US launches global manhunt for names in OBL documents

posted at 9:20 am on May 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

ABC reported late last night that US intelligence and national security agencies have begun a massive global manhunt for names found in Osama bin Laden’s personal affects in the raid that ended with his death.  The search is taking place in the US as well, suggesting serious concern that al-Qaeda may have already infiltrated the country for later operations:

The entire U.S. intelligence community is busy pursuing leads from files recovered from Osama bin Laden‘s Abbottobad, Pakistan, compound to determine whether bin Laden’s plots had gone beyond the discussion and planning phase to concrete threats, government sources told ABC News.

Sources familiar with bin Laden‘s handwritten journal and computer files told ABC News that names of suspected al Qaeda operatives had been found in the files, and that an intense effort was under way to find the individuals attached to those names. …

“The names that they are finding are extremely important,” former FBI Agent Brad Garret said in an interview with ABC News. “I believe that they’re under a lot of pressure to resolve and identify these people as quickly as possible.”

Travel records are being combed to see if any of these people have entered the U.S. already, and names are being added to terrorist watch lists in case any operatives try to come here.

ABC says that officials have “expressed shock” over the extent of sensitive material OBL kept with him, but in retrospect, why should anyone be surprised?  The Abbottabad redoubt had apparently been an effective hiding place for years, keeping bin Laden safe from Americans and maybe the Pakistanis, assuming they were looking for him at all.  Bin Laden would need ready access to the data, which would have complicated his attempts to keep out of sight.  If the US discovered the cache hidden elsewhere, it would have almost immediately led back to bin Laden.  Under the circumstances, the most secure option was to keep OBL and the data together — and that worked for several years.

The question will be whether the names and places will match up, but that’s not going to be much of an issue.  Unless OBL was acting out the final days of Adolf Hitler and moving phantom armies on a map, the CIA shouldn’t need too much time to decipher it.  No one has suggested that OBL himself was a master cryptographer, and he needed the data to be readily usable.  Further, the very fact that we captured all of this data will have AQ assets on the move, and in that kind of chaos there are opportunities to pick up fresh trails on leadership and money men.

If we find them in Pakistan, though, Dianne Feinstein says we should just leave them for the Pakistanis as their problem, not ours:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the U.S. should not repeat the mission that U.S. forces undertook to kill Osama bin Laden, in which President Obama ordered a team of Navy SEALs into Pakistan without notifying the country’s government.

“The appropriate thing is for the Pakistanis to handle it and indicate that they intend to handle it,” Feinstein said in a short interview with The Hill.

Sounds as though Feinstein and Ron Paul are on the same page these days.  This can be taken as tacit criticism of the OBL raid, except that OBL is literally such an exceptional target that exceptions would always be made for him.  But what about Ayman al-Zawahiri?  Anwar al-Awlaki?  If either or both are found in Pakistan (likely in the former case, unlikely in the latter), should the US take a pass on taking them out as well?  Feinstein’s Democratic colleague Carl Levin disagrees:

“I don’t have confidence in Pakistani intelligence,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said he would make sure any information about al-Zawahiri’s location stayed within U.S. ranks.

Levin said a drone attack against al-Zawahiri was a possibility.

“Maybe we would do it with a drone, which would be preferable if you could confirm it,” he said. “It depends on the degree of certainty, the location, is he staying in the middle of a city; it depends on a whole lot of circumstances.”

I don’t agree with Levin on most subjects, but I’m with him on this one.  Let’s keep our options open, at least until the Pakistani intelligence service quits playing footsie with radical Islamist terrorists.


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Whahhabileaks

Shy Guy on May 19, 2011 at 9:23 AM

All the sudden terrorism is something to be worried about, now that our president has a big, fat (D) next to his name.

blatantblue on May 19, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Isn’t it a little late, since the administration started flapping their jaws about all the great intelligence they recovered early on? If they had kept their pie hole shut, some of it might have been valuable.

bopbottle on May 19, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Wonder how many are receiving food stamps and special Obama mortgage deals and a GovernmentMotors-financed car in the US?

albill on May 19, 2011 at 9:27 AM

I question the timing

Aquateen Hungerforce on May 19, 2011 at 9:29 AM

All the sudden terrorism is something to be worried about, now that our president has a big, fat (D) next to his name.

See, cuz’ a Republican wouldn’t have to catch bin Laden because he wouldn’t have anything to prove. I guess.

YYZ on May 19, 2011 at 9:35 AM

I’m sure that when they discover which countries were aiding bin laden, they will find that the only country not helping him out before 2003 was Iraq.

/

Del Dolemonte on May 19, 2011 at 9:42 AM

We have to get the most bang for the buck going into campaign season…

cartooner on May 19, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Hey, great job. Maybe we could also release the names of the people we’re looking for and what days we’ll be searching, and where.

deadrody on May 19, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Terrorists
Isolated Man Caused Disasters…on the run.

Electrongod on May 19, 2011 at 9:46 AM

Isn’t it a little late, since the administration started flapping their jaws about all the great intelligence they recovered early on? If they had kept their pie hole shut, some of it might have been valuable.

bopbottle on May 19, 2011 at 9:25 AM

No telling how much these leaks have helped isolate the high profile terrorists. They are probably getting the leaks ahead of our intelligence agencies. This administration can’t keep their mouths shut.

fourdeucer on May 19, 2011 at 9:53 AM

that al-Qaeda may have already infiltrated the country

You can’t be serious?

As secure as our border is?

This would be an impossibility…

catmman on May 19, 2011 at 9:54 AM

“Travel records are being combed to see if any of these people have entered the U.S. already, and names are being added to terrorist watch lists in case any operatives try to come here.”

I had to laugh otherwise I would cry. Just this week we got notice that 500+ illegals were in 2 semis. Do the asshats in washington really think that OBL’s operatives would just waltz into JFK? Hell no, they cut a deal with the cartels and a mule brings them in. But we have to be compassionate for those less fortunate. Its insanity!

Dr. Dog on May 19, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Reality Police, “Sen. Feinstein, please put down the crack pipe and remove the rose colored glasses and no one will get hurt.”

Alden Pyle on May 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM

that al-Qaeda may have already infiltrated the country

Fearmonger

darwin-t on May 19, 2011 at 10:01 AM

I just had a thought: whether it’s true or not, wouldn’t it have been a great idea for Obama to thank unnamed “top-level Pakistani officials” for finally selling out bin Ladin?

God, how I miss the days of Ronald Reagan: just stir the pot every once in a while to keep the Muslims happily murdering each other. That way, everybody wins.

logis on May 19, 2011 at 10:08 AM

US launches global manhunt for names in OBL documents

Is Valerie Jarrett’s name on the list?

petefrt on May 19, 2011 at 10:12 AM


“The appropriate thing is for the Pakistanis to handle it and indicate that they intend to handle it,” Feinstein said …

Yeah, whenever they get around to it. And after they tip off the targets first, of course.

Tony737 on May 19, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Nonsense – these are just the names of teachers and day care workers in bin Laden’s employ – just ask Patty Murray.

Wander on May 19, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Q: Who is working on this?

The entire US intelligence community.

A: EV-VRY-ONE!!!
/Gary Goldman from The Professional

BohicaTwentyTwo on May 19, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Oldman not Goldman. (stupid autocorrect)

BohicaTwentyTwo on May 19, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Shouldn’t this be classified information? It’s being reported as if it’s a press release. Once we’ve made it public that we’re looking for these “operatives”, they’ll just move.

Morons.

spinach.chin on May 19, 2011 at 10:47 AM

YES!!!!! LET’S GO GET ‘EM! Oh what??? We’ve already told them we found their names under the porn stash at the “ObL Mansion”! NEVER MIND!!!!!!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 19, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Shouldn’t this be classified information? It’s being reported as if it’s a press release. Once we’ve made it public that we’re looking for these “operatives”, they’ll just move.

Morons.

spinach.chin on May 19, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Amen, brudda. This is what we get when the amateur in chief wants to look pretty on tv.

JustTruth101 on May 19, 2011 at 10:58 AM

AQ now the Pakistani’s problem?

Sweet!

Bruno Strozek on May 19, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Someone check the temperature in Hades; I actually agree with Carl Levin on something…

I think I need to lie down.

irishspy on May 19, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Someone needs to go to jail over these leaks. This is either intentional sabotage of our counter-terrorism efforts, or incompetence beyond measure.

Either way, they’ve got to know that releasing what their plans are effectively neutralizes it before it begins. Maybe that’s intentional, to give the impression to the lions that they’re doing something but also keeping the lambs happy when they don’t actually have to capture/kill/interrogate anyone.

Chuckie on May 19, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Travel records are being combed to see if any of these people have entered the U.S. already, and names are being added to terrorist watch lists in case any operatives try to come here.

Is there a terrorist arrest/kill on sight list? I hope so…

Big John on May 19, 2011 at 12:40 PM

If the aQ terrorists do some anti-Republican protesting it appears they might be safe: ICE Refuses to Deport Illegal Aliens Arrested Protesting Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

slickwillie2001 on May 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM