CIA: Bomber tape 'appears genuine'
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The latest al Qaeda videotape, aired on the Arabic channel Al-Jazeera on Thursday, appears genuine in that the two speakers are who they claim to be, CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said Friday.
The tape includes statements by the terror group's No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and by a man Al-Jazeera called one of the July 7 London suicide bombers, Mohammed Sidique Khan.
Intelligence officials said that while the tape suggests there is some type of connection between al Qaeda and those who carried out the London bombings, it is not "definitive" proof that the leadership of the terror organization planned the attacks.
The homemade bombs, made with peroxide-based chemicals and detonated with cell phones, killed 52 commuters and the four bombers.
Earlier, a spokesman for Scotland Yard told CNN it is also examining the videotape.
"We're looking at the tape, and it will form part of our investigation," said a spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police, which is leading the investigation into the July 7 bombings.
The spokesman conceded the video looked like Khan, and nothing yet made police think it was not him, but additional steps needed to be taken to confirm the tape's authenticity.
Scotland Yard, which received the tape only Thursday night, is hoping to compare the tape to existing recordings of Khan's voice, such as in voice mail messages, and seeking out witnesses who knew Khan who can assess whether it sounds like him.
On its broadcast, the Al-Jazeera anchor did not say how the Arabic-language network received the videotape.
"On the video, Mohammed Sidique, one the men responsible for the bombings, gives his testimony and explains the reasons behind his action and blames Western citizens and holds them responsible for the bombings in London, Madrid and 9/11, because they elect governments that commit crimes against humanity," the anchor said.
The video shows a man who looks similar to the man in surveillance photographs who was identified as Khan by authorities after the bombings.
The bearded man, who is seated and appears to be in his late 20s or 30s, addresses the camera in English, without notes:
"I'm going to keep this short, because it's all been said before," he says. "And our words have no impact upon you. Therefore, I am going to talk in a language that you understand. Our words are dead until we give them life with our blood."
London Police Commissioner Ian Blair has said from the beginning of the probe that the coordinated, nearly simultaneous, backpack suicide bombings on three underground trains and a bus bore the hallmarks of an al Qaeda attack.
Investigators have previously told CNN they had not found direct links between the bombs or terrorists involved in the July 7 attacks and the failed attempt to copy them on July 21.
Scotland Yard is studying the editing of the tape, especially how portions featuring Khan and al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri are spliced together.
Earlier, U.S. officials said the CIA would conduct a technical and textual analysis of the tape.
One U.S. official said it is "not insignificant" that the tape includes both al-Zawahiri and apparently one of the London bombers, but the official cautioned against assuming it shows that al Qaeda was behind the London attacks.
"It may be effective propaganda, but it is not proof they planned and directed the attacks," the official said, adding that the London attacks were "clearly inspired by al Qaeda ideology, but that is a different thing."
On the videotape, the man says: "I'm sure by now the media has painted a suitable picture of me. Its predictable propaganda machine, naturally, will try to put a spin on things to suit the government and to scare the masses and to conform to their power and wealth-obsessed agendas.
"I and thousands like me have forsaken everything for what we believe. Our driving motivation doesn't come from tangible commodities that this world has to offer. Our religion is Islam, obedience to the one true god, Allah, and follow in the footsteps of the final prophet and messenger, Mohammed."
The man then launched into what might be interpreted as a defense of the attacks:
"Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world and your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.
"Until we feel secure, you will be our targets, and until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people, we will not stop this fight. We are at war, and I am a soldier. Now, you too will taste the reality of this situation."
The man then listed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, its No. 2 man Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, as "today's heroes" and told viewers it was up to them to accept his work as he prepares to "enter the gardens of paradise."
The Al-Jazeera anchor said the comments were part of a "much longer tape."
Comments from al-Zawahiri followed, in which he claims direct responsibility for the London bombings.
"I talk to you today about the holy attack on London, which came as a slap in the face of the arrogant British crusaders," he said, in Arabic.
"Now you can taste a sip from the glass Muslims have drunk from for centuries. This attack adds to the attacks before in Washington, New York and Madrid. We have moved the battle to the land of the enemy after they battled us in our land for so long.
"After centuries of invading our land and occupying it ... this is for you to taste some of what you have made us taste before."
He added, "Didn't the lion of Islam the Mujahid, the sheikh Osama bin Laden, offer you a truce?... Look what your arrogance has produced."
"We have warned you over and over again. We repeat the warning. ... We will erupt volcanoes of hatred in their countries."
Following those comments, a highly produced montage of video showed scenes from the London attacks and those in other parts of the world, including Chechnya and Iraq.
The tape carries the logo of the Al-Sahab Production Company, which produced videotapes made by the 9/11 bombers.
CNN National Security Correspondent David Ensor and Senior Producer Phil Hirschkorn contributed to this report
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