CIA releases bin Laden computer files

November 2, 2017 | 10:29

Tags: #cia

Companies: #central-intelligence-agency

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has released a trove of files, totalling over 320GB of data, captured from Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound - revealing a love for pirated Nintendo DS games, anime, and real-time strategy.

Usama ibn Mohammed ibn Awad ibn Ladin, more commonly known as Osama bin Laden, is best known for having funnelled US weapons and cash to the Mujahideen resistance to hit back against the Soviet Army during the nine-year Soviet-Afghan War before turning on his paymasters and forming terrorist organisation al-Qaeda. Following the September 11th 2001 attacks on the US, attacks in which he initially denied involvement before claiming to have personally directed them, bin Laden became public enemy number one in the nation and was eventually killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011 by a US special operations unit.

Following his death, US intelligence captured and began the process of analysing documents and digital data stored at bin Laden's Abbattobad compound. The first of these documents was released to the public in 2015 as part of the CIA's Bin Laden's Bookshelf collection, and now the organisation has released a further 470,000 files from bin Laden's computer.

While many files are included intact and unmodified - including more than 18,000 documents, 89,000 images and videos, and bin Laden's personal journal - many have been kept back. These files, the CIA explains, are 'sensitive such that their release would directly damage efforts to keep the nation secure; materials protected by copyright; pornography; malware; and blank, corrupted and duplicate files.' The copyrighted material withheld is perhaps the most interesting: In addition to documentaries on everything from the Kremlin and Kung Fu Killers, bin Laden's computer included a selection of pirated films from Antz and Batman Gotham Knight through to The Three Musketeers - and, in a burst of self awareness, the documentary Where in the World is Osama bin Laden.

Other surprising files included in the trove are pirated anime films and series, pirated games for the Nintendo DS console, and PC games including the toy-themed real-time strategy (RTS) Army Men 2.

More information on the collection is available on the CIA website, though the link to download it has been disabled due to what the organisation describes as a temporary technical issue. Once restored, those downloading the files are warned that some of its content is disturbing in nature.

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