Chocolate, Garden Contests: Inside bin Laden's Life

Leaked report offers details of US raid, too

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 8, 2013 12:41 PM CDT

(Newser) Al-Jazeera has obtained a leaked copy of the 337-page report from the Abbottabad Commission, which was formed by the Pakistani government in June 2011 to investigate the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound by US forces. More than 200 witnesses, including bin Laden family members and high-level officials, were interviewed, but the government never released the report despite urging from the Commission to do so. The bottom line of the report: Government incompetence and intelligence failures (as opposed to complicity) allowed bin Laden to live in six different Pakistan locations over nine years. The scathing report also warns that the US could be allowed to carry out a similar raid if Pakistan doesn't update its defense strategy.

The report also offers details of bin Laden's life on the lam from the time he entered Pakistan in mid-2002:

  • Bin Laden reportedly met with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in 2003, a month before Mohammed was captured.
  • Pakistan was no longer actively looking for bin Laden by 2005.
  • A family car with bin Laden inside was once stopped for speeding, in a close call for bin Laden.
  • At one of his houses, the men would travel as far as 93 miles away to make phone calls.
  • Bin Laden and his family lived frugally; the al-Qaeda leader had just six outfits, one jacket, two sweaters ... and a cowboy hat.
  • If bin Laden was feeling lethargic (he suffered from kidney and possibly heart problems), he would eat chocolate or an apple.
  • He oversaw his grandchildren's playtime, including gardening competitions.
  • When the US raid began, one of bin Laden's daughters threw herself at a soldier who was aiming his weapon at bin Laden. She was later asked to identify her father's body.
More details on bin Laden's family life here; more details on the raid here. Full report here. Also revealed today: how the US kept the bin Laden raid records secret.

This undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
This undated file photo shows al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo, File)
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