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Al-Qaeda computers seized in Bin Laden raid
"Treasure trove of information" seized from Bin Laden's hideout could offer clues about group's operations.
Last Modified: 03 May 2011 18:30
Brennan said al-Qaeda computers would be analysed for details of potential plots and threats [AFP]

US analysts are examining a trove of documents and computer equipment confiscated from the compound of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden amid hopes they could reveal crucial information about the group's operation.

John Brennan, US White House counterterrorism chief, said analysts were also examining the material for evidence of suspected support from Pakistani government officials for the al-Qaeda leader.

"They are trying to determine themselves whether or not there were individuals within the Pakistani government or military intelligence services who were knowledgeable about bin Laden's residence there and whether or not they were providing support," Brennan said.

The US seized bin Laden's documents after US special forces stormed his fortified compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad and shot him dead, where Brennan said the most wanted fugitive could have been living for up to six years.

"The exploitation of the information is ongoing, and we are going to look at it very carefully for threat reporting, plotting that may be under way, and leads to other al-Qaeda officials."

"Clearly there is some type of support network that provided him assistance and helped facilitate contact between bin Laden and his operatives," he added.

Internal investigation

Pakistan itself has launched an internal investigation into how bin Laden could live undisturbed in a hillside retreat popular with retired Pakistani generals.

Asif Zardari, Pakistan's president, has rejected accusations his country is sheltering armed fighters.

"Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesnt reflect the fact that Pakistan had as much reason to despise Al Qaeda as any other nation," Zardari said.

"The war on terrorism is as much Pakistans war as it is America's."

Pakistan's foreign ministry also released a statement saying that although it had no prior knowledge of the US operation against bin Laden, the US used Pakistani intelligence - which had been provided to Washington for years - to track down bin Laden.

Relations at risk

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington DC, said US-Pakistan relations could be at serious risk if the "treasure trove of information" exposed support from Pakistani officials for bin Laden.

"If they find that evidence, it will definitely strain their relationship," she said.

"There are some members of Congress who are saying this is simply the last straw and that the billions of dollars of aid to Pakistan should not necessarily be at risk but some strings could be tied to it.

"That is going to going to be the open debate in Washington to be going on weeks and possibly months ahead."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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