By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst, March 16, 2012
Washington (CNN) -- Tapping away at his computer in the study of the suburban compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that he called home for the last years of his life, Osama bin Laden wrote memos urging his followers to continue to try to attack the United States, suggesting, for instance, they mount assassination attempts against President Obama and Gen. David Petraeus.
While he urged his organization on to attack America, bin Laden was also keenly aware that al Qaeda was in deep trouble because of the campaign of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan and also because the brutal tactics of his followers had alienated many Muslims.
According to senior Obama administration officials who have reviewed the "treasure trove" of the thousands of documents that were picked up by the U.S. Navy SEALs from bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, the leaders of al Qaeda understood that the group they led was "beleaguered." CNN was given a briefing this week by senior administration officials who have been analyzing the documents.
Bin Laden wrote a 48-page memo to a deputy in October 2010 that surveyed the state of his organization. He was particularly concerned that al Qaeda's longtime sanctuary in Waziristan in Pakistan's tribal areas was now too dangerous because of the campaign of American drone strikes there that had picked off many of his key lieutenants [....]
New York Times' version of the same: Bin Laden Plot Against Obama Outlined in Documents, by John H. Cushman Jr., March 16/17. It does cover other items, such as:
[....] The documents include one in which Bin Laden asked his top lieutenant, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, to find out from a Pakistani terrorist named Ilyas Kashmiri “the steps he has taken” toward assassinating Mr. Obama and the top American general in the region. Mr. Kashmiri had long been one of the chief targets of American counterintelligence forces.
That account emerged in a column by David Ignaitius that was published Friday morning on the Web site of The Washington Post. Mr. Ignatius said he had been granted access to translations of the documents from the raid last year that have been declassified and will be made public soon [....]