The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on Wednesday released a vast archive of nearly 470,000 files found on a computer seized in the May 2, 2011, US raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo authorized the release in the interest of transparency and to enhance public understanding of Qaeda and its former leader.
"Today's release ... provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization," said Pompeo.
One 19-page document describes an offer by Iran to provide Qaeda with “money, arms” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf”, according to the Guardian, quoting The Long War Journal, a US-based website, which has received some material in advance and reported that the documents give new details of the terrorist group’s relationship with Iran.
But the files also show Tehran and the extremists sometimes had stark disagreements, and bin Laden once wrote to Iranian leader Ali Khamenei to demand his relatives be released.
"Other files show that Qaeda kidnapped an Iranian diplomat in order to force an exchange," according to Thomas Joscelyn, a scholar from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
"Osama bin Laden's correspondence shows that he and his lieutenants were also concerned that the Iranians would track (his son) Hamza or other family members after they were released."
Mor so, the documents confirmed the previously reported visits by Osama bin Laden to Western countries, including his visit to Britain as a teenager for treatment, when he says that he discovered that the West community was “a morally loose society”. He returned the following year for study, spending about 10 weeks in Oxford to study English.