Osama bin Laden was apparently a "prolific email writer." But how did he forward all of Islamist chain letters without getting tracked down by the U.S.? By sending his couriers to cybercafes with thumb drives.
Holed up in his walled compound in northeast Pakistan with no phone or Internet capabilities, bin Laden would type a message on his computer without an Internet connection, then save it using a thumb-sized flash drive. He then passed the flash drive to a trusted courier, who would head for a distant Internet cafe.
At that location, the courier would plug the memory drive into a computer, copy bin Laden's message into an email and send it. Reversing the process, the courier would copy any incoming email to the flash drive and return to the compound, where bin Laden would read his messages offline.
Do you think Osama bin Laden used get drunk, type up a late-night email, load it onto a USB drive, give it to his courier and send him to the cyber cafe, then immediately regret it?
[Photo of a random Internet cafe in Pakistan via AP]