Intelligence: December 5, 2002


: Was it Osama bin Ladin on the tape recently heard of al Jazeera? Consider:

@ Experts agree it is "probably" bin Ladin but cannot be 100% positive.

@ It is certainly not a compilation of various tapes made earlier (as it references recent attacks) but it could in theory be pieces of several old tapes with an actor reading a few lines about recent attacks.

@ As it is only audio, this raises the odds that bin Ladin is dead and the tape is partly or entirely phony, but more importantly, it raises the question of whether Osama bin Ladin has had his appearance altered by surgery (or a good barber) or whether he was maimed or disfigured by US bombing.--Stephen V Cole


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