Recap: “The Abbottabad Papers”

In this screenshot, a man and a woman are engaged in a video conference chat during a public program.

Last week, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum welcomed Nelly Lahoud, a senior fellow in New America’s International Security program, to discuss the Abbottabad Papers, hundreds of thousands of pages seized during the U.S. Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011, and what these documents reveal.

In conversation with Clifford Chanin, executive vice president and deputy director for museum programs, Lahoud explained the ins and outs of al-Qaeda’s operations during bin Laden’s hiding in Pakistan, bin Laden’s security concerns for his Abbottabad compound, the role of bin Laden’s daughters and wives as his advisers, and the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

In the clip below, Lahoud describes one of the artifacts recovered from bin Laden’s compound following the raid which led to his death: a transcript of bin Laden’s family and advisers discussing the Arab Spring on the night of the raid.

public program highlight clip

2021_0331_The Abbottabad Papers_Highlight_(Caps)

“One of the most unique documents that was recovered is a 220-page handwritten document—the C.I.A. inaccurately described it as bin Laden’s journal. Its uniqueness is that it is not his journal, it is a transcription of family conversations that took place in the compound, upstairs, in the last two months of bin Laden’s life. So everything that was being said was recorded, including summaries of news and so on. We can hear the family, you know, what the family was saying to each other. And the main focus of these conversations was the Arab Spring and the family was in the process of discussing this and drafting the public statement, drafting Osama bin Laden’s response to the Arab Spring. And so that was hours, that night, hours before the raid, that was the last conversation they were having.”

For more public programs like these, please visit our past program archive or check to learn of forthcoming programs.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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