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Alleged bin Laden tape: Moussaoui not part of 9/11

Voice on tape says two Guantanamo detainees knew of plot
The purported Osama bin Laden tape accuses the U.S. of "oppression, injustice and arbitrariness."



Osama Bin Laden

(CNN) -- A Web site message purportedly from Osama bin Laden says admitted al Qaeda follower Zacarias Moussaoui had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11, 2001.

"I am certain of what I say, because I was responsible for entrusting the 19 brothers -- Allah have mercy upon them -- with those raids, and I did not assign brother Zacarias to be with them on that mission," the taped statement says.

"And his confession that he was assigned to participate in those raids is a false confession, which no intelligent person doubts is a result of the pressure put upon him for the past four and a half years."

If the tape is confirmed as authentic, it would be the first time that bin Laden has claimed to have personally assigned the jobs for 9/11. (Watch what's on the tape about 9/11 terrorists -- 2:13)

The audio message, addressed to the American people in Arabic with English subtitles, was posted on a Web site that typically carries such messages.

Earlier this month, a federal jury sentenced Moussaoui to life in prison without parole for his connection to the attacks. Although he was not charged with direct involvement in the plot, prosecutors had sought the death penalty.

Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent, pleaded guilty more than a year ago to six counts of terrorism conspiracy related to the attacks.

He was caught two weeks before September 11 when he aroused the suspicions of a flight instructor in Minnesota from whom he was taking flying lessons.

Although he had previously said he had no knowledge of the attacks, Moussaoui testified during his sentencing trial that he was to have piloted a fifth plane.

He said Richard Reid, who tried to blow up an airplane in December 2001 with explosives hidden in his shoes, would have been part of his crew.

Prosecutors at the trial agreed to a defense stipulation that al Qaeda leaders never assigned Moussaoui and Reid to work together on any terrorist operation.

"If Moussaoui was studying aviation to become a pilot of one of the planes, then let him tell us the names of those assigned to help him control the plane," the purported bin Laden tape says.

"But he won't be able to tell us their names for a simple reason: that in fact they don't exist."

CNN is unable to independently verify that the voice on the tape is bin Laden's; a U.S. intelligence official told CNN the recording is being checked to verify its authenticity. (Watch how analysts gather clues from images and audio -- 5:02)

A U.S. counterterrorism official told CNN that "there is no reason to doubt that it is him." The official characterized the tape as "a propaganda tape" and "an effort to be relevant, to show he's knowledgeable about recent events."

The tape also mentions prisoners held at the U.S. Navy detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying "all the prisoners to date have no connection with the events of September 11 and knew nothing about them, with the exception of two of the brothers, may Allah free them all."

The tape does not name the two "brothers" who supposedly knew about the attacks.

The tape further says that the Bush administration is aware that none of the Guantanamo prisoners have any connection to the attacks, "but they avoid mentioning it" to justify the Defense Department's budget.

About 500 detainees from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are being held at the facility.

Unlike two previous tapes from bin Laden, this one does not threaten any new attacks. Instead, it offers a way "to safety and security."

"My mentioning of these facts isn't out of hope that Bush and his party will treat our brothers fairly in their cases, because that is something no rational person expects," it says.

"But rather it is meant to expose the oppression, injustice and arbitrariness of your administration in using force and the reactions that result from that."

"This is from one perspective, and from another perspective, perhaps there will one day come from the Americans someone who desires justice and fairness, and that is the path to security and safety, if you are interested in it," the tape says.

Last month, the complete version of what had been bin Laden's most recent audio message appeared on Islamist Web sites, four days after excerpts were broadcast on the Arabic-language TV channel Al-Jazeera.

In that message, al Qaeda's leader focused much of his almost 52-minute message on what he continually referred to as "a Zionist-crusader war on Islam," which he said was shown most explicitly by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that were published by a Danish newspaper in late 2005 and later reprinted around the world.

In that message, bin Laden also attacked the Western public for its support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, blasted Western governments for cutting off aid to Hamas and called for jihad in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

CNN's David Ensor contributed to this report.

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