Osama’s files ``reveal petty office politics within al Qaeda``

The upper hierarchy of al Qaeda was as ambitious as their leader, Osama bin Laden.

London: Intelligence recovered from Osama bin Laden`s final hideaway in Abbotabad shows senior figures within al Qaeda caught up in petty squabbles and back-stabbing.

According to the Independent, e-mails being investigated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other US counter-terrorism agencies suggest that the upper hierarchy of organisation was as ambitious as their leader, constantly vying for attention and "working the system".

Intelligence agencies have spent the five weeks since bin Laden`s death analysing five computers, 10 hard-drives, 110 thumb-drives and a handwritten journal from his compound in Abbottabad.

Officials confirmed that 95 percent of the decrypting and translating work has been done.

E-mails sent by senior al Qaeda figures in the years after 9/11 reveal heated debate on whether the organisation should commit further elaborate attacks on high-profile targets.

Increased security measures around the world left many debating a shift to smaller operations against (relatively) unprotected targets.

Since bin Laden`s death, many key players in the network have been watching their backs. Everyone he ever wrote to, spoke to, or mentioned is now under fresh scrutiny, US officials claim.

The files allowed them to identify several individuals previously thought to be mid-level players, but had in fact risen to its upper echelons. At least two members of this group appear to be running scared and have recently changed travel plans to avoid becoming the targets of another raid by Navy Seals.

Fresh light has also been shed on bin Laden`s lifestyle since 9/11. Although he continued to talk a good game, there is no record of any terrorist operations he personally endorsed being successfully executed, except for violent incidents in Denmark, which he encouraged followers to commit after publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Intelligence forces are starting to get a clearer picture of day-to-day life inside bin Laden`s compound, where his inner circle lived a Spartan existence.

They survived on a weekly delivery of one goat, plus milk from a couple of cows kept in the courtyard. There were also eggs from chickens and vegetables from a kitchen garden.

Officials haven’t yet determined the sleeping arrangements for bin Laden and his three wives. Although his rooms had the only air-conditioner in the compound, there were no heaters, despite local temperatures dropping to freezing in winter.

That could explain a blanket the world`s most-wanted man clutches around him in one of the videos recovered from his office.


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