Photograph: AFP via Getty Images
Software

A Look Inside Osama bin Laden's Library in 8 Clippings

On Wednesday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released pages and pages of documents found during the raid of Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011. The revelations ranged from alarming plans to kill Americans to a list of software manuals he kept. Here are eight highlights.

  1. He was plotting to kill Americans until the end
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    He was plotting to kill Americans until the end

    A document titled “Report on the external operations” expressed frustration over failed plots against the American embassy in Russia and American citizens in Denmark. “Bad luck and God wasn’t on our side,” the report explained. (PDF

  2. He read Woodward, Chomsky, and conspiracy texts
    Photographer: Mario Tama/Getty Images
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    He read Woodward, Chomsky, and conspiracy texts

    Bin Laden’s collection of English-language books included a mix of historical books, 9/11 conspiracy literature, Bloodlines of the Illuminati (a 623-page book that purports to detail the top Illuminati families running the world), and foreign policy books from respected U.S. writers. The collection included two books by Massachusetts Institute of Technology linguist Noam Chomsky and Obama’s Wars by journalist Bob Woodward. (PDF)

  3. He also kept a surprising number of software manuals
    Photographer: Bloomberg
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    He also kept a surprising number of software manuals

    Among the documents recovered are 30 software and technical manuals for programs including Photoshop, Dreamweaver (a Web design program), an HP printer, and McAfee Virus Scan 6.0. (PDF)

  4. An Al Qaeda job application was found among bin Laden's papers
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    An Al Qaeda job application was found among bin Laden's papers

    After specifying various ground rules for filling out the application, it asks casual questions (“Any hobbies or pastimes?”) and deadly serious ones in a casual way (“Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?”). (PDF)

  5. He sent a romantic “video letter” to his wife
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    He sent a romantic “video letter” to his wife

    In a note filled with instructions in case of his death, he offers praise to his wife, and gives her permission to marry someone else. “If I get killed, and you want to return to your family, then that is okay,” he said, “but you have to raise my children properly.” (PDF)

  6. He feared spying from Iranians, “who are not to be trusted”
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    He feared spying from Iranians, “who are not to be trusted”

    In a letter, bin Laden urged his sons to make sure his wife didn't take anything that could carry spying devices. (PDF)

  7. He wanted to capitalize on Americans' opposition to the Afghanistan war
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    He wanted to capitalize on Americans' opposition to the Afghanistan war

    In one letter, bin Laden writes that one of the organization's priorities should be attacking America from within, and that negative public opinion about wars has led to defeats in the past. (PDF)

  8. He kept a close eye on his finances
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    He kept a close eye on his finances

    Among the documents were income and expenditure records, denoting payments as small as $50. (PDF)