CIA: 'It's bin Laden'

Alive and kickin’.

The CIA has authenticated the voice on the tape as that of bin Laden, an agency official said.

The tape’s release came days after a U.S. airstrike in Pakistan that was targeting bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, and reportedly killed four leading al-Qaida figures, including possibly al-Zawahri’s son-in-law. There was no mention of the attack on the segments that were broadcast.

It was the first tape from the al-Qaida leader in more than a year — the longest period without a message since the Sept. 11 2001 suicide hijackings in the United States.

The al-Qaida leader is believed to be hiding in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al-Jazeera said the tape was recorded in the Islamic month that corresponds with December.

Bin Laden refers to an alleged comment by President Bush about bombing the Qatar headquarters of Al-Jazeera, which was first reported in the British press on Nov. 22.

He also refers indirectly to the July 7 bombings in London that killed 56 people and to poll numbers that showed a fall in Bush’s popularity, as occurred in late 2005.

U.S. counterterror officials said Thursday they have seen no specific or credible intelligence to indicate an upcoming al-Qaida attack on the country.

At least none that they’d like to share with the Associated Press, that is.

Hey, I have an idea – let’s post US troops outside the Pakistani bureau office of Al-Jazeera. Let’s find out who is delivering these audio and video tapes.

Or maybe the CIA already knows who the person is?

Whatever. I just think it’s crazy that we haven’t killed bin Laden yet, although I concede that there are groups who want to protect him and see his will through. How else can one explain the fact that a reward for millions of dollars has been on bin Laden’s head ever since the 9/11 attacks, yet no one has publicly reported even a sighting of the man?

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