Osama Bin Laden Had a High-Speed Courier Connection

Uri Friedman
The Atlantic Wire
Osama Bin Laden Had a High-Speed Courier Connection

Osama bin Laden may not have had Internet access in his compound in Pakistan, but apparently he was a prolific emailer. How can that possibly be?

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According to the AP, which has spoken with a counterterrorism official and another person briefed on the U.S. investigation of bin Laden's electronic records, which include thousands of email messages, the al-Qaeda leader developed an intricate and effective--if incredibly slow--system for staying in touch with his network across the world.

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In a nutshell, bin Laden would hammer out a message on his offline computer, save it using a thumb-sized flash drive, and hand the memory stick to a courier, who would hurry off to a faraway Internet cafe. When the courier arrived at the cafe, he would plug the flash drive into a computer, copy bin Laden's message into an email, and send it off. The courier would then copy any incoming email to the memory stick for bin Laden to read, offline of course, when the courier made it back to the compound. Anyone want to complain about a slow Internet connection now?