U.S. releases bin Laden's 'home movies'

May 7, 2011 at 2:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) -- The Pentagon released five of Osama bin Laden's home videos Saturday, saying they show him directly running al-Qaida operations.

One video shows the terror leader wrapped in a blanket, watching a television, with gray hair and a gray beard. U.S. officials said bin Laden would dye his hair and beard black before filming public statements.

Officials said the videos and other information seized from bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, constitute the greatest intelligence bonanza ever collected from a top terrorist. They said 10 hard drives, five computers and more than 100 storage devices were taken.

One of the videos is a warning to the United States believed to have been recorded last fall. Officials did not play the audio, saying it would be "inappropriate."

Also Saturday, a top Pakistani intelligence official said U.S. forces were tipped off to bin Laden's location by a courier's phone call. The call was "not the final one, it was the initial piece of evidence," the unnamed official told CNN.

U.S. officials had learned the identity of the courier, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, in 2007. He and his brother were among those killed in Monday's raid.

Last year al-Kuwaiti, a Pakistani, took a call from an old friend, The Washington Post reported.

"Where have you been?" asked the friend. "What are you doing now?"

Kuwaiti replied, "I'm back with the people I was with before."

The cryptic answer meant he was back with bin Laden.

The friend replied, "May God facilitate."

The compound had no telephone lines or Internet hookup, making it invisible to spying by the National Security Agency, officials told the Post.

Whenever Kuwaiti or others had to make a call, they drove 90 minutes before even placing a battery in a cellphone. Turning on the phone would open it to electronic surveillance.

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