U.S. seized Osama bin Laden’s personal journal during raid, official says
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The treasure trove of intel obtained in the raid that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden included a handwritten journal containing his “operational ideas,” a US official said.
Agents are studying the notebook for information on future Al-Qaeda plots, but the official described it as “just one of many things” found along with computers, hard drives, DVDs, flash drives and recording devices.
There were no “warm and fuzzy” personal or emotional passages, he told AFP. It was “more just jotting down some ideas. It doesn’t entail where he’s been or what he’s done.”
The Central Intelligence Agency, meanwhile, began showing US lawmakers photos of the slain bin Laden that President Barack Obama said were too gruesome to be released to the public.
Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, said he was shown 15 photographs taken of bin Laden after he was killed in a US commando raid on May 2.
In an interview with CNN, Inhofe agreed that the photos taken immediately in the compound in Pakistan immediately after bin Laden was killed were “pretty gruesome.”
“One of the shots went through an ear and out through the eye socket. Or it went in through the eye socket and out — then exploded,” he said. “That caused the brains to hang out of the eye socket, so that was pretty gruesome.”
Inhofe said he had no doubt the man was bin Laden. “Absolutely, no question about it. I’ve seen them. That was him. He’s gone. He’s history,” he said.
In deciding not to release the pictures to the public, the White House expressed fear that they would inflame sentiment in the Middle East and be used as a propaganda tool against the United States.
Al-Qaeda-inspired insurgents in Yemen and Somalia have threatened to avenge the killing of bin Laden by US commandos and are chillingly warning the West of a bloodier jihad to come.
Pakistan Wednesday saw the first possible violent reaction to bin Laden’s May 2 death in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, as drive-by attackers threw grenades at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Karachi.
The leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Nasir al-Wahishi, warned Americans not to fool themselves that the “matter will be over” with the killing of bin Laden, the Saudi-born architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“Do not think of the battle superficially…. What is coming is greater and worse, and what is awaiting you is more intense and harmful,” Wahishi said, according to a translation by the US-based SITE monitoring group.
The United States has warned of the threat posed by Islamist militancy in Yemen, the homeland of bin Laden’s father, and has warned of the potential for the country to become a new staging ground for Al-Qaeda.
Top Shebab Islamists in Somalia, including Muktar Robow, Sheikh Hasan Dahir Aweys and US-born Omar Hamami — better known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki — said they also planned revenge for bin Laden’s killing.
“We are sending a message to Obama and (Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton that we will avenge the death of our leader Sheikh Osama bin Laden very soon,” Hamami said.
The Shebab, who control much of Somalia, pose a serious security threat in the region where Al-Qaeda operatives bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
The warnings came as top US Senator John Kerry announced a trip to mend fences with a resentful Pakistan, but also to seek answers on how he came to be there.
In Karachi, two men on a motorcycle threw two grenades at the heavily fortified Saudi consulate and escaped despite coming under fire from security guards, officials said.
“We are seeing this incident in the present context,” provincial government official Sharfuddin Memon told AFP. “It could be a reaction of the Osama incident.”
“We fear that desperate elements are planning to launch a big attack. We are taking precautionary measures in this regard,” he warned.
Bin Laden’s killing has not ignited mass protests in Pakistan, where more than 4,240 people have died in bomb attacks blamed on the radical Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the last four years, but small gatherings have vowed revenge.
Saudi Arabia expelled bin Laden in 1991 and later revoked his nationality. The government in Riyadh, which is allied to the authorities in Islamabad, last week welcomed his killing as a boost to international anti-terror efforts.
But the discovery of bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad after a decade-long manhunt has plunged testy relations between Islamabad and Washington deeper into trouble.
Pakistan is an uneasy ally in the US-led war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan, and receives billions of dollars in US aid annually.
Senator Kerry said that when he traveled to Pakistan early next week he hoped to resolve some of the puzzles lingering since the Al-Qaeda leader was finally unearthed and shot dead by elite US Navy SEALs.
“There are some serious questions, obviously, there are some serious issues that we’ve just got to find a way to resolve together,” Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters.
Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf warned in an interview with ABC News that the United States will be “a loser” if it alienates Pakistan in the war against Al-Qaeda and Islamic militants.