Bin Laden trove gives new leads
February 15. 2013 10:58AM
WASHINGTON — 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.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the review of bin Laden files taken by U.S. Navy SEALs in a May 2 raid on his Abbottabad, Pakistan, hideout.
The items taken by the SEALs from bin Laden’s second-floor office included a handwritten journal, five computers, 10 hard drives and 110 thumb drives.
Copies of the material have been distributed to agencies from the FBI to the Defense Intelligence Agency to continue long-term analysis, one official said.