More than six years after SEAL Team 6 raided his compound and killed Osama bin Laden, the CIA has released materials seized in the raid. Among the items now public are home videos that capture what daily life was like for the Al Qaeda founder who was hiding, it appears, in plain sight in the in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
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Most of the video material is oddly mundane. Chickens peck at food. An egg hatches. Kids play in a courtyard.
Yet there is rare footage of bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden, who was being groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps. There had been no previously released images of him as an adult.
In the end, the videos do present one question that has yet to be answered. The very existence of such materials demonstrates how freely the bin Laden family moved around. Many have speculated that bin Laden was sheltered by the Pakistani government. The freedom seen here in these videos suggests the family wasn’t hiding and was being protected by someone.
“Although bin Laden declared war on the West,” the Daily Mail notes, “the inhabitants of the compound still used cell phones. A computer hard drive was seen in one of the rooms, and Western pop music can be heard playing in the background as a young boy (above) fiddles with a mobile device.”
In addition to the home movies, there were other, more mainstream offerings. One was the Morgan Spurlock documentary, “Where in the World is Osama bin Laden?” The bin Ladens even had a copy of the Pixar film Cars.
For a family who hated western culture, the bin Ladens seemed fond of its ability to entertain children. The collection included Antz, Batman Gotham Knight, Cars, Chicken Little, Marvel’s Heroes of Tomorrow, Home on the Range, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and The Three Musketeers.
“He had the video games Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil,” The Daily Mail writes.
“Today’s release of recovered Al Qaeda letters, videos, audio files and other materials provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization,” said CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
“CIA will continue to seek opportunities to share information with the American people consistent with our obligation to protect national security.”