Was Osama Bin Laden A Gamer? CIA Trove Shows His Favorite Games, Like ‘Counter-Strike’

Osama bin Laden may have played you in Counter-Strike.

The 9/11 mastermind’s gaming habits came out of the box in a massive trove of CIA documents released Wednesday. The files show that the Al-Qaeda leader, who was killed in a 2011 raid after years in hiding, spent his time watching Disney movies, writing in a journal and playing several popular video games.

His game stash included Half-Life, Super Mario Bros., Final Fantasy VII and several Dragon Ball Z titles. He also played Counter-Strike, a multiplayer game in which a team of militants take hostages while counterterrorism authorities try to stop the attack. The documents don’t say which team bin Laden preferred to play. 

The files also show bin Laden used Steam, a popular gaming platform and community used to manage live games like Counter-Strike and talk with other gamers. 

Bin Laden kept the files for viral videos, like the 2007 clip “Charlie Bit My Finger,” and for the film Loose Change, which alleges that the 9/11 attacks were an inside U.S. government job.

He also held on to animated movies such as Antz, Cars, Chicken Little and Ice Age, as well as films about himself, including two CNN specials. These were mixed in with clips of jihadi propaganda. 

The trove of documents also included Laden’s personal journal, which was written on a faded yellow notebook. He wrote in Arabic in the journal, sprawling red, black and blue ink across 220 pages. 

The materials help shed light into the origins of the conflict between Al-Qaeda, which bin Laden led, and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), along with the strategic and religious disagreements between Al-Qaeda and its allies. They also show bin Laden’s attempts to maintain unity in the group and rehabilitate its image among Muslims.

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