From the Washington Post today:
The following is a key point: the materials reviewed over the past several days clearly show that bin Laden remained an active leader in al Qaeda, providing strategic, operational and tactical instructions to the group. Though separated from many al Qaeda members who are located in more remote areas of the region, he was far from a figurehead....
The materials reviewed thus far reveal that bin Laden continued to direct even tactical details of the group's management and to encourage plotting.The materials show that bin Laden remained focused on inspiring and engineering international terrorism and specifically on attacking the United States.
“We’re not going to find operational manuals or Excel spreadsheets” with rosters of operatives and points of contact, the senior intelligence official said. Bin Laden served as a “chief executive who is giving fairly generic, broad instructions and guidance rather than tactical orders,” the official said.Assessments change as the hunt continues, sure. But it would be valuable to have the 9/11 Commission, when the dust settles, establish this question for history.