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.
The past year has seen the number of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan plummet, according to statistics collected by New America Foundation's Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland. (Bergen is also a CNN national security analyst). In the first three months of 2012, there were 11, compared with 21 in the first three months of 2011 and a record 28 in the first quarter of 2010.
Bergen and Rowland write that the drone campaign in Pakistan had been slowing even before the deadly border incident that killed 24 Pakistani troops and put a freeze on a significant portion U.S. relations. There were 70 drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions in 2011, down from 118 in 2010, which saw the peak number of strikes since the program began. FULL POST
Osama bin Laden's elimination created a leadership void for al Qaeda, setting up a possible power struggle involving the organization's various factions, CNN sources and analysts say.
After the May 2 attack by U.S. special operations forces that killed bin Laden in his Pakistan compound, a "caretaker" leader was chosen by several al Qaeda leaders in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area rather than the group's formal shura council, according to an expert on the organization. FULL POST