FBI Investigator: 'We're Not Done With the bin Ladens Yet'

Hamza bin Laden appears ready to pick up the mantle
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2017 7:37 AM CDT

"I think we're not done with the bin Ladens yet." That's the conclusion of Ali Soufan in a 60 Minutes interview focusing on the trove of documents taken from Osama bin Laden's compound upon his death. Soufan—the FBI's chief al-Qaeda investigator in the wake of 9/11—shares what he's learned in two years spent poring over the documents. A lot of it boils down to one man: Hamza bin Laden, the son of the al-Qaeda leader. He's thought to be 28, and what we've known of him is minimal—no photos of him as an adult, for instance. But what Soufan uncovered in the documents is snippets about a charismatic man who "exhibited leadership skills early on," in January was added to the State Department's Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, and just recently released another al-Qaeda propaganda video, per Newsweek.

Soufan calls out one letter, written from son to father around the time of Osama's death. Hamza hadn't seen his father for the eight years prior, and the letter expresses how much he both misses his dad ("He tells him ... I remember every, every look you looked at me, every smile you gave me, every word you told me," says Soufan) and plans to be like him. Soufan quotes the letter as saying, "I consider myself to be forged in steel, the path of jihad for the sake of God is what we live." Soufan believes Hamza was groomed to lead and is willing to do so, and the al-Qaeda he'd head is very different from that of his father: At the time of 9/11, the group had just 400 Afghanistan-based members. Now it's "thousands and thousands of members, all over the Middle East." (More Hamza bin Laden stories.)

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