does bin Laden communicate?
Bin Ladens biggest problem remains
communications. Bin Laden previously used Inmarsat phones until the U.S. began
intercepting his signals off the Inmarsat-3 satellite over the Indian Ocean.
U.S. officials intercepted a congratulatory phone call in the days after the
embassy bombings. A U.S. official says bin Laden has since stopped using
Bin Laden makes extensive use of couriers,
who sometimes carry encrypted floppy disks and meet in third countries with
couriers from target nations. He has also used faxes from remote locations and
in some cases, e-mail. Al-Qaeda has used various code words and aliases to
disguise identities. Bin Laden has been described in al-Qaeda communications as
the Sheik, Hajj, Abu Abdullah, and the Director.
Can he travel outside Afghanistan?
Bin Laden is believed to have access to
several planes at his disposal, the ownership of which is unclear. He traveled
around the Muslim world in charter jets for years prior to his exile in
Afghanistan. He also owns a private jet, according to intelligence officials.
How is bin Ladens network, al-Qaeda,
Bin Laden is the undisputed leader, called
emir or prince by his followers who must take a sworn oath to him,
violation of which is punishable by death.
Beneath him is the shura al-majlis or
consultative council, which includes his top lieutenants. His two aides
are Egyptians: Ayman al-Zawahiri, a physician and leader of al-Jihad, the
violent Egyptian group responsible for the Luxor tourist massacre in 1995, and
Muhammed Atef, his military commander who also served in al-Jihad. A
fatwah committee of the council makes the decisions to carry out terrorist
Where does al-Qaeda operate?
Al-Qaeda is believed to have operations in
60 countries, active cells in 20, including the United States, Kosovo, the
Philippines and Chechnya. It is believed to operate training centers in both
Afghanistan and Sudan, the first beginning operations in 1994 with
representatives from Egyptian, Algerian, Tunisian and Palestinian extremist