April 26th, 2011
09:12 AM ET

What the latest WikiLeaks release reveals about bin Laden

WikiLeaks' latest release is classified military documents that detail information obtained from Guantanamo detainees. What do they reveal about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda?

Documents describe bin Laden's moves

More about WikiLeaks

CNN's national security analyst Peter Bergen, author of "The Longest War," weighs in on what the WikiLeaks documents reveal about bin Laden that the world didn't know a few days ago. Here's an edited transcript:

I think we have a little bit better sense of where he was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

I think overall, these WikiLeaks documents about Guantanamo remind me a little bit of the WikiLeaks documents we had about Afghanistan and Pakistan from the U.S. military. They don't really add anything seismic to our general understanding of what happened. They're filling in details. They will be very interesting for future historians.

These are not top-secret documents. They're secret. So they're not the crown jewels. The fact that bin Laden was hard up for cash I think is pretty interesting, but that sort of accords with something we already knew, that bin Laden didn't have millions of dollars when he was in Afghanistan. Even though he's the son of a billionaire, money was tight during this time period.

It's interesting now we have confirmation that the operational commander of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was watching these events unfold live on TV in Karachi, Pakistan. But again I think that's something, if we didn't know for a fact, we certainly probably thought was true already.


Filed under: Osama bin Laden • WikiLeaks
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Good ole CNN

    Cnn loves wikileaks... anything they can do to undermine america....right ccn?

    July 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jackson

    Riza...too bad you weren't there in Abbattabad too...idiot.

    May 13, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. Heather B.

    I think you're thinking of Islam...not Hinduism. Bin Laden is not Hindu... In fact, he's not even an orthodox Muslim. He considers any who disagree with him a heretic and has killed scores of Muslims too. Your post makes no sense.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. solo1861

    Do they really find it surprising that a guys imprisoned for months (years?) when he did nothing wrong turns again the people that imprisonned and mistreated him (possibly even tortured him).
    Guantanamo isn't just illegally detaining terrorists it's creating new ones.
    And can we really blame them? If I was imprisoned, abused and tortured for months with no good reason and no hope for a fair trial, I don't think I would be prone to forgive either.
    They all should have been judged a long time ago. Detaining people ad vitam without trial is not only illegal but also appalling. It goes against evering democratie stand for.

    May 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Riza Afghan

    once upon a time in America, a man named "Bush" said USA is for Americans then why Afghans are living in the USA.
    So Bush decided to attack Afghanistan and own it and allow US citizens to live there & kill all others. that's what happening there right now😉

    Now all Americans are living in the USA, oh i forgot to tell you what USA stands for.

    USA = United State of Afghanistan. USA had to invade Afghanistan because USA is a trademark and is registered in the USA (C). that's why Bush thought Afghanistan is a state of America and Afghans invaded it, thank god Mr.Bush toke over and now Americans are living there happily ever after.

    Afghanistan 2001 – 2011 (C) for Americans

    April 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • replier

      You forgot your meds this morning.

      May 2, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • just watching

      Man just proves how bad crack is for you !

      May 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Person

      JUST EXACTLY HOW SCEWED UP ON CRACK ARE YOU? (lol)

      May 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • craig

      tht was probably the most cracked out thinking ive heard in a loooong time...good job idiot

      October 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pamiri

    Osama is stupid defaming the name of Islam

    April 27, 2011 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
    • collins61

      Yes, it had such a stellar reputation before.

      April 27, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
      • Riza Afghan

        hahahhaha LMAO PMSL😛
        it wasn't that bad before either but you have a point.
        To be honest, Bush started it, so we should not blame Obama or any other president.

        Past is past, think about future😉

        Guys just try your best not to eat each other😛

        April 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • craig

      he said OSAMA not OBAMA you fool

      October 6, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. griffithinsider

    Am writing a thesis on Public Trust in WikiLeaks, the Media and the Government and need to know what your opinions are. The online survey is multiple choice and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Please follow the link: http://www.kwiksurveys.com/?s=ILLLML_9669e09d. Would be great if you would encourage others to do the survey also.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Napoli

    You really have to hand it to Assage – he is a true entrepeneur. Governments have something they want no one else to have. That makes it Valuable. He created a new way to market and realize this "value". I wonder how long he will live?

    April 27, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      If something is going to happen to Assange, we all know who are responsible.

      April 27, 2011 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. Andrew Lubin

    How can a man who most probably has been dead for the last 8 or 9 years be short of cash? I guess that the MIC needs this man to scare the public into supporting this obscene war!!!

    April 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cameron

    "and the americas and the west are being used by hindu sanatan pharisees'?

    What do you mean the West is being used by hindu sanatan pharisees? We should have never intervened, but also what do you mean this was pre-planned by both sides?

    April 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. alaskanpoet

    in the era of WikiLeak no secret is secure
    way it should be as our government's motives are rarely pure
    The leaks from gitmo should cause us all trouble
    infighting, breach of law, jailers befuddled
    innocent kept, guilty freed to return
    for their one way trip to the virgins to earn
    justice may hold the scales and be blind
    but we need the open eyes to watch and find
    acts of torture we as a country should have long since left behind
    accolades to WikiLeaks as this gitmo mess slowly unwinds
    Not since the Pentagon Papers have we uncovered such dirt
    Tarnishing our standing, laying on a big time hypocritical hurt

    April 26, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. salerno

    Division inside Afghan people is facilitating the wars in their country betwen foreign nations. ALQaeda original goal was to overcome Mubaraq in Egypt and to contrast US military presence in S.Arabia. Afghanistan was involved just when Osama went there and Clinton started bombing before 9/11. I heard a news that ALQaeda has nuclear bomb in the west ready to explode if Osama was captured. Surely he was a problem for Afghan people like all other foreigners.

    April 26, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Napoli

      I have read a bunch a fiction in the "news" as well. Whether this allegation is true or fiction or something else remains to be seen. It is a wonderful treat to hear you feel OBL is a threat not only to Afghanistan but to others. Have you read the rest of the news lately? People are rising up against their suppressors throughout the middle east. Imagine that.....something I have been saying for years. People do have the power to change their destiny. So when the Taliban had a strangle hold around Afghanis they had it within their power to do something about it. They had it within their grasp to rise up and do something about OBL. Abstaining is also a vote, not an excuse. (Clown:-)

      April 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      OBL is a threat, but the US are a bigger threat. Unfortunately the USA has always supported the suppressors in the m.e, from Mubaraq, to Saudi monarchy, to Saddam, to Reza Palevi. AlQaeda planned to overcome Mubaraq, and so started the contrast with US. About Afghanistan, there is no real ethnic difference from Taliban and Afghans. They are mostly Pashtun.
      Additionally Taliban were trained by the US and Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet. They liberated the country, they ARE important part of the Afghjan people and even those who do not support them like the RAWA org. are even more against the US occupation.

      April 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        AQ plotted to overthrow Mubarack. Good. Perhaps they should take a lesson on how it should or can be done. Read the news, not the history books. Besides, What does a irrate bunch of Bomb throwing maniacs have to do with Egypt? Not even a bunch, a very small few. God gave them the task of "cleansing" world politics? One man, one vote – not one or a hundred bombings. There are effective ways to send your message and effective ways to start a war. And now we see the results of the latter.

        Hey, when Coalition forces pull back and hand over responsibility to Afghan militias, police, etc., Please explain why these facilities are bombed and attacked? How in the world do you think this is furthering a withdrawal from your country? By throwing into further chaos? No. It is to make the news and spread hate and discontent – for what, not even they know or can explain. The Soviets withdrew, and the Taliban grew strong. Power corrupts (ask Karazei). The Taliban apparently think the world should live like them. Probably more like as they say, not as they do. Whatever. I would be very happy to allow the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and whatever other hate mongering organization you can name to live as they desire within the confines of their country and human decency. As with the Kurds, or Pakistanis and Indians or you name the conflict, the leaders of the world (and their subjects) can only add to the problem and be a part of it, rather than do what it takes to be a part of the solution. Why? Because we love to hate, no? We have little true understanding what it means to Love to Love.

        April 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Napoli – you are a confused clown, as somone called you. Democracy is an oxymoron and cannot really exist. Mubaraq could be removed only using violence. Nothing has really changed in Egypt after his departure. Actual leader can be eliminated only by AlQaeda.
        Afghan militia is an illegal repressive force that must be removed using violence. This is why Afghan people are supporting Taliban, even if just a few are fighting.

        April 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        Salareno – Confused Clown – Thanks. I never thought of myself as being funny. Democracy is not in question here,. so if you please, try to stay within the relm. Mubarack was removed, yes with voilence but also in a democratic manner, by freedom of speach. Violence was a result, not a means. Does that make it better? Sure it does. AQ has no claim to nationality yet pretends to. They carry one as if they were some super power trying to impose their sensless will on others with voilence as a means. That is not how the world works. Taliban (the leaders of the "innocents") had their chance but choose the path of war and destruction. Government is for and by the people. Therefore, Afghanistan choose the path of death and destruction. The country was attacked and occupied to remove the government. That part was easy, making it stick is a bit more sticky. The Taliban lost their country and teh war – plain and simple. It must be the mountian goats that have them beleiving their remains a chance to get it back. Local populations can probably care less who is in control unitl they come knocking on the doors and disfigure tjheir children, kill, and maim. But they should because by then it is too late. Because that is when someone will come with a bigger stick and beat the crap out of the country (hum, sounds familiar, no?).

        April 27, 2011 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Even for American is difficoult to change their destiny. They are ruled by few rich and powerfull families financing the politicians and the media.

      April 26, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        Perhaps. But not impossible, if so desired.

        April 26, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        The only politician who appears going against the estabilishment is Ron Paul and it seems running for president too. We sahll see if he, once elected, will mantain his promises, differently from Obama. I like him not just because he is against the wars, but even in his economical policy: low taxes, free economical system, return to the gold standard, less power to the Fed (and banks).

        April 27, 2011 at 1:33 am | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        The lesson to take home is it is okay if things do not go your way. Sure, the US has had its share of people who wanted to change thjings and run the country their way, most have failed, but very few in deed, have resorted to suicide bombings.

        Overall, the west is basically content with how their governments work. What is really needed is a new way forward or new model of government. You can poke holes in every form of modern government. They all have their faults, some worse than others. Until that day when someone proposes a new model you will not see any great changes in the west. You may find people discontent with corruption, unemployment, economy, etc. but not with the basic form of government until that new idea is presented.

        Politicians are all of the same gene pool. In the democracy, it is not one man one vote, rather one vote per unit of money

        April 27, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. Napoli

    Hum....I thought i read recently OBL was financing Al Qaeda.....guess not, it seems. At least not with his own money....after all, even his money has limits. So, this begs the question, Where is AQ getting it's money?? Charities, Nato Contracts?

    April 26, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • BANGASH

      Napoli Osama and Obama are two faces of same coin. Both use same currency dollars and both for the last three decades killing Afghans and Pakistanis for their global designs. This is human tragedy and a challenge to human conscience as it is not just a killing of these poor and innocents in this region but it is also a risk for world peace. No doubt for MIC contractors this war is a business matter but for Americans as a nation it is a matter of life and death.

      April 26, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
      • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

        Well put,BANGASH. Thank you.

        April 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • Napoli

        Obama has been on a Killing spree for the last thirty years???

        I would enlarge your scope and say it is a matter of life or death for the World, not just the US. Mad men need to understand and accept the fact there are varying points of view that need respect. People of the middle east have not demonstrated to me, at least, the capacity to agree to disagree and live in harmony with a disagreement.

        You are right -it is a shame there are innocents who have become pawns in this struggle. The Battle Field, however, was not chosen by the US, rather leaders of these "innocents".

        April 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |