Bin Laden: Terror Chieftain, Conspiracy Buff, Bureaucrat

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Open letter to Americans claiming U.S. was losing war with al Qaeda was among more than 400 declassified documents from the terrorist leader.

Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound yielded evidence of the banal bureaucracy of terror, his abiding obsession with conspiracy theories and his hands-on leadership of al Qaeda in the weeks before the 2011 U.S. commando raid that killed him, according to documents released by the U.S. government.

The trove included an application form to join the terror group that asked questions such as who the best contact person would be in the case of martyrdom. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Wednesday released that along with more than 400 books, news articles and research reports it said were grabbed by Navy SEALs the day bin Laden was shot to death.

The documents show bin Laden as an aging general still immersed in the planning and politics of his sprawling network, surrounded by terror training manuals and a raft of conspiracy-theory books such as “The Bloodlines of the Illuminati” and “Secrets of the Federal Reserve.”

An intelligence office spokesman said the material was released now because the White House directed the Central Intelligence Agency and other intelligence agencies to declassify relevant information as it was ready, adding that more records from the raid would likely be released later this summer.

The documents, made public a week after investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article challenging the administration’s version of the May 2, 2011 raid, appear to offer a fresh window into the interests and correspondence of the former al Qaeda head, as well as further insight into his views on the global extremist movement.

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