The Pentagon has released clips from five videos confiscated from Osama bin Laden's compound in suburban Pakistan.
The video snippets show bin Laden watching coverage of himself on television and rehearsing for terrorist propaganda videos. Taken together, they provide revealing images of what his life may have been like while he was in hiding.
Officials say it is unclear if the videos were actually filmed at his house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where U.S. Navy Seals killed him earlier this week.
The release came out of a broader press briefing by intelligence officials on Saturday. What is clear is officials were trying to extinguish any doubt that the man who was killed, swept out of the compound and then quickly buried at sea was the al-Qaida founder.
"The material found in the compound only further confirms how important it was to go after bin Laden," CIA Director Leon Panetta said in a written statement after the briefing. "Since [Sept. 11], this is what the American people have expected of us. In this critical operation, we delivered."
Clearly intelligence officials decided that just having such insider videos made public would make it more difficult for conspiracy theorists to say bin Laden was still alive.
One of the video clips, which runs more than a minute, shows bin Laden with an unkempt beard streaked in gray. He is sitting on the floor, wrapped in a brown blanket, holding a television remote control.
The video shows him in a makeshift setting, flipping back and forth between what appears to be live news coverage of himself. He's watching a small television perched on top of a desk amid a tangle of electrical wires.
In another clip, bin Laden appears in a very dark, clipped beard. Officials said that film was a propaganda video entitled "Message to the American People." Officials did not provide the audio for the video, but they said it was likely filmed in October or November of last year and were quick to point out the bin Laden had clearly dyed his beard. Officials had said earlier that hair dye was one of the things they found in the bin Laden compound.
Officials said the clips shown to reporters were just part of the largest collection of terrorist materials ever collected and they are poring through the evidence now. The said that the trove of information includes phone numbers and documents that could help break the back of al-Qaeda's terrorist operation.
Bin Laden and four others were killed in the pre-dawn raid on Monday when U.S. helicopters lowered a team of more than two dozen SEALs into the compound. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.