U.S. Intel Officials Release 100+ Docs From Bin Laden Compound
U.S. intelligence officials have released more than 100 documents that were found during the raid on Usama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.
Intel agencies have declassified the documents more than four years after Navy SEALs descended on the compound and killed the al Qaeda leader.
One letter posted by the director of National Intelligence shows dissent within al Qaeda about launching the 2000 USS Cole bombing, which was one of the seminal attacks leading up to 9/11.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that the release of the documents "aligns with the president's call for increased transparency consistent with national security prerogatives." But Catherine Herridge remarked that language in the National Defense Authorization Act actually mandated the release of the documents.
Herridge cautioned that the documents have been translated from Arabic to English, noting that it will be difficult to ensure that the translations are accurate.
The AFP was given a look at the documents in advance of their release today. AFP's review portrays bin Laden as focused on the U.S., but also trying to maintain order and limit division within the al Qaeda organization.
Citing domestic US public opposition to the Vietnam War, Bin Laden argues that the only way to alter US foreign policy is to "start striking America to force it to abandon these rulers and leave the Muslims alone."
But the documents also highlight deep divisions among the militants over how to wage their terror campaign.
Bin Laden warns that conflict with regimes in the Middle East would distract the extremists from hitting hard at what as far as he is concerned is the real enemy -- America.
Watch Herridge's report above, and see the documents here.
John Bolton, former ambassador to the United Nations, also discussed the release of the documents from bin Laden's compound.
Bolton said the documents show that bin Laden predicted that the Arab Spring would lead to more radicalism.
“Bin Laden saw the Arab spring as an opportunity to enhance al Qaeda’s influence, to pick up recruits,” Bolton said. “That is the exact opposite of the perception of the Obama administration, many academics, think-tank people , journalists in Washington and around the world who said the Arab Spring is really the alternative, the opposite to Islamic terrorism. And I think bin Laden predicted the future a lot more accurately, he saw the Arab Spring as leading to more radicalism.”
Watch his analysis below.
Former Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill, who is credited with killing bin Laden, said that these newly released documents show the difference between al Qaeda and ISIS.
He said that al Qaeda is a more elitist group that prefers “spectacular attacks” like 9/11, while ISIS likes lone wolf attacks and the use of social media.
Watch his remarks below.