Bin Laden plotted to kill Obama, documents show

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden in his final days schemed over an effort to kill President Barack Obama as well as other top U.S. officials, documents recovered from his compound show.

A senior administration official confirmed the existence of a bin Laden proposal to assassinate Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, first reported Friday by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. The administration official said the documents show that bin Laden spent much of his time brooding and offering guidance that went unheeded and that he was extremely concerned with improving al-Qaida’s public image, going so far as to consider changing the group’s name.

Senior leaders of al-Qaida believed the group’s image had been seriously damaged because of its attacks against other Muslims, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Bin Laden’s suggestions were not advanced enough to be considered a serious plot, the official said.

A cache of personal letters shows a “brooding, frustrated and isolated bin Laden,” the official said. The al-Qaida leader seemed disconnected from other members of the group and from their operations.

The documents include correspondence between bin Laden and key lieutenants, including one letter in which he proposed changing the name of al-Qaida “because of the group’s declining public image,” the official said.

In the months since the operation that killed bin Laden last May, government analysts have been poring over letters, documents, video and other items taken from the compound.

Officials are preparing to declassify the material and make some of it public, according to the official, who declined to release the documents or make them available for inspection.

Ignatius said in his column that a senior administration official showed him the documents, in which bin Laden said that “Obama is the head of infidelity” and that killing him would throw the U.S. into crisis because Vice President Joe Biden was “totally unprepared” to take over the presidency. Bin Laden hoped to target the president’s plane, Ignatius said, something that U.S. officials do not believe al-Qaida has the ability to do.

More in Local News

Suspect sought in two Everett bank robberies

He’s described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with dark hair and a goatee, and may have a neck tattoo.

Jogger unharmed after fending off attacker in Edmonds

Police released video of a man they believe to be the attacker.

Two missing men found, one alive and one dead

The man found alive was found in an apartment across the hallway and taken to a hospital.

Darrington School Board dealing with upheavals

The crux of the controversy seems to be the superintendent’s job.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Three teens arrested for Marysville school vandalism

Windows were broken and a trash bin was on fire Sunday night at a Marysville middle school.

Langley mayor threatens newspaper with lawsuit

The mayor threatened to sue the paper over claims he withheld public records disclosure information.

Divers called to recover body after train hits pedestrian

The accident was reported by a BNSF crew near Woods Creek in Monroe.

Katharine Graham, then CEO and chairwoman of the board of The Washington Post Co., looks over a copy of The Daily Herald with Larry Hanson, then The Herald’s publisher, during her visit to Everett on Sept. 20, 1984. The Washington Post Co. owned The Herald from 1978 until 2013. (Herald archives)
A local connection to history

Retired Herald publisher Larry Hanson remembers The Post’s Katharine Graham, who visited several times.

Most Read