What was on Osama bin Laden's hard drive?

Investigators pore over a 'mother lode' of data on hard drives, flash drives and other devices

The assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan uncovered what one U.S. official called “the mother lode of intelligence,” in the form of hard drives, thumb drives and paper records.

During the raid, Navy SEALs collected five computers, 10 hard drives and more than 100 portable storage devices, such as DVDs and flash drives, along with paper documents, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“They cleaned it out,” one official told Politico. “Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?”


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Hundreds of investigators were poring over the data in Afghanistan to see what was usable. “It’s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,” an official told Politico.

One question could have to do with how current the information is. Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, where Navy SEALs killed him in the May 1 raid, was not connected to the Internet and did not have phone lines.

Investigators also might have to deal with trying to crack encryption on the files. Although there has been no word on whether bin Laden’s files were encrypted, terrorist groups reportedly have developed encryption software, according to ThreatPost.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

Reader Comments

Mon, May 9, 2011 U13

Another example of undisciplined media aiding the enemy. Big Media reminding the enemy to not make this mistake again that could possibly save more lives on our side of the conflict. Why counsel the enemy if this was a "good thing" for our team? Too bad Big Media can't also leak some of the corruption in DC. "Loose lips, sink ships"

Fri, May 6, 2011 Old Fogey Sacramento, CA

The news report on the blogger -- or Tweeter -- said it was a resident of the neighborhood who posted about loud noises and then strange actibity nearby -- not knowing it was an attack on Osama's hideout. Not a participant in the attack.

Fri, May 6, 2011

LOL puppies

Fri, May 6, 2011 Just Guessing

“Can you imagine what’s on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive?”

Well lets see... Gay Porn? Love letters to various Taliban members? Episodes of Seinfield? The complete pirated source code for Windows 7... Bin Laden's autobiograpgy "Memoirs of an al qaeda geisha"

After all, accoring to his wife, they hadn't left the house in six years.

Fri, May 6, 2011 Renegadz Florida

One news report siad that someone was blogging live while the SEALS were performing their operation - either this was more disinformation or the story above is not fully accurate

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