Top al-Qaeda commander Nasser al-Wuhayshi has been killed in a US drone strike in Yemen, the AQAP group confirmed.
Nasser al-Wuhayshi’s death was announced by the AQAP (al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) in an online video, in which it said two other fighters had also died.
Nasser al-Wuhayshi was seen as al-Qaeda’s second-in-command and was a former private secretary to Osama bin Laden.
His successor was named in the video as military chief Qasim al-Raymi.
The Yemeni news group al-Masdar Online has previously reported that Nasser al-Wuhayshi was killed in an attack in Hadramawt province on June 12.
“We in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula mourn to our Muslim nation… that Abu Baseer Nasser bin Abdul Karim al-Wuhayshi, God rest his soul, passed away in an American strike which targeted him along with two of his mujahideen brothers, may God rest their souls,” Khaled Batarfi, a senior member of the group, was quoted as saying on the video.
The Pentagon said it would not comment.
But it previously said that if the death were confirmed it would be the biggest strike on al-Qaeda since Bin Laden’s death in Pakistani in 2011.
The US State Department offered a $10 million reward for anyone who could help bring Nasser al-Wuhayshi to justice.
It said he was “responsible for approving targets, recruiting new members, allocating resources to training and attack planning, and tasking others to carry out attacks”.
Nasser al-Wuhayshi became head of AQAP when the Yemeni and Saudi branches of al-Qaeda merged in 2009.
US NGO Save the Children has been ordered to leave Pakistan, with an official accusing the charity of “anti-Pakistan” activities.
Police have sealed off the charity’s offices in Islamabad and foreign staff given 15 days to leave the country.
Save the Children said it “strongly objected” to the action.
Pakistan has previously linked Save the Children to the fake vaccination program used by the CIA to track down Osama bin Laden.
Save the Children has always denied being involved with the CIA or Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who carried out the program.
The NGO has no foreign staff in Pakistan as they were forced to leave after the accusations emerged in 2012.
Save the Children now has 1,200 Pakistani staff working on projects in health, education and food, the charity said.
The charity, which has operations all over the world, has worked in Pakistan for more than 30 years.
The Pakistani government has not given a formal announcement explaining the decision.
However, one official told the AFP news agency: “Their activities were being monitored since a long time. They were doing something which was against Pakistan’s interest.”
A police official said that Save the Children’s phone calls and offices had been placed under surveillance. Speaking to the Reuters news agency, he added that the charity’s activities were “very suspicious”.
Condemning the move, Save the Children said it was “raising our serious concerns at the highest levels”, adding that its workers were all Pakistani nationals.
A Save the Children official told Reuters that the Pakistan government had been stopping aid shipments entering the country, “blocking aid to millions of children and their families”.
It comes after the Pakistani government announced it was tightening the rules for NGOs, revoking several of their licenses.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Refugee Council has ceased all operations in Pakistan as its license has not yet been renewed.
New documents that were found at Osama bin Laden’s secret compound in Pakistan during the 2011 raid have been released by the US intelligence officials.
Osama bin Laden was killed during the 2011 operation. During the same operation the US special forces recovered the documents that officials have branded Bin Laden’s Bookshelf.
As well as Arabic correspondence, there are English language books by Bob Woodward and Noam Chomsky, and others on economic and military theory.
More documents may yet be released.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said a “rigorous” review had taken place before the documents were released.
The documents – 103 papers and videos in all – include a number of translated letters, notes, and other material detailing al-Qaeda operations. Many of the documents also have a version available in Arabic.
In one of the letters, the al-Qaeda chief instructs one of his deputies to tell “our brothers” that they must remained focused on fighting Americans.
Their “job is to uproot the obnoxious tree by concentrating on its American trunk, and to avoid being occupied with the local security forces,” Osama bin-Laden writes.
Another letter mocks President George W. Bush’s War on Terror, with Osama bin Laden writing that it had not created stability in Iraq or Afghanistan. No date is included on the translation provided on the US government website.
There is also section entitled Materials Regarding France, which includes a number of academic reports and articles about the France’s military, politics and economy.
Also included is a document described as a “suicide prevention guide”, several English language books including Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars, several maps, and a few video game guides.
The documents are being released in the wake of President Barack Obama’s calls for greater transparency, said Jeffrey Anchukaitis, a spokesman for the ODNI.
“The Intelligence Community will be reviewing hundreds more documents in the near future for possible declassification and release,” Jeffrey Anchukaitis said.
Some of the material that has been included in the trove was previously declassified for use in federal prosecutions.
In 2012, some documents recovered in the raid were released by the research wing of the US military academy, West Point.
Saudi national Khalid al-Fawwaz, a former aide of Osama Bin Laden, has been found guilty of plotting the al-Qaeda bombing of US embassies in east Africa in 1998 that killed 224 people.
Khalid al-Fawwaz, 53, was convicted by a New York court after three days of jury deliberations.
Extradited from the UK to the US in 2012, Khalid al-Fawwaz was found guilty on four conspiracy counts and now faces a possible life sentence.
Khalid al-Fawwaz has been described as Osama Bin Laden’s spokesman in London.
A statement from Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the defendant “played a critical role for al-Qaeda in its murderous conspiracy against America”.
There were a dozen Americans among the dead after US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania were bombed in 1998.
He was arrested in London in the same year as the bombings and extradited 14 years later.
Preet Bharara described Khalid al-Fawwaz as one of Osama Bin Laden’s “original and most trusted lieutenants” who was the leader of an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, then later acted as Bin Laden’s “media adviser” in London.
One of his roles, Preet Bharara said, was to ensure Osama Bin Laden’s threats against the US were distributed and noticed across the globe.
“Murderous words lead to murderous action,” assistant Attorney Nicholas Lewin told jurors.
The trial, which lasted a month under very heavy security in Manhattan, did not feature any testimony from the defendant.
When the verdict was read out, Khalid al-Fawwaz stood expressionless.
Five other people have already been convicted in New York for the embassy attacks.
According to a US Senate report, the CIA carried out “brutal” interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects in the years after the 9/11 attacks.
The summary of the report, compiled by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the CIA misled Americans about what it was doing.
The information the CIA collected this way failed to secure information that foiled any threats, the report said.
In a statement, the CIA insisted that the interrogations did help save lives.
“The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qaeda and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day,” Director John Brennan said in a statement.
However, the CIA said it acknowledged that there were mistakes in the program, especially early on when it was unprepared for the scale of the operation to detain and interrogate prisoners.
Photo AFP/Getty Images
The program – known internally as the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program – took place from 2002 to 2007, during the presidency of George W. Bush.
Suspects were interrogated using methods such as waterboarding, slapping, humiliation, exposure to cold and sleep deprivation.
Introducing the report to the Senate, Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein described the CIA’s actions as a stain on US history.
“The release of this 500-page summary cannot remove that stain, but it can and does say to our people and the world that America is big enough to admit when it’s wrong and confident enough to learn from its mistakes,” Dianne Feinstein said.
“Under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured,” she added.
Earlier, President Barack Obama responded to the report, saying the methods used were inconsistent with US values.
“These techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners,” he said in a statement.
Reacting to the release of the report summary, the Senate Republican leaders insisted that the methods used helped in the capture of important suspects and the killing of Osama bin Laden.
“Claims included in this report that assert the contrary are simply wrong,” Senators Mitch McConnell and Saxby Chambliss said in a joint statement.
The Senate committee’s report runs to more than 6,000 pages, drawing on huge quantities of evidence, but it remains classified and only a 480-page summary has been released.
Barack Obama halted the CIA interrogation program when he took office in 2009.
Earlier this year, the president said that in his view the methods used to question al-Qaeda prisoners amounted to torture.
Publication of the report had been delayed amid disagreements in Washington over what should be made public.
Ex-Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill has confirmed to the Washington Post that he fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden, more than three years after the al-Qaeda leader’s death.
This contradicts the account of Matt Bissonnette, another former SEAL involved in the raid, in a 2012 book.
Osama bin Laden was killed in a 2011 Navy SEAL raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Navy SEALs usually abide by a code of silence that forbids them from publicly taking credit for their actions.
Robert O’Neill, who retired in 2012, had previously told his story anonymously to Esquire magazine.
He was scheduled to reveal his identity in a television interview later this month, but news of the interview angered other former SEALs.
A website run by ex-special forces personnel published his name pre-emptively, apparently in protest at his decision to claim credit for the shooting.
Robert O’Neill, 38, said he and another member of the team – whose identity remains secret – climbed the stairs to the third floor of the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and saw Osama bin Laden poke his head outside the door of one of the rooms.
The unnamed commando, at the “point position” leading the column, fired at him but missed, according to Robert O’Neill.
Ex-Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill has confirmed to the Washington Post that he fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden
An instant later, Robert O’Neill went into the room and killed Osama with shots to the head, he says.
However, in the book No Easy Day, Matt Bissonnette claimed it was the point man who killed Osama bin Laden.
On November 6, Matt Bissonnette did not directly dispute Robert O’Neill’s claim, in an interview with NBC News.
“Two different people telling two different stories for two different reasons,” Matt Bissonnette told the broadcaster.
“Whatever he says, he says. I don’t want to touch that.”
Matt Bissonnette is scheduled to appear on the CBS news magazine programme 60 Minutes ahead of the publication of his second book, No Hero, about his service with the SEALs.
Meanwhile, he is under investigation for potentially disclosing classified information in his first book, which is about the Bin Laden raid.
The official account of what happened is unlikely to be disclosed by the US government for many years.
Pentagon officials have neither confirmed nor denied Robert O’Neill’s account, but senior special operations leaders sent a letter last week to all Navy SEALs urging them to comply with their code of silence about operational details, including avoiding taking “public credit”.
“We do not abide wilful or selfish disregard for our core values in return for public notoriety and financial gain,” they wrote.
Osama bin Laden was confirmed killed in the raid and his body was buried at sea.
Darkness and close quarters inside the compound have made some Navy SEALs question whether it is possible to determine whose bullets killed the al-Qaeda leader.
A Pakistani library in Islamabad has been renamed after Osama bin Laden, the former al-Qaeda chief.
The Islamic seminary for women – Jamia Hafsa Madrassa – is linked to the Red Mosque, known for its alleged links with militants.
A paper sign on one of the doors proclaims Osama bin Laden a “Shahid” (martyr).
Osama bin Laden was killed in a raid by US commandos in 2011.
Pakistani troops raided the mosque in 2007. Dozens died later in clashes.
Jamia Hafsa Madrassa renamed its library after Osama Bin Laden
There are no chairs or any table in the library – just two computers on the floor.
The library is in a huge complex in the heart of Islamabad, part of which is still being built.
A spokesman for the madrassa said the new name was a tribute to Osama bin Laden, who was “a hero”.
The chief cleric there is Maulana Abdul Aziz. He warned that “if the government makes madrassas and mosques its target then Sharia (Islamic law) allows us to retaliate – if anyone will be harsh with us, they should not expect flowers in return”.
He also uses the library as his office. It has about 2,000 books – all of them related to Islam.
There are books about Sharia, Jihad and interpretations of the Koran in Arabic, Urdu and English.
The trial of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith has begun in New York.
The prosecutor has said Sulaiman Abu Ghaith used the “murderous power of his words” to rally others against America after the 9/11 attacks.
The statement came during opening arguments in the terrorism trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who once served as al-Qaeda’s spokesman.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, 48, has pleaded not guilty to charges he conspired to kill Americans.
The Kuwaiti national was brought to New York from Turkey last year.
Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith once served as al-Qaeda’s spokesman
Prosecutors say Sulaiman Abu Ghaith appeared in videos with Osama bin Laden the day after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington DC that killed almost 3,000, calling for jihad against “the Jews, the Christians and the Americans”.
Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Lewin described Sulaiman Abu Ghaith as a fiery orator who had spoken to those training in al-Qaeda camps in the months before the attacks in order to inspire them.
Nicholas Lewin said Sulaiman Abu Ghaith had agreed to appear in the group’s videos to call for further violence “while our buildings still burned”.
The Kuwaiti imam is married to the late al-Qaeda leader’s eldest daughter, Fatima. He is the highest-ranking al-Qaeda official to stand trial in the US since the 9/11 attacks.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was turned over to US officials in Jordan in 2013 after being deported from Turkey.
On Wednesday, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith’s lawyer mocked the prosecution’s opening statement.
“You’ve just been to the movies ladies and gentlemen,” Stanley Cohen said.
“At the end of the day, there’s really no evidence. There is the substitution for evidence with fright and alarm.”
He told them some of what Sulaiman Abu Ghaith had said was “dumb. It’s stupid”.
The Obama administration’s decision to try Sulaiman Abu Ghaith in civilian court had been criticized by Republicans.
A leaked Pakistani government report reveals that incompetence and negligence allowed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to live in Pakistan undetected for almost a decade.
A version of the report leaked to al-Jazeera says the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces was a “criminal act of murder” ordered by the US president.
The report also reveals details of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and day-to-day life after fleeing Afghanistan in 2001.
Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in north-west Pakistan in May 2011.
US suspicions about Osama bin Laden’s location had previously been dismissed by Pakistan. However, his discovery in a compound in Abbottabad and subsequent killing in a US Navy Seal operation put a strain on US-Pakistan relations.
Shortly after the raid, the Pakistan parliament called for an independent enquiry – the Abbottabad Commission – to establish whether the failures of the government were due to incompetence or colluding with al-Qaeda.
It was also commissioned to investigate the Pakistani intelligence services’ failure to detect CIA activity on its soil in the run-up to the raid “that culminated in the avoidable humiliation of the people of Pakistan”.
Incompetence and negligence allowed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to live in Pakistan undetected for almost a decade
In its findings, the report described the lack of intelligence as “government implosion syndrome”.
The leaked documents fiercely criticized the Pakistani government and military, describing “culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government”.
While the commission said it found nothing to support allegations of complicity, it said it could not rule out “the possibility of some degree of connivance inside or outside the government”.
The report also voiced harsh criticism of the Navy Seal raid on Abbottabad, describing it as an “American act of war” and Pakistan’s “greatest humiliation” since East Pakistan seceded in 1971.
It quotes officials as saying that Pakistan air force jets were scrambled to shoot down the US helicopters, but too late.
The 336-page document was the result of interviews with more than 200 witnesses, including senior civilian and military officials, as well as with Osama bin Laden’s three widows prior to their deportation to Saudi Arabia.
The report has been in the hands of the government for more than six months, but it had been kept under wraps.
In the version leaked to al-Jazeera, the daily life of Osama bin Laden after fleeing the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 is documented.
He was reported to have arrived in Pakistan in the spring or summer of 2002, staying in parts of South Waziristan, Bajaur, Peshawar, Swat and Haripur before settling in Abbottabad in 2005.
The wife of one of Osama bin Laden’s aides, Maryam, was quoted saying police in Swat even stopped the al-Qaeda leader’s vehicle for speeding in 2002 or 2003 – but failed to recognize him.
Referring to Osama bin Laden and his entourage, the report said: “They kept a very low profile and lived extremely frugally. They never exposed themselves to public view.”
Testimony from his widows said Osama bin Laden wore a cowboy hat whilst moving around the compound to avoid detection.
However, over a period of six years the unusual nature of the compound failed to draw the attention of the intelligence services, the report goes on.
“How the entire neighborhood, local officials, police and security and intelligence officials all missed the size, the strange shape, the barbed wire, the lack of cars and visitors etc over a period of nearly six years beggars belief.”
Commenting on the leak, the head of the commission, Javed Iqbal, told Pakistani Dunya TV that it was “based on assumptions” and did not include even one out of more than 100 recommendations the commission had made in its findings.
US soldier Bradley Manning “systematically harvested” a vast trove of secret documents to share with WikiLeaks, military prosecutors have said.
At the start of Pvt. Bradley Manning’s court martial, a prosecutor said Osama Bin Laden had received leaked information.
But defense lawyers said Pvt. Bradley Manning, 25, was young and naive when he shared the files with the anti-secrecy site.
He has not denied his role in the leak, and faces up to life in prison if convicted of aiding the enemy.
Earlier this year, Pvt. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him related to the leaks, but not to the most serious charge.
The Manning-WikiLeaks case is considered the largest-ever leak of secret US government documents. Prosecutors say the disclosures harmed US national interests, while Pvt. Bradley Manning’s supporters say he is a whistle-blowing hero.
In opening statements on Monday at a military courtroom in Fort Meade, Maryland, prosecutor Capt. Joe Morrow called the case an example of what happened “when arrogance meets access”.
Capt. Joe Morrow argued the case was not about a whistleblower’s leak of targeted information.
“This, your honor, this is a case about a soldier who systematically harvested hundreds of thousands of documents from classified databases and then dumped that information on to the internet into the hands of the enemy,” he said.
According to the prosecutor, Pvt. Bradley Manning used his military training to gain the notoriety he craved and attempted to hide what he had done at every step of the process.
He said he would introduce evidence Osama Bin Laden himself had gained access to some of the WikiLeaks information – and had put it to use.
Prosecutors plan to introduce blog entries, a computer, a hard drive and a memory card as evidence against Pvt. Bradley Manning. The military prosecutors will also call witnesses to describe his training and his deployment to Iraq.
In an opening statement, Pvt. Bradley Manning’s lawyer David Coombs said he was “young, naive and good-intentioned” when he arrived in Iraq.
But in late 2009, after an Iraqi died in an attack, he grew disillusioned after seeing his comrades celebrating because no US soldiers had been hurt.
After that incident, Pvt. Bradley Manning began collecting information he thought would “make the world a better place” if public.
“He believed this information showed how we value human life,” David Coombs said.
At the start of Pvt. Bradley Manning’s court martial, a prosecutor said Osama Bin Laden had received leaked information
“He was troubled by that. He believed that if the American public saw it, they too would be troubled.”
The defense lawyer argued that Pvt. Bradley Manning was “selective” in his choice of the hundreds of millions of documents he had access to.
The prosecution’s opening arguments directly relate to the most serious charge against Pvt. Bradley Manning: aiding the enemy. To obtain a conviction, prosecutors must prove Pvt. Bradley Manning acted with intent to aid the enemy and knowingly gave such adversaries US intelligence information.
The prosecution’s argument – that releasing such information on to the internet counts as aiding the enemy – has serious implications for anyone leaking classified information in the future.
The military will aim to show the information was of “great value” to US enemies, but supporters argue all Pvt. Bradley Manning did was make public what should never have been private.
Pvt. Bradley Manning, who was arrested in May 2010 while serving in Iraq, has not denied leaking the documents.
He told a pre-trial hearing in February he divulged the documents to spark a public debate on the role of the US military and foreign policy.
However, prosecutors argue the leaks damaged national security and endangered American lives.
One of the leaked videos shows graphic footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007 that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including a Reuters photographer.
Other documents leaked included thousands of battlefield reports from Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as secure messages between US embassies and the state department in Washington.
Whatever prison sentence Pvt. Bradley Manning receives will be reduced by 112 days, after a judge ruled he had suffered unduly harsh treatment during his initial detention following his arrest.
The soldier chose to have his court martial heard by a judge instead of a jury. It is expected to run all summer.
Judge Col. Denise Lind ruled in May she would close parts of the trial to the public to protect classified material.
Meanwhile, the UK government said on Sunday it was considering a request from Ecuador to hold talks on the future of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Julian Assange has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for a year, having been granted political asylum there.
He faces extradition to Sweden over s** allegations, which he denies.
What is WikiLeaks?
Website with a reputation for publishing sensitive material
Run by Julian Assange, an Australian with a background in computer network hacking
Released 77,000 secret US records of US military incidents about the war in Afghanistan and 400,000 similar documents on Iraq
Also posted video showing US helicopter killing 12 people – including two journalists – in Baghdad in 2007
Other controversial postings include screenshots of the e-mail inbox and address book of US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was described as a spokesman for Osama Bin Laden, has been arrested and will be tried in New York City, the US has confirmed.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was captured within the last week in Jordan, Congressman Peter King said on Thursday.
He is Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law and played a role in plotting the attacks of 9/11, US officials said.
Osama Bin Laden was killed in a May 2011 raid on his hideout in Pakistan by a team of US commandos.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is scheduled to appear in a federal court on Friday on charges of conspiracy to kill United States nationals.
“Sulaiman Abu Ghaith held a key position in al-Qaeda, comparable to the consigliere in a mob family or propaganda minister in a totalitarian regime,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George Venizelos in a statement.
“He used his position to threaten the United States and incite its enemies.”
A teacher and mosque preacher in Kuwait, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was stripped of his Kuwaiti citizenship after 9/11.
Justice department officials say Sulaiman Abu Ghaith served alongside Osama Bin Laden from May 2001 to 2002, speaking on behalf of al-Qaeda and warning that attacks similar to 9/11 would continue.
Specifically, on September 12, 2001, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith appeared with Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to warn the US that a “great army is gathering against you” and called upon “the nation of Islam” to do battle against “the Jews, the Christians and the Americans,” according to court records.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was described as a spokesman for Osama Bin Laden, has been arrested and will be tried in New York City
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was reportedly smuggled to Iran sometime in 2002.
A Jordanian security official told the Associated Press that Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was handed over last week to US officials under both countries’ extradition treaties.
Peter King called the arrest a “very significant victory” in the fight against al-Qaeda.
“One by one, we are getting the top echelons of al-Qaeda,” the Republican congressman said.
“I give the administration credit for this. It’s steady and it’s unrelenting and it’s very successful.”
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith’s trial will mark one of the first prosecutions of senior al-Qaeda leaders on US soil.
Since 9/11, 67 foreign terror suspects have been convicted in US federal courts, according to data obtained by the group Human Rights First.
Some US lawmakers disagreed with the decision to try Sulaiman Abu Ghaith in New York.
“When we find somebody like this, this close to Bin Laden and the senior al-Qaeda leadership, the last thing in the world we want to do, in my opinion, is put them in a civilian court,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday.
“This man should be in Guantanamo Bay,” he said.
A senior administration official said that Barack Obama’s national security team “unanimously agreed” that prosecution of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith in federal court was in the US’ national security interests.
“The administration is seeking to close Guantanamo, not add to its population,” the official said.
The US Senate Intelligence Committee has demanded more information about contacts between the CIA and the makers of Osama Bin Laden film Zero Dark Thirty.
Kathryn Bigelow’s film is a dramatized account of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the 2011 mission which killed him.
In a letter to Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, three senators said the film-makers could have been misled by information provided by the CIA.
The film has been nominated for four Golden Globes and is one of the Oscars favorites.
Ahead of the US elections, Kathryn Bigelow’s film was accused of being a propaganda tool intended to assist President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
The US release of the film was subsequently put back until after November’s election.
The lawmakers have requested to see a copy of all the documents given to the film-makers by the CIA.
The letter, co-signed by Senate Intelligence Committee members Dianne Feinstein, Carl Levin and former presidential candidate John McCain, expressed concern over the “clear implication” in the film that extreme interrogation techniques had played a key role in locating Osama Bin Laden.
“Given the CIA’s cooperation with the film-makers and the narrative’s consistency with past public mis-statements by former senior CIA officials, the film-makers could have been misled by information they were provided by the CIA,” the letter says.
The US Senate Intelligence Committee has demanded more information about contacts between the CIA and the makers of Osama Bin Laden film Zero Dark Thirty
The letter adds that the film’s narrative conflicts with official statements that the CIA did not first learn about an Osama Bin Laden courier through a CIA detainee who had been subjected to “coercive interrogation techniques”.
It also said that, according to a separate Senate review, the most accurate information about the courier had been provided by a CIA detainee prior to any harsh interrogation.
The three US senators also wrote to the head of Sony Pictures Entertainment shortly before Christmas saying the film was “inaccurate”.
The senators claimed that Zero Dark Thirty “clearly implies that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were effective in eliciting important information related to a courier” for Osama Bin Laden, who would unknowingly lead the agency to his compound in Pakistan.
Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal – who won Oscars in 2010 for The Hurt Locker – said last month the film depicted “a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods”.
They said: “The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes.”
On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the Committee had begun an examination of records charting contacts between intelligence officials and Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal.
Reuters said the committee would also assess “whether CIA personnel are responsible for the portrayal of harsh interrogation practices, and in particular the suggestion that they were effective”.
A spokesperson for Sony told The Hollywood Reporter: “As the studio distributing Zero Dark Thirty in the United States, we are proud of this important film. Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal and their creative team have made an extraordinary motion picture and we fully support bringing this remarkable story to the screen.”
The film’s title is a military term for half-past midnight, the local time at which Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was raided by US Navy Seals.
Zero Dark Thirty opens across the US on January 11 and is also considered a likely Oscar contender.
Former US President George W. Bush was given a series of direct warnings throughout 2001 about the possibility of a terrorist attack by Al Qaeda – but failed to take them seriously, it was claimed today.
On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it has been reported that the White House received multiple briefs between May and August 2001 about an attack with explosives and numerous casualties.
But George W. Bush continually failed to take any significant action and questioned the thoroughness of the briefings – leading to huge frustrations within the CIA.
These repeated warnings came before the famous top secret briefing – which has previously been reported – given to George Bush on August 6 with the heading “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.”.
Just a few weeks later on September 11, terrorists smashed planes into the World Trade Center in New York City – killing nearly 3,000 people and horrifying the world.
Details of the other briefings given to George W. Bush and his administration – which have never been made public – have now been revealed by The New York Times.
And they paint a startling picture of negligence at the heart of the U.S. government before 9/11.
The White House was made aware of potential attacks in the spring and, by May 1, was told by the CIA that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist attack, the Times reported.
In another daily brief on June 22, the administration was told that Al Qaeda strikes could be “imminent”.
President George W. Bush was given a series of direct warnings throughout 2001 about the possibility of a terrorist attack by Al Qaeda
However, the new neoconservative leaders at the Pentagon told the White House that the CIA had been fooled.
They believed that Osama Bin Laden was pretending to plan an attack to distract the U.S. from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Following this, the CIA prepared another daily brief for June 29 in which they listed over a page the evidence which they had built up.
This included an interview with a journalist from the Middle East in which aides of Bin Laden warned of an upcoming attack.
The briefing also included: “The U.S. is not the target of a disinformation campaign by Usama Bin Laden.”
It also included details from people close to Osama Bin Laden which claimed the expected attacks would have dramatic consequences with many casualties.
Another warning on July 1 said despite the attack being delayed it would soon take place.
But despite these warnings the White House did not appear to take them as seriously as the CIA was demanding.
The Times reports that officials within the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center became increasingly angry and in one meeting an official suggested the staff request a transfer so they could not be blamed when the attack occurred.
The White House was also told that the extremist Ibn Al-Khattab – known for his links to Al Qaeda – told his followers in Chechnya that there would “be big news soon”, the Times reported.
George W. Bush was told on July 24 that the attack was still being prepared but added that it had been postponed by a few months. However, he did not think the briefings were adequate and requested a much more detailed analysis of Al Qaeda.
This was to be the famous briefing of August 6 which was eventually declassified by the White House in April 2004 and made public.
“The administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed,” Kurt Eichenwald wrote in the piece for the New York Times.
“In other words, the August 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.”
Following the devastating attacks on 9/11, the White House – which was receiving criticism it had ignored CIA warnings – said it had never been told when or where the attacks would take place.
Yet many have claimed that if the government had been on high security alert over that summer they may have found out about the planned attack – and saved the lives of thousands.
Yet George Pataki, New York state governor on 9/11, laid into Eichenwald during a joint appearance on MSNBC for writing the New York Times article about the briefings.
“I just think this is incredibly unfortunate, to be perfectly honest. Because first of all, having been there, on September 11th and for weeks, months thereafter President Bush provided inspired, effective leadership,” George Pataki, a Republican, said.
“On September 11th everything changed and to look 11 years later and say, <<Aha, this was happening before September 11th in the summer>> and go though and selectively say, <<You should’ve done that, you should’ve done that>> I think is incredibly unfair and a disservice to history.
“And by the way if you look back there are those who could have said that President Roosevelt was at fault for Pearl Harbor. But the government didn’t look back and say, <<let’s blame the President>>; we came together to fight an important war.”
IGNORED WARNINGS: THE CIA BRIEFS ABOUT AL QAEDA ATTACK
May 1, 2001 CIA told White House that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation “with explosives”
June 22, 2001 CIA brief reported that Al Qaeda attacks could be “imminent”
June 29, 2001 Warning that the government needed to take briefs seriously. Added evidence included Osama Bin Laden aides warning of an attack and operatives claiming it would have “dramatic consequences”
July 1, 2001 Brief said the operation had been delayed but “will occur soon”
July 9, 2001 Extremist in Chechnya linked to Al Qaeda told followers there would soon be big news – and within 48 hours the information was passed to the White House
July 24, 2001 George W. Bush told the attack was still under preparation but that it had been postponed
August 6, 2001 George W. Bush received review of threats posed by Al Qaeda with headline: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the US to locate Osama Bin Laden, has said he was unaware he was involved with the 2011 killing of the al-Qaeda chief.
Speaking for the first time since his arrest, Shakil Afridi told Fox News he did not think he needed to escape after the killing but was then kidnapped by Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency.
He said the ISI, who he says tortured him, regards the US as its worst enemy.
Dr. Shakil Afridi is understood to have been contacted by phone in jail in Peshawar.
Prison officials were taken by surprise by reports of the interview, but did not rule out that a phone could have been smuggled into his cell.
The doctor is alleged to have used a fake hepatitis B vaccination campaign to obtain DNA samples of Osama Bin Laden’s family.
He was sentenced to 33 years in jail in May for funding and supporting a militant group, but correspondents say it is generally acknowledged he is being punished for helping the CIA.
Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the US to locate Osama Bin Laden, has said he was unaware he was involved with the 2011 killing of the al-Qaeda chief
The interview was published on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US, and came as current al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri confirmed the death of another senior figure in the network, Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a US drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Ayman al-Zawahiri’s brother Mohamed told CNN that he was prepared to negotiate peace between the West and Islamists.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, who spent 14 years in jail in Egypt, is said to have the respect of the new Egyptian government but claims to be ideologically close to his brother.
Speaking from Peshawar Central Jail, Dr. Shakil Afridi said he had not realized that the CIA was targeting Osama Bin Laden.
“I didn’t know about a specific target apart from the work I was given to do,” he told Fox News.
“I was aware that some terrorists were residing in that compound, but I didn’t know whom. I was shocked. I didn’t believe I was associated with his killing.”
He said that the CIA advised him to flee to Afghanistan.
However, he was scared to cross the volatile border region and did not think it was necessary for him to escape because he did not consider himself to be involved in Osama Bin Laden’s death, he said.
Dr. Shakil Afridi was arrested at a checkpoint at Hayatabad on 22 May last year, 20 days after Osama Bin Laden’s death.
After this he says he was blindfolded for eight months and handcuffed for a year in a prison beneath the ISI headquarters in Islamabad.
“I had to bend down on my knees to eat with only my mouth, like a dog,” he said.
During interrogations he was tortured with cigarette burns and electric shocks, he said, as the ISI rebuked him for helping the US find Bin Laden.
“They said: <<The Americans are our worst enemies, worse than the Indians>>,” he added.
Dr. Shakil Afridi also said fellow inmates had told him that they had been advised to make things up to prevent interrogation by visiting CIA officers.
He said that he himself was “proud” to work with the CIA and would help the US again despite the torture and psychological abuse he said he had suffered.
“I have a lot of respect and love for your people,” he said.
There has been no official response to Shakil Afridi’s allegations, but the Pakistani authorities have always insisted that they treated him the way any country would someone found working for a foreign spy agency.
Osama Bin Laden’s killing created a crisis in relations between the US and Pakistan, whose government was seriously embarrassed as it emerged Bin Laden had been living in Pakistan.
Islamabad felt the covert US operation was a violation of its sovereignty.
Both US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have said Dr. Shakil Afridi’s arrest was a mistake and called for his release.
The first interview has been aired with former Navy Seal member Matt Bissonette, who wrote a first-hand account of the May 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, No Easy Day.
Former Navy Seal Matt Bissonette, who uses the pseudonym Mark Owen, was interviewed by CBS television network.
He repeated his claim that Osama Bin Laden was shot as soon as he looked out of his bedroom, contrary to the official version of events.
The Pentagon has said it may sue Matt Bissonette for divulging military secrets.
In the interview, Matt Bissonnette defended what he said was the manner of Osama Bin Laden’s death.
Former Navy Seal Matt Bissonette, who uses the pseudonym Mark Owen, was interviewed by CBS television network
“If a guy sticks his head around the corner he very easily could have a gun,” he told CBS’ 60 Minutes programme.
“You don’t wait to get that AK or the grenade thrown down the hall or the suicide vest,” he added.
He said that Osama Bin Laden was still moving after the first shot and was shot again when the Seals entered the room.
“[The Seals] couldn’t see his hands. So, he could’ve had something. Could’ve had a hand grenade or something underneath his chest,” Mark Owen said.
US officials had stated he was shot only after he had ducked back into the bedroom, prompting fears he might be grabbing a weapon.
Matt Bissonette told of a later meeting with President Barack Obama at which the Navy Seals refused to tell him which of them had shot Osama Bin Laden.
“Pulling a trigger is easy…. It’s not about who that one person was, it’s about the team… that teed this whole thing up,” Matt Bissonette said.
“Who cares who the one person is. Doesn’t matter,” he added.
The book was not reviewed ahead of publication by the Pentagon, CIA or the White House – and officials had warned that criminal charges could result from the improper disclosure of secret information.
The Pentagon’s general counsel, Jeh Johnson, has written to the author to inform him that “in the judgment of the Department of Defense, you are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed.”
The Pentagon is considering “all remedies legally available to us”, the letter added.
Save the Children’s foreign staff have been ordered to leave Pakistan within two weeks, the aid agency confirms.
Save the Children charity says it has been given no reason for the order, but correspondents say the move is thought be fall-out from the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Following the raid, a Pakistani doctor was arrested for working for the CIA.
Pakistani intelligence officials accuse Save the Children of involvement – the group denies the claims. Six of its staff in Pakistan are foreigners.
Save the Children's foreign staff have been ordered to leave Pakistan within two weeks
The charity has worked in Pakistan for more than 30 years. Correspondents say that it is not thought that the forthcoming expulsions will have any significant impact on its operations in the country in the short term.
Dr. Shakil Afridi was arrested after it emerged he had been running a fake vaccination programme on behalf of the CIA as part of efforts to track Bin Laden, who was killed by US special forces in May last year.
The doctor was jailed for 33 years in May in a controversial hearing held behind closed doors under Pakistan’s tribal justice system.
It was originally thought that he had been imprisoned for running the fake vaccination programme – but court papers later showed that he was sentenced for alleged links to a banned militant group.
His family have called the treason allegations “rubbish” and his lawyers said they would appeal.
Over the last 18 months foreign staff of other aid agencies in Pakistan have reported increased restrictions on the way they work.
Despite that, huge numbers of Pakistanis have been reliant on their help, particularly following displacement because of conflict in the north-west and after natural disasters, like the floods of the past two years.
Former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen in No Easy Day, claims that Osama bin Laden was dead when Navy SEAL’s burst into his bedroom.
The book is to be published next week by Penguin Group (USA)’s Dutton imprint.
Matt Bissonnette says he was directly behind a “point man” going up the stairs in the pitch black hallway.
“Less than five steps” from top of the stairs, he heard “suppressed” gunfire: “BOP. BOP.”
The point man had seen a “man peeking out of the door” on the right side of the hallway.
The author writes that Osama bin Laden ducked back into his bedroom and the SEALs followed, only to find the terrorist crumpled on the floor in a pool of blood with a hole visible on the right side of his head and two women wailing over his body.
Matt Bissonnette says the point man pulled the two women out of the way and shoved them into a corner and he and the other SEALs trained their guns’ laser sites on Osama bin Laden’s still-twitching body, shooting him several times until he lay motionless.
The SEALs later found two weapons stored by the doorway, untouched, the author said.
Former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette, writing under the pseudonym Mark Owen in No Easy Day, claims that Osama bin Laden was dead when Navy SEAL’s burst into his bedroom
Osama bin Laden as wearing a white t-shirt, loose-fitting tan pants and a tunic.
In the account related by administration officials after the raid in Pakistan, the SEALs shot Osama bin Laden only after he ducked back into the bedroom because they assumed he might be reaching for a weapon.
White House spokesman Tommy Vietor would not comment on the apparent contradiction late Tuesday. But he said in an email: “As President Obama said on the night that justice was brought to Osama bin Laden, <<We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country>>.”
No Easy Day was due out September 11, but Dutton announced the book would be available a week early, September 4, because of a surge of orders due to advance publicity that drove the book to the top of the Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com best-seller lists.
The Associated Press purchased a copy of the book on Tuesday.
The account is sure to again raise questions as to whether the raid was intended to capture or simply to kill bin Laden. Matt Bissonette writes that during a pre-raid briefing, a lawyer from “either” the White House or Defense Department told them that they were not on an assassination mission.
According to Matt Bissonnette, the lawyer said that if Osama bin Laden was “naked with his hands up”, they should not “engage” him. If Osama bin Laden did not pose a threat, they should “detain him”.
In another possibly uncomfortable revelation for U.S. officials who say Osama bin Laden’s body was treated with dignity before being given a full Muslim burial at sea, the author reveals that in the cramped helicopter flight out of the compound, one of the SEALs called “Walt” – one of the pseudonyms the author used for his fellow SEALs – was sitting on bin Laden’s chest as the body lay at the author’s feet in the middle of the cabin, for the short flight to a refueling stop inside Pakistan where a third helicopter was waiting.
This is common practice, as troops sometimes must sit on their own war dead in packed helicopters. Space was cramped because one of the helicopters had crashed in the initial assault, leaving little space for the roughly two dozen commandos in the two aircraft that remained. When the commandos reached the third aircraft, Osama bin Laden’s body was moved to it.
Matt Bissonnette writes disparagingly that none of the SEALs were fans of President Barack Obama and knew that his administration would take credit for ordering the May 2011 raid. One of the SEALs said after the mission that they had just gotten Obama re-elected by carrying out the raid.
But he says they respected him as commander in chief and for giving the operation the go-ahead.
Matt Bissonnette writes less flatteringly of meeting Vice President Joe Biden along with Barack Obama at the headquarters of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment after the raid. He says Joe Biden told “lame jokes” no one understood, reminding him of “someone’s drunken uncle at Christmas dinner”.
Beyond such embarrassing observations, U.S. officials fear the book may include classified information, as it did not undergo the formal review required by the Pentagon for works published by former or current Defense Department employees.
Officials from the Pentagon and the CIA, which commanded the mission, are examining the manuscript for possible disclosure of classified information and could take legal action against the author.
In a statement provided to The Associated Press, the author says he did “not disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way”.
Matt Bissonnette’s real name was first revealed by Fox News and confirmed to The Associated Press.
Jihadists on al-Qaeda websites have posted purported photos of the author, calling for his murder.
Abu Yahya al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda leader, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Monday, a US official has confirmed.
US officials said Abu Yahya al-Libi was the target of an attack which hit a volatile tribal area of Pakistan’s north-west, killing 15 suspected militants.
There has been no confirmation of his death from sources in Pakistan.
According to officials, he played a critical role in the group’s planning against the West.
“There is no-one who even comes close in terms of replacing the expertise al-Qaeda has just lost,” the US official said.
The official added that al-Qaeda’s leadership “will be hard-pressed to find any one person who can readily step into [Libi’s] shoes”.
Washington believes that following Osama Bin Laden’s death last year, Abu Yahya al-Libi, an Islamic scholar from Libya, became al-Qaeda’s second-in-command after Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Abu Yahya al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda leader, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Monday, a US official has confirmed
Abu Yahya al-Libi had gravitas as a longstanding member of al-Qaeda’s leadership, the official said, and his religious credentials meant he had the authority to issue fatwas and provide guidance to the Pakistan-based operation.
Analysts have said that he was in charge of day-to-day operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
He was reported killed in a drone strike in Pakistan in 2009, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.
Pakistan’s frontier tribal region is considered a hub of activity by al-Qaeda and Taliban militants and it is very difficult to verify information from the region.
Reporters are prevented by the authorities from travelling to the area.
There are no further details explaining how US officials are certain that Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed by the drone strike.
In Monday’s strike, two missiles were fired at a suspected militant compound in Hesokhel, east of Miranshah – the main town in the volatile tribal region of North Waziristan.
The first missile struck the compound, killing three militants, Pakistani security officials said.
A second missile then killed 12 more militants who had arrived at the scene, they added.
It was just the latest assault after a recent surge of attacks in Pakistan – there have been eight drone strikes over the past two weeks.
It sparked anger in Pakistan and the foreign ministry lodged a formal protest with Washington’s deputy ambassador to Islamabad, Richard Hoagland.
Islamabad has called for an end to drone strikes, and today the government issued a statement saying they represented a “clear red line for Pakistan”.
Tension between the reluctant allies has been intensified by a dispute over Pakistan’s closure of supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan, after a NATO air strike along the Afghan border killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Many observers believe the attacks have been a means of applying pressure on Islamabad after a deal to reopen NATO supply routes fell through.
But drone strikes have increased in frequency since President Barack Obama took office in 2008 and hundreds of people have been killed.
The dead include senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, as well as an unknown number of other militants and civilians.
The US does not normally comment on individual drone operations, but this strike came after it emerged in the New York Times that the US president personally approves or vetoes each drone strike.
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