Tape Proves Bin Laden's Complicity in Sept. 11 Attacks
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2001 If there was ever any doubt about Osama bin Laden's complicity in the attacks of Sept. 11, he himself removed them in a videotape found in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
DoD officials said today the tape was probably shot in mid- November. It shows the Al Qaeda leader calmly discussing the attacks. "We had notification since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that day," bin Laden can be heard saying to a visiting sheik.
Whoever shot the tape did so with the full knowledge of all in the room, including bin Laden. Portions of the tape are inaudible. The department distributed copies of the tape to reporters this morning and then showed it to Pentagon workers at 11 a.m. on DoD's internal television channel.
At one point, bin Laden told his visitor that they had been trying to estimate the number of casualties that would result from the attacks on the World Trade Center.
"We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy who would be killed based on the position of the tower," bin Laden can be heard saying. "We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all.
"(Inaudible) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for."
In another part of the tape, bin Laden spoke about the group that conducted the operations. "All they knew was that they have a martyrdom operation and we asked each of them to go to America, but they didn't know anything about the operation, not even one letter," he said. "But they were trained and we did not reveal the operation to them until they are there and just before they boarded the planes."
Bin Laden said the hijackers were in two groups with the pilots not knowing the other hijackers.
DoD spokeswoman Torie Clarke said Americans will have to watch the tape and can make up their own minds whether it's the "smoking gun" proving bin Laden's guilt. She said that even without the tape, there has never been a moment's doubt within DoD of Al Qaeda's responsibility for the attack.
Government and outside translators worked independently on separate transcripts of the tape. There were no inconsistencies in the resulting two transcript versions.