Osama bin Laden. Photo Courtesy of FBI/Getty Images.
By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
On the eve of the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said today that documents recovered from bin Laden's compound in Pakistan show that he was dour about the future of al-Qaeda.
In a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, Brennan said some of these documents will be published online by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center this week for the public to see for itself.
Brennan said that bin Laden lamented low morale among recruits and that the terror organization was teetering from "disaster to disaster."
"For example, bin Laden worried about - and I quote - 'the rise of lower leaders who are not as experienced,' and this would lead to the repeat of mistakes," Brennan said.
Though he stressed that the death of the terror leader didn't mark the end of al-Qaeda, Brennan said the killing of bin Laden and a series of his deputies over the past year has left the USA more secure and al-Qaeda on the ropes.
After bin Laden's death, al-Qaeda lost in rapid succession Ilyas Kashmir, one of its top operational planners, and Atiyah abd al-Rahman, a deputy leader. Pakistani forces captured Younis al-Mauritani, a planner of attacks against the United States and Europe.
Quoting from bin Laden correspondence gathered from his compound, Brennan noted that the terror leader commented that U.S. officials "have largely stopped using the phrase 'the war on terror' in the context of not wanting to provoke Muslims."
"Simply calling them al-Qaeda, bin Laden said, 'reduces the feeling of Muslims that we belong to them,'" Brennan said in his speech.