Re: Breaking News about Bin Laden
U.S. scrutinizes bin Laden video By Randall Mikkelsen
1 hour, 14 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government has obtained a copy of a purported new videotape of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and is studying it, U.S. officials said on Friday.
"We can confirm that the U.S. government has the video and it is being analyzed," one official said on condition of anonymity.
An Islamist Web site said earlier on Friday it would soon show a new video of bin Laden -- the first in nearly three years -- to mark the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The Web site published a still photograph apparently from the video, which showed bin Laden looking older than in previously available pictures. However, a photo that Western analysts said accompanied the video announcement showed bin Laden's beard black rather than gray as in pictures from recent years.
Al Jazeera television said the footage, produced by al Qaeda's media arm, was likely to be shown within 72 hours.
A U.S. intelligence official said of the tape, "We're analyzing it. We need to take a look at it to see whether it's old or new and we're doing it very quickly."
Bin Laden was last seen in a video statement on the eve of the November 2004 U.S. presidential election. Since then, he has issued several audio messages, the last in July 2006 when he vowed al Qaeda would fight the United States across the world.
Some intelligence officials and security analysts suspect bin Laden has limited his appearances to maximize their impact, perhaps saving his next one to coincide with a dramatic attack.
Others say bin Laden, aged 50 and believed to suffer from a serious kidney ailment, may be too sick or too tightly pinned down in his hiding place to smuggle out a tape.
U.S. terrorism monitoring firm IntelCenter said the tape fits an al Qaeda pattern of releasing one or more videos to commemorate the September 11 attacks, and a new tape featuring bin Laden had been expected for much of this year.
"There may be very significant reasons for Osama bin Laden's decision to appear now or it may be nothing more than he just felt like he wanted to say something," IntelCenter head Ben Venzke said.
A year ago, a leaked French intelligence report said Saudi secret services thought bin Laden had died of typhoid in Pakistan but Saudi Arabia said such reports were mere speculation.
Michael Taarnby, specialist in militant Islam at the Danish Institute for International Studies, said the new video would be significant as "proof of life" but would probably be more scrutinized for clues to bin Laden's health than for its message.
"I don't think we'll find any major surprises -- the usual threats, the usual diatribes against the West," he said. "Osama bin Laden is an iconic figure now but it doesn't seem he has that much control over actual events or operations."
I'd agree with that. Bin laden doesn't have much control over actual events or operations. The ZIONIST PIGS do and bin Laden is their messenger to the American people. I simply cannot believe that the ZIONISTS are attempting to hold America hostage to their "bogeyman." But, I do.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe, accompanying President George W. Bush at an Asia-Pacific leaders' summit in Sydney, said in reaction to news of the new video:
"Six years after 9/11, the arrests in Germany and Denmark this week, and the battles we fight against al Qaeda in Iraq, Afghanistan ... remind us of the continuing threat we face from extremists and why we must continue to take the fight to them wherever they are."
Germany on Wednesday foiled a plot by Islamist militants to attack U.S. installations there and arrested three suspects believed to be members of an al Qaeda-affiliated group.
The previous day, Danish police arrested eight young Muslims on suspicion of plotting a bomb attack and having links with al Qaeda.
U.S.-led forces have been searching for bin Laden since they toppled Afghanistan's Taliban government after it refused to hand over the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks.
Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri are believed to be hiding in the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a mountainous, inaccessible region that U.S. intelligence has described as a safe haven for al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The U.S. Senate voted two months ago to double the bounty on bin Laden to $50 million.
(Additional reporting by Mark Trevelyan, Firouz Sedarat and Tabassum Zakaria)