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US Promises to Reveal Bin Laden Evidence - 2001-09-23

The Bush administration says it will share evidence with its allies linking Osama Bin Laden and his followers to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Secretary of State Colin Powell says they will provide the information soon.

Secretary of State Powell says the United States is gathering all sorts of information about Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organization.

"I think, in the near future, we will be able to put out a paper, a document, that will describe quite clearly the evidence linking him to this attack," predicted Mr. Powell. "But also remember, he has been linked to earlier attacks on U.S. interests that he was already indicted for."

The secretary of state, speaking in a nationally broadcast interview, did not provide details. But other administration officials have stressed the United States will not make any information public that might jeopardize the criminal investigation into the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Still, they say, America will do all it can to make its case to the rest of the world, in order to build a broad coalition against terrorism. Secretary Powell told NBC's Meet the Press there have even been contacts with Iran and Syria about their willingness to join action against Osama bin Laden. Both are on the official U.S. list of countries that support terrorists.

"I talked to the Syrian foreign minister, and we are looking to see if we can explore areas of cooperation. But they can't be for one kind of terrorism and against another kind of terrorism. They have to realize you have got to change your pattern," said Mr. Powell.

Iran has said it will cooperate in the fight against terrorism as part of an international effort under the auspices of the United Nations. During an appearance on the Fox News Sunday television program, White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice downplayed the notion the United States will seek greater authority from the U.N.

"There was an attack on the United States, an act of war against the United States. The United States has the right to self-defense," said Ms. Rice. "That is fully recognized under international law. The right of self-defense is recognized by the United Nations itself. We will see what further we need to do with the United Nations, but I do not believe the president believes he needs further authority to act in self-defense," she said.

While members of his national security team were answering questions on national television, President Bush was at Camp David, his official retreat in the Maryland Mountains.

The president looked on Sunday morning as a group of soldiers raised the American flag to full staff at Camp David for the first time since the September 11 attacks. White House aides say the solemn ceremony was meant to symbolize America's recovery from the deadliest terrorist attacks in the nation's history.