The Pentagon on Saturday released five videos recovered from Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, revealing the first glimpses of the al-Qaida leader’s life behind the compound walls.
One video shows a grey-bearded bin Laden wrapped in a blanket on the floor, watching news coverage of himself on a small television. The room is barren and undecorated, with a rolled-up carpet beside him and wires hanging from an outlet in the wall. Officials said another video contains a never-released message to the American people, according to the Los Angeles Times. The videos were released without audio to avoid spreading terrorist propaganda.
An intelligence official interviewed by the New York Times said the videos indicate that bin Laden was intensely focused on his image and deeply immersed in the terrorist group al-Qaida’s propoganda efforts. While his beard was white in these videos, he appeared to have dyed it black for the videos released to his followers, creating a younger looking appearance.
The New York Times reports that a senior intelligence official characterized the materials collected from the compound as “the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever,” and that they also include “hundreds of computer storage devices, hard drives, videos, documents and personal papers.”