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U.S. rejects bin Laden tape's 'truce' offer

CIA: Voice warning Americans believed to be al Qaeda leader's

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Bin Laden tape: "The war against America and its allies will not be confined to Iraq."

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(CNN) -- A CIA official believes an audiotaped message threatening the United States is from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who warns that plans for terror attacks are under way -- and also offers a "long-term truce."

"The war against America and its allies will not be confined to Iraq," the voice on the tape said, adding that "Iraq has become a magnet for attracting and training talented fighters."

"It's only a matter of time," the voice said, referring to attacks. "They are in the planning stages, and you will see them in the heart of your land as soon as the planning is complete." (Watch report on purported bin Laden tape -- 3:26)

Top U.S. officials responded by saying the United States would not be swayed in its fight against terrorists.

"Clearly the al Qaeda leaders and other terrorists are on the run. They're under a lot of pressure," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "We do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business."

J.D. Crouch, Bush's deputy national security adviser, said the message is a "very strong reminder" that al Qaeda is continuing to plot against the United States, and demonstrates "why we're very much on the hunt against al Qaeda senior leadership to keep them off-balance."

"Our job is to try to put terrorists out of business, try to keep them from hurting Americans and hurting our friends and allies around the world," Crouch told CNN.

U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI plan to send out a bulletin to state and local law enforcement urging vigilance in the wake of the new tape.

Officials said the bulletin does not contain any specifics about potential targets or request that any particular security measures be taken. Rather, they said it was a general reminder to be on alert.

CIA intelligence officials who analyzed the recording, which was aired Thursday on Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera, said they believe the voice on the poor-quality audiotape is that of bin Laden.

CNN's senior editor for Arab affairs, Octavia Nasr, also said it sounded like the al Qaeda leader, and added that its tone sounded calm and composed, not like a man who is desperate or sick.

Bin Laden also offered a possible "solution" -- only to dismiss it because he said the Bush administration would never go for it.

"In response to the substance of the polls in the U.S., which indicate that Americans do not want to fight Muslims on Muslim land, nor do they want Muslims to fight them on their land, we do not mind offering a long-term truce based on just conditions that we will stick to.

"We are a nation that God banned from lying and stabbing others in the back. Hence, both parties of the truce will enjoy stability and security to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, which were destroyed by war.

"There is no problem in this solution, but it will prevent hundreds of billions from going to influential people and warlords in America -- those who supported Bush's electoral campaign. And from this, we can understand Bush and his gang's insistence on continuing the war," bin Laden said.

The tape said, "Our mujahedeen were able to overcome all the security measures in European countries, and you saw their operation in major European capitals" -- apparent references to July's transit bombings in London and the 2004 train attacks in Madrid, Spain.

No 'chatter' increase

FBI, counterterrorism and intelligence officials say there's been no increase in "chatter," or monitored communications, and no intelligence suggests any terrorist plan is operational or ready to be put in place in the United States.

No plans exist to raise the nation's threat level from "yellow" -- or elevated -- to "orange" -- or high, said Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke.

Knocke said the threat level has never been raised in reaction to an al Qaeda tape. The threat level has been raised seven times since the color warning system was created after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

It's not known exactly when the tape was recorded, but U.S. counterterrorism officials believe it may have been made sometime in December.

The reference to attacks in European cities would indicate it was recorded after the July bombings in London. The morning rush-hour attacks on three subways and a double-decker bus by four suicide bombers killed at least 52 people.

Another clue includes a reference to a secret British government memo, first reported in a British newspaper, The Mirror, on November 22.

"Recently, documents appeared that the freedom butcher of the world was planning to bomb the headquarters of the satellite television Al-Jazeera in Qatar," bin Laden said, according to a transcript on Al-Jazeera's Web site.

In the memo, President Bush allegedly discussed such a plan, which the White House dismissed as "outlandish." (Full story)

Broadcast portions of the tape did not, however, mention the CIA strike on a home in Damadola, Pakistan, last Friday. The CIA had targeted senior al Qaeda members who were expected to attend a dinner, and it is not clear if any were among the 18 people who were killed.

If the CIA voice analysis proves correct, it would be the first message from bin Laden since he released two audiotaped messages in December 2004.

The last videotaped message from bin Laden was seen just before the U.S. presidential election in 2004.

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