Al Qaeda’s leader was in hiding for over a decade. A new account tells us what he was doing.
- By Sharon WeinbergerSharon Weinberger is the executive editor for news at Foreign Policy. Previously, she was the national security editor at The Intercept, where she directed the publication's defense and intelligence coverage. Her most recent book, published in March 2017, is The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World (Knopf, 2017). She was a Radcliffe Institute Fellow at Harvard in 2015-2016, a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT in 2008-2009, and she is currently a non-resident global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has also been an International Reporting Project Fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, an Alicia Patterson Fellow, a Carnegie Fellow at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, a Nation Institute Investigative Fellow, and a Carnegie Newhouse Legal Reporting Fellow. She received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and holds an M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and an M.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Nature, Discover, BBC.com, Slate, Wired, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and the Financial Times, among other publications. She was previously a senior editor at Aviation Week and a co-founding writer and editor for Wired's national security blog, Danger Room.
On this week’s episode of The E.R., FP’s executive editor for news Sharon Weinberger hosts authors Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark to discuss their book, The Exile: The Stunning Inside Story of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Flight. And joining the discussion from New York is Murtaza Hussain, a reporter for The Intercept.
Since the killing of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. Seal Team Six in 2011, multiple narratives have emerged concerning the 10 years between the 9/11 attacks and his death. While many of these stories rely heavily on U.S. government sources, Levy and Scott-Clark chose to tell the 10-year saga of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda’s exile through the eyes of those closest to him, including his wives, children, deputies, and spiritual advisor.
What insights do these accounts give us about Al Qaeda? Did the Pakistani government know about Bin Laden’s time hiding in Abbottabad? What were Bin Laden’s views on the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? And finally, what does this mean in terms of an Al Qaeda resurgence?
Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy are award-winning investigative journalists and filmmakers, who worked as foreign correspondents and writers for The Guardian and the Sunday Times. They are co-authors of The Exile: The Stunning Inside Story of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Flight, which was released in May 2017. Follow them on Twitter: @cathyscottclark and @AdrianMLevy.
Sharon Weinberger is FP’s executive editor for news. She is the author of The Imagineers of War: The Untold Story of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World. Follow her on Twitter: @weinbergersa.
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