Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Bin Laden 'was actively involved'

A man that the United States claims is Osama bin Laden is seen watching television in video footage released by the US government
Osama bin Laden is shown in a new video rehearsing for a propaganda broadcast

Osama bin Laden was still actively involved in planning and directing al Qaida's terror plots at the time he was killed, US officials have said.

The claims were made as a number of candid videos seized at the secret Pakistani compound where the terror mastermind was shot dead were released by the Pentagon.

The five short clips show a hunched, unkempt bin Laden wrapped in a blanket watching newscasts of himself on a small television, and preparing a video message addressed to the US.

They were among a treasure trove of material - including computer disks, hard drives and hand-written notes - collected by Navy Seals after last Monday's raid at the compound in Abbottabad.

CIA director Leon Panetta said the haul was a clear indication that bin Laden was still directing the terror network responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent civilians.

"The material found in the compound only further confirms how important it was to go after bin Laden," said Mr Panetta. "Since 9/11, this is what the American people have expected of us. In this critical operation, we delivered."

The notes and computer material confirmed that bin Laden's compound was a command and control centre for al Qaida, and he stayed in contact with affiliates around the world through a network of couriers, the intelligence official said.

Intelligence officials hope the information will bring al Qaida, who claimed responsibility for the attacks on September 11, 2001, to its knees.

As well as images of the unkempt-looking bin Laden, the videos show "out-takes" of an al Qaida propaganda video, apparently intended for public release, entitled "Message to the American People". Bin Laden has not issued a video since 2007, and officials were not sure why this one had not been released.

The national security adviser for the White House, Tom Donilon, said the material seized from bin Laden's compound in Pakistan amounts to the largest cache of intelligence ever gathered from any single terrorist, with the haul estimated to be the size of a small college library.

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