Osama Bin Laden used Flash thumb drives for emails

When you are the leader of a worldwide terrorist organization but also on the run from the US Military, you can't just call in to Comcast to set up your Internet service at your compound. In a new Associated Press report, government officials have learned more info about how the late Osama Bin Laden used emails to communicate with his followers in the Al-Qaida organization.

According to the story, Bin Laden had access to some kind of computer in his compound in Pakistan. However that computer was, naturally, not connected to the Internet in any way. So Bin Laden did something pretty simple to get his words out to his followers. He typed in emails and then stored them on a Flash-based thumb drive. Then one of his subordinates would take the thumb drive out of the compound and take it to some anonymous Internet cafe where the emails were copied and sent out. The system worked in reverse; emails could be sent to an address and then copied back to a thumb drive which can then be taken back to Bin Laden's compound.

While this seems like a good way to stay off the grid while still using the Internet, there's one big problem with this method. When the US Navy SEAL team raided the compound on May 1, they found a ton of thumb drives with Bin Laden's email correspondence. The story states that the email message could help the government find other Al-Qaida members and may force the organization to change the way it communicates with its members.

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47 Comments

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Strange. I always imagined Bin Laden used a wireless laptop at wifi hotspots while sitting atop a camel... But I supposed they don't have wifi out in the middleof nowhere.

Forcing them to change the way they communicate? That's all people are hoping for? Maybe they'll get frustrated with communications and just give up the lavish life style of a terrorist. Hope for that maybe.

And why is this newsworthy? If they kept quiet about this perhaps they (terrorists) wouldn't have figured out this way of communication ObL was using. Know AlQueda will hide even deeper. Should they have been all hush-hush about this the members who are still active could be easier to catch.
Or this is just they wanted to do, spread some panic among the low-level members and watch them make mistakes... who knows...

Ently said,
A life without a real internet connection huh? wow.. I can see why he hated the world so much.

Yet almost everything he used and did in his everyday life was invented by americans.....

StevenMalone77 said,

Yet almost everything he used and did in his everyday life was invented by americans.....

Since when were guns and bombs invented by America?

thommcg said,

Since when were guns and bombs invented by America?

Since when did Osama use guns and bombs in his everyday life?

StevenMalone77 said,

Yet almost everything he used and did in his everyday life was invented by americans.....

Lets see:

Bed? No.
Table? No.
Place to do biologic needs? No.
Houses? No.
Clothes? No.

I could go on, but you are definitely exaggerating.

I'm curious as to what operating system he was using. To my knowledge, there are no operating systems made in the Middle East. Also, what brand was the computer and USB?

Probably Western made...

Billus said,
I'm curious as to what operating system he was using. To my knowledge, there are no operating systems made in the Middle East. Also, what brand was the computer and USB?

Probably Western made...


Maybe you should read the fine-print on your devices?
100 bucks says it says: "Made in Taiwan".

Billus said,
I'm curious as to what operating system he was using. To my knowledge, there are no operating systems made in the Middle East. Also, what brand was the computer and USB?

Probably Western made...


LOL! I wanna know, too!
Been wondering the whole time.
I guess an Asian brand PC (Lenovo?) and Linux (there are Arab distros and stuff)...
The USB stick... mmmh... All proper brands I know are Western...

GS:mac

Alastyr said,

Maybe you should read the fine-print on your devices?
100 bucks says it says: "Made in Taiwan".

Maybe 10 years ago, probably at least 80% now say "Made in China". Not sure if he had beef with the Chinese, seems it was only western infidels he despised!

Riggers said,

I think it`s more the fact Bin-Laden was against anything created by the U.S.A. so to find out he was using Microsoft Windows would be just

I personally think he was using a Mac thinking it is more secure.

RangerLG said,

I personally think he was using a Mac thinking it is more secure.

And he found out real quick it was not. His Mac got him KIA!

Riggers said,

I think it`s more the fact Bin-Laden was against anything created by the U.S.A. so to find out he was using Microsoft Windows would be just

damn man your naiv

causa45 said,

damn man your naive

Please enlighten me as to why. A company like Microsoft which pretty much embodies the capitalist west and is a figurehead company from America would surely be against Bin-Laden`s ideology. Sure he used many things that where invented/produced by capitalist countries, it would be pretty hard to not do so in the modern world.
p.s. It was more a light hearted comment, maybe you just didn`t get it

bradleypj said,
I bet he didn't get spammed that way. And if he did, the spammers would be targeted. Damn Western Spam Dogs!!!!

LOL!
"OSAMA, just f0r y0u: v1agra p1lls for your harem!"

GS:mac

Alansonit said,
What i want to know is what his email address was, definitelynotbinladen@hotmail.com ? That would work.

HE probably didn't have a mail address.

Alansonit said,
What i want to know is what his email address was, definitelynotbinladen@hotmail.com ? That would work.

sjobs@apple.com

Do you think the courier ever came back to the compound, and handed it to him and said 'You've got Mail" in his best AOL sound impression?

i've always imagined terrorist spiritual leaders send messages telepathically....

wishful thinking, i guess.....

He typed in emails and then stored them on a Flash-based thumb drive. Then one of his subordinates would take the thumb drive out of the compound and take it to some anonymous Internet cafe where the emails were copies and sent out. The system worked in reverse; emails could be sent to an address and then copied back to a thumb drive which can then be taken back to Bin Laden's compound.

And it was still quicker than some ISP's in the UK

I also thought of a special program with encryption involved...

And we used to think he was in a cave...

Who knows . . . .

I'm really surprised they didn't just wipe everything off the flash drive and keep everything in a secured cloud server. Too bad!

Firstly I am surprised there was no encryption involved.

Secondly, how is this staying "off the grid"? Emails are still sent, and I always thought systems such as Echelon read every flagged email?

njlouch said,
Firstly I am surprised there was no encryption involved.

Secondly, how is this staying "off the grid"? Emails are still sent, and I always thought systems such as Echelon read every flagged email?

It's off the grid because it's some annon net cafe that loads of people use etc, it's not tied directly to your personal account/info. It's like making a phone call using a payphone vs your cellphone etc.

njlouch said,
Firstly I am surprised there was no encryption involved.

Secondly, how is this staying "off the grid"? Emails are still sent, and I always thought systems such as Echelon read every flagged email?

I'm being serious. So it really is true that there is a system somewhere that skims through all our emails, all our texts, listens to all our phone calls? Or is that just in the movies? I'm genuinely curious...

SK[ said,]Is this from a game or something?

Yeah that game or level or whatever it was where you could raid Osama's hide out and kill him.