Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden ordered
assassinations of President Obama and top Gen. David
Petraeus, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The terrorist network's chief told top lieutenants to attack the aircraft of Obama, who took office in January 2009, and Petraeus, who was put in charge of the NATO-led conflict in Afghanistan after turning around the U.S. war effort in Iraq.
Post columnist David Ignatius wrote that a "senior" administration official gave him exclusive access to newly declassified documents from the cache seized during the May 1 commando raid in which bin Laden was slain inside his secret compound in Pakistan.
The report quoted a senior administration analyst familiar with the bin Laden documents as saying that al-Qaeda had no means to carry out the threatened assassinations and lacked "the ability to plan, organize and execute complex, catastrophic attacks, but the threat persists."
Bin Laden, whose network claimed responsibility for the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, believed that Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, was "totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis."
"Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency," bin Laden wrote in one of the quoted documents.
Biden has a reputation for gaffes and intemperate statements when speaking off the cuff, which have contributed to the 69-year-old's doddering image.
Bin Laden called Petraeus "the man of the hour ... and killing him would alter the war's path" in Afghanistan.
Commanding U.S. forces in Iraq in 2007-08, Petraeus was hailed as the architect of the "surge" strategy that helped bring the country's post-invasion civil war under control. He was promoted to Central Command chief, leading both the Iraq and Afghanistan efforts, before Obama asked him in 2010 to take charge of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan to help combat the growing insurgency by al-Qaeda-linked Afghan Taliban militants.
Petraeus retired from the Army in 2011 when Obama named him to head the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Post reported that bin Laden asked Pakistani terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri to lead the assassinations, but Kashmiri was killed in a U.S. drone strike within weeks of the al-Qaeda chief's own death.
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