Jamestown Makes Bin Laden’s Bookshelf

On May 20, 2015, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released some of the English-language and declassified documents that were found in Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound by U.S. Navy Seal Team Six. The documents included personal letters, physical books, news magazines, and reports from various governments, research centers and think tanks, and other organizations. The full list of documents can be found at:


Noteworthy among the items found in Bin Laden’s library were 43 publications from The Jamestown Foundation, which included 26 issues of Terrorism Monitor (2006-2010), 16 issues of the former Jamestown publication Terrorism Focus (2008-2009) and a 2008 Jamestown Occasional Report entitled: Arming for Asymmetric Warfare: Turkey’s Arms Industry in the 21st Century, by analyst Andrew McGregor (2008). Jamestown’s publications are listed in three of the 40 bullet points in the "Think Tank & Other Studies" section outlined by ODNI. Materials from other think tanks and research organizations included studies and reports by the Combatting Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point, Carnegie Foundation, and the RAND Corporation. Of the organizations listed in the declassified Bin Laden bookshelf, the closest competitor to Jamestown in terms of the number of publications in the al-Qaeda leader’s personal reading collection was the CTC, with over 26 total documents compared to Jamestown’s 43.

In reaction to the announcement, Jamestown President Glen Howard said that “clearly Jamestown was the most closely watched organization in Bin Laden’s collection of think tank documents according to the ODNI statement. This also strongly reflects upon the high quality of the analysis by Jamestown analysts on al-Qaeda that it would merit the attention of Bin Laden himself.”

Created two years after 9/11, Terrorism Monitor remains widely read around the world as one of the premier publications distributed by the Washington, DC-based research organization.