WASHINGTON - A senior White House official said on Monday that the United States will release documents seized from the compound of al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, on the eve of the anniversary of his death.
John Brennan, President Barack Obama's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, made the announcement during a speech at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington thinktank.
Brennan said some of the documents seized at bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, will be published online by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center this week. The documents were never made public before.
He also gave a preview of what some of the documents will show, including that bin Laden worried about "the rise of lower leaders who are not as experienced and this would lead to the repeat of mistakes."
Brennan said the documents show al-Qaeda leaders "continue to struggle to communicate with subordinates and affiliates," and bin Laden confessed to "disaster after disaster," while urging his leaders to flee the tribal regions and go to places "away from aircraft photography and bombardment".
The documents also show bin Laden considered changing his organization's name, as US officials "have largely stopped using the phrase 'the war on terror' in the context of not wanting to provoke Muslims". Simply calling them al-Qaeda, bin Laden said, "reduces the feeling of Muslims that we belong to them."
The Obama administration is trumping up the killing of bin Laden as the anniversary approaches, and it could be a campaign asset for the president who is seeking reelection.