Osama Bin Laden Hogged the Air Conditioner

The al-Qaeda leader had the only air conditioning unit in his Pakistani compound

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Here's a story to consider during the current heat wave: U.S. and Pakistani officials are learning from their inspection of Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound in Pakistan that bin Laden's room had the only air conditioner in the house--in a region where summer temperatures can rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Beyond that, the AP learns, bin Laden and his companions lived a spartan--even "prison-like"--existence. They had no heaters, which explains why bin Laden may have been wrapped in a blanket in a video shot from his office. Some of the surviving residents also tell Pakistani intelligence that they lived on a weekly delivery of one goat, which was slaughtered in the compound, plus milk and eggs from cows and chickens in the courtyard and vegetables from a kitchen garden. We're not sure where the earlier report of bin Laden's entourage buying Pepsi, Coke, and Nestle milk fits in here.

In another revelation, the AP notes that communications between top al-Qaeda officials found at the compound reads like an "email chain" rife with office politics, with leaders sometimes "back-stabbing each other" and "vying for the boss' attention and working the system." There were even factions. "Some proposed daring raids aimed at causing mass casualties, like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks," the AP writes, "while others proposed smaller targets to circumvent increased security measures worldwide."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.