Washington Post. 11 December 2001. Tape of Bin Laden Discussing Attacks
to be Released.

The White House plans to release a tape of Osama bin Laden discussing
the World Trade Center attack later this week and is studying whether
subtitles should be added to translate the Arabic to avoid charges that
the soundtrack was doctored, senior administration officials said.

The 40-minute videotape, in which bin Laden discussed his advance
knowledge and responsibility for the attacks, was made by an amateur
hoping to document an al Qaeda dinner last month honoring an older
mullah, officials said.

[N.B.] The tape's sound "is spotty and garbled and one part is taped
over," according to one official who has seen segments of the tape and
been shown the transcript.

On the tape, bin Laden praises God that both towers collapsed when he
had only expected more limited destruction, according to officials who
have seen the tape or read a transcript.

As the group sits on the floor eating from bowls and being served from
silver trays, bin Ladin jokes that his own press aide, Sulaiman Abu
Ghaith, had no advance knowledge of the attacks and rushed to tell him
when news reports first came in.

Bin Laden also tells the group he knew Mohamed Atta was in charge of the
hijacking group and that some of the "brothers" who conducted the
operation did not know the nature of the work they were tasked to do,
according to the official. Bin Laden says on the dinner tape, "They were
only told at the time they boarded the planes," the official said.

Intelligence officials, who recently obtained the tape in a private home
in Jalalabad, have checked it with experts inside and outside the U.S.
government. Last week the officials told the White House they considered
it authentic.

Since that time there has been an internal debate about when and how to
release it.

Part of the concern centers on the fact that the tape's Arabic
soundtrack is unintelligible at times.

Accompanying it with a separate English language transcript would raise
"questions as to its authenticity," one official said. Arab language
experts, including bin Laden supporters in the Middle East, would
question "where in the videotape the U.S. says bin Laden said particular
statements in the transcript," the official said.

Subtitles added to the videotape, one official said yesterday, would
show the English translation of the Arabic that is spoken directly by
bin Laden.

A White House official said the administration is evaluating either
subtitles or a voice-over translation that could be placed on the
videotape. Using a voice-over, however, would cover over the Arabic
being spoken, an official said.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Barry Stoller

This email was sent to:

Or send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED]

T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail!

Reply via email to