The Wall Street Journal has new details on what intelligence, exactly, we got from the Abbottabad compound Osama bin Laden was living in when he was hunted down and killed by Navy SEALs. Top among the discoveries: Bin Laden wanted to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with another 9/11.
According to the Journal's intelligence sources, documents seized from the compound show that bin Laden and his chief of operations Attiyah Abd al-Rahman were putting together an attack, probably targeting the U.S. train system, for September 11, 2011. The planning hadn't advanced beyond recruiting attackers, the Journal says, a process that didn't get too far because "bin Laden repeatedly reject[ed] names that Mr. Rahman suggested." He was a picky plotter.
There's no evidence that any operatives were ever fielded to carry out the attacks. But while the information suggests that bin Laden continued to be a hands-on terrormonger until his final moments, intelligence source cautioned the Journal that other records recovered from Chez bin Laden indicated that he was a frustrated figurehead:
Some U.S. officials cautioned that other materials in the trove showed bin Laden was often ignored by his underlings.
"What we found was that he was very isolated, and it is clearly the case he was struggling to continue to hold on to the type of influence and to direct operations in ways he may have been able to do in the past," a U.S. official said.
[Photo of the Abbottabad compound via AP]