Bin Laden wanted to attack U.S. on 9/11 anniversary

Osama bin Laden
In this 1998 file photo, Osama bin Laden holds a press conference in Khost, Afghanistan and made available Friday March 19, 2004.
AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan

Handwritten journals taken from Osama bin Laden's compound in U.S. military raid that killed him reveal that the al Qaeda mastermind wanted followers to plan an attack on the U.S. for the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, the Washington Post reports.

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The journals reveal a variety of previously unknown schemes and ideas for attacking the U.S., including targeting trains and small cities as opposed to large ones. They have variously been interpreted as evidence that bin Laden was still playing a major operational role in al Qaeda and proof that he was essentially impotent beyond his scribbled fantasies.

In one particularly macabre bit of mathematics, bin Laden's writings show him musing over just how many Americans he must kill to force the U.S. to withdraw from the Arab world. He concludes that small attacks had not been enough. He tells his disciples that only a body count of thousands, something on the scale of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, would shift U.S. policy.

He also schemed about ways to sow political dissent in Washington and play political figures against one another, officials said.

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