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CNN AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

White House Says It's Not Surprised by Tape

Aired February 12, 2003 - 08:02   ET

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

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning the White House says it is not surprised that a tape believed to be the voice of Osama bin Laden calls for Muslims to rise up against America. One portion of the tape also threatens Muslims who side with the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OSAMA BIN LADEN (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Anyone who aids America or help it, including Arab leaders, or anyone who fights alongside them or provides them with bases or any kind of support, even if it was only verbal, in order to kill Muslims in Iraq, that is a Muslim that he is no longer a Muslim and therefore he will be a legitimate target.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: John King is standing by at the White House right now with the latest reaction to the tape -- good morning, John.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Paula.

That segment you just played reinforces a message the administration was trying to spread around the world even in advance of the release of the Osama bin Laden tape. The administration has talked to governments across the Middle East -- Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, in Yemen and elsewhere, warning that if there is a military confrontation with Iraq, they could see a swelling of anti-American sentiment and protests against their own governments for any cooperation they are giving the United States in the war on terrorism.

So the release of this tape bringing into a spotlight, if you will, a number of concerns not only about the possibility, the threat of more terrorist attacks here in the United States, but, the administration believes, of perhaps a wave of violence against American embassies, Americans overseas, but also friendly governments in the Middle East that Osama bin Laden says are aiding the enemy.

ZAHN: We're going to have to leave it there this morning.

John King, thanks for the update from the White House.

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