News / USA

CIA Working on ‘Robust’ Trove of Material from bin Laden Compound

This picture, obtained from ABC News shows the interior bedroom in the mansion where Osama Bin Laden was killed May 2, 2011
This picture, obtained from ABC News shows the interior bedroom in the mansion where Osama Bin Laden was killed May 2, 2011

When American commandos left the compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, they took what a senior U.S. intelligence official calls "a robust collection of materials" that is expected to yield a trove of information about the al-Qaida terrorist network.  
While U.S. military Special Forces troops systematically worked their way through the compound, finding and killing bin Laden and his associates, other members of the team were collecting everything they could that might contain useful information.

President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan talked about that part of the operation at a White House briefing on Monday.

"The people who were on the compound took advantage of their time there to make sure that we were able to acquire whatever material we thought was appropriate and what was needed.  And we are in the process right now of looking at whatever might have been picked up," Brennan said.

Raw footage of the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed:

A senior intelligence official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the Central Intelligence Agency has set up a team to analyze the material in the hope it will lead to other al-Qaida members.  

A former top U.S. counterintelligence official, Marion Bowman, knows what he would have been looking for if he had been on the team.

"I’d be looking for pocket litter.  I’d be looking for anything which would have DNA on it.  I’d be looking for any scraps of paper which would indicate how he is communicating, basically, information that would indicate who he is in communication with, who has been there to get an idea of what kind of network he is still managing or a part of," Bowman said.

Bowman was a U.S. Navy intelligence officer and a Federal Bureau of Investigation official before becoming former President George W. Bush’s number two counterintelligence adviser in 2006.  He has some insight into what kind of team the CIA has likely put together to look at the bin Laden material

"Well, at the very least you’re going to have forensic specialists in computer technology.  But in addition to that you’re probably going to have what law enforcement would call ‘evidence response teams,’ people who are going to be looking for the little bits and pieces that might be around," he said.

And Bowman adds that the team will need translators, perhaps for several languages, and also people who know the Arab, Afghan and Pakistani cultures, to be sure they don’t miss any subtle clues about bin Laden’s activities and contacts.

Officials will not say exactly what the commando team collected, but several news organizations are reporting the material includes a large number of computers, hard disc drives and various other computer memory devices.  

Counterterrorism adviser John Brennan says when it comes to this kind of material "it’s not necessarily quantity, frequently it’s quality" that is important.  Officials hope the quality of the information from Osama bin Laden’s home will prove to be high.  On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney discussed what they hope to learn.

"First of all and most importantly, in any case, is any evidence of planned attacks.  Second, would be information that could lead to other high value targets or other networks that exist that we don’t know about, or that we only know a little about.  And then third, more broadly, on the al-Qaida network itself and then the sustaining network for bin Laden in Pakistan, what allowed him to live in that compound for as long as he did," Carney said.

Carney says President Obama’s goal remains to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" al-Qaida.  And the president’s counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said Monday’s operation will not end that effort, but rather the information gathered from the compound will be an important part of continuing it.

"We feel as though this is a very important time to continue to prosecute this effort against al Qaeda, take advantage of the success of yesterday and to continue to work to break the back of al Qaeda," he said.

This phase of the effort will involve the same type of what Brennan called "exceptionally tedious and painstaking" analysis work, over several years, that led officials to one of bin Laden’s couriers and eventually to the terrorist leader himself.

"Over time we were able to piece together additional information, get the name he was known by, his nom de guerre, associate that then eventually with his real name, associate that then with other things that that real name was associated with, and track it until we got to the compound in Abbottabad," he said.

Former Bush administration official Marion Bowman says the information gathered Monday could shorten the investigation process for some al-Qaida operatives, but he says it will also likely spark new and lengthy lines of inquiry.

"I’d like to be able to say that it may shorten the process.  But I think I’d  be more comfortable saying that it’s going to start a process of finding people that they’re not sure of [exactly who they are], or where they’ve been living," Bowman said.

Officials hope the information will provide solid leads that help them hit hard at al-Qaida’s network.  But Bowman acknowledges that bin Laden’s contacts are likely already on the run and working hard to cover their tracks, meaning that what one official called the "relentless" work that netted the world’s most wanted terrorist will continue for some time to come.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid