US officials will mine the secrets of Osama bin Laden by poring over an intelligence haul seized at the time of his death that a top White House aide describes as a wealth of intelligence about al-Qaida.
“This is the largest cache of intelligence derived from the scene of any single terrorist,” national security adviser Tom Donilon said. “It’s about the size, the CIA tells us, of a small college library.”
Last week, Navy SEALs raided bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, killed him, and buried his body at sea. The information they gathered shows bin Laden actively involved in planning and directing al-Qaida’s plots.
“What we now know... is that he had, obviously, an operational and strategic role, and a propaganda role, for al-Qaida,” Mr Donilon said.
With evidence such as phone numbers and documents recovered in the raid, US officials are hopeful of decimating the organisation.
Mr Donilon was speaking after a handful of videos were released showing bin Laden in propaganda tapes. A task force headed by the CIA is working through the material to find clues to plots that might already be under way.
Even though bin Laden was killed in Abottobad, about 35 miles from Islamabad and not far from a top military academy, Mr Donilon said he had seen no evidence yet that the Pakistani government knew bin Laden was there.
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