American drones were decimating the upper ranks of Al Qaeda, his men were killing suspected spies, and Osama bin Laden wondered: Could an Iranian dentist have planted a tracking device in his wife’s tooth?
“The size of the chip is about the length of a grain of wheat and the width of a fine piece of vermicelli,” he wrote, using the nom de guerre Abu Abdallah.
The letter was among thousands of pages of documents and other materials seized by Navy SEALs during the raid on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011, and it was declassified on Tuesday along with 112 other pieces of writings and letters found in the Qaeda leader’s hide-out.
Among the newly released documents was what appeared to be a will written by Bin Laden, in which he said he had about $29 million in Sudan. If he was killed, it said, he hoped his family will “obey my will and to spend all the money that I have left in Sudan on Jihad.”
The documents provide a glimpse of Bin Laden’s thinking during his final years and at the struggle to keep Al Qaeda’s main branch and its offshoots in line and focused as American drone strikes killed the group’s senior leaders and demoralized its foot soldiers.
American officials have said that the intelligence seized by the SEALs during the raid included letters, spreadsheets, books and pornography. Yet only a fraction of the materials have been declassified and released, and experts have cautioned against drawing broad conclusions until there is more.
Read more: NY Times