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Pentagon Releases Bin Laden Videotape
U.S. Officials say Tape Links Him to Sept. 11 Attacks

Read a transcript of the Osama bin Laden tape.

listen Listen to a report by NPR's Tom Gjelten about the tape.

listen Hear NPR's Kate Seelye report about Arab reaction.

Note: The videotape subtitles begin about 2 1/2 minutes into the tape. For continuity, NPR Online has reordered the three main sections of the tape into what the Pentagon says is the original chronological sequence.

video Watch the Osama bin Laden tape, re-ordered in original chronological sequence.

video Watch the Osama bin Laden tape, in the original sequence first released by the Pentagon.

Dec. 13, 2001 -- The Pentagon has released a videotape of Osama bin Laden, that it says provides additional evidence that the al Qaeda leader is responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Administration officials say the tape shows bin Laden had specific knowledge of when and where those attacks would occur before they took place.

Osama bin Laden tape

Osama bin Laden, at right, as seen on the videotape.
Photo: U.S. Defense Department

video Watch the video -- original Pentagon version.

video Watch the video -- scenes re-ordered.

The videotape -- discovered in a private home in Jalalabad, Afghanistan -- shows a relaxed bin Laden discussing the attacks in Arabic with another man who appears to be a cleric. On the tape, bin Laden says he was pleasantly surprised by the amount of destruction caused at the World Trade Center; he only expected the top portion of the twin towers to collapse.

According to a translated transcript issued by the Pentagon, bin Laden says the attacks on the World Trade Center did more damage than expected. "...we calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower," he says, according to the transcript. "We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. (...Inaudible...) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for."

Bin Laden also indicates on the tape that he knew of the attacks in advance. "We had notification since the previous Thursday that the event would take place that day," he says. "We had finished our work that day and had the radio on. It was 5:30 p.m. our time... Immediately, we heard the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We turned the radio station to the news from Washington. The news continued and no mention of the attack until the end. At the end of the newscast, they reported that a plane just hit the World Trade Center."


NPR News Coverage

NPR Online special coverage of the Sept. 11 aftermath.

search More radio coverage on Osama bin Laden's connection to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.


Other Resources

Osama bin Laden statement Hear a translation of an earlier Osama bin Laden statement. Oct. 7, 2001.

Read the British government's document outlining evidence to show Osama bin Laden's involvement with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Visit the Department of Defense Web site.

See the list of suspects at the FBI Web site.