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Bush: bin Laden Tape Not Fake - 2001-12-14

President Bush says he had mixed feelings about releasing the videotape of Osama bin Laden because it might bring-up more painful memories for those who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks of September 11.

Mr. Bush says those who claim the videotape is a fake are just making excuses for a man the president says is "evil."

U.S. allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have accepted the tape as genuine, saying it reveals a murderous criminal who has no respect for human life or his own faith. But some in the Muslim world, including Islamic groups in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Egypt, are questioning the tape's authenticity.

Some say it is a high-tech forgery. Others say Mr. bin Laden is claiming credit for attacks with which he may not have been involved.

President Bush says it is "preposterous" for anyone to think the tape was doctored.

"Well, for those who contend it's a farce or a fake are hoping for the best about an evil man. This is bin Laden unedited. This is bin Laden, the bin Laden who murdered people. This is the man who sent innocent people to their death. This is a man who is so devious, and so cold-hearted that he laughs about the suicide - so-called suicide bombers who lost their lives," he said.

Mr. Bush says he had mixed emotions about releasing the tape, because he did not want to cause more pain for those who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks.

"There's a lot of people who suffered as a result of his evil. And I was hesitant to allow there to be a vivid reminder of their loss and tragedy displayed on our TV's. On the other hand, I knew that the tape would be a devastating declaration of guilt for this evil person," he said.

U.S. allies Britain and Japan say the video vindicates actions against Mr. bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist group and the former Taleban government in Afghanistan that supported them. Russia said the video substantiates Mr. bin Laden's involvement in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.