US officials have released more information from the “treasure trove” of material collected during the May 1, 2011 capture / kill mission at Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. The most recent intelligence allegedly involves bin Laden’s collaboration with his operations chief Attiyah Abd al Rahman, and their plan to attack the United States on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. According to officials, the plot was only in the discussion phase with reports that bin Laden and al Rahman could not agree on the composition of an attack team.
Although there seems to be no evidence that the incipient plan has been further developed beyond an aspirational, the CIA deemed this plot a top priority and focused efforts to ensure that an “anniversary” attack is mitigated. Furthermore, officials claim that the material collected for analysis was mostly general in nature, such as plans to attack U.S. trains and transportation systems, or by utilizing terrorist operatives who have legitimate passports and other travelling documentation.
Although “anniversary” attack situations have been recently reported, it is our experience that al Qaeda does not focus on this type of attack and rarely has attacks coincided with an anniversary or historic event. It is our assessment that terrorist operatives carry out an attack based on their readiness and perception that it will be a successful operation.