White House calls bin Laden tape 'propaganda'
By Major Garrett
CRAWFORD, Texas (CNN) -- The White House dismissed Osama bin Laden's latest pre-taped diatribe against America's war on terrorism and its alliance with Israel.
"This is nothing more than the same kind of terrorist propaganda that we've heard before," said Scott McClellan, deputy White House press secretary.
The White House was considering using former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Chris Ross to respond to the full bin Laden tape.
Ross speaks perfect Arabic and is widely regarded in the Arabic-speaking world as a credible foil to bin Laden's message.
Ross responded to the previous bin Laden tape on the Al-Jazeera television network, which is to air the latest bin Laden tape in its entirety Thursday.
McClellan also said President Bush is "monitoring very closely" troop movements along the India and Pakistan border and receiving regular updates on the mounting tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
"He is being kept informed by top advisers on an on-going and regular basis," McClellan said. The White House has intensified diplomatic and financial efforts to target two terrorist groups it said operate in Pakistan and menace India.
The two nations continue to feud over the disputed region of Kashmir, where both nations have moved troops in recent days and where skirmishes have become more common.
The White House has exerted considerable behind-the-scenes pressure on both nations to exercise calm and prevent an outbreak of war, something top administration officials regard as potentially destabilizing to the global coalition against terrorism.
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