Nightly News | May 08, 2011
>> for almost ten years osama bin laden taunted his viewers with video tirades against the west. tonight the tables are turned and there is growing reaction to those newly released bin laden videos that he apparently did not want the world to see. those videos of bin laden in hiding are now central to an american campaign to unravel his mystique and demoralize his followers. those videos, of course, are just part of a major intelligence find from bin laden 's pakistan safehouse that the u.s. is rapidly trying to exploit. nbc's jim miklaszewski joins us from washington with the latest.
>> good evening, lester. u.s. intelligence officials are calling this the biggest haul of secrets from a top terrorist leader ever. it includes bin laden home videos which they were very eager to release.
>> reporter: this is the video the white house wants the world to see. osama bin laden , once the world's most notorious terrorist, seen here with a tv remote as he dials up old videos of himself from a time when the mere mention of his name brought fear. but these are images of an old man in a stocking cap bundled up against the cold. and in spartan surroundings, nothing close to a mansion. unlike earlier videos where his beard is died black, here it's almost totally gray. in fact, u.s. officials say it's the same gray beard bin laden had when the navy s.e.a.l.s shot and killed him.
>> at the end, here he died isolated, a prisoner as much as if he'd been in maximum security .
>> reporter: other videos show bin laden stumbling through prepared remarks, looking off camera for some sort of direction. if bin laden was so out of touch, how did he avoid detection for nearly five years? only 35 miles from pakistan 's capital. and in the shadow of the country's top military academy . president obama suspects bin laden had to have had a support network inside pakistan .
>> we don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government, and that's something that we have to investigate and, more importantly, the pakistani government has to investigate.
>> reporter: many in congress also have their doubts.
>> it is extraordinarily hard to believe that he could have survived there for five years or more in a major population center without some kind of support system and knowledge.
>> reporter: and not only survive. national security adviser tom donilon told nbc's "meet the press" that evidence gathered at the compound shows bin laden was still calling the shots for al qaeda .
>> osama bin laden was involved operationally a strategic direction , in the direction of operations including their propaganda efforts, obviously.
>> reporter: intelligence also shows before his death bin laden was still intent on killing americans. attacking u.s. targets such as trains which would result in mass casualties. the first test of u.s./pakistani relations since bin laden 's death could come this week. pakistani intelligence is interrogating bin laden 's three wives and four other women taken into custody at that compound. the u.s. has asked the pakistanis for whatever information they get from those interrogations be provided to u.s. intelligence . there has been no word yet on just how forthcoming they'll be, lester.
>> jim miklaszewski in washington, thanks.