Robert D. Mather, Ph.D.

The Conservative Social Psychology Blog
View of a Monster: "Bin Laden's Hard Drive"

Osama Bin Laden orchestrated a devastating attack on the United States on September 11th, 2001. A recently released documentary provides psychological insight into the monster. On September 10th, 2020, National Geographic Channel aired “Bin Laden’s Hard Drive.” The documentary used a number of scholarly analysts to examine the contents of the hard drive seized at Bin Laden’s compound during the raid in which a U. S. Navy SEAL Team killed Bin Laden.


The analysis revealed a narcissist who demanded perfection in his delivery of his videotaped speeches. Bin Laden was highly paranoid, since the world was trying to find him and kill him for his evil works. He lived with around 20 people on an isolated compound, with satellite TV and web content only brought in through USB drives. They grew their own crops and raised their own livestock.


A Muslim woman described him as not representing Muslims or Islam and cited many instances of his flawed interpretations of their scripture. She stated, “that’s not an extremist, that’s a deviant revisionist.” The deviant revision was the foundation of much of the religious propaganda that he used to grow Al Qaeda. A few of his wives helped him to co-author many of his messages and he indoctrinated his grandchildren to become martyrs.


Some of the most interesting analysis came from Dr. Reid Maloy, a forensic psychologist who consults with the FBI. One noteworthy observation was that someone was rewarding Bin Laden’s young grandson off camera for the boy’s propaganda speech. Another interesting observation was made by Peter Bergen, a journalist and CNN National Security Analyst who had previously interviewed Bin Laden. Bergen noted that Bin Laden opened the on-screen TV menu to cover the faces of female reporters and Americans when he watched TV.


"Bin Laden's Hard Drive" provides a chilling view into the last years of a monster in a seclusion of his own making.

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