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Among the Memes and YouTube Videos, What Do the Bin Laden Files Hold?

The CIA recently released hundreds of thousands of files seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound. What can we learn from them?

What can we learn from Bin Laden's diary? (Getty Images)
What can we learn from Bin Laden's diary? (Getty Images)

During the 2011 raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, U.S. Navy SEALs collected computer equipment and thumb drives with a treasure trove of information about the terrorist group and its leader. Earlier this month, the CIA released more than 470,000 additional files collected that night in Abbottabad.

Though the contents of the computer files have been used to ridicule al Qaeda’s deceased leader — with porn and Disney movies frequently referenced — the new documents have given more insight into bin Laden’s life. Among the memes and YouTube videos were documents that bolster accounts that Iran harbored members of al Qaeda in the years following the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Ali Younes, who writes for for Al Jazeera English, is currently in Doha, where he has been combing through the files, including bin Laden’s private diary. Follow him on Twitter: @ali_reports

Dan De Luce is Foreign Policy’s chief national security correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @dandeluce

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 WorldFollow her on Twitter: @weinbergersa.

Subscribe to The E.R. and Global Thinkers podcasts on iTunes.

Sharon Weinberger is the executive editor for news at Foreign Policy. @weinbergersa

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