On Saturday, US government officials released five videos of Osama bin Laden that were obtained during the raid that resulted in his death last week. The videos do not have any audio as officials do not want to spread any terrorist propaganda.

In one of the videos, bin Laden looks very frail as he is sitting on the floor, wrapped in a blanket watching images of himself on television.

CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen said, “He took media seriously.”

According to Bergen, the last two times US citizens saw him on videotape were in 2004 and 2007. He believes that the video are outtakes of those two most recent times. It is also possible that the videos are practice sessions for future videos bin Laden was planning to release worldwide, according to CNN.

Other CNN reporting believes one of the images might be as recent as October or November 2010. That message may have been a possible threat to the US, but officials will not reveal its content.

While one video depicts bin Laden as very put together and with his beard dyed black, the three other videos show the low-production value of the tapes.

CNN describes bin Laden as “A man obsessed with his image.” Bergen believes that the tape of him watching himself was probably only intended for internal consumption, not the national distribution that it has now received.

There was a clear purpose for US officials to release the information, however. According to CNN, a US senior intelligence official said that the videos confirm bin Laden “remained active in al Qaeda terrorist propaganda operations, especially in shaping his own image.”

Although there isn’t any audio, the release of the videos helps to convince people that bin Laden was actually killed because the footage could have only been in bin Laden’s possession.

There is a lot more material that was recovered at the compound that has not yet been released. According to CNN, a special federal task force, that includes members of the CIA and FBI, is sorting through all of the material.

About The Author

Miya Williams is a Blast editor-at-large

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