The Central Intelligence Agency on November 1 released hundreds of thousands of documents, computer files and images that were recovered during the May 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden‘s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The materials provided further insight into Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, the group that struck America with terrorist attacks that killed almost 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. There were several surprising materials in the release, including various video files. One of the files that was recovered on Bin Laden’s computer was the “Charlie Bit My Finger” video which went viral during the early 2000s.
To access the full release of files by the CIA, click here.
The CIA release also included Bin Laden’s journal. The agency made photographs of the journal available, including entries from the day before his death.
“Please note the photographs were taken in the urgent hours after the raid as the US Intelligence Community analysts reviewed the material in search of clues that would reveal ongoing al-Qa’ida plots, as well as the identities and locations of al-Qa’ida personnel, and other information of immediate importance,” the description of the journal on the CIA’s website said.
The journal is 228 pages in total, with almost all of it being written in Arabic. Click here to access Bin Laden’s full journal.
Since his death, many have advocated for the release of Bin Laden’s files, with the Long War Journal arguing that transparency “would help better inform American people, experts and policymakers.” The November release of documents is the latest portion of files that have been released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. For the previous releases, click here.
Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan was raided on May 2, 2011 by the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team 6, who stormed the location in darkness and killed Bin Laden at the scene. The operation was code-named Operation Neptune Spear and was led by the CIA. It was launched in Afghanistan and included a total of 79 commandos and a dog, The New York Times reported.
The operation started with the team of SEALs flying into Pakistan from eastern Afghanistan via two modified Black Hawk helicopters. The raid was planned for late in the evening so that the helicopters could enter Pakistan with little chance of being detected, but as they approached the compound, the first helicopter suffered from a hazardous airflow condition, causing the aircraft to crash into one of the compound’s walls. It damaged the helicopter’s tail and rolled it onto its side. The pilot was able to tip the aircraft’s nose down, avoiding further trouble, and no serious injuries were reported.
After it landed, the SEALs scaled the walls of the compound and got inside, breaching walls and doors with explosives.
On their way to where they presumed Bin Laden was, they encountered several people along the way. Bin Laden was believed to have lived on the second and third floors of the compound with his family. As the SEALs encountered Bin Laden on the third floor, he retreated and the lead SEAL fired a shot, hitting him in the side. Other SEALs stormed the bedroom and confronted him, shooting him dead in the forehead as he reportedly used a female as a human shield.
The operation ended a search for Bin Laden that lasted almost a decade. President Barack Obama triumphantly announced Bin Laden’s death in a nighttime press conference May 1, 2011.