The CIA has just released a massive trove of files recovered from the Abbottabad compound where Osama Bin Laden was killed. The files were recovered by US Special Forces, during a 2011 raid, where Bin Laden was believed to have lived in hiding since 2006.
The recently released files include videos, photos, audio files and documents such as Bin Laden's personal journal. "CIA Director Mike Pompeo authorised the release in the interest of transparency and to enhance public understanding of al-Qa'ida and its former leader," the spy agency said in a statement.
The released files include around 18,000 documents, 79,000 image and audio files, nearly 10,000 videos, some of which showcase a young Hamza Bin Laden, Osama Bin Laden's son, in "home videos". Some videos also feature Osama Bin Laden's statements and jihadist propaganda.
The recently released records also contained some bizarre files including videos of Rowan Atkinson's infamous Mr Bean, dubbed in Pashto, and around 100 YouTube videos, some of them featuring "Funny Cats", Charlie Bit My Finger, 30 videos on crocheting and more.
Some videos also reportedly featured children's cartoons such as Tom and Jerry alongside graphic video clips of beheadings. Various animated movies such as Ice Age and Chicken Little were also included in the cache of videos, The Mirror reported. The bizarre list of videos reportedly featured varied titles such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "A mortar attack upon al-Dowra police station in Baghdad".
The Guardian reported that Bin Laden's personal journal had an account of his trip to the UK during his teens for an unspecified "treatment". Bin Laden wrote that he visited William Shakespeare's home in Stratford-upon-Avon but left unimpressed by British society and culture.
"I got the impression that they were a loose people, and my age didn't allow me to form a complete picture of life there," Bin Laden wrote.
"We went every Sunday to visit Shakespeare's house. I was not impressed and I saw that they were a society different from ours and that they were a morally loose society."
Bin Laden's personal diary also reveals new information about al-Qaeda's relationship with Iran and provides insight into Bin Laden's connections with the rest of the terror group.
The release follows CIA director Mike Pompeo's announcement in September that the spy agency would publicly release more files, excluding pornographic material that was recovered from the Abbottabad compound. "Today's release of recovered al-Qa'ida letters, videos, audio files and other materials provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization," Pompeo said in a statement.
Motherboard reported that US Special Forces gathered an estimated one million documents from the Abbottabad compound during the raid. In 2015, the US government released physical documents found on "Bin Laden's bookshelf". Click here to view new files released by the CIA.