Bin Laden’s Secret Communications Plan: Use a Thumb Drive

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The Associated Press has details on how Osama bin Laden managed to email his terrorist colleagues and avoid detection by the United States. The AP piece has a relatively breathless buildup, suggesting bin Laden had an ingenious secret plan:

WASHINGTON – Despite having no Internet access in his hideout, Osama bin Laden was a prolific email writer who built a painstaking system that kept him one step ahead of the U.S. government’s best eavesdroppers.

His methods, described in new detail to The Associated Press by a counterterrorism official and a second person briefed on the U.S. investigation, served him well for years and frustrated Western efforts to trace him through cyberspace. The arrangement allowed bin Laden to stay in touch worldwide without leaving any digital fingerprints behind.

The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive intelligence analysis.

Bin Laden’s system was built on discipline and trust. But it also left behind an extensive archive of email exchanges for the U.S. to scour. The trove of electronic records pulled out of his compound after he was killed last week is revealing thousands of messages and potentially hundreds of email addresses, the AP has learned.

What is it? How did bin Laden do it? Super computer? Satellites? Ray gun?

Well, no. It turns out bin Laden, Super Villian, typed up his messages and saved them on a thumb drive. His courier took the thumb drive to an Internet cafe and emailed the messages.