Report: Bin Laden Was Plotting To Kill President Obama
David Ignatius reports in The Washington Post today that intelligence uncovered from the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden indicates that the al Qaeda leader had instructed his organization to find a way to kill the President of the United States:
Before his death, Osama bin Laden boldly commanded his network to organize special cells in Afghanistan and Pakistan to attack the aircraft of President Obama and Gen. David H. Petraeus.
“The reason for concentrating on them,” the al-Qaeda leader explained to his top lieutenant, “is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make [Vice President] Biden take over the presidency. . . . Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour . . . and killing him would alter the war’s path” in Afghanistan.
Administration officials said Friday that the Obama-Petraeus plot was never a serious threat.
The scheme is described in one of the documents taken from bin Laden’s compound by U.S. forces on May 2, the night he was killed. I was given an exclusive look at some of these remarkable documents by a senior administration official. They have been declassified and will be available soon to the public in their original Arabic texts and translations.
The man bin Laden hoped would carry out the attacks on Obama and Petraeus was the Pakistani terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri. “Please ask brother Ilyas to send me the steps he has taken into that work,” bin Laden wrote to his top lieutenant, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. A month after bin Laden’s death, Kashmiri was killed in a U.S. drone attack.
As with many of the apparent plots that have been uncovered since the raid, this appears to have been more bluster than anything else since al Qaeda lacks the ability to target American aircraft, and certainly doesn’t seem to have the capability to infiltrate the security bubble that surrounds the President on a daily basis.