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Insights From Bin Laden's Home Videos

LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Im Liane Hansen.

American intelligence officials have spent the last week sifting through a trove of information, seized by U.S. forces from the Pakistan hideout where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed. Yesterday, the Pentagon released several video clips of bin Laden.

NPR's Rachel Martin has details.

MARTIN: It is a striking image: a gray-bearded man crouched on the floor of a windowless room, a blanket draped over his shoulders. Osama bin Laden is holding a remote control, flipping through images on a small television - images of himself from news reports. In one, a split screen, his face on one side; the burning Trade Towers on another.

It's a scene in one of five video clips released by U.S. officials yesterday. Three of the clips look like something from an outtake reel, bin Laden standing, rehearsing video messages.

Intelligence officials say they don't know exactly when the videos were filmed, or where. Another video appears to be a recorded message to the United States.

U.S. officials didn't release audio from any of the videos over concerns about spreading al-Qaida propaganda. But one senior intelligence official said in his message, bin Laden rails against U.S. foreign policy. The same official said the data gathered from the compound shows bin Laden was far more than a figurehead - that he was playing an active operational role directing plots, and encouraging al-Qaida and its affiliates to carry them out.

Rachel Martin, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.