Washington: The slain Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden pushed his organization to develop plans to kill US President Barack Obama, according to media reports citing documents recovered from his hideout in Pakistan.
He did so in the belief that the United States would tumble into chaos if an “unprepared” Vice President Joe Biden became commander in chief, several US media outlets including the Washington Post said in article Friday.
The Al Qaeda chief’s analysis of presidential succession scenarios appear in a collection of classified records that the Obama administration is planning to release to the public in the coming months, the Post said.
The documents depict bin Laden as a terrorist leader who was fixated on finding a way to assassinate top US officials but who appears to have devoted more thought to the anticipated fallout from such plots than to how they might be carried out, it said.
In a message addressed to his top lieutenant, bin Laden urged his network to pursue ways to kill Obama with an attack on the presidential aircraft, Air Force One, the Post said.
The records also identify then-Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was commander of US forces in Afghanistan, 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. And “Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis.”
Bin Laden described Petraeus, now director of the CIA, as “the man of the hour,” according to the Post, and said that “killing him would alter the war’s path” in Afghanistan.
Many of bin Laden’s messages were addressed to his operational lieutenant, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, and indicate that he hoped that a Pakistani terrorist, Ilyas Kashmiri, would be charged with developing attack plans, the Post said.
“Please ask brother Ilyas to send me the steps he has taken into that work,” bin Laden wrote to Atiyah, according to the US daily.
Both operatives were killed in CIA drone strikes within months of the May 2 raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout by US Navy SEALs.