WASHINGTON: In the final months of his life, Osama bin Laden was concerned about mounting problems facing al Qaeda and making a concerted effort to rebuild the terror network, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
Citing unnamed US officials who have completed a review of the trove of files collected at Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, the newspaper said the al Qaeda leader was receiving e-mails from followers lamenting the toll being taken from CIA drone attacks and the network’s financial plight.
The documents were seized during a daring US commando raid in Abbottabad in May, in which both Bin Laden and his courier were killed.
According to The Post, before his death, Bin Laden approved the creation of a counterintelligence unit to root out traitors and spies and received a complaint from the unit’s leader that it was losing the “espionage war” and couldn’t function on its small budget.
Bin Laden warned affiliates in Yemen and elsewhere that it was too soon to create an Islamic state, the report said.
The al Qaeda leader concluded that there wasn’t “enough steel” in the group’s regional support structures to warrant even tentative steps toward reestablishing the caliphate, the paper noted.
A multi-agency task force has now been set up to review what officials have described as the largest cache of terrorism records recovered at the Bin Laden compound, The Post said.
The most recent files found on Bin Laden’s computers depict an organization beset by mounting problems even as its leader remained focused on delivering a follow-up to the September 11, 2001, attacks, the paper said.
“The trove makes it clear that Bin Laden’s primary goal, you can call it an obsession, was to attack the US homeland,” The Post quotes an unnamed senior US counterterrorism official as saying. “He pushed for this every way he could.”