For U.S. Intelligence, A Trove Of Bin Laden Evidence The Navy SEALs swept up computers, thumb drives, DVDs and paper files. Intelligence officials are now trolling for any hints of new plots that might be under way, the whereabouts of key al-Qaida operatives, and any other information that might provide fresh insight into the group.

For U.S. Intelligence, A Trove Of Bin Laden Evidence

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BLOCK: NPR's Dina Temple-Raston joins me to talk about the investigation. And Dina, they've gotten all this stuff, data files, this kind of thing. What are they trying to learn from it?

DINA TEMPLE: Well, the first they're trying to do is make sure that there isn't evidence of new plots underway. So they're plugging in key words like the big wedding, which has been a code for attacks in the past. They're also looking for names and locations of possible operatives they don't know about. And that's essentially what they're doing in this first scrub of all of this.

BLOCK: And apart from the operatives they don't know about, what about the ones they do, specifically Osama bin Laden's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri?

TEMPLE: Well, they're looking to see if they can figure out from what they have where he might be so they might be able to capture him.

BLOCK: Now, the U.S. collected all these computers, hard drives, paper files, we mentioned, where is that material now? Where are they going through it?

TEMPLE: Well, officials tell NPR that's been sent to the FBI lab at Quantico, in Virginia. And the FBI is housing it there, and then making it available to other agencies for analysis. What's interesting is part of the reason for sending it there is to ensure a proper chain of custody for information, just in case it's needed as evidence in trials later.

BLOCK: In trials later, future trials, military tribunals of al-Qaida suspects, you're talking about?

TEMPLE: Exactly. I mean, there could be intelligence that ends up, for example, in the trial of the 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Officials don't know what they have yet, but if turns out to be evidence, they want to be able to use it in a future trial without having any legal objections to it.

BLOCK: OK. We've been talking about the physical evidence taken out of that compound. What about people that officials in the U.S. might want to interview, the people who are with Osama bin Laden at that compound?

TEMPLE: And if you think about it, bin Laden's wife and kids could be a goldmine of information because they would know where bin Laden has been the last 10 years, who he's been associated with. They're in custody now in Pakistan, and Pakistani officials at least so far have said the U.S. can't interview them.

BLOCK: That's a striking detail, Dina, really, because there has been such turmoil between these two governments in the wake of this raid.

TEMPLE: Exactly. And this is one more thing where there's a question about cooperation between the Pakistanis and the U.S.

BLOCK: Dina, you're learning some new details about the raid itself, I understand.

TEMPLE: According to one intelligence source I talked to, this is the first time that these helicopters have been on a mission, and they've been in development for some time.

BLOCK: And, Dina, still no response, no statement from al-Qaida regarding Osama bin Laden's death.

TEMPLE: And it's been widely publicized that the U.S. followed one of bin Laden's couriers to find him, and the whole courier system was supposed to be a way to communicate without a cell phone or a traceable Internet. It was supposed to be safe. And now that courier system clearly is being seen as a liability.

BLOCK: OK. Dina, thanks very much.

TEMPLE: You're Welcome.

BLOCK: That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston in New York.

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