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CIA releases 470,000 files seized in Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden

CIA has released 470,000 additional files seized in the 2011 US raid on a compound in Pakistan's Abbottabad that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Edited by: India TV News Desk Washington November 02, 2017 7:41 IST
India TV News Desk

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has released 470,000 additional files seized in the 2011 US raid on a Pakistani compound that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It was the fourth trove of documents, images and computer files recovered during the raid. Earlier materials were released in May 2015, March 2016 and in January of this year.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said the release of recovered al-Qaeda letters, videos, audio files and other materials provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of the terrorist organisation.

At the direction of President Donald Trump, the CIA put online 470,000 additional files seized in May 2011 when US Navy SEALs burst into the Abbottabad compound and shot dead Laden.

The files include a 228-page, handwritten personal journal of bin Laden and about 79,000 images and audio files, including practice reels of public speeches, audio correspondence and imagery gathered or generated by al-Qaeda for a variety of purposes. More than 10,000 video files, including the one of Hamza bin Laden's wedding were also released. 

However, there are still materials that have not yet been released. The CIA said this includes materials that are sensitive to national security; those protected by copyright; pornography; malware; and blank, corrupted and duplicate files.

The CIA withheld release of nearly two dozen videos, including the one titled The Story of India stating that they were copyrighted videos. The Story of India is a BBC documentary series, written and presented by historian Michael Wood about history of India.

"The CIA will continue to seek opportunities to share information with the American people consistent with our obligation to protect national security," he said.

"The materials are posted in the original Arabic and in as close to the original form as possible, modified only so the files cannot be edited," the CIA said.

The CIA said these materials provide insights into the origins of fissures that exist today between al-Qaeda and the ISIS, as well as strategic, doctrinal and religious disagreements within al-Qaeda and its allies; and hardships that the terror group faced at the time of Laden's death.

Other themes in the materials include al-Qaeda's preparations to commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and the group's attempts to promulgate its message through western media.

The documents also provide insight into al-Qaeda's efforts to exploit the Arab awakening for its benefit and that of the global jihad, its clashes with the Islamic State group, Laden's efforts to maintain unity within the group and among its affiliates despite disagreements over tactics and doctrine and the terror group's efforts to rehabilitate its tarnished image among Muslims due its mistakes and negative media portrayals. 

Also included in the material is information about how al-Qaida planned to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the network's work to spread its message through Western media.

They also shed light on hardships that al-Qaida faced at the time of bin Laden's death.

Not all the material, however, was of a serious nature. There was a video known as "Charlie bit my finger!" depicting a boy and his baby brother who bit his finger. There also were YouTube videos about crochet, including "How to Crochet a Flower."

And bin Laden's video collection included "Antz," a 1990s animated adventure comedy about an ant colony, "Chicken Little" and "The Three Musketeers." Also in the collection were "Where in the World is Osama bin Laden" and several National Geographic programs: "Kung Fu Killers," ''Inside the Green Berets" and "World's Worst Venom."

(With agencies)