News / USA

CIA Releases bin Laden Videos, Says He Was Active Terrorist Commander

In this undated image taken from video provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, a man who the American government says is Osama bin Laden watches television in a video released on May 7, 2011
In this undated image taken from video provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, a man who the American government says is Osama bin Laden watches television in a video released on May 7, 2011
Al Pessin

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency says the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed by American commandos on Monday was an active command and control center for al-Qaida, and that bin Laden was not just a strategic or inspirational leader for the terrorist group. A senior intelligence official made the comments at a briefing at the Pentagon Saturday, during which he also released five video clips of bin Laden that were captured during the raid. 

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says the material gathered by the assault team amounts to the largest trove of information ever captured from a senior terrorist leader.  He says there is so much material that officials are still cataloguing it.

The official says the material is already providing what he called "some golden nuggets" of information and "important insights" into al-Qaida’s operations.  He would not provide specifics, but he said the information indicates that bin Laden was involved in generating ideas for terrorist attacks on the United States and around the world, provided tactical and operational guidance, and directed daily operations. He says bin Laden was not only a figurehead or strategist, as some people had thought.


In a written statement, the CIA director, Leon Panetta, said that "further confirms how important it was to go after bin Laden."

The official who spoke on condition of anonymity said bin Laden continued to have a particular interest in attacks on transportation facilities and other types of infrastructure, the type of targets al-Qaida has hit in the past.  He says bin Laden managed to run his organization through couriers, like the one who unwittingly led U.S. investigators to the compound, which had no telephone or Internet service.

One of the released video files, apparently shot during an unguarded moment, shows a gray-bearded bin Laden watching television.  He is wearing a black knitted cap and has a brown blanket over his shoulders.  He gestures to the camera operator to focus on the television, where he is selecting various channels that are broadcasting some news about himself.  The CIA deleted the audio from the video clips.

Another clip is a message to the United States, which the intelligence official says includes familiar criticism of U.S. policy and the capitalist economic system.  In that clip, the beard is black, indicating, the official says, that bin Laden had dyed it to maintain his public image. The official says bin Laden’s beard was gray when he was killed. The official says that video was recorded late last year, but there are no dates on the other excerpts. The three other clips show rehearsals or outtakes from video messages.

The senior U.S. intelligence official says the team also took digital and paper copies of personal correspondence to and from bin Laden.  He said such videos and documents would not likely be in the possession of anyone other than bin Laden himself.

Osama bin Laden is shown speaking in this undated image taken from video provided by the U.S. Department of Defense and released on Saturday, May 7, 2011.
Osama bin Laden is shown speaking in this undated image taken from video provided by the U.S. Department of Defense and released on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

The official also provided some details about the formal identification of bin Laden’s body after he was killed by the commandos. He says sophisticated facial recognition software provided a 95-percent match from photos of bin Laden. And he reported that two separate analyses of DNA from the body matched the genetic profile gathered from several known bin Laden family members, with what he called only a one in 11.8 quadrillion chance of error.  In the American system, a quadrillion is a million billion.

The official says a U.S. government team will take some time to go through all the material, looking particularly for information about al-Qaida members, plans and finances.  In addition, he says the team is looking for links to other terrorist groups around the world and any information about possible efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.  He says some of the information is being shared with other countries, but he would not say which ones.

The official also said the CIA believes it is significant that in acknowledging bin Laden’s death, al-Qaida did not name a successor.  He says that would appear to add credibility to the view that the number-two al-Qaida leader, Ayman Zawahiri, is not popular with all segments of the movement.  The American intelligence official described Zawahiri as a controlling, micro-manager who is not charismatic, like bin Laden was.

The official called the nearly 10-year effort to find bin Laden perhaps "the greatest intelligence success..of a generation."  He said it was based on years of relentless, precision work on the U.S. intelligence community’s top priority.

You May Like

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs