Messages and Interviews of Osama bin Laden
Updated May 21, 2015
Osama bin Laden's messages reached his followers and his opponents through multiple media channels. Research Links aims to provide researchers with a more comprehensive timeline of statements made by bin Laden between 1994 to 2011, as well as additional background information. Updated May 2015 to include Office of the Director of National Intelligence's release of documents found at the compound where Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan.
The following links compile audio, video, and text by the date they were distributed, as well as photographs, videos, background, and additional resources about the former leader of al-Qaeda.
Research Links on Messages and Interviews of Osama bin Laden are divided into:
Note: the first link to the FBIS report contains the majority of speeches and interviews from 1994-2004 and is especially for translated statements that originally appeared in Arabic, Urdu, and Pashto sources, as well as the full text of documents that are only found partially elsewhere. Wikipedia also includes a timeline of speeches and translations. Original media sources and transcripts mentioned in FBIS report are linked to directly when found.
- FBIS: March 1994 to January 2004, "Compilation of Usama Bin Ladin Statements, 1994-January 2004."
The majority of interviews, statements, messages, and writings by Osama bin Laden are translated in this document.
- December 6, 1993, The Independent: "Anti-Soviet warrior puts his army on the road to peace"
Bin Laden's first interview with a Western journalist.
- July 10, 1996, The Independent: "Arab rebel leader warns the British: 'Get out of the Gulf'"
Second Robert Fisk interview with bin Laden. See complete text in FBIS report (first link), page 11, and in Fisk's book (Further Reading).
- August 23, 1996, Al-Quds al-'Arabi: "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places"
PBS translation. Bin Laden's first fatwa against Americans.
- November 1996, The Guardian: "My weekend with Osama bin Laden"
(Guardian article published in 2001, but interview took place in 1996, after bin Laden's first fatwa.) excerpt of interview by Abdul Bari Atwan (more of the interview in Atwan's book (Further Reading) and in second Guardian article (Background).
- March 19, 1997, The Independent: "My deadliest moment with the world's most dangerous men."
Section of third Fisk interview.
- March 22, 1997, The Independent: "Muslim leader warns of a new assault on US forces"
Introduction to third Fisk interview.
- March 22, 1997, The Independent: "The man who wants to wage holy war against the Americans"
Third Fisk interview "A pilgrimage through a broken and dangerous land of death."
- February 23, 1998, Al-Quds al-'Arabi: "World Islamic Front's Statement Urging Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders."
Federation of American Scientists translation (links to scan of the original article in Arabic). Second fatwa against Americans.
- May 1998, ABC News: "Talking with Terror's Banker"
Posted on Free Republic (not findable on ABC page). Report by John Miller, from footage aired on ABC on September 18, 2001.
- December 1998, al-Jazeera: "Text: Osama bin Laden's 1998 interview"
Report by Jamal Ismail. Appeared in the BBC Monitoring Service in September 22, 2001.
- January 4, 1999, Associated Press: "Alleged terrorist sends mixed messages on embassy bombing role."
Richard Pyle compares Bin Ladin's conflicting statements about his involvement in U.S. embassy bombings , in separate TIME and Newsweek interviews.
- January 11, 1999, Newsweek: "I am Not Afraid of Death."
By Jamal Ismail. Excerpts of 22 December 1998 interview, where bin Laden denies ties with U.S. embassy bombings.
- January 11, 1999, TIME: "Osama Bin Ladin: Conversation with Terror."
By Rahimullah Yusufzai. bin Laden claims ties with U.S. Embassy bombings.
- January 13, 1999, CBS: "Accused Terrorist Leader Usama Bin Ladin Declares War on All Americans."
(Video available by purchase) report by Richard Roth. See complete text in FBIS report (first link), pages 102-103.
- February 1, 1999, Esquire: "Greetings, America. My name is Usama Bin Ladin. Now that I have your attention..."
Report by John Miller.
- 2000, Osama bin Laden Recruiting video
Video excerpts and analysis by CIAO.
- October 5, 2001 to June 30, 2006, The Guardian: Timeline: the al-Qaida tapes
Videos compiled and messages summarized by Simon Jeffery; links to the Guardian's original reporting of each message.
- October 7, 2001 to June 3, 2009, CNN: "Bin Laden's messages: Terror on tape"
Interactive chronology of summaries of bin Laden's since September 11, with links to CNN reports.
- October 7, 2001 to January 21, 2011, al-Jazeera: Timeline: Messages from bin Laden
Summaries and some translated quotations only, no links to full text.
- November 2001, Usama Bin Laden speaks to room of supporters in Afghanistan.
(PDF) translation prepared by George Michael, Diplomatic Language Services and Dr. Kassem M. Wahba, Johns Hopkins University.
- December 9, 2001, Azzam: "Usama Bin Laden's Message for the Youth of the Muslim Ummah"
Translated by International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
- November 12, 2002, BBC: Full text: 'Bin Laden's message'
Translation of al-Jazeera broadcast of message.
- April 15, 2004, al-Arabiya: "offers conditional reconciliation with Europe," but not the United States.
- October 29, 2004, al-Jazeera: bin Laden lays out plan to "bleed America to the point of bankruptcy."
- December 2005, al Jazeera: first message in two years; offers truce to Americans
Aired on al-Jazeera on January 19, 2006, translated by Associated Press (unable to find full text on their sites).
- April 23, 2006, al Jazeera: "Bin Laden accuses West"
Partial transcript on KavKaz Center; al Jazeera aired only part of the hour long message.
- September 2006 to April 2011, Combatting Terrorism Center: Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Ladin Sidelined?
"Exploration and contextualization..." of 17 de-classified documents captured during the Abbottabad raid; includes links to original documents and English translations,
- September 18, 2006, al-Jazeera: accuses former President Bush of spreading lies.
- September 11, 2007, as-Sahab: "The Solution" – A Video Speech from Usama bin Laden Addressing the American People on the Occasion of the Sixth Anniversary of 9/11
(PDF) translated by SITE Intelligence Group.
- May 15, 2008, as-Sahab: "Usama Bin Laden: "Message to the People of the West on the 60th Anniversary of Israel."
Translation by NEFA Foundation.
- January 14, 2009, as-Sahab: "Usama Bin Laden: "A Call for Jihad to Stop the Gaza Assault""
Translation by NEFA Foundation. condemns Arab governments for not helping Palestinians.
- June 3, 2009, al Jazeera: Usama Bin Laden: "Speech to the Pakistani Nation"
Translation by NEFA Foundation; "The American People Will Reap What the White House Leaders Are Sowing."
- September 13, 2009, as-Sahab: Statement to the American People, by the Lion
Posted by World Analysis.
Background and History of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda
- al-Jazeera: "I knew bin Laden"
(December 27, 2011) An insight into Osama bin Laden's life through the eyes of people who knew him and met him.
- CNN: Osama bin Laden timeline and profile
- Department of Justice: al-Qaeda Manual
English translation of document found by Manchester (England) Metropolitan Police during a search of an al-Qaeda member's home.
- East Carolina University Library Research Guide: Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida
Profiles and history of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, their ideology, government documents, news, and radical Islam in context.
- The Guardian: "Inside Osama's Mountain Lair"
Additional details surrounding Abdel Bari Atwan's November 1996 interview.
- New York Daily News: "Bin Ladin: From Rich Kid to Terrorist Ringleader."
Family and personal background
- The New Yorker: "Letter from Jeddah: Young Osama"
How he learned radicalism, and may have seen America.
- Office of the Director of National Intelligence: Bin Ladin's Bookshelf
"Documents recovered during the raid on the compound used to hide Usama bin Ladin...contains two sections. The first is a list of non-classified, English-language material found in and around the compound. The second is a selection of now-declassified doc
- Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty: "The Al-Qaeda Media Nexus"
2008 study on "how Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups use the Internet to spread their message of global jihad."
- Southern District of New York: court documents USA versus Usama bin Ladin
Daily transcripts of the USA v. Usama bin Laden et al trial, collected from Court Reporters office.
- Terrorism Research Center: Transcript of "Usamah Bin-Ladin, the Destruction of the Base" Interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin
June 10, 1999. Al-Jazeera program that supplements Jamal Isma'il's December 1998 interview with bin Laden. (page may load slowly)
Additional Research Guides With Primary Sources
- FAS Intelligence Resource Program: Sources and Resources of Usama bin Laden Network
Includes profiles and primary sources on "al-Qa'ida (The Base), Qa'idat al-Jihad, Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places, World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders Islamic Salvation Foundation, Usama bin Laden Network."
- Middle East Media Research Institute: MEMRITV
Original clips and translations from "Arabic, Persian, Urdu-Pashtu, and Turkish media," and special reports and analysis. Free registration to view materials 2 months and older.
- NEFA (Nine Eleven Finding Answers) Foundation: Propoganda Videos
Non-profit, research organization that "strives to help prevent future tragedies in the U.S. and abroad by exposing those responsible for planning, funding, and executing terrorist activities."
Below are links to previews of books that contain primary source materials on bin Laden, which can be searched online, but not read in full. See also Foreign Affairs Reading List on Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.