The United States has released the documents the Navy SEALS seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011. The more than 100 declassified files included letters of frustrations over the seemingly distorted focus of his followers, letters to one of his wives and children, and even a job application for terrorist candidates.
One of the documents was a letter to one of his deputies, its tone seemed to teem with frustration. In it, bin Laden urged his deputy to inform “our brothers” to maintain their focus on America and not be occupied with fighting local security forces. “Uproot the obnoxious tree by concentrating on its American trunk,” bin Laden wrote.
The documents were released on Wednesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. A Bloomberg report, citing unnamed sources from the agency, says hundreds more documents could be released in the coming months.
The documents further revealed bin Laden seemingly losing grip on his group, which had focused on starting to build a caliphate. Yet he remained focused on attacking U.S. interests within its country and overseas.
“The purpose is to focus on striking inside America and its interest abroad, especially oil producing countries, to agitate public opinion and to force US to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq,” a summary of his letter to an associate identified as “Atiyah” said.
Daniel Benjamin, a former counterterrorism coordinator at the State Department in President Barack Obama’s first term and now director of Dartmouth College’s Dickey Center for International Understanding, told Bloomberg bin Laden was greatly fascinated to create a catastrophic attack against the U.S. The mastermind of the September 2011 attacks seemed to want it badly because he believed it will “essentially cause a pivot in history,” Benjamin said.
The first batch of declassified material includes 103 papers and videos done in Arabic. The intelligence officials provided the English translations.
The Associated Press reports the files were made public as mandated by a 2014 law. It didn’t identify the exact statute.
Included in the declassified files was a job application form for would-be terrorists. It asked a myriad of questions such as hobbies or pastimes of the applicant, the depth of their knowledge and understanding of the Koran, experience in chemistry or communications, even if they had traveled to Pakistan.
It asked if applicants would be interested in carrying out a “suicide operation.” It also required contact details of persons to contact “in case you became a martyr.”
Bin Laden likewise maintained a number of books, such as “Obama’s Wars” by Bob Woodward; “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” by Paul Kennedy; “Imperial Hubris” by Michael Scheuer, the former official who once ran the CIA’s bin Laden desk; “Bloodlines of the Illuminati” by Fritz Springmeier and “The Secrets of the Federal Reserve” by Eustace Mullins, a Holocaust denier.