Something is missing from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and it begs the question, what did the Obama Administration hide from the documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011?
In the final 24 hours that Barack Obama was president, as reported by The Weekly Standard, the ODNI posted more of the documents captured in bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The ODNI stated that these 49 documents would be the last released; the statement was titled, “Closing the Book on Bin Laden: Intelligence Community Releases the Final Abbottabad Documents.” According to a tally on the ODNI website, this last batch of 49 documents brings the total number released to 571.
As the Weekly Standard notes, “For years, the Obama administration told the American people that the haul from the bin Laden compound was massive and important. In an interview on Meet the Press just days after the raid, Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, said, “First of all, as you know, the forces when they went in Sunday night obviously took out Osama bin Laden, but also gathered up all the material that they could for exploitation by intelligence services , first point. Second is the scale of what we’ve got here. This is the largest cache of intelligence derived from the scene of any single terrorist. It’s about the size of a small college library.”
So what was the Obama Administration hiding? Why close the book at 571 pages? “Sources who have described the cache to THE WEEKLY STANDARD over the years have claimed that the number of captured documents, including even extraneous materials and duplicates, totals more than 1 million.”
For eight long years, the Obama Administration routinely underplayed the impact of radical jihadism and the al Qaeda threat. This attempt to “close the book” appears to be another attempt to underwhelm the true threats of radical Islam.
Information from this trove of a million documents would be no better resource for understanding al Qaeda, how it thinks and operates, at least through 2011, than the intelligence recovered in its founder’s compound.
For this reason, and others, the Trump administration should ensure that the ODNI doesn’t get to close the book on bin Laden’s files.