The NEWSWEEK 50: Osama bin Laden, Terrorist

The manhunt may not have been successful, but it has driven him far underground. Once a glutton for publicity, bin Laden hasn't shot a new video since September 2007, and no audio message from him has been heard since May 2008. Knowledgeable Taliban sources say "the sheik" (as acolytes call him) rarely has contact with even his top lieutenants, who are steadily being eliminated: in 2008, at least eight of the 20 most wanted Qaeda operatives died in Predator attacks along the Afghan border. The underlings who have replaced them don't match their brains or planning skills, Taliban sources say. But as the Mumbai attacks showed, bin Laden's ideology continues to inflict monstrous harm. (Story continued below...)