Documents show Osama bin Laden was depressed, fearful
New documents paint Osama bin Laden as pessimistic and depressed in his final months, agonizing and struggling to maintain morale as al-Qaida suffered from "disaster after disaster."
At one point, bin Laden even considered changing the name of his infamous and woe-stricken terrorist organization, according to reports of a speech by John Brennan, President Barack Obama's assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
U.S. Navy SEALs gathered the documents during the raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound that ultimately saw the demise of the terrorist leader one year ago tomorrow. A selection of declassified documents will be displayed online this week through West Point's Combating Terrorism Center.
Brennan also recounted bin Laden's fears of what would happen to his organization as U.S. drone strikes continued killing veteran al-Qaida members.
He worried that "the rise of lower leaders who are not as experienced" would "lead to the repeat of mistakes," said Brennan. He also encouraged members of his organization to flee areas visible to U.S. "aircraft photography and bombardment" and fretted that "'a large portion' of Muslims around the world 'have lost their trust' in al-Qaida."
Also Monday, Brennan defended the campaign of drone strikes to kill militants in other countries, insisting that the controversial tactic is legal under international law.