Some bin Laden documents have been released, and even though they are small in number; it’s fascinating and terrifying to get a glimpse into the inner-workings of al-Qaeda.
The Bin Laden documents were released yesterday, one year after Special Forces killed leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. In the bin Laden documents, bin Laden was very much concerned with attacking America and did not want to waste time with other countries. In one of the letters, bin Laden wrote, “Even though we have the chance to attack the British, we should not waste our effort to do so but concentrate on defeating America, which will lead to defeating the others, God willing. We want to cut this tree at the root. The problem is that our strength is limited, so our best way to cut the tree is to concentrate on sawing the trunk of the tree.” According to the Washington Post, bin Laden was more focused on America than he was in trying to overthrow governments in the Muslim world.
The bin Laden documents also revealed that bin Laden and his advisors were keen on American media. Through correspondents, bin Laden wanted to find the most neutral channel to use to spread their message. “From the professional point of view, they are all on one level except (Fox News) channel, which falls into the abyss as you know and lacks neutrality too.” He continued, “ABC channel is all right; actually it could be one of the best channels, as far as we are concerned. It is interested in al-Qa-ida issues, particularly the journalist Brian Ross, who is specialized in terrorism.” Ultimately, the bin Laden documents came to the conclusion that there were no suitable channels. Gadahn wrote, “In conclusion, we can say that there is no single channel that we could rely on for our messages.”
The bin Laden documents also show that bin Laden was trying to better the image of al-Qaida, which had been tarnished by the attacks inside Muslim countries, in markets and mosques, which had killed Muslim civilians. Bin Laden didn’t want to continue seeing governments locking up supporters and hurting charities that funded the organization.
However scary it can be to see how serious the organization was about attacking America again, the bin Laden documents also reveal that the organization is just that, an organization. Brian Fishman from the New America Foundation spoke to the Associated Press who commented on the bin Laden documents that show “an aging bin Laden worrying about its [terrorist network] future.” Fisherman said, “When you actually pull back the curtain and look at how the sausage is made, Al Qaeda is a pretty banal, conflicted organization. A lot of what it does is not, sort of, big, flashy terrorist attacks, it’s just bureaucracy.”