In will, Bin Laden says he wants fortune used ‘on jihad’
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In will, Bin Laden says he wants fortune used ‘on jihad’

Declassified documents highlight the al-Qaeda leader’s fears of being located, suspicions wife had tracking device in her tooth

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (AP Photo)
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (AP Photo)

In his handwritten will, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden claimed he had about $29 million in personal wealth — the bulk of which he wanted to be used “on jihad, for the sake of Allah.”

The will was released Tuesday in a batch of more than 100 documents seized in the May 2011 raid that killed bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The al-Qaeda leader planned to divide his fortune among his relatives but wanted most of it spent to conduct the work of the Islamic extremist terror network behind the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The threat of sudden death was on his mind years before the fatal raid in Pakistan.

“If I am to be killed,” he wrote in a 2008 letter to his father, “pray for me a lot and give continuous charities in my name, as I will be in great need for support to reach the permanent home.”

The documents were released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They address a range of topics, including fractures between al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda in Iraq, which eventually splintered off into what is now known as the Islamic State; and bin Laden’s concerns about his organization’s public image.

File photo of the compound where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (photo credit: Anjum Naveed/AP File)
File photo of the compound where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden lived in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Anjum Naveed/AP File)

In a letter to one of his wives who had been living in Iran, bin Laden expressed worry that her visit to a dentist could have given the Iranians an opportunity to implant a small chip under her skin, apparently as a tracking device.

Bin Laden asked her to recall the exact date of her dental work, “also about any surgery you had, even if it was only a quick pinch.”

In another letter, addressed to “The Islamic Community in General,” bin Laden offered an upbeat assessment of progress in his holy war and of US failings in Afghanistan. The letter is undated but appears to have been written in 2010.

“Here we are in the tenth year of the war, and America and its allies are still chasing a mirage, lost at sea without a beach,” he wrote.

“They thought that the war would be easy and that they would accomplish their objectives in a few days or a few weeks, and they did not prepare for it financially, and there is no popular support that would enable it to carry on a war for a decade or more.”

Bin Laden sought to portray the US as mired in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. In an undated letter that appears to have been written in the 2009-2010 period, he compared the American combat position to that of the Soviet Union in the final years of its occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

“America appears to be hanging on by a thin thread,” he wrote.

“We need to be patient a bit longer. With patience, there is victory!”

The newly released documents also reveal Bin Laden’s efforts to implement uniform bureaucratic standards across his terror networks worldwide.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Yemen in 2014. (Screen capture: Wikimedia commons)
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Yemen in 2014. (Screen capture: Wikimedia commons)

One describes the formation of a “chief of staff committee,” which it says is “the group of officers and personnel qualified to work with a military commander,” The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Another document outlines a course syllabus for new fighters. Bin Laden’s “Course of Islamic Study for Soldiers and Members,” includes a list of subjects and skills to be taught as well as a lengthy reading list of Islamic books and materials. The syllabus includes a list of lectures to be delivered to new recruits that included topics ranging from the history of jihad in the Horn of Africa to “a brief word on raising children.”

According to the report, an application for new al-Qaeda trainees was among the declassified documents, that included questions such as “Do you wish to execute a suicide operation?” and “Who should we contact in case you become a martyr?”

US intelligence officials also released a list of the books found in Bin Laden’s personal library. Among the books on history and current affairs, was “The Secrets of the Federal Reserve,” by Eustace Mullins, a Holocaust denier and known conspiracy theorist, the Times said.

Beginning last summer, the CIA led an interagency review of the classified documents under the auspices of the White House’s National Security Council staff. Representatives from seven agencies combed through the documents.

The review is ongoing, with the next release expected later this year.

Shortly before his death, bin Laden hailed the overthrow and death of Libya’s strongman leader Moammar Gadhafi. In a Feb. 25, 2011 letter addressed “to our people in Libya,” bin Laden said al-Qaeda had triumphed.

“Praise God, who made al-Qa’ida a great vexation upon him, squatting on his chest, enraging and embittering him, and who made al-Qa’ida a torment and exemplary punishment upon him, this truly vile hallucinating individual who troubles us in front of the world!” he wrote.

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