WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) — Newly released documents show Osama bin Laden wanted his $29 million estate spent on terrorism, and that he attempted to manage al-Qaida operations until his death.
The office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence released bin Laden’s handwritten will and 122 other declassified documents on Tuesday. The papers constitute the second release of material taken from the Pakistan compound where bin Laden was killed by U.S. military forces in 2011. They show a micro-manager in hiding, increasingly anxious about security, and they dispute U.S. suggestions at the time of his death that bin Laden was unable to supervise al-Qaida.
In the will, bin Laden tells survivors to “spend all the money I have left” to fund worldwide terrorism and implores his relatives who would seek an inheritance to “obey my will and to spend all the money that I have left in Sudan on jihad.”
Bin Laden is believed at the time of his death to have had $29 million. Small amounts of money in the will were stipulated for his three sisters.
The bulk of the released material is orders to al-Qaida subordinates, letters, memos, and drafts of speeches, including a speech about impending war between the United States and Iran. They show a leader attempting to exert power and authority despite worries about security, increasingly disengaged from al-Qaida’s deteriorating structure and unaware or ignorant of his organization’s failures.
In one letter, bin Laden explained how he could run al-Qaida while in hiding, using computers and trusted couriers with SIM cards.
The documents also reveal plans to kill French President Nicolas Sarkozy; a 2007 letter in which bin Laden suggests “pressure should be applied gradually” on the Iranian regime to release al-Qaida leaders and bin Laden’s relatives from custody, and a letter to one of his wives, seeking advice on exploiting the news media on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The trove of information suggests bin Laden was a hands-on manager while in hiding, contrary to comments by former President George W. Bush and his advisers that bin Laden was “hiding in a cave” and awaiting CIA drone attacks.