WASHINGTON - (AP) - Newly released videos show Osama bin Ladenwatching himself on television and rehearsing for terrorist videos,revealing that even from the walled confines of his Pakistanihideout, he remained a media maestro who was eager to craft his ownimage for the cameras.
The videos, released by U.S. intelligence officials Saturday,were offered as further proof that Navy SEALs killed the world'smost wanted terrorist this week. But they also served to show binLaden as vain, someone obsessed with his portrayal by the world'smedia.
One of the movies shows bin Laden, his unkempt beard streaked ingray, sitting on the floor, wrapped in a brown blanket and holdinga remote control. He flipped back and forth between what appears tobe live news coverage of himself. The old, small television wasperched on top of a desk with a large tangle of electrical wiresrunning to a nearby control box.
In another, he has apparently dyed and neatly trimmed his beardfor the filming of a propaganda video. The video, which the U.S.released without sound, was titled ""Message to the AmericanPeople" and was believed to be filed sometime last fall, a seniorintelligence official said during a briefing for reporters, oncondition that his name not be used.
The videos were seized from bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad,Pakistan. Officials said the clips shown to reporters were justpart of the largest collection of senior terrorist materials evercollected. The evidence seized during the raid also includes phonenumbers and documents that officials hope will help break the backof the organization behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Intelligence officials have known that bin Laden and al-Qaidamonitored the news. But for years, when it was assumed that he wasliving in Pakistan's rugged, mountainous tribal region, somebelieved he might not be able to get real-time news.
After the CIA discovered bin Laden's suburban compound, theyrealized that a satellite dish provided a television feed to binLaden's compound. The video also reveals that bin Laden had acomputer in his home, though officials say there were no Internetor phone lines running from the house.
Bin Laden and four others were killed in a daring pre-dawn raid Monday after U.S. helicopters lowered a team of SEALs behind thecompound's high walls. The terrorist leader's death leaves al-Qaidawith an uncertain future and represents America's most successfulcounterterrorism mission.
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