First it emerged Osama Bin Laden spent hours watching videos of himself as he callously planned new terror attacks against the ‘decadent’ West. But now it appears the Al Qaeda Leader may have watched something else as he hid in his squalid lair – pornography.
Current and former U.S. officials said on Friday that a stash of pornography was found among the trove of evidence seized from Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound by U.S. Navy SEALs, according to the report confirmed by ABC News and Reuters.
The existence of the pornography stash, which one U.S. official said was “huge,” was first reported by Reuters. The official said the pornographic material was found in a wooden box in bin Laden’s bedroom and included electronically recorded videos.
The officials said they were not yet sure precisely where in the compound the pornography was discovered or who had been viewing it. Specifically, the officials said they did not know if bin Laden himself had acquired or viewed the materials.
Though bin Laden’s compound did not have an internet connection or other hard-wired networks, a video recovered by the SEALs and publicized by the White House showed bin Laden watching himself on a television while inside the compound, suggesting those in the compound could play back videos.
The discovery of the pornographic videos is just the latest in a steady stream of information gleaned from evidence obtained by the SEALs during the mission that killed bin Laden nearly two weeks ago, from invaluable intelligence on al Qaeda operations to embarrassing personal revelations about the terror leader.
Three U.S. officials who have seen evidence gathered during investigations of other Islamic militants said it is not unusual to discover porn in such cases. Yesterday it emerged that, rather than being a reclusive figure, Bin Laden kept in constant contact with his network of terrorists to plot attacks across the globe.
Officials are analyzing one million pages of data recovered and said they’ve learned more about al Qaeda in the past ten days than in the last ten years combined.
The cache of electronic and handwritten materials includes numerous hallmark al Qaeda plots including attacks on infrastructure targets such as water supply and transportation including rail and air, in what one official described as a “strategic guide for how to attack the U.S.”
Recently, officials said the al Qaeda leader wanted to find a way to kill President Obama and had aspired to attack the U.S. rail system.
A “professional journal” apparently handwritten by bin Laden also revealed that he encouraged attacks against smaller cities in the U.S. and was in communication with the Yemeni branch of al Qaeda, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which U.S. officials have recently described as the greatest threat to America.
The al Qaeda leader even allegedly tallied how many American lives it would cost to force a U.S. withdrawal from the Arab world, according to officials cited in the AP report. [via Reuters and The Guardian (UK)]