CNN BREAKING NEWS
New bin Laden Tape Threatens New Attacks
Aired September 10, 2003 - 14:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We are seeing a chilling reminder this hour of the al Qaeda threat that is still out there on the day before the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
CNN's Mike Boettcher has been with us. He is going to talk to us more now. He's been looking at this purportedly new tape of Osama bin Laden and his top deputy.
Mike, I was just listening to you speak about how bin Laden and Zawahiri seem to have aged. What else are the authorities, the investigators going to be looking at as they try to determine whether this is authentic or not?
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well one thing specifically is the lefthand side of Osama bin Laden. I was watching as he was walking down the mountainside with the walking stick on his right side and holding a cape with his left arm.
Now, in his last videotape 17 months ago, he did not move that arm. We are told by intelligence sources in the region that he was injured in the shoulder when a bomb was dropped very close to him in the battle of Tora Bora. And, indeed, he did have surgery. And a very good intelligence analyst in that area says that that surgery was assisted by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is, by the way, a medical doctor, an Egyptian.
So that is one of the things they'll be looking at. You see his arm right there. He is not moving it, but they'll be looking at it to see for any signs of any deterioration in his health. And there are people who can do amazing things that David Ensor, for example, knows a lot about and has talked to these people who can analyze and read a lot more than just a layman like me can.
WOODRUFF: Well, it looks like they've got a lot of tape to work with. I was hearing there's more than an hour, maybe even an hour and a half of tape there. We just saw a short video of bin Laden holding something else with his left hand.
Mike, I want to ask you now to listen to part of what Al-Zawahiri was saying on this tape. Let's listen to this audio.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, SENIOR AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): This is the second anniversary of the attacks on Washington and New York. And America is still challenging with its crusade. They are suffering from wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We say to them, we don't call for destruction and killing, but we will, with the help of God, cut the hand that is extended to us with aggression. And here, we would like to let you know also and emphasize that what you've seen so far is just -- are just the first skirmishes. And the real battle has not started yet. Prepare yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Mike, that's a threat to send chills down all of our spines. As you look at that and as you listen to it, what does it tell you?
BOETTCHER: Well, it says that they are busily working, as they have in the past, to escalate their attacks to new and higher levels. And how in the world you can do that after 9/11 is the big mystery, because that was horrific.
And he's calling that a skirmish and saying, much worse things are to come. That is why analysts fear that al Qaeda is working towards weapons of mass destruction. And one particular area where they are experimenting with these various things, chemical, biological weapons, we are told, is in the Chechnya area, specifically in the Pankisi Gorge area.
So it is very chilling, as you say. And they are continuing to operate on the assumption that they are in a war for a long period of time. The problem -- and I've talked to many Middle East analysts and analysts in terrorism that say, the problem that we as Americans do not understand is, is that al Qaeda and other jihadist groups think in terms of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years. We tend to think in terms of four- year election cycles -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Very good point. All right, Mike Boettcher, who has spent a lot of time on the ground over there.
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