Inside bin Laden's Plan to Kill Obama

Documents reveal al-Qaeda leader also wanted Petraeus dead
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2012 12:51 PM CDT
Inside bin Laden's Plan to Kill Obama
Osama bin Laden speaks to a selected group of reporters in the mountains of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan in this Dec. 24, 1998 file photo.   (AP Photo/Rahimullah Yousafzai, File)

Documents taken from Osama bin Laden's compound during the US raid that killed the al-Qaeda leader reveal a plot to kill President Obama and David Petraeus. David Ignatius got a look at the documents, which will be available to the public soon, and he reports in the Washington Post that bin Laden wanted his network to focus on attacks in America, rather than operations inside Muslim countries, and he specifically instructed attacks on Obama's and Petraeus's aircraft. The way he saw it, "killing [Obama] automatically will make [Vice President Joe] Biden take over the presidency. … Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis."

Killing Petraeus, bin Laden explained, "would alter the war's path" in Afghanistan. But administration officials say the plot was never truly a threat, since al-Qaeda did not appear to have the capability to shoot down aircraft. Ilyas Kashmiri, the Pakistani terrorist bin Laden wanted to carry out the attacks, was killed in a drone attack a month after bin Laden's death. Even so, Ignatius writes, the documents are "a chilling reminder that even when he was embattled and in hiding, bin Laden still dreamed of pulling off another spectacular terrorist attack against the United States." US analysts say al-Qaeda lacks the ability to carry off the plans described in the documents. Click for more from Ignatius, or the original Daily Mail report on the documents. (More Osama bin Laden stories.)

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