Videos demystify the Osama bin Laden legend

One of the most revealing videos of Osama bin Laden released by the Pentagon today presents a startling image: A haggard-looking Osama bin Laden huddled in a blanket and ski cap, holding a remote control, watching television news coverage of himself.

The video shows bin Laden sitting alone in a drab, run-down room in front of an old TV connected by a bundle of bare cables to a satellite receiver.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports that the government did not release the audio of the home movie, but the video obviously shows bin Laden watching a broadcast of one of al Qaeda's many terror messages. In one scene he appears with his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri, walking in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan. Another scene shows the burning towers of the World Trade Center.

The tape was found amidst the mountain of material recovered from bin Laden's lair. The computer disks, handwritten notes, and tapes have now convinced intelligence analysts that bin Laden - to the end - remained the center of his al Qaeda network.

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A senior intelligence official today called the compound an "active command and control center." There is clear evidence bin Laden was involved in mapping terror plans and giving tactical directions.

Bin Laden, it seems, was also obsessed with his public image.

Another video clip shows bin Laden apparently rehearsing a speech in front of an armoire, which officials believe was inside his compound.

Yet another video shows a practice session in front of wrinkled sheet that may have been draped to hide the background. In another clip, there's an al Qaeda "blooper" of sorts - bin Laden with a false start and a "take two."

Officials did find what seems to be at least one "finished"...yet unreleased bin Laden tape...in which the al Qaeda leader rails against America and capitalism. It was apparently recorded late last year...between October 9 and November 5.

Watch all five bin Laden videos released by the U.S.
Complete coverage: The killing of Osama bin Laden

It's also clear bin Laden had a streak of vanity. In all of the rehearsal tapes and in the last videotaped message released in 2007, the terror mastermind appears with a dyed black beard. In the candid tape of his TV viewing session, bin Laden's beard was gray, the same color it was on Sunday when he was shot and killed by Navy Seals.

While the government has no plans, right now, to release any more of the evidence, a senior intelligence official said the US now has "unquestionable proof" that it was bin Laden who was killed.

A final analysis of DNA calculates the odds of it being anyone else at one in 11.8 quadrillion.

  • Bob Orr

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