Treasure-trove of terrorist material seized from Abbottabad compound

Newly released videos show Osama bin Laden inside his hideout, watching himself on television and rehearsing for terrorist propaganda videos.

The videos, released by U.S. intelligence officials on Saturday, were offered as further proof that Navy SEALs killed the world's most wanted terrorist this week. But they also served to show Osama as vain, someone obsessed with his portrayal by the world's media.

One of the movies shows Osama, wrapped in a brown blanket and holding a remote control, flipping back and forth between clips of himself. The small television was perched on top of a desk with wires running to a nearby cable or control box.

In another, he has apparently dyed and neatly trimmed his beard for the filming of a propaganda video.

The videos were seized from Osama's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Officials said the clips shown to reporters were just part of the largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever collected. The evidence seized during the raid also includes phone numbers and documents that officials hope will help break the back of the organisation behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Osama bin Laden was active, in plotting terrorist strikes, issuing directives to the commanders on the ground and was not just simply a strategic planner and leader of the al-Qaeda, a senior U.S. intelligence officer told journalists at a Pentaqon briefing while releasing the five rare videos.

One of the videos is described by Osama as “A message to the American people” that is believed to have been recorded in October or November last, the official said.

He said there had been no indication so far that the Pakistan government was aware of the presence of Osama in Abbottabad.

The U.S. government is sharing information obtained from the materials recovered from the Abbottabad compound with other foreign countries but did not specify if India was one of them.

Describing the material obtained and the treasure-trove of terrorist material, the official said it would take some time for the U.S. to scan through all the information.

Video of raid

A media report has said United States President Barack Obama and his key national security team in the White House situation room watched a soundless video feed of the raid on Osama's hideout in Pakistan.

“In the White House Situation Room on Sunday night, the President and his national security team watched a soundless video feed of the raid,” eminent author and journalist Bob Woodward wrote in The Washington Post, bringing to the light several unknown aspects of the covert U.S. operation that killed Osama on May 2.

Mr. Woodward also wrote how Osama was measured for his height after he was shot dead by the Navy SEALs.

“When Osama bin Laden's corpse was laid out, one of the Navy SEALs was asked to stretch out next to it to compare heights.

The SEAL was 6 feet tall. The body was several inches taller,” he said.

“After the information was relayed to Mr. Obama, he turned to his advisers and said: “We donated a $60 million helicopter to this operation. Could we not afford to buy a tape measure?” the report said.

Woodward wrote it was a telephone conversation last year between Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, the pseudonym for a Pakistani known to U.S. intelligence as the main courier for Osama, and his old friend that gave the U.S. intelligence agencies a big lead which finally ended up in the Abbottabad compound.

“Where have you been?” inquired the friend. “We've missed you. What's going on in your life? And what are you doing now?” Kuwaiti's response was vague but heavy with portent: “I'm back with the people I was with before.”

There was a pause, as if the friend knew that Kuwaiti's words meant he had returned to Osama's inner circle, and was perhaps at the side of the al-Qaeda leader himself. The friend replied, “May God facilitate.”