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Clarifying Osama bin Laden myths

NBC's Richard Engel reports that supporters of the al-Qaida mastermind are "trying to create an alternative myth" to the events that unfolded before the death of Osama bin Laden.

By Robert Windrem, NBC News Investigative reporter

For years a mythology has grown around Osama bin Laden. Bob Windrem, NBC News’ chief investigative producer, has been reporting on bin Laden and the al-Qaida terrorist network since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Windrem clears up a few of the enduring myths about the world’s most wanted man.

1) He lived in caves. 
This goes back to President’s Bush's comment about “smoking him out.”  He has not lived in a cave in years.
What we have been told and reported on several occasions is that he was believed to be living in a series of walled compounds, mostly the mud-walled compounds that dot the landscape in Pakistan's tribal areas.  He would move only when his security forces, led by his brother-in-law, felt he needed to.

He would spend months at the same location. The most common trigger for a move: a security breach that led to the death or capture of a high ranking al Qaida official. The U.S. learned of this from captured couriers after the fact.


2. He needed dialysis.
He never underwent dialysis, said U.S. officials. He had kidney stones, not kidney failure.  The former is treatable, the latter needs dialysis.  Bin Laden did have low blood pressure and an enlarged heart.

3. That al-Qaida has a doomsday plan to launch attacks if he was killed. 
U.S. intelligence has never believed that. When they are ready, they attack. They don't wait.