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Terrorism & Security

Bin Laden journal reveals his calculations for another 9/11-style attack

The release of more information seized from Osama bin Laden's compound revealed that he thought only another 9/11-scale attack would force the US out of the Arab world.

By Correspondent / May 12, 2011

In this Dec. 24, 1998 file photo, al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in the mountains of Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan.

Rahimullah Yousafzai/AP/File

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The ongoing study of files recovered from Osama bin Laden's compound revealed that he wanted to plan another 9/11-scale attack on the US, which he hoped would shock the US into ending its presence in the Middle East.

As information from the files is studied, it is becoming increasingly clear to US officials that bin Laden remained very involved in Al Qaeda's operations from his hiding spot in Abbottabad. It remains to be seen, however, if this will convince Pakistani officials that the 9/11 mastermind was more than an "out-of-touch figurehead" whose presence deep inside Pakistan was of little consequence, as they have suggested.

Citing bin Laden's handwritten journal and information gleaned from computer files recovered in the May 2 raid, US officials told the Associated Press that the Saudi-born terrorist calculated how many Americans he thought would have to die in order for the US to leave the Arab world and decided that the small attacks since 9/11 would not be enough – that thousands had to die at once, like they did in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Bin Laden was cognizant of US counterterrorism defenses and educated his followers on how to evade them, according to the AP. He also urged them to focus plots not just on New York City, but other large cities, such as Los Angeles, and smaller cities throughout the country. He insisted they consider trains as a target, not just planes.

The files show that bin Laden was involved in every terror plot in the past year that the US knew about, including those in Europe that had the continent on alert for weeks. He was also in contact with Al Qaeda franchises that the US thought were working independently, such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), although it does not seem like he was able to coordinate the various franchises' activities.

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