The Osama bin Laden trove: 9 things we've learnt about him

A book claiming that 9/11 was an inside job was among possessions found in bin Laden's hideout

A screen shot of a video released in late 2001 showing Osama bin Laden. Later, in 2004, when he claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, he said that he was deeply affected by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. "As I watched the destroyed towers

United States officials have published details of a trove of books and files they say were found at Osama bin Laden's Pakistan hideout the night the al-Qaeda chief was killed. They are a mix of the conspiratorial, romantic and bizarre. Here is what they teach us about the former Taliban leader.

Osama bin Laden had a romantic side

In a letter to one of his wives, bin Laden tells her she filled "my heart with love, with beautiful memories." He added: "You are the apple of my eye, and the most precious thing that I have in this world."

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He used metaphors

In correspondence with his lieutenants, he instructs one that their "job is to uproot the obnoxious tree by concentrating on its American trunk".

He wanted to understand the West

Among the books bin Laden owned were Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward, and retired British colonel John Hughes-Wilson's study of military intelligence blunders. As he read CIA officer Michael Scheuer's 2004 book, Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror, he may have blushed as he found himself described as "the most respected, loved, romantic, charismatic and perhaps able figure in the last 150 years of Islamic history".

He enjoyed conspiracy theories

Also on his shelf were a number of conspiracy theory classics. One such tome was Bloodlines of the Illuminati, by Fritz Springmeier. This book argues that the Illuminati secretly pull the strings in the United States and across the planet. He had read The Secrets of the Federal Reserve, by the late Holocaust denier Eustace Mullins. Bizarrely, he even owned a book that argued the 9/11 attacks were an "inside job."

He didn't use the internet

Bin Laden's compound had no internet connection because of security concerns. Any online publications he wanted to study would need to be turned page-by-page into PDFs, put onto a thumb drive and delivered by one of his two bodyguards.

He was a scrupulous editor

Some of the memos and letters he had written had been revised as many as 50 times.

He was excited about his son's wedding

The terror chief was paying close attention to the marriage plans of his son Khalid to the daughter of a "martyred" al Qaeda commander. Bin Laden was corresponding with the mother of the bride-to-be and wrote with excitement of the impending ceremony, "which our hearts have been looking forward to".

His group believed in health-and-safety protocols

An al Qaeda application form was found, including the question: "Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?"

He was worried about Iranian authorities

After his wife Khairiah was cleared to leave Iran, bin Laden wrote to her saying that if she had visited an "official dentist" in Iran any filling she had received would need to be removed before she met him as he worried a tracking device might have been hidden within the filling.

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