White House officials say new al-Qaida videotapes broadcast by the Cable News Network confirm what they have suspected all along, that the terrorist group seeks chemical weapons and is willing to use them. They say the tapes provides further proof of the need to maintain the war on terrorism.
A White House national security spokesman says the videotapes are consistent with everything the Bush administration already knows about al-Qaida.
Mike Anton says the tapes highlight the methods and aspirations of the terrorist group. In his words, "they are evil people with evil designs."
Mr. Anton also told VOA the tapes offer further proof of the urgency of rooting out global terror.
That message was repeated in Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is spending a month-long vacation at his ranch. The president, according to his spokesman, was fully briefed on the tapes, at least those portions that have already been broadcast.
White House officials indicate they are getting their first look at the videos as they are aired over the course of the week by CNN. The Cable News Network has offered to provide all the videos to the administration for further study in the days to come.
They appear to be Al-Qaida training tapes. One segment that has already aired on CNN shows poison gas experiments on dogs. Others deal with ambush techniques and bomb-making
CNN began airing the tapes Sunday night. They were brought out of Afghanistan by a network reporter who was led by sources to a collection of about 250 videos. He was able to leave with 64 of the tapes, which were checked by experts for authenticity before they were broadcast.
Most of the videos appear to have been made before September 11, although a few show television coverage of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Experts on terrorism who have seen excerpts of the tapes say they do not appear to have been made by al-Qaida for propaganda and recruiting purposes. They say they are "how-to" tapes not meant for public consumption.