about that now. Or perhaps I'm wrong. Maybe you illustrate to us what the real attitude of Israelis is. If you truely are an Israeli and if you truely do speak for your fellow countrymen then it appears we were all wrong about who the real terrorists are.

      May 4, 2012 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • JayBee

      Imagine what this world would be like had we in the west not taken a chunk out of muslim land and given it to the jews. It would be a completely different world and i would venture to say it would be far more peaceful. Your people had your chance at self-determination. And they failed. There was no Jewish state. Then Hitler came along and committed his horrible attrocities which led the west to determine your future for you. And thus your artificial state was created.

      May 4, 2012 at 10:09 am | Reply
    • Keith

      I will agree as long as Bebe is on the list with the others

      May 6, 2012 at 9:11 am | Reply

    bin laden is dead n gone

    May 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Reply

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