Final Fantasy VII, anime among files uncovered from 2011 Bin Laden raid

MANILA, Philippines – The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on Monday, November 1, released 470,000 additional files recovered from Osama Bin Laden's compound in a 2011 raid.

The files – or at least the file names themselves – offer a look into what Bin Laden's fighters may have been downloading or doing in their idle hours. 

Among the digital artifacts found in Bin Laden's compound were erotic games, Arabic-subtitled anime, and pirated copies of video games and other copyrighted media. 

While CIA director Mike Pompeo said the release of the files would allow those checking them out "to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization," the files themselves may not have been personally downloaded or accessed by Bin Laden himself. 

The Verge posted a link to the CIA archive, but at the moment, accessing the link leads to an error page that says "The Abbottabad files are temporarily unavailable pending resolution of a technical issue. We are working to make the material available again as soon as possible," before it redirects to the main CIA website. 

The official documents

A CIA press release said the documents released to date include Bin Laden's personal journal and over 18,000 document files, as well as operating system files.

There were also 79,000 audio and image files, including practice reels for public speeches, audio correspondence, and imagery gathered or generated by Al Qaeda for various uses.

Additionally, 10,000 video files – include a video of Hamza Bin Laden as a young adult, Al Qaeda "home videos," jihadist propaganda, and draft videos or statements by Osama Bin Laden – also made up a portion of the digital artifacts found.

Batman, Case Closed, and Final Fantasy VII

The CIA also said they withheld copyrighted material from the released documents.

Among the titles included in the copyrighted material were movies and games, including Antz, Batman: Gotham Knight, and Final Fantasy VII – though in the case of the latter, it was unclear if this referred to the game, the anime, or the CG movie. 

Gizmodo said indices for the various documents also included Arabic-subtitled episodes of Detective Conan – also known as Case Closed in the US – as well as what appear to be game cover art for erotic games.

The Verge added that someone appeared to have installed Zuma Deluxe and Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2.

Apparently somebody in the Bin Laden compound was a fan of Zuma Deluxe and Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2, per Google file name searches. — Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) November 1, 2017

The amount of files made available may take some time to sift through. Though making scholarly assessments of the Al Qaeda-related files will likely become more available in time, the cursory glance at the files names of the items provided by the CIA point to the same craving everyone has when not faced with mortal peril: finding a way to stave off boredom. –

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.