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

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students 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.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid