A major U.S. newspaper reports Osama bin Laden ordered al-Qaida to assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama and General David Petraeus, who was then the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported Friday documents taken from bin Laden’s compound describe the scheme. Bin Laden wrote that killing Obama would ensure Vice President Joe Biden would come to power, someone bin Laden said was “totally unprepared” for the post.
Bin Laden suggested Pakistani terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri carry out the attack against the U.S. president. Kashmiri was killed in a U.S. drone strike last June.
U.S. officials and analysts say there is no evidence al-Qaida was anywhere near ready to mount the proposed attacks.
U.S. special commandos killed bin Laden in a covert raid on his house in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad last May 2. The assault team also confiscated a wealth of material, including video clips and personal correspondence of the al-Qaida leader. One CIA official called it “the largest trove of information ever captured from a senior terrorist leader,” and said the material offered “important insights” into al-Qaida’s operations.
Ignatius said the bin Laden documents will soon be available publicly.
The Washington Post writer says in the documents he reviewed, bin Laden called for his deputies to focus their energy on attacks within the U.S. instead of on U.S. targets in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says bin Laden also wrote about “mistakes” and “miscalculations” his terrorist organization had made, including being responsible for killing fellow Muslims, which he said had tarnished the organization’s image in the Muslim world.
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