Washington, May 4: The US will investigate what “sustained” the network for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and allowed him to live for so “long” in the Abbottabad compound where he was finally hunted down by America's special forces.
The US hopes to get a treasure trove of information from the computer hard drive, discs and other materials recovered from the hide out of bin Laden in Pakistan.
The al-Qaeda leader was killed in a US military operation on Monday.
Special forces who carried out the operation to kill Osama also recovered from there five computers, 10 hard drives and more than 100 storage devices, such as DVDs and removable flash drives. The White House spokesman, Jay Carney, told reporters that there are three areas that they hope the information that was collected, the material that was collected, will provide insight into.
“First of all, and most importantly, in any case, is any evidence of planned attacks. Second would be information that could lead to other high-value targets or other networks that exist that maybe we don't know about or that we only know a little bit about,” Carney said.
“Third and more broadly, on the al Qaeda network itself and then the sustaining network for bin Laden in Pakistan—what allowed him to live in that compound for as long as he did,” he told reporters in response to a question.
The CIA has established a task force to study the material recovered from the mansion in Abbottabad in Pakistan where al-Qaeda leader was hiding and was killed in a US operation Monday morning.
“Quite a bit of materials that were found at the sight and collected: Those materials are currently being exploited and analysed. A task force is being set up at CIA to conduct that task, given the volume of materials collected at the raid site,” a senior intelligence official said.
“The real benefit to our security from the raid by the Navy Seals is we've recovered a treasure trove of intelligence that can be used to go after bad guys all over the world,” Senator Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat and member of the Senate's homeland-security committee, was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.
“Our challenge now is to make the most of it and put it to the best use,” he said.
“If al Qaeda operatives begin planning retaliatory attacks, their communications could pop them on to the US radar, even if they use couriers to avoid more easily detected electronic communications, officials say,” the daily said.
The Deputy National Security Advisor for Counter terrorism and Homeland Security, John Brennan, said Monday that US special forces people who were on the compound took advantage of their time there to make sure that they were able to acquire whatever material they thought was appropriate and what was needed.
“We are in the process right now of looking at whatever might have been picked up. But I'm not going to go into details about what might have been acquired,” he said.
“We feel as though this is a very important time to continue to prosecute this effort against al-Qaida, take advantage of the success of yesterday and to continue to work to break the back of al-Qaida,” Brennan said.
“We are trying to determine exactly the worth of whatever information we might have been able to pick up. And it's not necessarily quantity; frequently it's quality,” he said in response to a question.
According to a senior intelligence official, it is a robust collection of materials that they need to sift through. “We hope to find valuable intelligence that will lead us to other players in al-Qaida,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal said bin Laden wasn't found destroying equipment or documents as the strike team closed in. It is unclear if others made an effort to destroy data. “It appears they were more interested in fighting their way out than destroying anything,” an official was quoted as saying.
As the haul is brought back to the US, it is being catalogued and processed. US intelligence officers are currently subjecting it to forensic and fingerprint analysis, it said.
“I think everyone was surprised by the depth and breadth of what he had,” another senior administration official was quoted as saying. PTI