Message from Osama bin Laden

“We have insufficient ‘proof of life’ in all messages attributed to Osama bin Laden over the last two years, despite the verbal references to contemporaneous events. In fact, we have more forensic evidence to the contrary, even if it is merely circumstantial.” –Douglas J. Hagmann, Director, referring to the latest statement allegedly from Osama bin Laden.

By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director

14 January 2008: The Northeast Intelligence Network obtained the complete audio message purportedly from Osama bin Laden that was released on Arabic language web sites earlier today pertaining to the conflict in Gaza. An independent intelligence operative, well known in U.S. intelligence circles as “Archangel” secured the encrypted files containing the audio message, which was presented as an audio file with a still image of bin Laden as a visual overlay. Consistent with previous al Qaeda messages, this message was produced by as Sahab, which is considered the media arm of the Islamic terror group al Qaeda.

The audio is 22 minutes in length and is titled “A Call for Jihad to Stop the Aggression Against Gaza”. The message is one of solidarity with the Muslim Palestinians, and unsurprisingly, calls for solidarity to victory or martyrdom.

Investigative Analysis

Although intelligence officials are reporting the voice on the current message to be that of Osama bin Laden, investigators of the Northeast Intelligence Network continue to question the status of Osama bin Laden. Since September 11, 2001, there have been more than 60 messages purportedly from either Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second-in-command. Extensive analysis of each message has been conducted by investigators of the Northeast Intelligence Network over the last 5 years, with findings, at times, at odds with the official claims of authentication in some instances.

From an intelligence perspective, we have not seen sufficient proof of life for quite some time. Messages over the last few years purported to be from Osama bin Laden have been audio only, with dated still images of the elusive terrorist kingpin appearing as visual overlays. The last known “authentic” videos of bin Laden are also suspect for various reasons, including but not limited to physical features and movements that are inconsistent with his known physical characteristics and attributes.

As the director of the Northeast Intelligence Network speaking on behalf of the majority of researchers and investigators who make up our network, I would advise people to question the validity of these messages, despite official intelligence or political reports of authentication or verification. We have insufficient “proof of life” in all messages attributed to Osama bin Laden over the last two years, despite the verbal references to contemporaneous events. In fact, we have more forensic evidence to the contrary, even if it is merely circumstantial.

Additional analysis will be forthcoming.