New bin Laden intel includes train attack plots

As has been widely reported, the Navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden also took computer files, flash drives, DVDs and documents from the compound where he lived.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports that some recently leaked details of the contents of those files show that show that bin Laden desperately wanted another 9/11, and the next target could have been trains in the United States.

A Homeland Security intelligence warning sent to law enforcement officials around the country says as that of February 2010, al Qaeda was considering tampering with an unspecified U.S. rail track so that a train would fall off the track at a valley or a bridge.

The world never saw Osama bin Laden after a videotaped appearance in September 200. Now, however, documents grabbed from his compound reveal that to the very end, bin Laden was still at the core of al Qaeda's operations, and dreaming of new attacks against America.

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CBS News has learned that memos recovered from bin Laden's lair show the al Qaeda leader was thinking big. The memos reference potential attacks against major American cities - New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles. Sources say the writings suggest striking on important specific dates like July Fourth, September 11th and New Year's.

The information is interesting to analysts, because it may suggest a subtle shift in terror planning. Historically, al Qaeda has attacked when it's ready, not necessarily on holidays and anniversaries.

Sources say the memos do not indicate the potential plots are "operational." Instead, they seem to represent an "al Qaeda wish list," loose aspirational outlines for strikes the terror group hoped to launch.

An intelligence source said that there were also drafts of speeches found in the intel haul. Although there was no real indication that bin Laden was in a command and control posture for al Qaeda, he was believed to be getting and giving information and being kept in the loop; the feeling is that the terror network's operations are being run out of Pakistan.

There was also data on financial transactions confiscated and analysts and investigators are trying to follow the trails, looking to further develop linkage to supporters pertaining to fundraising, cash flow, and other networks feeding into al Qaeda. CIA analysts will try to develop the source of his funding and people responsible for fund raising.

The memos do not mention any particular mode or method for potential attacks. Additionally, it's not at all clear if any assignments had been passed out to terror operatives. No proof of any imminent plot has been uncovered, but one official said we have an unprecedented window into bin Laden's world, and new insights into the broad al Qaeda network.

Additional reporting by CBS News investigative producer Pat Milton.

  • Bob Orr

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