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CIA officials: Voice on tape likely bin Laden's

Al-Jazeera aired a video in which it said Osama bin Laden appeared with his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Al-Jazeera aired a video in which it said Osama bin Laden appeared with his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

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September 11 attacks
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Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- CIA officials said Friday that the voice on an al Qaeda audiotape released this week by the Qatar-based TV network al-Jazeera is likely that of Osama bin Laden.

The voice is "probably but not definitely bin Laden," one CIA official said.

Officials previously had said that the other speaker on the tape was Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's top deputy. He is the al Qaeda leader's closest adviser as well as his doctor.

If the tape is authentic, it is impossible to know when bin Laden made the recording, officials said. They noted that his words contained no references to events in the last two years.

However, al-Zawahiri referred to fighters in Iraq. He warned that the battle with the United States was far from over and exhorted fighters to "bury them [Americans] in the graveyards of Iraq."

The tape aired Wednesday on al-Jazeera on the eve of the September 11 attacks. The broadcast also included video of the two al Qaeda leaders walking in a mountainous area. Al-Jazeera said the videotape likely was produced in April or May. (Full story)

Previous tapes followed by attacks

But U.S. intelligence officials said that nothing suggested the videotape was made this spring.

Intelligence officials have noted that previous bin Laden/al Qaeda tapes have been followed by attacks on Western interests.

U.S. officials said that the "chatter" level among suspected terrorists is up but there is no specific or credible intelligence about a particular target.

The U.S. State Department issued a "worldwide caution" this week warning that al Qaeda may be planning to strike American interest overseas. (Full story)

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