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Cia says saddam capture tape from dead binladen { January 6 2004 }

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January 6, 2004
C.I.A. Says Newest Audiotape Is Probably From bin Laden

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 The Central Intelligence Agency said Monday that the latest tape-recorded message that purports to be from Osama bin Laden was probably authentic.

The audiotape, broadcast Sunday on the Arabic-language satellite channel Al Jazeera, referred to recent events, including the Dec. 13 capture of Saddam Hussein. The judgment that the voice on the tape was probably that of Mr. bin Laden provides the latest indication that the leader of Al Qaeda is still alive, after more than two years in which he has been the target of an American-led manhunt.

The C.I.A. opinion was based on a technical analysis, an agency official said, and is consistent with other judgments in recent months that have authenticated earlier messages purporting to be from Mr. bin Laden.

Tom Ridge, the homeland security secretary, said in a CBS television interview on Monday that "preliminary assessments says this is the voice of Osama bin Laden."

In the latest message, the speaker believed to be Mr. bin Laden urged Muslims to keep fighting a holy war in the Middle East, and he denounced the American-led war in Iraq as the beginning of an "occupation" of Persian Gulf states for their oil.

The speaker urged Muslims to "continue the jihad to check the conspiracies that are hatched against the Islamic nation."

Al Jazeera broadcast some 17 minutes of the audiotape while showing a still photograph of Mr. bin Laden. Besides mentioning Mr. Hussein's capture, the message referred to recent developments in the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"My message is to incite you against the conspiracies, especially those uncovered by the occupation of the crusaders in Baghdad under the pretext of weapons of mass destruction," the speaker said. He also denounced "the deceptions of the road map and the Geneva initiative," references to efforts by the United States and the Europeans to promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In the last year, at least a half-dozen messages purporting to be from Mr. bin Laden have been broadcast or published by Arabic-language media. All have called on his followers to continue their efforts to combat the United States and its allies in the Arab world, whom Mr. bin Laden assails as infidels.

Since the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, which were carried out by his followers, Mr. bin Laden has used videotaped and audiotaped messages as his main avenue of communication with the outside world. In the past, American officials have expressed concern that some of the messages may contain encoded language instructing followers to carry out particular terrorist attacks or other action.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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