Nov 1, 2017

Bin Laden file-drop reveals new info on al Qaeda, Iran

Osama bin Laden, left, and his top lieutenant Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, right. Photo: Al Jazeera / AP

The CIA dropped around 470,000 files taken from the Abbottabad compound where Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011, including documents, videos, audio files, and more.

Why it matters: According to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), the new files could help explain "how al Qaeda groomed supporters everywhere from West Africa to South Asia." House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes said in March that the records are important for historians to study the terrorist group.

What's in them, per the FDD:

  • Videos released clearly show Hamza bin Laden (Osama's son) for the first time. FDD reports that al Qaeda "is clearly attempting to capitalize on the bin Laden brand name and build Hamza's profile in jihadi circles."
  • One new document reveals that Iran offered Saudi al Qaeda members "everything they needed...in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia in the Gulf." Despite conflict between the terrorist organization and Iran, they have common interests in being an "enemy of America."
  • Bin Laden's personal 288-page journal, in which he wrote down thoughts on the Arab uprisings in 2011 and that he "wanted his men to capitalize" on them.

One more thing: The CIA said in their press release that omitted materials included pornography, copyright-protected materials, and malware. Many of the copyright-protected materials are movies like Cars, Antz, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and The Three Musketeers.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 887,067 — Total deaths: 44,264 — Total recoveries: 185,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 190,740 — Total deaths: 4,127 — Total recoveries: 7,141Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Vice President Mike Pence said that White House modeling suggests "Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States" in terms of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  4. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest to issue stay-at-home orders, totaling 34 states and D.C.
  5. 2020 update: New York is latest state to delay primary — Bernie Sanders urges Wisconsin to delay April 7 primary.
  6.  🎧 Podcast: The Defense Production Act
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

West Virginia is latest state to delay primary due to coronavirus

Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice rescheduled the state's May 12 primary election to June 9 on Wednesday, citing fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, AP reports.

Why it matters: 23 other states and the District of Columbia haven't held primaries yet. The White House is recommending, for now, that Americans practice social distancing and gather in groups of no more than 10 people — while many states have issued stay-at-home orders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Florida governor issues stay-at-home order

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday after the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to nearly 7,000.

Why it matters: DeSantis has been criticized for declining to order any statewide mandates to curb the spread of coronavirus as Florida — home to a significant elderly population — has increasingly become a hotspot. The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and last for 30 days.