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Officials downplay threat on purported al Qaeda tape

Los Angeles, Australia mentioned as possible targets

From David Ensor and Kevin Bohn
CNN Washington Bureau

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An official said the FBI does not know Adam Gadahn's whereabouts.

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Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
September 11 attacks

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. counterterrorism officials said Monday that they were skeptical that a purported al Qaeda tape that threatened California and Australia was a prelude to an attack.

On the tape, a masked man speaking in American-accented English says, "Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Allah willing."

One official said it "appears to be just a propaganda tool put out by al Qaeda to mark the 9/11 anniversary," which was Sunday.

The official said the tape "covers the usual well-worn jihadist propaganda themes."

A counterterrorism official said analysts are telling local officials, "Don't get too spun up about the threat to L.A.", noting that there has been "very little linkage over time" between al Qaeda tapes and attacks.

ABC News first obtained and broadcast the tape Sunday.

Officials said that the speaker in the tape "appears to be the same" person who called himself "Azzam the American" in a previous tape.

Authorities identified him as Adam Gadahn and said he was from the Los Angeles area.

The FBI has said Gadahn "is being sought in connection with possible terrorist threats against the United States."

It added, "Although the FBI has no information indicating this individual is connected to any specific terrorist activities, the FBI would like to locate and question this person."

U.S. officials have said Gadahn is believed to be in Pakistan.

FBI agents interviewed his family Sunday to try to determine whether he was the man on the tape, a government official said.

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