U.S. intelligence is now in possession of a veritable “playbook” of al Qaeda operations — from potential terror attack targets to information on international safe houses and top commanders — thanks to the Navy SEAL raid that took down Osama bin Laden Sunday, officials told ABC News today.
The cache of electronic and handwritten materials obtained by the SEALs includes numerous hallmark al Qaeda plots including attacks on infrastructure targets such as water supply and transportation including rail and air, in what one official described as a “strategic guide for how to attack the U.S.” In the past, al Qaeda planned for attacks on water supplies have included an interest in mining dams and in poisoning water supply. Intelligence experts have also have found what appears to be information about safe houses around the world and about al Qaeda leadership.
It is unclear just how active bin Laden was in coordinating any operations or in blessing overall strategies and plots. One official said bin Laden appears to have thought of himself as something of a head coach to al Qaeda.
What is clear, officials said, is that intelligence analysts see weeks ahead of data mining and linking the cache of materials to past knowledge of plots that has come from detainees, cases and various forms of intercepts and surveillance.