CIA releases bin Laden files including journal, movies and video of son's wedding

The CIA on Wednesday declassified nearly half a million documents seized in the 2011 raid of Usama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound, including a 200-page handwritten journal, a video of his son’s wedding and a list of western movies found in the slain terror leader's bunker.

What wasn’t released was his purported porn stash, which has long been the subject of fascination since its existence was first reported by Reuters. Instead, the CIA released a list of mostly kid-friendly movies found at the Abbottabad hideout, which included Antz, Cars and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

The computer recovered in the May 2, 2011, raid also contained the role-playing game “Final Fantasy VII” as well as three documentaries about bin Laden.

The audio, video and image files released are the fourth installment of materials taken from bin Laden’s compound and released by the U.S .government. The first batch was released in 2015, another in 2016 and one earlier this year.

Other interesting finds included bin Laden’s personal journal, which was almost entirely in Arabic.

There was also a video of  Hamza bin Laden’s wedding, providing the world with the first images of bin Laden’s son as an adult. In recent years, Al Qaeda has been promoting Hamza as a key figure in the terrorist organization, but has not released any recent images, a possible attempt to protect his identity.

“Today’s release of recovered Al Qaeda letters, videos, audio files and other materials provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization,” CIA Director Pompeo said.  “CIA will continue to seek opportunities to share information with the American people consistent with our obligation to protect national security.”

The files also highlight bin Laden’s attempts to keep the organization together as well as to reestablish a good name for al-Qa’ida among Muslims. The files also help provide insight into the origins of the rift between Al Qaeda and ISIS, the CIA said.

In addition to terrorist material, some of the files released from bin Laden’s computer include videos of the American cartoon characters Tom and Jerry, several crocheting tutorials as well as the viral 2007 YouTube video “Charlie bit my finger." 

According to the CIA any remaining files that are being withheld from public release include those that pose a risk to national security as well as “materials protected by copyright; pornography; malware and blank, corrupted and duplicate files”.