Not At All A Figurehead

Eli Lake reports on what we are discovering from Abottobad:

One U.S. intelligence official who asked not to be named said “a peripheral scan of the data suggests that he provided strategic guidance and direction to al Qaeda’s affiliates. We knew he had contact with the affiliates through couriers, but the evidence we have now is that he delivered the strategic direction to many of these groups.”

The decision not to blow the place to smithereens from the air was both gutsy and smart:

A U.S. official who asked not to be named said bin Laden gave broad orders to al Qaeda affiliates, such as orders to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to attack the continental United States. He also said bin Laden received payments from al Qaeda’s affiliates and approved mergers of affiliates.