Documents show late arch-terrorist Osama Bin Laden reportedly pushed al-Qaeda to develop plans to assassinate President Barack Obama.
According to documents recovered from Bin Laden's compound, the Al Qaida chief believed the United States would tumble into chaos if an "unprepared" Vice-President Joe Biden became commander in chief.
Bin Laden's analysis of presidential succession scenarios appear in a collection of classified records that the Obama administration is planning to release to the public in the coming months.
The documents were described by the Washington Post in an article that appeared on the newspaper's website on Friday.
The documents depict Bin Laden as a terrorist leader who is fixated on finding a way to assassinate top US officials.
In a message addressed to his top lieutenant, Bin Laden urged his network to pursue ways to kill Obama with an attack on Air Force One.
"The reason for concentrating on Obama is that he is the head of infidelity, and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency," Bin Laden wrote. "Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the US into a crisis."
The records also identify then-General David Petraeus as a top target.
Bin Laden described Petraeus, now CIA director, as "the man of the hour" and said that "killing him would alter the war's path."
However, in his final years Bin Laden was increasingly isolated and sidelined by senior al-Qaeda leaders determined to follow their own plans as his health deteriorated.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the late Bin Laden’s top-lieutenant and successor – Ayman al-Zawahiri – believed him to be ‘senile’ and may have been complicit in the security breach that led US forces to his doorstep.
US intelligence officials described Bin Laden's assassination scheme "was well beyond the reach of Al Qaeda's decimated ranks."