Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bin Laden Was Fixated on Assassinating Obama Documents Show Petraeus Also Was Target

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bin Laden Was Fixated on Assassinating Obama Documents Show Petraeus Also Was Target

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Osama bin Laden pushed his organization to develop plans to kill President Barack Obama in the belief that the United States would tumble into chaos if an "unprepared" Vice President Joe Biden became commander in chief, according to new details published Friday about the documents recovered from the compound where the al- Qaida leader was killed.

The al-Qaida chief's analysis of presidential succession scenarios appears in a collection of classified records that the Obama administration is planning to release to the public in coming months. The documents were described by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius in an article that appeared on the newspaper's website Friday and is scheduled to be published in the paper Sunday.

The documents depict bin Laden as a terrorist leader who is fixated on finding a way to assassinate top U.S. officials, but who appears to have devoted more thought to the anticipated fallout from such plots than to how they might be carried out.

In a message addressed to his top lieutenant, bin Laden urged his network to pursue ways to kill Mr. Obama with an attack on the presidential aircraft, Air Force One -- a scheme that U.S. intelligence officials said was well beyond the reach of al-Qaida's decimated ranks. The records also identify then-Gen. David Petraeus as a priority target.

"The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity, and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency," the message said, according to the account by Mr. Ignatius, who said he was given an opportunity to view the records. "Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis."

Bin Laden described Mr. Petraeus, now CIA director, as "the man of the hour," according to Mr. Ignatius, and he said "killing him would alter the war's path" in Afghanistan.

The references in the so-called bin Laden trove to kill Mr. Obama and the identification of Air Force One as a potential target have been publicly reported since shortly after the al-Qaida chief was killed by U.S. commandos in a raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May. …

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