By Kevin Coleman -- Defense Tech Cyberwarfare Correspondent
No one can dispute the huge success of the United States military and intelligence forces last week in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. SEAL Team Six eliminated an evil presence that posed a real threat to the United States. The digital data collected by those SEALs paints a compelling picture of the significant role Osama bin Laden played in planning and directing attacks by al Qaeda as well as its affiliates in Yemen and Somalia. The intelligence contained on over 200 different devices and storage media is an unprecedented event in the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The analysis of the seized data has already yielded benefits. Not only did we discover threats to our rail systems, but we also gained a different view of bin Laden’s role in the global al Qaeda organization. Perhaps bigger successes await the world as the intelligence gained by the analysis of the hundreds, if not thousands of gigabytes of data seized in the raid is exploited.
Additional information about al Qaeda’s number two, Ayman al Zawahiri was discovered and suggests he may not be bin Laden’s successor. Instead, Anwar al-Awlaki , a graduate of Colorado State, seems to be the most likely successor to lead al Qaeda. This is not good news when it comes to cyber terrorism! Awlaki is computer savvy and has leveraged the Internet in several ways to further al Qaeda’s goals and aspirations in the past.