What secrets did the world’s most wanted man keep while hiding out for years in a thick-walled compound?
Pornography, for one. U.S. officials are gleaning other pieces of information from bin Laden’s wives as well as a treasure trove of materials found in his hideout, including a personal diary, e-mails, and other documents.
Here are eight of the top revelations from inside the compound:
1. Pornography was kept in his hideout.
The U.S. commandos that killed bin Laden found a stash of pornography amid the digital thumb drives and electronics recovered from the raid, U.S. officials said Friday. They did not say whether they belonged to bin Laden or others in the house. Although the house was not connected to the Internet, the porn may have been delivered through thumb drives. The stash also included Vaseline and Avena syrup, a sexual stimulant.
2. Bin Laden didn’t think Vice President Biden was worth the kill.
Bin Laden's diary reveals that his number one target was President Obama, followed by U.S. military leaders including the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Bin Laden wrote that Biden “was not an important target because that position has less weight.”
3. His wives characterized bin Laden as “sincere.”
When U.S. officials interrogated bin Laden’s widows, who were described as “hostile” during questioning, bin Laden’s youngest wife gave him a near-glowing review. Amal Ahmed al-Sadah, a 29-year-old Yemeni woman, called him a “sincere” husband and says she wished she could have been “martyred” with him. Her primary complaint: Bin Laden exaggerated tales of his own bravado for his in-laws. Sadah was wounded in the calf during the operation that killed her husband.
4. Bin Laden had a secret e-mail system despite having no Internet access.
Through an elaborate pass-the-buck system, bin Laden would type a message on his computer, save it on a flash drive, and give the drive to his trusted courier, who would drive it to far away Internet cafes. After sending the messages, the courier would return with incoming e-mail, which bin Laden would read offline.
5. He was a micromanager.
U.S. officials say he was involved with operatives, targets, and timing until his final moments.
6. He didn’t like a flashy terrorist magazine called Inspire .
Bin Laden thought that an attack farm vehicle Inspire promoted, “outfitted with blades or swords as a fearsome killing machine,” was an indiscriminate killing tactic that reflected poorly on al-Qaeda.
7. His obsession with America was a source of friction with his followers.
Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung report:
Some followers pledged their fealty to him; others, however, chafed at his exhortations to remain focused on U.S. targets instead of mounting less risky operations in places such as Yemen, Somalia and Algeria.
Despite the divided loyalties, al-Qaeda wants to avenge bin Laden’s death. Their newest tactic? Targeting President Obama’s step-grandmother.
8. Bin Laden wanted to sow dissent in D.C.
In his diary, bin Laden thought about strategies for keeping Obama from being re-elected, although he acknowledged “the alternative [a GOP president] could be worse.” He also schemed about how to sow political dissent in D.C. by playing individual politicians against one another.