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[] OBLs Rechner...,

Al-Qaeda computer might prove to be treasure trove



A computer used by Osama bin Laden's agents in Afghanistan could be an
intelligence bonanza pointing to future methods of attack and inside
information about how al-Qaeda operates, former military officials and
analysts said Monday.

A US intelligence official confirmed that a computer bought by The Wall
Street Journal in Kabul apparently had been used by al-Qaeda. It contained
memos of the terrorist group's chemical and biological weapons program,
justifications for killing civilians and a propaganda video made from
footage of people fleeing from the World Trade Center, the Journal reported.
Computers are increasingly replacing confidential memos as a prime target
when looking for intelligence left behind by a routed enemy. The faster the
enemy is destroyed, the juicier the information.

"It's like in the old days when you have safes, you'd have hand grenades
laying around to take out the safe," said Marc Enger, former director of
operations at the Air Intelligence Agency, the US Air Force's intelligence
arm. "These guys were more intent on getting out than worrying about
information left behind."

Enger said US forces retrieved valuable information from computers in Iraq
and Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War as well as in the 1989 invasion of

"We got good data there," Enger said, citing evidence of financial
transactions and drug trafficking. "It was in [Panamanian General Manuel]
Noriega's personal underground command center. They found computers in
there that had all kinds of stuff."

A looter in Kabul said he got the desktop computer after a US bombing raid
in November that killed several senior officials of al-Qaeda, the Journal
reported. The newspaper said it bought the machine from the looter for

The terrorist group functioned like a multinational corporation, with memos
referring to al-Qaeda as "the company" and its leadership as "the general
management," the newspaper said. One memo referred to a "legal study" of
the killing of civilians, in which the writer said he had found ways to
keep "the enemy" from using the killing of "civilians, specifically women
and children," to undermine the militants' cause, the Journal said.

A letter addressed to top al-Qaeda lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri said
"hitting the Americans and Jews is a target of great value and has its
rewards in this life and, God willing, the afterlife," the Journal said.
The author of the letter said that he had written to bin Laden separately.

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