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Why Bin Laden disapproved of Al Qaeda in Yemen, Iraq, and Somalia

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In an undated letter in the summer or early autumn of 2010, bin Laden asked that two teams - one in Pakistan and the other in the Bagram area of Afghanistan - be tasked with spotting and targeting the aircraft of President Barack Obama or General David Petraeus, who was commander in the region at that time.

But they were not to target US Vice President Joe Biden because if Obama were gone, Biden would be "totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis." But killing Petraeus "would alter the war's path."

The 17 documents are electronic letters or draft letters totaling 175 pages in the original Arabic, dating from September 2006 to April 2011. They do not all specify who wrote or received them.

Several of the documents contain signoffs that U.S. experts assessed to have been used by bin Laden himself, including variations of the names "Zamarai" and "Abu 'Abdallah." Bin Laden wrote about sending messages via thumb drives or telephone memory cards - the same Arabic word is used for both.

"Bin Laden was bothered by the incompetence of al Qaeda's affiliates, such as their failure to win public support, their ill-advised media campaigns, and their poorly planned operations that led to the unnecessary deaths of thousands of Muslims," said Lieutenant Colonel Liam Collins, director of the Combating Terrorism Center and one of the report's authors.

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