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One voice on tape is authentic, but bin Laden's not proven

By Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 12, 2003

WASHINGTON - The CIA has authenticated a section of the audio on the new al-Qaida videotape as a recording of Osama bin Laden's chief deputy, but analysts are unsure whether the voice purported to be bin Laden's is truly his, a CIA official said Thursday.

President Bush said the tape was still being analyzed but "reminds us that the war on terror goes on."

"His rhetoric is trying to intimidate and create fear," Bush said after a trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he visited troops wounded in the war in Iraq. "He's not going to intimidate America. We are at war because of what he and his fellow killers decided to do two years ago today. We will stay the course until we have achieved our objective and dismantled the terrorist organizations."

Bush said his administration is doing all it can to prevent more attacks on the United States.

"We're fighting this war on a lot of fronts," he said. "We're making steady progress toward achieving our objective and we will continue to make progress. You can't negotiate with these people. You can't try to talk sense into these people. The only way to deal with them is to find them and bring them to justice."

The videotape, aired Wednesday on the Arab al-Jazeera television network, has two voiceovers, one purportedly from bin Laden and the other from his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. A CIA official told the Associated Press that analysts have determined that al-Zawahri's voice is authentic.

But the technical analysis of the section with bin Laden's voice is inconclusive, the official said. The analysis will continue, but the official acknowledged the CIA might not be able to make a final determination.

Also Thursday, Afghan officials warned the tape could rally his followers and trigger more terror attacks, and they urged Pakistan to do more to track down the al-Qaida leader.

A Western official said bin Laden is active on the Afghan-Pakistan border but is running out of maneuvering room. Pakistan said it was doing all it can to find him.

"Time, space and options for the al-Qaida network and its important leaders is getting limited," said Pakistan's interior minister, Faisal Saleh Hayyat.


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