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Wallace: Officials debate release of bin Laden tape

Kelly Wallace
Kelly Wallace  

(CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday that a videotape of Osama bin Laden obtained by the United States is "one more piece of evidence confirming the man's responsibility" for the September 11 attacks. Whether that evidence will be shared with the public remains undecided. CNN's Kelly Wallace filed this report from Washington.

KELLY WALLACE: It is a big question facing President Bush and his top advisers: whether to release that videotape that could provide the most direct evidence linking Osama bin Laden to the September 11th attacks.

President Bush arrived back at the White House earlier this afternoon along with the first lady, after spending some time at the presidential retreat at Camp David. Mr. Bush did not answer any questions from reporters about the tape, its contents, or whether he would release it. But the vice president did say earlier on this day that the tape should leave no doubt that Osama bin Laden was behind the September 11th attacks.

And on this tape, according to the vice president, bin Laden is seen meeting with, or being interviewed by, a cleric discussing the terrorist attacks.

U.S. officials say ... bin Laden is boasting and bragging about the terrorist attack. Other U.S. officials telling the Washington Post that bin Laden is also expressing surprise at the total collapse of the World Trade Center -- more damage than bin Laden had expected. ...

U.S. officials apparently obtained this tape during a search of a private home in Jalalabad, and so the big question is: Why would the U.S. decide not to release it?

U.S. officials say one reason they have been reluctant to release such information in the past is that making such details public could compromise their ability to obtain future intelligence information.

On the other side though, one reason to release it: It could put to rest any doubts that might exist in the Muslim world (among) people who still might have some doubts about Osama bin Laden's role in the attacks.


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