Osama Bin Laden the Environmentalist?: New Batch of Documents Released From “Bin Laden’s Bookshelf”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently released a second batch of declassified material taken from Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan after his successful execution by U.S. Navy SEALs in May of 2011.  This second release comes almost a year after the initial release of documents from the Bin Laden compound on May 20, 2015 and illustrates the ODNI’s continued effort to comply with President Obama’s call for increased transparency and the 2014 Intelligence Authorization Act.

Though a copy of “Jihad for Dummies” was never found on his bookshelf, other gems were found, including a rambling letter to the American public urging them to fight climate change, Osama Bin Laden’s will, and a letter to one of his wives in which he voices his concerns about Iranian intelligence officials inserting a tracking chip into her during a routine dental visit.  Overall, this release reflects “on a range of topics, including reporting fissures between Al-Qaeda (AQ) and AQ in Iraq and bin Laden’s concern about AQ’s public image—and his desire to depict AQ as a united organization.”

These releases continue to include treasure troves of information for students, analysts, and others hoping to conduct research on the former terrorist leader and Al-Qaeda.  A third batch is expected to be released later this year, but the exact date is unclear due to the time consuming process of the Intelligence Community having to review hundreds of additional documents ensuring that “no declassified document will directly injure efforts to keep the nation secure.”