NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors on Wednesday presented declassified al-Qaida documents obtained after the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound at the trial of a man charged in a British terrorism plot.
The al-Qaida documents, read by the FBI linguist who translated them from Arabic, were presented at the trial of Abid Naseer and discussed attacks in Britain and elsewhere in Europe. The documents also mentioned terror attacks in Russia, including plans to bomb a pipeline or the U.S. embassy there.
Naseer headed a British al-Qaida terror cell that in 2009 was part of a broader conspiracy to commit attacks in the United Kingdom, New York and Denmark, prosecutors have charged. Emails show the same al-Qaida handler was in contact with Naseer and two men convicted of planning to bomb New York's subway system, prosecutors charge.
Naseer, who's from Pakistan, has pleaded not guilty and is defending himself in federal court in Brooklyn. He took the stand Wednesday after the prosecution rested and was questioned by his court-appointed adviser, James Neuman.
Naseer was in the U.K. as a student studying computers and the English language and denied being a member of al-Qaida or receiving training from the terror group, he testified. He was extradited to New York in 2013.
The documents discuss a range of al-Qaida business, from operational tactics to training methods and suggestions on how to avoid detection by law enforcement. One letter suggests that attacking the continental U.S. "in its heartland ... has the most significance" and "cannot be compared" to an attack outside the country.
The goal of an attack would be "to pressure 300 million Americans," who vote for their elected officials, to end the nation's war against al-Qaida and its goal of establishing an Islamic state, the letters said.
None of the letters mentioned Naseer by name.
Also Wednesday, a top FBI counterterror official testified that he traveled to Afghanistan and managed the handling of evidence recovered after the bin Laden raid, spending 16 hours to process the weapons, documents and electronic equipment recovered in the secret operation.
The official, Alexander Otte, also testified that he saw bin Laden's body after it was returned to a military hangar.
"I knew who he was, and I recognized him immediately," he said.