I’m pleased to report that the investigative unit of the PWB managed to obtain some very interesting documents that were picked up during a raid on an Al Qaeda safehouse located in Pakistan’s remote border region with Afghanistan.
We were able to acquire these sensitive documents from senior U.S. government officials who apparently are incapable of keeping a secret. They requested anonymity because they’re not supposed to discuss classified information and they’d sure hate to get fired or prosecuted for disregarding their responsibilities and having no integrity.
After some internal debate, we decided to take the documents from them with the understanding that, not only do we think government personnel who leak secrets are complete tools, but that they definitely will not be invited to the PWB’s annual New Year’s Eve bash.
And we may or may not guarantee them anonymity depending on how liquored up we get at the party.
Regardless, in sorting through the materials swept up during the raid, we located one document, in particular, that had us intrigued. It appeared to be a journal entry dated Dec. 14 and scribbled on two sheets of what our forensic experts identified as a Hello Kitty diary, possibly manufactured in Shanghai, China.
After translating from the handwritten Arabic, it was clear we had stumbled on an important and unique find. As a service to the dedicated, inquisitive and somewhat churlish readers of the PWB, I’ve decided to break with protocol and print the document in its entirety.
The only caveat is that our translation department speaks really crappy Arabic, so we might have missed a bit of the context and subtle innuendo.
Item: Document 175.2a
Source: Safehouse Raid, December 2007
Subject: My New Year Resolutions
Author: Usama bin Laden
Begin Translation of Bin Laden Journal Entry:
Wow, I can hardly believe it’s been another year. One more year in this freakin’ (sic) cave. At least we renovated in early spring… that brightened things up a bit. And Ayman’s idea to freshen up the paint really did make the walls pop with color.
We got cable in August, so that’s nice. Mehsud the Courier is supposed to bring me Tivo for the holiday season along with some operational planning from our Belgian cell and a new pay-as-you-go phone…we’ll see. I sure like that "Deal or No Deal." How funny is Howie?
So, Diary, I guess I shouldn’t complain, although things could be going better in Iraq. Damn those Sunni tribal leaders and their screwball Awakening Councils. Who thought they’d have the cajones to turn on us? How many more do we have to kill before they get with the program? Come on, people, toot toot (sic), everybody on board the terror train.
Anyway, Diary, one more year down. Dr. Patoosh, my therapist, said it would be helpful to make a list of some resolutions for the new year. Maybe help with my anger issues. What a load of crap. Ha. I got that from that People's Weekly Brief guy. He’s funny. Not Howie Mandel funny, but pretty OK. I should send him an e-mail from my Yahoo account.
Let me take a leak, Diary, then I’ll write a couple resolutions.
I’m back. Why is it no one else in this cave can replace the toilet roll? Honestly, am I or am I not the head of a major terrorist organization?
Resolution No. 1
Get more organized. Maybe bring in those California Closet guys or even a life coach. It doesn’t help that Ayman is a slob. Some baskets to hold crap like keys, socks and bullets would be nice. This year I’ll draw up a plan. Better yet, maybe we get on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"… they do a nice makeover. I’ll write a letter.
Resolution No. 2
More death and destruction. I’m feeling pretty good with the death bit, but I sense we’re falling behind on the destruction.
Resolution No. 3
Topple at least one unstable Muslim country. Ayman says we’re losing our grip in Iraq, maybe we look elsewhere. I’d like someplace with nice beaches and a few good restaurants. Is that asking too much? Six years in a cave and I’m white as a ghost. The only color I got is from my kidneys acting up. What kind of life is that for a mastermind?
Resolution No. 4
Improve my on-camera persona. Man, I got a look at myself the other day on video… I’m about as exciting as Al Gore. How come the guys here never tell me I suck on camera? I try to foster an environment where everyone can speak their mind without fear of too much of a beating or multiple limb loss. I need to stop surrounding myself with yes men.
Resolution No. 5
Resolution No. 6
Go on a charm offensive. Dr. Patoosh says I need to be more accessible. That to me sounds like a security problem.
OK, Diary, that’s it. Actually, I do feel a bit better. Although Ayman and I watched the "Today" show this morning and they said 50 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions fail to keep them. I sure like that "Where in the World Is Matt Lauer" bit. Now that’s some funny TV. Maybe I should send him an e-mail.
End Translation of Bin Laden Journal Entry Document 175.2a
PWB analysts will be reviewing other material obtained during the raid in the off chance that we identify further journal entries. Obviously, we will submit any relevant findings straight away.
Otherwise, it’s about time to wrap things up for 2007. The entire PWB staff has skived off early to start preparations for the annual New Year's Eve party.
Every year we set up a disco in our central underground bunker, padlock the armory and bring in extra ice machines for the all-night open bar. This year’s no different, although I have insisted on a no-press policy after last year’s unfortunate incident with the paparazzi.
We’ve increased security this year and as always will insist on a two-drink minimum for those wishing to use the indoor shooting range.
A sincere thank you to all the readers of the PWB throughout the year. We very much appreciate all your input, comments, advice, criticism (actually special software automatically deletes critical e-mails from our network inbox) and insight. We don’t get a chance to answer every e-mail, but we do read and appreciate each one.
For those who have asked, and clearly you’ve got too much time on your hands, I am writing a book that should see the light of day in mid 2008. I can’t disclose the topic, title or number of pages, but it very likely will blow your skirt up and I hope you’ll either buy it or find a pirated copy on the internet.
As always, please let me know what topics you’d like to see covered in the PWB at email@example.com. If we can spell it, we’ll write about it. Till next year, stay safe.
Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector, including most recently Prescience LLC, a global intelligence and strategy firm. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on such issues. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks" as well as major motion pictures. In addition, Baker is a writer for a BBC drama to begin production in July 2007.