On Wednesday U.S. intelligence officials began leaking a range of intimate details about Osama bin Laden gleaned from his personal journal and hard drives recovered from his compound. The first portraits reveal a tireless leader, deeply enmeshed in Al Qaeda's command structure and involved in a range of projects and functions. A jihadist jack-of-all trades of sorts, bin Laden wore many hats while holed up in Abbottabad. Here's a look at his various roles:
Bin Laden, the mob boss The Washington Post depicts him as a bona fide gangsta. "Bin Laden functioned like a crime boss pulling strings from a prison cell, sending regular messages to his most trusted lieutenants and strategic advice to far-flung franchises, including al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen," writes the paper. "Some followers pledged their fealty to him; others, however, chafed at his exhortations to remain focused on U.S. targets instead of mounting less risky operations in places such as Yemen, Somalia and Algeria."
Bin Laden, the strategist The Associated Press reports that bin Laden was highly knowledgeable of U.S. counterterrorist efforts and "schooled his followers in working around them." He also set the strategic agenda for Al Qaeda, encouraging militants to strike beyond New York, hitting small U.S. cities and Los Angeles and attacking trains as well as planes.