The United States has released several videos seized by U.S. forces from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout that show him watching himself on television and rehearsing to make statements to the world.
U.S. Navy SEALs killed the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. in a predawn raid last Monday on bin Laden’s 3-story home in the garrison town of Abbottabad. The commandos also seized what U.S. officials described Saturday as the largest terrorism data collection ever.
The intelligence official briefing reporters said the videos, computer drives and other materials showed that bin Laden was “far from a figurehead, he was an active player” in al-Qaida’s operation.
Bin Laden seemed particularly concerned about how he presented himself to the world. One video showed bin Laden intently watching television newscasts about himself. He was sitting on the floor, wrapped in a blanket, holding a remote control, flipping among channels that apparently were showing live coverage of himself.
In that video, his unkempt beard was streaked gray. But in another, he had apparently dyed his beard black and neatly trimmed it for the filming of a propaganda video, one titled “Message to the American People,” that was believed to have been recorded last October or November. The U.S. released the videos without audio.