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Tape Leaves 'No Doubt' bin Laden Involved in Attacks - 2001-12-10

The White House says it has further evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Officials say they have a videotape in which the al-Qaida leader leaves no doubt he was involved in the attacks.

Vice-President Dick Cheney says he has seen parts of the videotape. He says Osama bin Laden is shown discussing the events of September 11 in Arabic with a Muslim cleric. "And it's pretty clear, as it is described to me (by the translators), that he does in fact display significant knowledge of what happened, and there is no doubt about his responsibility for the attack on September 11th," Mr. Cheney said.

The Bush administration has said for some time that Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect in the attacks. Vice-President Cheney says the tape provides more proof, "This is one more piece of evidence confirming his responsibility."

During an appearance on the NBC television news program "Meet the Press," Mr. Cheney did not disclose how the tape came into American hands. However, published reports say it was found during the search of a private home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

The White House has refused in the past to make its strongest evidence against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida public, saying it could dry up sources of information and damage intelligence gathering. When asked if this new videotape might be the exception to the rule, Vice-President Cheney was non-committal.

"We have not been eager to give the guy any extra television time than he could obtain for himself, but I think we would probably rely on the experts as to whether or not it would be a good idea to release it," he said.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz also saw the videotape. He told ABC's "This Week" that there is only one word to describe Osama bin Laden's demeanor. "Well, I'd say it is disgusting. I mean this is a man who takes pride and pleasure in having killed thousands of innocent human beings.

Mr. Wolfowitz said it is very clear on the tape that Osama bin Laden planned the attacks. He said it puts to rest the notion that anyone else could have been responsible.