Audio problems delay release of bin Laden tape
(CNN) -- Audio and translation difficulties have delayed the release of a video tape purportedly showing Osama bin Laden bragging about the September 11 attacks, Bush administration officials said Wednesday.
Four nongovernmental translators worked on the tape Wednesday to try to provide a "thorough" and "accurate" translation despite the tape's poor audio quality and instances of more than one person speaking at once, officials said.
U.S. officials said bin Laden's actions in the tape make it clear he had advance knowledge of the planning and details of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. (Full story)
U.S. officials said Wednesday they have "recent reason to believe" that bin Laden is still in Afghanistan, and that they view with skepticism a report he has left the country.
The officials were responding to a Christian Science Monitor report that bin Laden may have escaped from his mountain hideaway in Tora Bora to Pakistan 10 days ago.
Officials at the State Department, White House and other U.S. agencies said they have no information to indicate that bin Laden crossed the border into Pakistan. One official said that belief is "not based on old information."
Two State Department officials said the latest information they have indicates bin Laden remains in Afghanistan. However, the officials conceded they do not know precisely where bin Laden is hiding.
"I don't know anybody who knows exactly where he is," one official said.
A hearing has been scheduled for Thursday afternoon for Zacarias Moussaoui, the first person charged in direct connection with the September 11 attacks, officials said.
The United States will reopen its embassy in Kabul this weekend and could re-establish diplomatic relations with Afghanistan's new government "relatively quickly," U.S. officials said Wednesday.
All four crew members of a U.S. B-1 bomber were in "good health" Wednesday after sailors from the destroyer USS Russell rescued them 30 miles north of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean near where their plane crashed earlier in the day, U.S. defense officials said. Pentagon officials said there was no indication of hostile fire in connection with the crash.
President Bush on Wednesday signed a relief act that authorizes education and health care assistance for Afghan women and children affected by the U.S.-led military campaign. (Full story)
The Arabic-language television network Al-Jazeera interviewed bin Laden in October but never aired it after the al Qaeda leader appeared to cow a correspondent, sources at the network said. Al-Jazeera officials publicly have denied knowing that such an interview took place, but sources said the network decided not to air the tape after reviewing it. The interview is not the same videotape the Bush administration plans to release. (Full story)
The FBI has warned Texas of a "vague" and "unsubstantiated" threat issued against the state's public schools, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday. The threats came "in response to the bombings that are going on in Afghanistan," said Perry.
A federal grand jury Wednesday indicted Samir Mohamed, an Algerian national being held in Canada, for his role in a plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport during millennium celebrations. Mohamed is accused of assisting Ahmed Ressam, convicted in April of multiple counts related to terrorism. Ressam has admitted he trained for his 1999 bomb mission at a camp in Afghanistan run by bin Laden.
U.S. and Canadian officials pledged Wednesday to use new technology to secure the vast border between the two countries. U.S. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge led a delegation to the Canadian capital to finalize details on the Smart Border Declaration, which was signed Wednesday. Officials are looking at using biometric identifiers in travel documents to make it easier to track travelers who have been cleared through a screening process. Biometrics help identify a person based on a physiological or behavioral characteristic. (Full story)
In the wake of the recent anthrax attacks, federal officials Tuesday began an inspection program of university facilities across the United States that conduct research on viruses and bacteria with the potential to be used in bioterror, a university official said. (Full story)
In a letter to his parents, John Walker, the American who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan, apologized for not contacting them sooner and said he was "in safe hands." (Full story)
Sources familiar with U.S. officials' questioning of Walker said the young American warned that another al Qaeda attack on the United States will happen in days. But a senior Bush administration official said it is doubtful that Walker knows much about al Qaeda's plans. (Full story)
Interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai gave CNN a tour of Taliban supreme spiritual leader Mullah Mohammed Omar's compound in Kandahar. The compound, which U.S. warplanes bombed, features a marble and pastel-painted mosque, chandeliers, mirrored walls and plush carpets. (Full story)
The death toll from the September 11 terror attacks continued to edge downward Tuesday, when New York officials gave the latest total as 3,040. That number is the sum of 569 people who are missing, 495 who are confirmed dead and 1,976 for whom death certificates have been issued, the Office of Emergency Management said. It was initially estimated that as many as 6,500 were killed when two hijacked jetliners crashed into the twin towers 17 minutes apart. The toll has been steadily shrinking since then for a variety of reasons, including duplicate reports and confusion in the hours and days immediately following the attack.
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