Osama bin Laden Saw Beheadings as Bad for Al Qaeda’s Image: Report

'60 minutes' interview with ex-intelligence official delves into terrorist's image fixation.

May 15, 2017 12:22 pm
Osama Bin Laden during an interview by Pakistani journalist.
Osama Bin Laden during an interview by Pakistani journalist, Hamid Mir, near Kabul in 2001. During this interview Bin Laden stated that he has nuclear weapons. (Photo by MIR HAMID/DAILY DAWN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Osama bin Laden understood the importance of branding, former FBI investigator Ali Soufan told 60 Minutes in a Sunday night interview.

“Osama bin Laden was not just, you know, sitting in his house to avoid being captured or killed. He was in, some instances, micro-managing al Qaeda and its affiliates,” Soufan reportedly said.

“Yeah, micro-managing. You know, ‘You can plant this crops and this crops. It’s very good. Oh and by the way, you know, stop beheading people and cutting heads. That makes me look bad. You know, I have a brand to protect.’”

Much of the material reportedly comes from the intelligence recovered from bin Laden’s Pakistani compound during the successful Navy SEAL mission to assassinate him in 2011.

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