Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bin Laden Documents Sharpen US Aim

Via Yahoo! News (AP) -

The U.S. is tracking possible new terror targets and stepping up surveillance of operatives previously considered minor al-Qaida figures after digging through the mountain of correspondence seized from Osama bin Laden's hideout, officials say. The trove of material is filling in blanks on how al-Qaida operatives work, think and fit in the organization, they say.

The new information is the result of five weeks of round-the-clock work by a CIA-led team of data analysts, cyber experts and translators who are 95 percent finished decrypting and translating the years of material and expect to complete the effort by mid-June, two U.S. officials say.

Al-Qaida operatives worldwide are feeling the heat, with at least two of them altering their travel plans in recent weeks in apparent alarm that they might become the targets of another U.S. raid, one official said.


There is nothing in the bin Laden files so far to indicate an imminent attack, three officials said. The U.S. has increased its vigilance regarding some of the targets bin Laden suggests to his operatives, from smaller U.S. cities to mass transport systems, to U.S. embassies abroad and even oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

A law enforcement official briefed on the process said investigators have been analyzing raw digital data found on multiple hard drives and flash drives, and that some of it consists of sequences of numbers. Investigators were trying to discern potential bank account or phone numbers that might point to al-Qaida contacts in the United States or elsewhere, or codes that could produce other leads, said the official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the analysis and spoke on condition of anonymity.


On June 8, 2011, Al-Qaida's As-Sahab Media Foundation released a new recorded message from Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's longtime No. 2 and presumed operational head, mourning the death of Usama Bin Laden.

Flashpoint Partners has the full translation here [PDF].

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