Robert Weiner and James Lewis
The Washington Times
December 31, 2010
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Last week, al Qaeda issued its annual Christmas threat to the United States, promising suicide bombings during the holidays. Here’s a better idea for a Christmas present from al Qaeda: a video showing Osama bin Laden – or his grave.
Is bin Laden dead or alive? Nobody seems to know for sure, or, if anybody does, he isn’t saying. The White House’s Afghanistan-Pakistan review this month didn’t even mention him despite an ongoing, decade-long manhunt.
Here’s what we know. On Oct. 27, after bin Laden supposedly demanded that France withdraw troops from Afghanistan, the French Foreign Ministry said the tape “can be considered established based on initial verification.” U.S. intelligence agencies gave credence to the verification, not only refusing to put out a disclaimer, but letting their staffs back the authenticity of other recent tapes. Upon release of al Qaeda’s Jan. 24 tape early last year, ABC reported that intelligence officials “can’t verify the authenticity of the tape, but they say there has never been a fake and there is no reason to believe this one is not real.” Likewise, CNN’s reporting of a June 2009 tape concluded, “A CNN analysis said the voice does indeed sound like the leader of the terrorist network that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.”