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U.S. Releases Bin Laden Videotape - 2001-12-14


U-S officials say a videotape showing Osama bin Laden boasting about the September 11 attacks on the United States seals his guilt as the person behind the suicide hijackings.

Secretary of State Colin Powell says now there can be no doubt the Saudi-born fugitive is responsible for killing more than three thousand people in the attacks in New York City and outside Washington.

// opt // Mr. Powell says it is "shocking" to hear an individual invoke the name of God to defend murder that "goes against every faith on the face of the Earth." // end opt //

The Pentagon released the hour-long amateur tape Thursday along with an English translation. The tape was apparently made in November in the southern Afghanistan city of Kandahar and obtained by U-S forces.

It shows Osama bin Laden discussing the attacks with two other people, including another al-Qaida leader (Ayman al-Zawahiri, who U-S officials say was involved in plotting the attacks).

In the tape, Osama bin Laden says he knew five days in advance about when the hijackers would strike and tuned to radio broadcasts to confirm the attacks had taken place.

The al-Qaida leader describes in chilling detail how he calculated the expected losses from crashing the four airplanes and said the destruction of New York's World Trade Center exceeded his hopes. He says he expected several floors of the twin towers would collapse. Instead, the entire buildings came down.

Osama bin Laden admits sending the hijackers to the United States, but says they only knew they were on "a martyrdom operation." He reveals that some of the 19 hijackers were told about the nature of the suicide mission just before they boarded the planes.

U-S officials say numerous tests conducted on the videotape show it is authentic. The tape was found inside a house in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, but U-S officials have refused to provides any details about how or when the tape was acquired.

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