Expert: Al Qaeda "weaker than we thought"

U.S. officials say the stockpile of material Navy SEALs seized from Osama bin Laden's compound in early May is paying off.

CBS News National Security Analyst Juan Zarate said on "The Early Show" the trove of information has revealed al Qaeda is "weaker than we had perhaps thought."

According to two U.S. officials who spoke to the press on the condition of anonymity, the CIA-led team of data analysts, cyber experts and translators is "95 percent done" decrypting and translating the material collected from a journal, computers, hard drives and thumb drives. Those officials say they expect the job to be finished by the middle of the month.

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As for what the U.S. has learned, Zarate said counter-terrorism efforts have been stepped up, and there are "internal divisions we can play on" going forward.

According to U.S. officials cited in an Associated Press report, the information at the political compound showed a type of office politics, with various members of the hierarchy weighing in and sometimes back-stabbing each other in attempts to vie for the bin Laden's attention and work the system.

Sources: CIA "95% done" reading bin Laden files

And now, with their leader gone, Zarate told co-anchor Erica Hill, "American officials want to break the back of al Qaeda leadership at a moment where they're very weak."

In fact, Zarate said, a recent video of al Qaeda's longtime No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, may be an indication of that weakness. In the message, al-Zawahri does not profess to be the new leader of the movement.

Zarate called the absence of a takeover "quite significant."

"The fact that Ayman al-Zawahri has not been named the new leader of al Qaeda suggests that there are internal divisions within al Qaeda leadership and movement," Zarate explained. "Zawahri is not necessarily well-liked, not charismatic. Bin Laden was the founder, the glue of this movement. And the fact that you haven't seen a new leader emerge really does suggest that there are internal fissures and friction within the al Qaeda leadership."

However, it's not only the lack of what Zawahri says, but what he does say that indicates a fragility of the al Qaeda effort in the world. The terrorist organization's No. 2 eulogizes bin Laden and promises a reprisal for his death.

However, while Zawahri says America should still be terrified, Zarate said he's also using the video message to try and "buck up" remaining followers.

"He is ... trying to build up the morale of the al Qaeda faithful," Zarate said. "The loss of bin Laden was a huge blow to the movement."

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