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US Considers Release of bin Laden Videotape - 2001-12-10

The White House is debating whether or not to release a videotape of Osama bin Laden which officials said shows he was responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Debate over the release of the tape is now underway at the National Security Council.

White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer said there are good arguments on both sides.

He said President Bush believes it is important for people to know what Osama bin Laden said. But at the same time, Mr. Fleischer said the White House does not want to give the al-Qaida leader any publicity.

On the videotape, Osama bin Laden is shown discussing the September 11 terrorist attacks in Arabic with a man believed to be a Muslim cleric. Ari Fleischer said it is different from earlier prepackaged videos provided by al-Qaida to news organizations. He said this videotape is a recorded conversation with other people.

Mr. Fleischer said President Bush has seen parts of the tape. So has Vice President Dick Cheney. He said Sunday that it showed clearly that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.