Osama bin Laden colored his beard black before he made the video tapes broadcast across the world that became his trademark. He also liked to watch himself on TV.
Those are two takeaways from a series of bin Laden “home movies” seized by intelligence officials during the May 1 raid that left the terrorist leader dead at the hands of a Navy SEAL team. The Pentagon released copies of the videos to the public on Saturday, following a closed briefing to reporters.
In the tapes, bin Laden is seen with a dark beard recording the kind of one man testimonials that were a mainstay of his time at the head of Al Qaeda. One fascinating tape shows the terrorist leader gray-bearded and sitting on the floor of his Abbottabad compound, watching himself on satellite TV.
The rundown on the clips, from MSNBC:
Video 1: A complete, unreleased message to the American people. U.S. intelligence said it was dated some time between October 9 to Nov. 5, 2010. Bin Laden is shown sitting down, dressed in a gold robe, his beard is dyed black and the background is blue. There is no audio but the official said bin Laden is giving his standard message of condemning U.S. policy and capitalism.
Video 2: Bin Laden is sitting on the floor watching a television with video of his own images playing. First you see the TV screen with a menu of channels and then he selects a channel. A video of bin Laden appears on the screen. Then the camera pans over to bin Laden sitting on the floor. He has a gray beard and a black hat on, and is wrapped in a blanket. He is holding the remote control and pointing it at the television, which is sitting on a small, simple wooden table.
Video 3: A practice video. He has a dyed black beard and a wooden background, which was described as armoire. The official said they have concluded that the armoire in this video is the same one that was found on the compound. There is no date on the video.
Video 4: Another practice clip. He has a brown background and is wearing a white shirt with a T-shirt underneath. There is no date on this video on this short video.
Video 5: Another practice video. He is in front of a wrinkled sheet, wearing a gold covering or robe and white shirt. He is wearing a white hat and his beard is dyed black. There is no date on this video.
Here’s the clip of a gray-bearded bin Laden watching himself on TV, as posted by CNN:
And here’s a video slideshow of all the clips, from ABC News: