One day after the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's elimination [May 2, 2012], the United States released 17 secret documents for the first time. This represents a tiny percentage of the 6,000 documents that were unearthed in five computers and tens of hard disks and portable storage devices that were collected by American fighters after the invasion of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad Pakistan. Simultaneously, al Qaeda supporters, including the Taliban, conducted bin Laden memorial rallies throughout Pakistan, with the participation of tens of thousands.
The documents that were composed between September 2006 and April 2011 reveal a tangled network of collaboration that crossed countries, religions, ideologies and political struggles — all in the name of the armed struggle against the State of Israel. "Is is permissible [according to Islamic law] to receive funding from other organizations that want to support our jihad?" appears in a letter sent from militants of the Gazan terror organization Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), the main al-Qaeda affiliate in Gaza. In a letter sent toward the end of 2006, the organization's representatives direct their questions to Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, al Qaeda's operations chief and a close associate and spiritual advisor of bin Laden, who even reviewed the documents himself afterward.
"Numerous contributions arrive from abroad (especially Iran)," wrote the representatives of the Gazan organization. "They offer us funding in return for working with them with an emphasis on high-quality operations. Fatah also offered us funding, ostensibly to support our Jihad activities, but there is another reason: they are afraid of falling victim to our swords. This funding will go directly to create and acquire weapons and to support the operations that we will carry out."
Afterwards the militants ask whether it is permissible to invest in the stock exchange in order to raise money for jihad activities, and even inquire whether it is permitted to murder drug dealers and make use of the merchandise in their possession to "sell it to Jews with the intention of harming them and taking their money, and killing Jewish soldiers — especially the ones guarding the border."
The answer includes a string of Islamic religious rulings and quotes from [Islamic] writings dealing with the legality of using money from various sources. But the bottom line is this: "If you are unable to fund your activities independently, then it is preferable to use money from these sources to fund jihad activities and strike Jews, than abandoning jihad due to lack of money." With regard to drugs, Abd al-Rahman emphasizes in his answer the sweeping Islamic prohibition on trafficking in alcohol and drugs, but qualifies this by saying, "Only if you have reached the conclusion that there is urgent need, you are permitted to consider [such methods] — and limit [these methods] for exceptional needs alone."
Another document sent by bin Laden to Abd al-Rahman focuses on the stance of the al Qaeda leader regarding the Arab Spring. Bin Laden describes the popular uprisings in historical terms, and writes "what we witness today is a great, shining event, and we can assume that [the uprisings] will come to encompass most of the Muslim world. Thanks to Allah, the events will lead us to a reality in which Muslims will no longer be under American control." In addition, bin Laden makes the following request of Abd al-Rahman: "Regarding our brothers who come to us from Iran, you are more aware of the security situation in your territory so please take care of obtaining the most secure places for them, and may Allah protect them."