Bin Laden Hit List Also Included Air Force One, Petraeus, Sporting Event

Erik Hayden
July 15, 2011
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This is an undated file photo shows then-al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan. After Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, the White House released a photo of President Barack Obama and his cabinet inside the Situation Room, watching the daring raid unfold. Hidden from view, standing just outside the frame of that instantly iconic photograph was a career CIA analyst. In the hunt for the world's most-wanted terrorist, there may have been no one more important. His job for nearly a decade: finding bin Laden. (AP Photo)

The latest accounts of Osama bin Laden's attack plans include more targets. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal trickled out new details about what the al Qaeda leader had been planning in Abbottabad before he was killed by a SEAL team in early May: he wanted militants to attack an unnamed target on this year's 9/11 anniversary. Today, ABC News follows up that report with more information from a "hit list" the al Qaeda leader kept (last month this site noted another very odd al Qaeda hit list):

Officials tell ABC News that bin Laden wanted to fly a small plane into a sporting event to cause mass casualties....

The primary target on bin Laden's hit list was President Obama. Officials tell ABC News that bin Laden was trying to hatch a plan to kill President Obama by shooting down Air Force One or Marine One, the president's plane and helicopter. Bin Laden hoped to kill General Petraeus, commander of forces in Afghanistan and soon to be CIA director the same way, either in a helicopter or fixed wing airplane with a missile or rocket propelled grenade.

So, to recap, al Qaeda had designs to attack many things: trains, sports arenas, the president, the top U.S. general and probably others. It also wanted militants to infiltrate and attack some target on this year's 9/11 anniversary. But it doesn't look like the plans got past the wishful discussion stage. Again, as in The Journal's report, ABC includes the caveat that "Investigators do not believe the planning got very far."