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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.