The Bin Laden Papers

How the Abbottabad Raid revealed the Truth about al-Qaeda, its Leader and his Family

Nelly Lahoud

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An inside look at al-Qaeda from 9/11 to the assassination of its founder—told through the words of Bin Laden and his closest circle

Usama Bin Laden’s greatest fear was not capture or death, but the exposure of al-Qaeda’s secrets. At great risk to themselves and the entire mission, the U.S. Special Operations Forces, who carried out the Abbottabad raid that killed Bin Laden, took an additional eighteen minutes to collect Bin Laden’s hard drives and thereby expose al-Qaeda’s secrets.
In this ground-breaking book, Nelly Lahoud dives into Bin Laden’s files and meticulously distills the nearly 6,000 pages of Arabic private communications. For the first time, al-Qaeda’s closely guarded secrets are laid bare, shattering misconceptions and revealing how and what Bin Laden communicated with his associates, his plans for future attacks, and al-Qaeda’s hostility toward countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan. Lahoud presents firsthand accounts of al-Qaeda from 9/11 until the elimination of Bin Laden, as told through his own words and those of his family and closest associates.

Nelly Lahoud is a senior fellow in New America’s International Security program. She was the lead author of the report on the first batch of declassified Abbottabad documents and is the author of three books, including The Jihadis' Path to Self-Destruction.

The Bin Laden Papers is a work of immense, exciting scholarship, and it sparkles with new insights about bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network. Crisply written by Nelly Lahoud, it is one of the most important histories of the war on terror.”—Peter Bergen, author of The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden

“A masterful analysis and riveting story. As though finally cleaning a window obscured by years of grime, Nelly Lahoud’s The Bin Laden Papers clarifies a man and his movement that confused and confounded much of the world for decades.”—General (ret.) Stanley McChrystal, former Commander of United States Forces Afghanistan

“Terrorist expert Nelly Lahoud reveals the hidden history of Al Qaeda in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The Bin Laden Papers paints a portrait of an ambitious and dedicated terrorist leader who is often out of touch with reality and unable to control the movement he helped spawn.”—Daniel Byman, author of Road Warriors: Foreign Fighters in the Armies of Jihad

“Nelly Lahoud’s consummate analysis of 6,000 al-Qaeda documents is a prodigious and indispensable achievement. Deploying clinical understanding of political, religious, and family contexts, she provides a riveting inside account, the fullest likely ever to emerge, of the thoughts and motivations of a man and movement that have so malignly impacted our era.”—James Piscatori, co-author of Islam Beyond Borders: The Umma in World Politics

ISBN: 9780300260632
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
384 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
2 b/w illus. + 2 maps