Bin Laden: A frequent email user despite no Internet connection
May 16th, 2011 - 12:45 pm ET by J. G.
While he had no Internet connection in his Pakistan hideout, Osama Bin Laden was nevertheless a frequent email user. His messages were saved to a USB memory stick for sending.
Killed at the beginning of the month in a commando operation conducted by American Special Forces, the leader of Al-Qaida had managed to evade all computer surveillance from his hide out in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Osama Bin Laden was a prolific emailer through, allowing him to stay in contact with members of his terrorist network throughout the world.
Communication without risking capture was a disciplined affair, with a specific procedure strictly followed to avoid detection. From his Pakistan residence, Osama Bin Laden had no internet access, or even a telephone connection.
The Associated Press reports that all of his emails were stored on a USB memory stick provided to a courier who would then send the emails from a local cybercafé. All incoming messages were then stored on the same memory stick and returned to Bin Laden so that he could read and answer his emails.
This was a slow method of working, and one which was based on trust. A hundred USB memory sticks were seized during the commando operation, with tens of thousands of Arab written documents stored on them which could today prove to be very useful in the fight against terrorism.