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Osama bin Laden Statement Released

Aired December 26, 2001 - 16:03   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Within the past half-hour or so, the Al-Jazeera television network broadcast a five-minute excerpt of a videotaped statement by Osama bin Laden. This is an image of what bin Laden looks like on the tape. I want to show that image to you right now. An Al-Jazeera anchor says the tape was shot about two weeks ago. The complete statement is said to be almost 30 minutes long. Al- Jazeera says that won't be aired until tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is a two-minute excerpt of what Osama bin Laden says on this videotape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OSAMA BIN LADEN, (through translator): Until two weeks ago, after three months since the attacks, the blessed attacks that took place against the head of the snake, the United States, and after two months since the crusader campaign started against Islam, we would like to speak on some of the implications of those incidents.

These events have shown many, many things that are very important to Muslims. It has become crystal clear that the West in general, led by the United States, are full of crusader hatred against Islam, hatred that cannot be defined.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: There it is, a brief excerpt of Osama bin Laden on this videotape that the Arabic-language network in Qatar says was provided to them. They did not provide details how they received this videotape. They aired about a five-minute excerpt. We, through a CNN translator, just aired a few seconds of the tape, Osama bin Laden railing against the West, and the United States in particular. As you heard, calling the United States the head of the snake, saying there was a crusader campaign underway against Islam, against the Muslim world.

I want to bring in our national security correspondent, David Ensor, who's been monitoring this. David, you've had a chance briefly, to speak to at least one U.S. official. What have you learned, if anything?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frankly, I must tell you this official had no prior knowledge of this tape. That does not mean that other officials had not. But this particular official had not heard that there was going to be another bin Laden tape. What, obviously, he and others will look at closely, is when was this tape made? Is there any way to tell?

If it was in fact made two weeks ago, as Al-Jazeera indicated, if my timing is right, that would have been just around or just before the really final heavy bombing in Tora Bora. So it's conceivable this tape could have been made there, prior to the defeat of the al Qaeda forces there. But we really just don't know. We only have Al- Jazeera's word for it and bin Laden's word for it, as to when this tape was made, allegedly two weeks ago.

Timing will be an important question. What he has to say, whether it effects the Arab world, obviously, is another question. Although like most parts of the world, the Muslim world doesn't like a loser. And it doesn't look as if this man is winning at the moment.

BLITZER: All right, stand by. We going to have more on this Osama bin Laden videotape. We'll talk about it with Peter Bergen later this hour, our terrorism analyst, the author of a new book on Osama bin Laden, as you know, "Holy War, Inc." That was, again, a CNN translation, after we looked at that videotape earlier that was aired about 35, 40 minutes or so ago by the Arabic language television network, Al-Jazeera, in Qatar.

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