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[] NYT 11.12.01: Reaction Tape of bin Laden May Be Public This Week,
December 11, 2001
Reaction Tape of bin Laden May Be Public This Week


WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 =97 President Bush said today that a videotape showing=
 Osama bin Laden reveling in the Sept. 11 attacks proved that the Al Qaeda=
 leader was "guilty of incredible murder" and that he "has no conscience and=
 no soul."

But the White House did not make the videotape public, even after=
 administration officials suggested earlier in the day that the president=
 was leaning toward its release. Officials said the tape could be made=
 public later in the week, after what they described as a thorough security=
 review by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency.

A senior administration official also said the White House was=
 double-checking its translation of the tape from Arabic. "We're comfortable=
 with the translation that we have," the official said. "But it's wise to=
 double-check so that nobody says it's a misinterpretation."

If the White House had released the 40-minute tape today, it could have been=
 broadcast throughout the evening and well into Tuesday, the three-month=
 anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The anniversary is to be marked by=
 events at the White House, the Pentagon and the World Trade Center site.=
 Mr. Bush is also to make what the White House is calling a major speech on=
 Tuesday at the Citadel, the military college in Charleston, S.C., about the=
 future of the nation's defense.

Mr. Bush made his remarks about the videotape at a White House=
 candle-lighting ceremony this evening to celebrate the Jewish holiday of=

Asked by a reporter about his opinion of the videotape, the president=
 replied, "It just reminded me of what a murderer he is and how right and=
 just our cause is. I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden=
 understanding the joy of Hanukkah, or the joy of Christmas, or celebrating=
 peace and hope."

Mr. Bush added, "He's so evil that he's willing to send young men to commit=
 suicide while he hides in caves."

Administration officials who have read the transcript of the videotape say=
 that Mr. bin Laden seems amused that many of the hijackers in the attacks=
 apparently had no idea that they were on suicide missions. Mr. bin Laden,=
 they say, suggests that the men thought they were involved in a=
 conventional hijacking. "There's a lot of laughter on the tape," an=
 administration official said on Sunday.

Federal investigators have in fact theorized that there were one or two=
 leaders on each plane who understood the mission but that there were=
 several recruited assistants who did not.

The tape, which was discovered by American military forces or C.I.A.=
 personnel in a house in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, also shows Mr. bin Laden=
 recounting how he listened to radio news reports of the first plane=
 crashing into the World Trade Center and then told others around him "there=
 will be more." At another point, Mr. bin Laden expressed surprise that both=
 World Trade Center towers fell to the ground, saying he expected only the=
 top floors to collapse.

Mr. bin Laden then praised Allah for an attack that was more successful than=
 he had expected, administration officials said.

The White House began showing the videotape today to some officials on=
 Capitol Hill, including Senator Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the ranking=
 Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Mr. Shelby, who=
 saw the videotape with an interpreter, said today that Mr. bin Laden was=
 "gloating" and "boasting" about the attacks.

Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, said today that "there are,=
 in the president's opinion, many good reasons why the tape should be made=
 public." Those reasons, Mr. Fleischer said, "include the president's desire=
 to be forthright, to share information publicly with the country, so people=
 can see things in their own eyes and form their own conclusions."

But Mr. Fleischer also said that "there are just issues involving protecting=
 people who were there, who have knowledge about how it was obtained."

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