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Newly declassified documents about slain al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden reveal his determination to keep the terrorist network focused on an attack on the United States.
“The focus should be on killing and fighting the American people and their representatives,” wrote bin Laden in one of the more than 100 documents unveiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Wednesday.
The documents were among the thousands U.S. Navy SEALs retrieved when they shot and killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011 at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The Agence France-Presse, which got early access to the papers, reported that bin Laden was intent on attacking the U.S. in a spectacular way in retaliation for drone strikes against al-Qaida leaders.
The documents show bin Laden thought the best tactic was to hit the United States at home. He urged militants to refrain from fighting the army and police in the Middle East, which he considered a distraction from the primary target — the U.S.
He also cautioned his fighters from gathering in large groups and worried about his wife’s clothing being bugged.
The 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act required the documents’ review and release. The ODNI is reviewing more documents for possible declassification if they don’t harm ongoing operations against al-Qaida.
Larisa Epatko produced multimedia web features and broadcast reports with a focus on foreign affairs for the PBS NewsHour. She has reported in places such as Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, Western Sahara, Guantanamo Bay, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey, Germany and Ireland.
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