Bin Laden: Al Qaeda motivated to strike U.S. again
Bush, Kerry denounce new videotaped message
Friday, October 29, 2004 Posted: 9:28 PM EDT (0128 GMT)
(CNN) -- Osama bin Laden delivered a new videotaped message in which he told Americans their security does not depend on the president they elect, but on U.S. policy. And he said al Qaeda remains motivated to strike the U.S. again.
"Although we are ushering the fourth year after 9/11, Bush is still exercising confusion and misleading you and not telling you the true reason. Therefore, the motivations are still there for what happened to be repeated," bin Laden said.
It marked the first videotaped message from the al Qaeda leader in nearly three years. (CNN's Octavia Nasr discusses the tape)
The tape was aired on the Arabic language network Al-Jazeera Friday, just four days before the U.S. presidential election.
Bin Laden said the message was being delivered directly to the American people, saying the attacks of September 11, 2001 were the result of U.S. foreign policy in Arab lands, specifically referring to Lebanon and the Palestinians. The terror attacks killed nearly 3,000 people.
At one point, he mentioned both President Bush and Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry.
"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked," bin Laden said in the video.
Bush told reporters as he was boarding Air Force One for Columbus, Ohio, "Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country. I'm sure Senator Kerry agrees with this. ... We are at war with these terrorists, and I am confident we will prevail."
Kerry told reporters in West Palm Beach, Florida: "Let me make it clear -- crystal clear: as Americans, we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists."
He added: "They are barbarians. And I will stop at absolutely nothing to hunt down, capture or kill the terrorists wherever they are, whatever it takes. Period."
Bin Laden criticizes Bush
Bin Laden sharply criticized President Bush for his behavior on the morning of September 11, 2001, when the president was reading "My Pet Goat" to a group of schoolchildren in Florida at the time he was informed of the attacks.
"It never occurred that the highest leader of the military armed forces would leave 50,000 people to face the horror that they faced all by themselves when they needed him most," bin Laden said.
"He was more interested in listening to the child's story about the goat rather than worry about what was happening to the towers. So, that gave us double the time for us to execute our attacks."
Bin Laden was wearing a gold robe with a white headdress and white cloak. He had a long mostly gray beard, and appeared to be sitting behind a desk, reading from a paper statement, occasionally moving his right hand as he spoke.
U.S. government officials said the tape appeared to be authentic and recently made.
The U.S. embassy in Qatar received a copy of the Osama bin Laden tape from the Qatari government Friday, a senior State Department official told CNN. The Al-Jazeera network, which aired the tape, is based in the Qatari capital of Doha.
The total length of the tape received by the U.S. government is 18 minutes. Bin Laden spoke for 14 minutes and 39 seconds. U.S. officials would not comment on what else is on the tape.
The official said that once the embassy received the video, the U.S. ambassador to Qatar asked the Qatari government to use its influence with the management of Al-Jazeera to convince the network not to air the tape.
"We are disappointed that the tape was aired," said this official.
It was unclear whether the Qatari government urged Al-Jazeera to refrain from airing the tape. However, the network did not air the tape in its entirety.
The United States regularly complains to the Qatari government about Al-Jazeera's coverage and has often asked the government to use its influence to rein in the network.
Intelligence officials have warned previously about the possibility of al Qaeda trying to attack the United States around the time of next Tuesday's election, similar to the al Qaeda train bombings in Madrid on March 11 before the Spanish presidential election.
Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked.
-- Osama bin Laden
U.S. officials said there was no immediate plan to raise the nation's terrorism alert level because of the taped message.
One official said that the government is waiting for the intelligence community to further analyze the tape, and that among things analysts will be looking for are any hidden messages that might be contained in the tape.
The videotape was aired just one day after ABC News broadcast a video of a man claiming to be an American operative of al Qaeda who said the United States should brace for a large-scale attack that "will make you forget all about September 11th."
Although authorities have been unable to authenticate that message, a senior law enforcement official said the bin Laden message, coupled with the one broadcast by ABC, has "set off alarm bells among top officials."
"The anxiety level is through the roof," the official said.
The official said federal law enforcement agencies are taking the bin Laden tape "extremely seriously," and officials are on "a high state of alert."
In the video, bin Laden said he decided to attack the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1982 after the invasion of Lebanon by Israel, which he claimed was backed by the U.S. Navy.
"And as I was looking at those towers that were destroyed in Lebanon, it occurred to me that we have to punish the transgressor with the same" he says, "and that we had to destroy the towers in America, so that they taste what we tasted and they stop killing our women and children."
He underscored it was U.S. foreign policy that led to the 9/11 attacks, saying, "Bush says and claims, that we hate freedom, let him tell us then, 'Why did we not attack Sweden?'"
The statement aired Friday was the first videotaped message from the al Qaeda leader since December 2001.
Since he was last seen speaking on tape, at least seven audiotapes have surfaced on which a voice believed to be bin Laden issued messages. The most recent of those messages came in April, in which he made references to the train bombings in Madrid the month before.
doesn't this strike you as funny that after almost 3 years of silence from Osama Bin Laden, he magically appears right before the american election?
- according to Mr. Moore, the Bin Laden family and the Bush family have been in cahoots for some time...
- just interesting time for this tape to emerge