Osama bin Laden papers: top 5 revelations

A new trove of letters seized during the Osama bin Laden raid paint an intimate picture of the inner workings and struggles of Al Qaeda, from its dabbling in the stock market to practices that would make any Mafia don proud.

2. Time to invest?

Jumana El Heloueh/REUTERS
A scene from the trading floor of the Dubai Financial Market.

One letter writer seeks specific advice from top Al Qaeda leaders, including Mr. bin Laden. “Is it permitted to invest funds in the stock market, buying and selling shares, for the goal of supporting the jihad, or investing some donation-derived funds in stock markets and shares?” he wonders.

The response is not included in the released documents, though Al Qaeda operatives are alleged to have used stock markets to attempt to raise money. According to the US Department of Justice, one Al Qaeda operative with links to bin Laden lost some $20 million through a Chicago futures brokerage firm.

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