Osama bin Laden asked that Al Qaeda form hit squads to kill President Obama and General David Petraeus, but that Vice President Biden be spared because Biden is "totally unprepared for the presidency" and making him president by killing Obama would "lead the U.S. into a crisis."
In a 45-page letter to a newly promoted al Qaeda lieutenant in May 2010, part of a trove of documents found in bin Laden's Pakistan compound that were placed online Thursday by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, bin Laden tells him he had asked his predecessor to put together two teams in Pakistan and Afghanistan to target Petraeus and Obama during their visits "and target the aircraft of either one of them."
"They are not to target visits by U.S. Vice President Biden, Secretary of Defense Gates, Joints Chiefs of Staff [Chairman] Mullen, or the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Holbrooke," wrote bin Laden. "The groups will remain on the lookout for Obama or Petraeus."
"The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency for the remainder of the term, as it is the norm over there. Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis."
"As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour in this last year of the war, and killing him would alter the war's path."
Much of the rest of the letter, one of 17 documents released today, is devoted to Osama's micromanagement of al Qaeda affairs, and his regrets that al Qaeda has lost the affection of Muslims because its regional affiliates had killed so many Muslim civilians.
According to bin Laden, 9/11 and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan "filled Muslims with sympathy toward their fellow Mujahidin." But "after the war expanded and the Mujahidin spread out into many regions, some of the brothers became totally absorbed in fighting out local enemies, and more mistakes have been made."
"Clear boundaries need to be established so that no Muslims fall victim except when it is absolutely necessary," wrote bin Laden.
He also expresses his desire for al Qaeda leaders to leave the Pakistani border region to escape U.S. drone attacks.
"I had mentioned in several previous messages," wrote bin Laden, "the importance of the exit from Waziristan of the brother leaders, especially the ones that have media exposure. I stress this matter to you and they you choose distant locations to which to move them, away from aircraft photography and bombardment, while taking all security precautions."