CIA releases trove of files seized in Osama bin Laden raid | News | DW | 02.11.2017
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CIA releases trove of files seized in Osama bin Laden raid

The US has published some 470,000 files from Osama bin Laden's private computer, including a personal journal of the late al-Qaida chief. They also contain cartoons, viral videos, and documentaries on bin Laden.

Poster of Osama Bin Laden held by protesters(picture-alliance/dpa/W. Khan)

Osama bin Laden's death in 2011 led to protests against the US raid

The documents released on Wednesday come from the trove of files captured during the famed 2011 raid, when US troops breached an al-Qaida compound in Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden. The CIA had previously published three other batches of documents from bin Laden's personal computer.

"Today's release of recovered al-Qaida letters, videos, audio files and other materials provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization," said CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.

Hamza bin Laden portrait (picture-alliance/CIA via dpa)

A picture from Osama bin Laden's PC shows his son Hamza bin Laden at his wedding

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

New video of Hamza bin Laden

The latest batch includes some 470,000 files in Arabic. Among them is bin Laden's 228-page personal journal, as well as practice reels of political speeches and audio messages. The CIA also released a never-before-seen video of Osama's son and likely successor Hamza bin Laden, apparently recorded at Hamza's wedding. After Osama's death, al-Qaida has promoted the young jihadi as a potential new leader and a rallying point for the terror network, but used only his childhood photographs for their propaganda purposes.

Read more: Six years since bin Laden's death, al Qaeda is weakened but not finished

The hour-long wedding video, however, shows Hamza sporting a trimmed moustache, as he recites a vow to his bride and celebrates the event with attending guests. Hamza is currently believed to be in his late twenties.

Crocheting and 'Charlie bit my finger'

Documents on al-Qaida plans to spread its propaganda through Western media, and take advantage of the 2011 Arab Spring were also included in the trove. Some of the material also involved now-rival organization "Islamic State," which started as an off-shoot of al-Qaida's operations in Iraq.

Read more: Five years on, CIA 'live tweets' Osama bin Laden's death

At the same time, US investigators also found several animated cartoons, Youtube videos, and National Geographic documentaries on bin Laden's hard drive. His video collection included Pixar's 2006 "Cars," and Dreamworks' 1998 "Antz," as well as the viral "Charlie bit my finger" video clip and several videos on crocheting.

Japanese role-playing video game "Final Fantasy VII" was also found on the computer.

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May 2011: US releases bin Laden videos

Searching for Osama

Bin Laden also had three documentaries on himself, including "Where in the World is Osama bin Laden," a 2008 film about US independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock traveling the world in a semi-serious attempt to find the al-Qaida leader.

Other documentaries included "Kung Fu Killers," ''Inside the Green Berets," and "World's Worst Venom," produced by National Geographic.

Some of the materials remain restricted, according to the CIA, because they are pornographic or protected by copyright, while others could harm national security.

dj/ng (AP, Reuters)

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