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Osama Bin Laden’s Compound Yields “Motherlode” of Computer Data

Trove of Whitney Houston b-sides unconfirmed

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Osama Bin Laden’s Compound Yields “Motherlode” of Computer Data
[ Technology]

What in the world could be on Osama Bin Laden’s hard drive?

We might find out in the coming weeks. The Navy SEALs who carried out the mission that resulted in the death of Bin Laden left the Pakistani compound with more than a body. According to Politco, the SEALs were able to recover hard drives, CDs, and flash drives from the raid that U.S. officials are calling “the motherlode of intelligence.”

Currently, the data is being combed through by hundreds of people at a secret location in Afghanistan. Everyone in Washington is understandably excited to see what kind of information, if any, is usable. “It’s going to be great even if only 10 percent of it is actionable,” officials said to Politico.

The first thought has to be about the contents. Exactly what kind of information could be on these drives? It has been reported that Bin Laden’s compound lacked phone lines or internet in order to keep a lower profile – so it’s hard to guess the contents.

About 5 years ago it was famously unearthed that Osama Bin Laden had a soft spot for some aspects of American pop culture. A woman named Kola Boof wrote a tell-all book where she claimed to be a former sex slave/ girlfriend of Bin Laden. In the book, she detailed the Al Qaeda leader’s obsession with Whitney Houston among other things such as The Wonder Years.

I guess it’s possible that all they could find is the finale to The Wonder Years, you know, the one in the barn where Winnie…ah I can’t talk about it. Talk about depressing on multiple levels.

But hopefully something of use can be taken from the drives, some sort of data that can be used effectively.

The second thought has to be about encryption. Gizmodo has an interesting take on accessing the data:

We don’t know if “the mother lode of intelligence”—as that official called it—in the hard drives and memory sticks is encrypted or not. Given Osama’s level of confidence—the circumstances appear to indicate that he was very comfortable and felt very secure in his lair—the idea of some of the data not being encrypted is not that crazy.

But even if it is, the US intelligence agencies have the necessary computing power and the expertise to crack the information open, even if the terrorists are using the AES-256 standard. You can be sure that, if there are any encrypted files, they are now being processed by supercomputers at CIA’s headquarters. The only question is how fast they can access the information. That’s the critical part: the fastest they get it, the more actionable that information would be, leading to the fast capture or killing of other leaders and operatives in the al Qaeda network.

Yesterday, video and photos surfaced from the raid of the inside of the compound. The graphic images were of blood-spattered rooms in total disarray. Today, we await the possible release of photos of Bin Laden’s body. The White House is currently debating the pros and cons of that action.

Osama Bin Laden’s Compound Yields “Motherlode” of Computer Data
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  • Justin

    Yo Josh,

    It’s sad that white people still haven’t actually read Ms. Boof’s
    PRINCETON award winning autobiography. She never called herself a
    sex slave. The media made up that crap. The book goes into such much
    detail about Bin laden’s movements and the only page that every gets
    talked about was the time he talked about Whitney Houston.

    Its one of the best autobiographies I have ever read and of course
    Ms. Boof is one of the strongest African feminist writers we have
    today. Be glad when white folks catch up with their research.

    Justin

    • http://www.ientry.com/ Josh Wolford

      I don’t think my whiteness has prevented me from reading her autobiography, but your point is duly noted. It may well be unfortunate that only one aspect of her book has been remembered in the past 5 or so years.

      • http://www.bing.com/ Jaelyn

        I’m impressed! You’ve managed the almost impiosslbe.

      • http://wdwtfynbbhef.com/ qdsdrbuwuc

        X3eDuk lwjezyhtxlji

  • Wilmer

    You just got punked twice by the con artist Kola Boof, Josh. Once when you believed her Whitney Houston story, and a second time when you fell for one of her hundreds of self-praising sock puppets. Do a little homework.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/11/books/fatwa-victim-or-a-fraud-mystery-enshrouds-kola-boof-writer-and-internet-persona.html

    • http://www.ientry.com/ Josh Wolford

      if you don’t catch even a little hint of sarcasm then you aren’t reading too closely…

      • Wilmer

        Kola Boof is a great illustration of why journalists shouldn’t try to be comedians. Your suggestion that you may have just been kidding won’t keep Boof from claiming this as another win and adding Web Pro News to her resume of media outlets that have “featured” her claims.

        If you’re lucky, she won’t play you like she did John Gibson, the Fox News personality whose story you linked to as if it were confirmation of what you wrote. In his own piece, Gibson admits he’s simply quoting what he read in his favorite celebrity gossip column and has no idea whether the story he’s promoting is factual. That hasn’t kept Boof from endlessly trumpeting that Fox “confirmed” her story before running it. That’s an effective ploy, because journalists are *supposed* to report facts. As the Kola Boof project continues to demonstrate, however, some of them aren’t that discriminating.

        I guess that’s the meager silver lining to this hoax: it separates the reporters who can’t resist repeating blatantly false celebrity gossip from those who can.

  • Justin

    Wow. Not only am I not Kola Boof (can’t believe these irrational folks here) but I just read that link to the New York Times article and it doesn’t say anything about Boof & Bin Laden. The title of the article is very misleading and its from 2002. I think Josh has Google and is smart enough to get his own information.

    • Wilmer

      “Princeton” didn’t give your book any award.

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