Newly Released Documents from Osama bin Laden’s Safe House Contain Some Surprising Revelations
When the Navy Seals raided Osama bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed the al Queda leader, they also recovered more than a million documents and files. A year later, in May 2012, the Obama administration released the first 17 documents. Recently, another eight of the documents were introduced by the administration as evidence in the trial of terror suspect Abid Naseer. Prosecutors consider the documents instrumental in understanding the scope of al Queda’s plans.
While there is some overlap between the files introduced as evidence in Brooklyn and those that were previously made public in 2012, much of what is in the trial exhibits had never been made public before.
The files do not support the view, promoted by some in the Obama administration, that bin Laden was in “comfortable retirement,” “sidelined,” or “a lion in winter” in the months leading up to his death. On the contrary, bin Laden is asked to give his order on a host of issues, ranging from the handling of money to the movement of terrorist operatives.
Some of the key revelations in the newly-released bin Laden files relate to al Qaeda’s dealings with Iran and presence in Afghanistan.
A top al Qaeda operative asked bin Laden for permission to relocate to Iran in June 2010 as he plotted attacks around the world. That operative, Yunis al Mauritani, was a senior member of al Qaeda’s so-called “external operations” team, and plotted to launch Mumbai-style attacks in Europe.
As THE WEEKLY STANDARD first reported, the al Qaeda cell selected to take part in al Mauritani’s plot transited through Iran and some of its members received safe haven there after the planned attacks were thwarted.
In the memo to bin Laden, a top al Qaeda manager wrote, “Sheikh Yunis is ready to move and travel.” The file continues: “The destination, in principle, is Iran, and he has with him 6 to 8 brothers that he chose. I told him we are waiting for final complete confirmation from you to move, and agree on this destination (Iran). His plan is: stay around three months in Iran to train the brothers there then start moving them and distributing them in the world for their missions and specialties. He explained those to you in his report and plan.”
Bin Laden’s reply is apparently not included in the documents.
The information recovered in the raid does indicate al Queda and Iran were at odds in some areas. Iran had detained some members of bin Laden’s family, as well as senior al Queda leaders. In retaliation, al Queda kidnapped an Iranian diplomat in Pakistan. Nevertheless, there is significant evidence that Iran continues to collude with the terrorists of al Queda.