U.S. Scores Intelligence Coup In Raid On Bin Laden Hideout

In addition to taking out the leader of al Qaeda, Sunday’s raid in Pakistan apparently yielded a treasure trove of intelligence:

The assault force of Navy SEALs snatched a trove of computer drives and disks during their weekend raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, yielding what a U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence.”

The special operations forces grabbed personal computers, thumb drives and electronic equipment during the lightning raid that killed bin Laden, officials told POLITICO.

“They cleaned it out,” one official said. “Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?”

U.S. officials are about to find out. The material is being examined at a secret location in Afghanistan.

“Hundreds of people are going through it now,” an official said, adding that intelligence operatives back in Washington are very excited to find out what they have.

“It’s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,” the official said.

It’s interesting that the compound would have had computers considering that it had no known connections to the Internet. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if this leads us to any other al Qaeda operatives.


FILED UNDER: Intelligence, National Security, Terrorism, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Joyner says:

    “Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?”

    I’m guessing lots of porn.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    “Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?”


  3. Great two comments in and we’re already talking about Goat Porn

  4. Hey Norm says:

    This really had no where to go but downhill from the get-go.
    Seriously though…the intel is probably more valuable in a real sense than killing the f***er. Thank god Cheney decided to torture KSM 83 times so we could get that nickname out of him!!!

  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    Maybe camel and donkey porn?

  6. anjin-san says:

    Great two comments in and we’re already talking about Goat Porn

    That’s because James knows the death of bin laden is no biggie, it’s about as significant as the release of the “Police Academy” DVD box set.

  7. Hey Norm says:

    If OBL’s death gives the President political cover to get out of Afghanistan then I would say it’s a lot bigger than “Police Academy”. Maybe season 1 of “Justified”.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    Why the hating on Police Academy? I celebrate all things Gutenberg.

  9. mantis says:

    I celebrate all things Gutenberg.

    Even Cocoon 2?

  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    What’s Gütte, Gutenberg?? – The Steve Guttenberg Revival Movement

    Neil, Facebook:)

  11. Maybe they are more American than we though…piggybacking someone’s wireless instead of buying there own.

  12. *thought

  13. jwest says:

    Let’s hope the CIA is lying to us. After all, that’s what they’re paid to do.

    What sense does is make to release a story that the CIA gained information from interrogations, followed leads of the courier and found Bin Laden on their own when it would be more valuable to say they received three separate tips from informants in Pakistani intelligence and see who ends up dead?

    What sense does it make to say we found a “treasure trove” of information and computer files when it could have been more valuable to say Bin Laden’s sole computer was rigged to self destruct and that all data would be unrecoverable?

    We can only hope that the CIA has a reason to tell the story that is coming out other than to evoke a “feel good” moment for the U.S., and that whatever they are saying is designed to make it easier to track and kill the operational side of Al Qaeda. For years Bin Laden has only been important in the sense of being a figurehead, more a fundraising tool than an operational leader. Killing him was valuable for the world’s perception of U.S. power, but the ongoing fight is more important than taking a few bows now.