This morning, the U.S. government released a list of PDF books and other media found inside Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Alongside an issue of al-Qaeda’s online magazine Inspire and U.S. articles about terrorism and foreign policy was a copy David Ray Griffin’s The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11, a book that argues that 9/11 was an inside job.
Was Osama...a 9/11 truther? The New Pearl Harbor wasn’t the only conspiracy-friendly tome in bin Laden’s digital library. A document provided to BuzzFeed News also lists Fritz Springmeier’s Bloodlines of the Illuminati, Secrets of the Federal Reserve by virulently anti-semitic conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins (Another of his works is titled “My Struggle Against the Jews”), and a saved copy of a web article alleging that 9/11 was predicted by a 1995 card game about the Illuminati. (This theory is also popular among members of Reddit’s “conspiracy” message board. It is unknown if Osama had a Reddit account.)
The digital bookshelf also contains mainstream accounts of the attack and subsequent military actions: a copy of The 9/11 Commission Report, Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars, a 2005 Los Angeles Times article called “Is al-Qaeda Just Bush’s Boogeyman?” (A theme of the collection appears to be “books and articles that ask questions that Osama could answer easily.”)
Other contents are strangely banal, such as manuals for Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, and a copy of GamePro and Popular Science (“Best Innovations of the Year Issue,” 2010). The document also includes a suicide prevention manual called “Is It the Heart You Are Asking?” However, an anonymous intelligence official told BuzzFeed that it is unlikely that that document belonged to bin Laden himself.
The files were recovered during the 2011 raid that led to bin Laden’s death—an event whose official story was recently called into question in a London Review of Books article by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.
Among other allegations, Hersh claimed that the U.S. government’s account of a “treasure trove” of terrorism-related documents that had been recovered from bin Laden’s compound was greatly exaggerated. According to Buzzfeed’s anonymous official, the timing of the release was unrelated to the Hersh’s article: “We do though know that this process was taking a long time. Once a document is declassified it can’t become reclassified and the IC needs to insure that all the documents declassified will not hinder efforts to keep the nation safe.”
The full list of books and articles is below.