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U.S. probes pair of al Qaeda videotapes

Bin Laden, self-described 'American jihadist' issue threats

Osama bin Laden delivers a videotaped message broadcast on Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera.
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Two videos threatening the United States are being analyzed.

Osama bin Laden times message with U.S. election.
September 11 attacks
Osama Bin Laden

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (CNN) -- Two videotapes threatening to unleash more terror attacks against the United States are being analyzed by U.S. intelligence officials hoping to find clues that could lead them to each speaker.

Video clips of a man claiming to be an American operative of al Qaeda were posted on the FBI's Web site, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Saturday.

The posting said the agency is "urgently" seeking information on the person's identity and that he may be living outside the United States.

ABC News broadcast the video Thursday. The FBI describes the man as a self-proclaimed American jihadist using the alias Azzam the American, or Azzam al-Amriki.

On the tape, the man threatened terror attacks "at any moment," delivering the message in English. His face was covered with a headdress and he held a rifle.

"We hope you might recognize him from his voice, his body language, or the style and content of his speech," the FBI posting said.

The second tape -- of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden -- was broadcast Friday by the Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera, based in Qatar. The tape was received by the U.S. Embassy in Qatar before it was made public.

It was the first videotaped message from the al Qaeda leader in nearly three years. (CNN's Octavia Nasr discusses the tape). U.S. government officials said the tape appeared to be authentic and recently made.

Political response

President Bush instructed top homeland and national security advisers Saturday to "take all actions that might be necessary" to respond to the new message from bin Laden, the White House said.

Ridge, speaking to reporters, said it is safe to vote Tuesday. He said there was no actionable intelligence in the tapes to warrant raising the threat level, now at the midpoint, or yellow, for most of the nation.

"The tapes are new, the threat is not," Ridge said. "We are far safer today than ever before.

"It is not news that we are the primary target of [bin Laden's] hatred and his evil," he said.

Americans may see additional security in place, but Ridge said such measures had been planned previously, in light of the elections.

Both Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry swiftly denounced the bin Laden videotape. They both rejected any prospect of negotiating with terrorists or changing policy in response to bin Laden.

Bin Laden video

In the al Qaeda leader's video, bin Laden wore a gold robe and white cloak and said the attacks were the result of U.S. foreign policy in Arab lands, referring specifically to Lebanon and the Palestinians, and later mentions both Bush and Kerry.

"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda," bin Laden said in the video. "Your security is in your own hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked."

Bin Laden said he decided to attack the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1982 after the invasion of Lebanon by Israel, which he claimed was backed by the U.S. Navy.

"And as I was looking at those towers that were destroyed in Lebanon, it occurred to me that we have to punish the transgressor with the same," he said, "and that we had to destroy the towers in America, so that they taste what we tasted and they stop killing our women and children."

The government has concluded with a "high degree of confidence" that the videotaped message from bin Laden is authentic, according to a government bulletin obtained by CNN. The document was sent to homeland security advisers and law enforcement agencies Friday.

John Brennan, director of the interagency Terrorist Threat Integration Center, appearing with Ridge, noted that there have been a number of broadcasts from al Qaeda that have not been followed by attacks. He said officials are analyzing the tapes in search of commonalities.

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