On Thursday, the CIA released hundreds of thousands of documents recovered during the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, a raid which left bin Laden, the founder of al Qaeda and mastermind of the September 11th terrorist attacks, dead. The release “provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization,” according to CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
The documents are the third set released after a 2014 appropriations bill ordered declassified files be made public. Among the notable files included in the release are bin Laden’s personal journal, information about al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran, and papers detailing the organization’s reaction to the Arab Spring. The trove of documents also revealed that bin Laden possessed a few bootlegged American films, including the documentary “Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?” and the Disney film “Cars.”
The archive includes nearly 470,000 files in total. Like any document dump, they’re not easy to get through without the right tools. The 18-gigabyte document download, for example, is composed of individual PDFs, Word Documents, and more, adding up to 18,556 documents and 877,250 pages. To review those as-is, academics, journalists, and the public must flip through them file by file. At 80 documents an hour, a very fast pace, it would take more than nine days of uninterrupted, round-the-clock review—or nearly six full work weeks at 40 hours a week—to get through them all.
These are documents of immense public importance. No one should have to spend months, weeks, or even days reviewing individual files in order to find the information that most interest them. To help researchers, academics, journalists, and curious members of the public make sense of these files quickly and easily, we’ve uploaded them into Logikcull and made the archive available to the public—just like we did with the JFK files only days ago.
Now, anyone can use Logikcull’s technology to quickly cull through these important files, to build powerful searches, and to flag documents with customized tags.
To access the files, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Bin Laden Research Account" as the subject and include your name, title, and company. We’ll set you up with a research account and you can start reviewing the files in minutes.
This post was authored by Casey C. Sullivan, who leads education and awareness efforts at Logikcull. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @caseycsull.