Home videos of Osama bin Laden's time holed up in Pakistan show the al-Qaeda leader watching news coverage of himself on television and rehearsing for his propaganda recordings.
The U.S. Defense Department showed the censored footage to reporters Saturday and later released the videos to television networks for airing. The Pentagon is still weighing whether to release photographs taken of bin Laden after he was shot dead by the team of U.S. commandos that stormed his compound in Pakistan on Sunday.
The videos were among a pile of DVDs, computer hard drives, USB keys and other materials seized by the Navy SEALs in their 40-minute raid.
The five movies offer the first public glimpse at bin Laden's life behind the walls of his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The government-selected clips also provide an opportunity for the U.S. to paint bin Laden in an unflattering light to his supporters. The videos include outtakes of his propaganda films and, taken together, portray him as someone obsessed with his own image and how he is portrayed to the world.
One of the movies shows bin Laden, wrapped in a brown blanket and clasping a remote control in his right hand, flipping back and forth between clips of himself. The small television was perched on top of a desk with wires running to a nearby cable or control box.
In another, he has apparently dyed and neatly trimmed his beard for the filming of a propaganda video. He's shown wearing a beige cloak, white shirt and white headdress.
Officials said the clips shown to reporters were just part of the largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever collected. The evidence seized during the raid also includes phone numbers and documents that officials hope will help break the back of the organization behind the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings.