Emails recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound reveal that the al-Qaeda leader was worried about the terrorist organization’s financial future in the months before the raid by U.S. forces that killed him.
U.S. intelligence officials say bin Laden spent as much time worrying about funding as he did about plotting future terror attacks, according to the Washington Post.
The emails, the Daily Mail writes, depict “an organization beset by mounting problems as its leader remained obsessed [with] a follow up attack to September 11.”
Other al-Qaeda leaders expressed their own concerns in emails to their boss. The head of the organization’s counterintelligence unit, set up to protect the group from traitors and spies, told bin Laden they were losing the “espionage war” because of a “very low budget.”
Bin Laden planned to raise funds for al-Qaeda efforts by kidnapping diplomats and holding them for ransom, as revealed by another email sent to one of his deputies.
In the months before his death, bin Laden opined that al-Qaeda’s support structure was falling apart, and that the organization’s long-held goal of creating an Islamic caliphate was nowhere in reach.
But despite financial hardships, the emails show bin Laden was still dead set on carrying out further terrorist attacks on Americans. “The trove makes it clear that [his] primary goal — you can call it an obsession — was to attack the U.S. homeland,” a counterterrorism expert told the Washington Post.
The emails help intelligence experts paint a picture both of bin Laden as a leader and al-Qaeda as an organization. A counterterrorism official, speaking anonymously to the Washington Post, said intelligence organizations “believe the materials [emails and other terrorism documents] will continue to yield new insights on al-Qaeda for years to come.”