As expected, the White House responded to the messages on the reported audio tape by Osama bin Laden by saying the United States does not negotiate with terrorists.
“Clearly the al Qaeda leaders and other terrorists are on the run, they’re under a lot of pressure. We do not negotiate with terrorists, we put them out of business,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.
“The terrorists started this war and the president made it clear that we will end it at a time and place of our choosing. We continue to pursue all those who seek to do harm to the American people,” he said.
Arab television station al Jazeera earlier on Thursday aired the audio tape attributed to bin Laden. In the tape, the first purported tape by him since 2004, bin Laden warned al Qaeda was preparing new attacks inside the United States.
McClellan said President George W. Bush was informed about the tape after he returned from making remarks to business leaders in the Washington suburb of Sterling, Va.
McClellan said the U.S. intelligence community is analyzing the tape to see if it is authentic and whether it contains any useful intelligence.
One thing is for sure. This White House is consistent. Here’s what Bush said on November 26, 2001:
“I said a long time ago, one of our objectives is to smoke them out and get them running and bring them to justice,” Bush said.
“We’re smoking them out. They’re running. And now we’re going to bring them to justice. I also said we’ll use whatever means necessary to achieve that objective — and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
It was true then and it’s true now. We are making progress in the war on terror. It’s important now to not let up. There’s still a lot of ‘smokin’ left to do.