Insights from the Bin Laden Archive
May 5, 2021
The authors present an inventory of current knowledge on Al Qa'ida and of completed and ongoing research on the Bin Laden Archive, a wide array of original files from devices collected during the 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound. They also describe their initial assessment and characterisation of the Bin Laden Archive.
Inventory of research and knowledge and initial assessment and characterisation of the Bin Laden Archive
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In 2017, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) disclosed approximately 470,000 files recovered in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during the 2011 raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound. According to the CIA, this collection — the Bin Laden Archive — comprises a wide array of original files from devices collected during the Abbottabad raid that are presumed to have belonged to Osama Bin Laden and other occupants of the compound.
Despite the potential insights that this archive stands to offer, limited research into its data and materials has been published to date in the public domain. More broadly, publicly available research conducted so far has entailed a qualitative review of only a selected number of files and documents. In December 2018, the Research and Documentation Centre (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum, WODC) of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security (Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid) commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a study aiming to (1) inventory current knowledge on Al Qa'ida and completed and ongoing research on the Bin Laden Archive and (2) conduct an initial assessment and characterisation of the Bin Laden Archive.
Al Qa'ida's historical trajectory
Al Qa'ida's ideology
Al Qa'ida's strategy
Al Qa'ida's organisation
Previous and ongoing research on the Bin Laden Archive
Bin Laden journal analysis
Phase I methodology
Phase II methodology
Stakeholder elicitation details and tools
The research described in this report was commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek- en Documentatiecentrum, WODC) of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security (Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid) and conducted by RAND Europe.
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