Ill. lawmakers react to bin Laden videos

May 8, 2011 7:37:28 AM PDT
Home movies taken from Osama bin Laden's hideout were released by the United States Pentagon on Saturday.

The videos were seized by Navy SEALs after bin Laden was killed last weekend. An intelligence official calls the footage, "The single largest collection of terrorist materials ever."

Some Illinois lawmakers, as well as a professor in Chicago, shared their reactions to the footage Saturday.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., strongly described bin Laden after news broke of the terrorist's tapes -- the five videos, confiscated from the room in the compound where bin Laden was gunned down, show a man who is a rambling narcissist.

"He was one of the most pathetic creatures on earth," Kirk said.

Kirk says the release of the tapes will disprove conspiracy theories that bin Laden is not dead.

"It's further proof we got him. These kinds of tapes would only be available from the team who nailed him in his own home," Kirk said.

According to a senior federal intelligence official, the clips, computer disks and notes show bin Laden was still actively involved in planning and directing al-Qaida's plots against the United States.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., says the discoveries will help bolster our defense.

"Because of extraordinary efforts of SEALs who carried out this mission, we have a treasure trove of information and it will keep us safer as time goes on," Quigley said.

The new information now indicates bin Laden may have been in the same area for at least five years. The home movies show him on the floor, directing a camera man and going through several takes of the same lines, although audio has been removed so bin Laden can't have the last word.

"Had we played the audio, we would have given a powerful end of life megaphone to Osama bin Laden and his propaganda machine," Kirk said.

A DePaul University professor of history and author of a book on bin Laden, Tom Mockaitis says the release of the tapes will also leave a lasting impression of the man who so many people feared; now, he may look more like a fool.

"They are taking him down a peg. He's this world historical figure, he was always very attentive to his image and what do they portray him as in his own video? He's this huddled, frail figure wrapped in a blanket watching himself," Mockaitis said.

Many of the tapes, bin Laden would dye his beard black and attempt to make the lighting perfect; however, the overall lighting and video quality was unflattering and he appears hunched over and tired.

ABC News: Bin Laden had hideout in Pakistan
ABC News reports that Osama bin Laden had another hideout in Pakistan where he spent nearly three years.

It was outside the city of Haripur, in a small community with just a few dozen houses. Residents said they were unaware that bin Laden had lived there, but one of his wives told Pakistani investigators that bin Laden hid there with his extended family.

News that he was living in populated areas of Pakistan has fueled doubts that he could have managed without someone in the country's government or intelligence establishment knowing. The United States is pressuring Pakistan for information, trying to determine whether any Pakistanis had contact with bin Laden before the raid.

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