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Rumsfeld Surmises 2 "New" Bin Laden Tapes Use Old Video

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2002 – Two videos shown this week on Arab television networks allegedly show Osama bin Laden praising the results of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. But U.S. officials said they believe the shots of bin Laden in the tape weren't taken recently.

"There's nothing in any of the tapes I've seen or heard of that suggests they are current with respect to (bin Laden)," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Pentagon press April 17. He said the shots of bin Laden in both videos appear to have been taken before 2002.

The first tape was broadcast April 15 on the pan-Arab Al Jazeera network, which operates out of Qatar. It allegedly shows a man believed to be one of the Sept. 11 hijackers of Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, reading his will and saying, "It is time to kill the Americans in their own homeland."

It also shows shots of bin Laden while a narrator lauds the Sept. 11 attacks. Earlier this week, Rumsfeld had said the shots of bin Laden from that video appear dated. In an April 15 briefing, he described the tape as "a patchwork of clips from previous periods, along with some commentary from more recent periods."

The second tape to surface this week was shown April 17 on a Saudi-owned Arab network in the United Arab Emirates. It allegedly shows images of bin Laden aides who were killed by U.S. actions in Afghanistan. In this video, bin Laden is seen applauding the economic burdens the Sept. 11 attacks placed on the United States.

Rumsfeld said he didn't know why the tapes might have been produced and broadcast now, but he offered several possible reasons.

"It may be that some people decided to put out those tapes because they wanted people to think (bin Laden) was alive and he isn't. It may be that they put out the tapes because they wanted people to think that he's alive and he is alive," Rumsfeld said April 17. "It may be that he put out those tapes, as opposed to some (other) people. I just don't know."

Still, Rumsfeld insisted, the tapes did nothing either way to convince him bin Laden is dead or alive.

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Related Sites:
DoD News Transcript: Special Briefing on the Unified Command Plan, April 17, 2002

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