Bin Laden Worried About Legacy and Sought to Kill Obama, Papers Show
In his final months padding around the dark third-floor room in his cinder-block Pakistan hideout, the world’s most notorious terrorist mastermind spent a lot of time in his own head.
He fretted about his public image and the legacy of his organization. He wondered whether he had misnamed it Al Qaeda. He fired off orders, handed out promotions, denied requests for help from the battlefield and sought to direct publicity for the looming 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And as well, he schemed to kill the man who would, in the end, give the order to shoot him dead: Barack Obama.
That’s the portrait of Osama Bin Laden painted by the slim collection of notes and letters made public Thursday by the Combating Terrorism Center, a think tank at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The 17 documents represent a sliver of the vast cache of material on computer hard disks, flash drives and DVDs that Navy SEALs scooped up from Bin Laden’s family compound after they found him last May 2 in his bedroom and put a bullet in his face.
The documents offer few revelations about how Bin Laden evaded the world’s only superpower for nearly a decade. But they do provide, with granular detail, selective insights into the mind of terrorism’s chief executive officer during the years he was on the run.
What is missing from the tightly controlled release are details of who may have protected him, and how America’s Public Enemy No. 1 had spent years living one mile from Pakistan’s own version of West Point, the prestigious Kakul military academy in Abbottabad.