Skip to main content
CNN.com International
>

BREAKING NEWS

Death toll from the South Korean ferry disaster now stands at 49, and 253 are still missing, says coast guard.
Click here to skip to main content.
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ON TV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WORLD

Drone may have spotted bin Laden in 2000

CIA to investigate leak of tape to media

From David Ensor
CNN

story.nbc.drone.video.laden.jpg
The video shows a tall man wearing a white robe.

Story Tools

more videoVIDEO
Bin Laden in 2000?
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Osama bin Laden
Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. officials say CIA surveillance aircraft video that they think shows Osama bin Laden in 2000 was "highly classified," and that the CIA will investigate who leaked it to the media.

The CIA often investigates when unauthorized material is leaked to the media, U.S. officials said.

No decision has been made on whether the matter would be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice.

NBC News aired the footage Tuesday. CNN has broadcast it as well.

The video, taken from an unarmed and unmanned surveillance aircraft over Tarnak Farm in Afghanistan in the fall of 2000, shows a tall man dressed in a white robe.

A senior intelligence official said the tape is genuine and that analysts think the figure in white is bin Laden.

The sprawling agricultural complex was a meeting place for senior al Qaeda leaders, and a training camp for scores of al Qaeda operatives.

Pentagon and CIA officials have copies of the videotape.

The possibility that the figure in the tape might have been bin Laden helped speed the decision to arm the Predator drone aircraft with "Hellfire" missiles, which can be fired by remote control, officials said.

With the technology available in 2000, it would have taken three to seven hours to strike the Tarnak Farm site with cruise missiles or bombs, U.S officials said.

In 1998, President Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on suspected terrorist training camps in eastern in Afghanistan where intelligence suggested bin Laden might be. In the time it took for the cruise missiles to reach their target, officials say bin Laden moved to another location. That attack killed at least 21 Pakistanis, but missed bin Laden.

In November 2002, the CIA used an armed Predator to execute a senior al Qaeda official who was riding in a car in Yemen.

Steve Coll, in his recently published book "Ghost Wars," says that the Clinton administration at one time planned to seize bin Laden at Tarnak Farm but never carried out the mission, in part over concerns about killing innocent women and children, as well as legal disagreements within the administration.


Story Tools
Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure
 
 
 
 

CNN US
On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.