POSTED: Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 4:34pm
NBC NEWS — The compound in Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden lived in secrecy and died after U.S. Special Forces tracked him down is gone, destroyed without a trace, but documents, letters and other evidence seized the night of the raid left a trail showing the Al Qeada leader still had aspirations to attack the United States.
The intelligence community and the public are getting a snapshot of some of the documents analyzed over the past year at West Point's Combating Terrorism Center.
"As a former professional intelligence officer is there nothing I would like to have more than the capacity to read my enemies mail...and in this case we're reading ten-years of Osama bin Laden's mail," says Brookings Institute senior fellow Bruce Riedel.
The Obama administration gave West Point the green light to publish 17 documents and letters on its website, originals written in Arabic and translated into English from 2006 to April 2011.
"Because of the renewed interest on this anniversary in the mission that lead to Bin Laden's demise that this was deemed an appropriate time to release them," explained White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Terrorism experts say it shows Bin Laden focused on grand plots following 9-11, including an outline to assassinate President Obama and then-NATO Commander General David Petraeus.
"The only question is were his lieutenants able to actually do anything to actually approaching a real plot," Riedel says.
The documents also exposed cracks within the terrorist organization, revealing Al Qeada diminished with Bin Laden's death, but not gone.