of Osama bin Laden proved a dramatic conclusion to a lengthy
manhunt. Swooping in on special Black Hawk helicopters with stealth modifications,
Navy Seal commandos killed the terrorist leader, just a little under
a decade after his cronies murdered 3,000 American civilians in one of the
world's worst terrorist attacks.
I. Treasure Trove of Bin Laden Emails Could Out Operatives in the U.S.
In the wake of that strike, U.S. intelligence and the world media are gaining
more insight into how bin Laden spent his years after the attack.
Some of those details could prove legally damning for currently active Al Qaeda
operatives in the U.S. U.S. intelligence forces have obtained thousands
of emails stored on approximately 100 flash drives found in bin Laden's
Dean Takahashi of The Wall Street Journal describes, "Osama bin Laden ... would write
a message and save it to a thumb drive. A trusted courier would take it to a
distant internet cafe. ... That pretty much guaranteed that bin Laden couldn’t
be located by ... his email address or his internet connection."
But all of those communications required a steady flow of thumb drives, meaning
that at any given moment the bin Laden compound had drives with scores of
incriminating documents. The emails may be encrypted, but given the
abilities of codebreakers in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and at the
intelligence agencies of U.S. allies, it's likely only a matter of time before
they're exposed in plain text.
Once exposed, U.S. and foreign authorities should be able to subpoena local
internet service providers and began tracking down and prosecuting Al Qaeda
agents. This could essentially cripple Al Qaeda's ability to launch any
sort of coordinated attack on a Western nation, at a time when the radical
jihadist organization is already reeling from the loss of its long-time leader.
II. Apparently bin Laden Was Addicted to Porn
Aside from the emails, Reuters is reporting that
investigators are finding something else on many of the USB sticks...
pornography -- and lots of it.
Tapes show bin Laden watching video on a TV and using a computer, so despite
the lack of a local internet connection, he likely would be able to watch his
hoard of adult entertainment while he lounged in his compound, which was also
reportedly home to at least two of his five wives.
The drives with the porn on them were found strewn around his compound
reportedly, along with some common pharmaceutical products like aspirin and
several tubs of Vaseline.
It is not clear where the porn came from or what kind of porn was in bin
Laden's treasure trove, but it's likely it was delivered from internet cafes by
bin Laden's Al Qaeda cohorts. In some Middle Eastern nations like Saudi
Arabia watching pornography commands severe corporal punishment. Of
course, the ruling royalty of the nation often ignores such provisions -- like
provisions banning alcohol.
Islam's holy book, The Qur'an, like the Bible, contains passages that are
interpreted by strict denominations to mean that pornography is sinful.
Thus most Islamic churches -- like fundamentalist branches of
Christianity -- forbid their members from viewing it.
Much as he grossly violated his own security procedures that he authored in Al
Qaeda's handbook -- potentially costing his associates their freedom -- bin
Laden appears to have grossly violated central tenets of the radical religion
for which he was willing to kill. Hopefully that revelation, along with
the wealth of digital information obtained by U.S. Intelligence will deter
future would-be terrorists.