May 3rd, 2012
10:42 AM ET

The Osama bin Laden documents

Scores of pages of al Qaeda documents seized in last year's U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden were released Thursday.

They comprise 175 pages in the original Arabic of letters and drafts from bin Laden and other key al Qaeda figures, including the American Adam Gadahn and Abu Yahya al-Libi.

Throughout the day, Security Clearance will be posting new stories here

The Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, published the papers on its website.  Here are the center's brief description of the documents. You can click the links for the English translations: FULL POST

Public will get to read seized bin Laden documents
Pakistan demolishes compound in Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden lived
May 2nd, 2012
06:23 PM ET

Public will get to read seized bin Laden documents

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.


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Filed under: 1 Year After Bin Laden's Death • 9/11 • Al Qaeda • AQAP • CIA • Intelligence • ODNI • Osama bin Laden • Osama bin Laden documents • Pakistan • Terrorism
Bin Laden: Seized documents show delusional leader and micromanager
A trove of documents found at Osama bin Laden's compound reveal his methods and thoughts, Peter Bergen writes.
April 30th, 2012
10:33 PM ET

Bin Laden: Seized documents show delusional leader and micromanager

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.

Read more of the story here.

Ignoring bin Laden's advice
April 27th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

Ignoring bin Laden's advice

By Adam Levine

No sooner did Osama bin Laden get killed than his advice was being ignored by his adherents.

That revelation is included in Peter Bergen's blockbuster article in Time magazine describing the al Qaeda leader's life in Abbottabad. Bergen, who is also CNN's terrorism analyst, has seen some of the documents seized by the U.S. Special Operations Forces during the bin Laden raid a year ago.

Bergen reports that the al Qaeda leader warned smaller splinter groups about attaching themselves to the al Qaeda franchise.

"On Aug. 7, 2010, he wrote to the leader of the brutal al-Shabaab militia in Somalia to warn that declaring itself part of al-Qaeda would only attract enemies and make it harder to raise money from rich Arabs," Bergen noted in the Time magazine article.

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