The special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011 yielded a massive trove of documents never intended for publication, but in 2017 the CIA declassified them in their entirety. Nelly Lahoud, a scholar at New America, has written the first history of al-Qaeda based on a systematic reading of these documents, which lay bare the secrets of the group and serve to correct some existing narratives. How strong an organization was al-Qaeda in the decade after 9/11, and what were its objectives? How should we understand the relationship between al-Qaeda and Iran, and between al-Qaeda and the Taliban? How predictable was the rise of the Islamic State? What was life like in the Abbottabad compound? Dr. Lahoud answers these questions and more in this episode.