Letters from Osama bin Laden to his aides show the terrorist was plotting to kill President Obama and US General David Petraeus. David Ignatius of the Washington Post was given exclusive access to the documents and shares what he learned.
Osama bin Laden told his followers to work on a plan to kill Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus by attacking their aircraft, according to documents found in the slain terror leader’s compound, The Washington Post reported Friday.
The Post said that it had been given an exclusive look at “some of these remarkable documents,” which it said had been declassified and would be made public soon.
AP Photo/Department of Defense, File
This undated image from video seized from the walled compound of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan and released by the U.S. Department of Defense shows a man identified by the U.S. government as Osama Bin Laden in front of a television.
Administration officials told the Post that the plot to kill Obama and Petraeus had not reached the stage where it was a serious threat. The Post said it was “probably bluster,” but was a "chilling reminder" of the scale of bin Laden's ambition.
“The reason for concentrating on them,” bin Laden told an al-Qaida officer, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, according to the Post report, “is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make (Vice President Joe) Biden take over the presidency. … Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour… and killing him would alter the (Afghan) war’s path.”
Bin Laden: Al-Qaida has image problem
Bin Laden also told Atiyah to concentrate “every effort that could be spent on attacks in America,” and to “ask the brothers in all regions if they have a brother … who can operate in the U.S. [He should be able to] live there, or it should be easy for him to travel there,” the Post report said.
Arshad Butt / AP
The world reacts after Osama bin Laden is killed in a U.S. military operation in Pakistan.
The documents also show bin Laden was worried about al-Qaida’s image – to the point that he thought it should change its name.
The Post said bin Laden believed his terror network had a brand problem because U.S. officials “have largely stopped using the phrase ‘the war on terror’ in the context of not wanting to provoke Muslims,” instead talking about the war against al-Qaida.
He suggested 10 alternatives, the paper reported, with one being “Taifat al-tawhid wal-jihad,” or Monotheism and Jihad Group.
Bin Laden also described the killing of Muslims by al-Qaida as “mistakes” and “miscalculations” and said ever local leader should be told to avoid “unnecessary civilian casualties.”
NBC's Andrea Mitchell profiles Osama bin Laden who commanded a business empire dedicated to terrorism.
The 54-year-old terror leader was killed by a U.S. raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2 last year.
He had lived there since mid-2005 with his three wives, eight children, five grandchildren and others, making a total of 28 people. His 24-year-old son Khaled was also killed in the raid.
Pakistan intelligence officials and an al-Qaida member said there were concerns about his mental health before his death, according to Brig. Shaukat Qadir, a retired Pakistani army officer who spent months researching the events surrounding bin Laden's death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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