FBI analysis of Usama Bin Laden's recent tape
Office of Intelligence and Analysis
Homeland Security Assessment
Federal Bureau of Investigation
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(U) Perspectives on Bin Ladin Statement
19 January 2006
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(U) Executive Summary
(U//FOUO) DHS and the FBI are releasing this Assessment to provide perspectiveson the recent audio statement that is attributed to al-Qa‘ida (AQ) leader Usama Bin Ladin (UBL). While we do not believe this statement is an indicator of a near-term attack in the Homeland, we urge readers to maintain vigilance and security awareness as AQ remains the most serious terrorist threat to the United States and U.S. interests worldwide. The Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) alert level will remain ELEVATED (Yellow) at this time.
(U//FOUO) Multiple open-source reports indicate al-Jazeera broadcast various excerpts earlier today from an audio statement that is attributed to Usama Bin Laden (UBL). At this time, DHS and the FBI believe the statement was most likely recorded in the past two months, given a reference to an alleged U.S. government plan to attack al-Jazeera which first appeared in the open press in late November 2005. While the Intelligence Community continues to analyze the statement, an initial review of the excerpts includes:
- (U//FOUO) Offer of a “compromise” to the U.S. leadership as a way to end the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he proposes is based on the withdrawal of U.S. and allied partner forces from those countries.
- (U//FOUO) Insistence that despite this “compromise”, the U.S. leadership has ignored this offer despite the U.S. public’s desire for a withdrawal of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- (U//FOUO) Claim that AQ has delayed carrying out attacks in the United States -- but not because of heightened security measures -- and that operations are “under preparation” and could potentially occur in the future.
- (U//FOUO) Emphasis that AQ is patient and will ultimately win the larger conflict with the United States even if it loses a few battles in the interim.
- (U//FOUO) The UBL statement is the first such message since December 2004, in which he then recognized Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as the leader of AQ in Iraq. Previously, UBL issued a number of public statements, most of which contained similar criticisms of U.S. policy on Iraq, Afghanistan, and other issues. We note that UBL’s last overt reference regarding possible attacks in the United States was contained in an October 2003 audio statement.
- (U//FOUO) We lack corroborating information indicating that AQ is prepared to execute attacks inside the United States in the near-term, although intelligence indicates that AQ leadership has the intent to conduct another dramatic attack in the United States.
- (U//FOUO) In reviewing public statements from UBL and other senior AQ leaders, we are unable to correlate the release of such messages as “cues” or “triggers” for terrorist attacks. We have no information to suggest the release of today’s message is designed to authorize a terrorist attack in the Homeland or against U.S. interests abroad.
(U//FOUO) We continue to analyze the contents of today’s statement from UBL. We will provide additional updates as appropriate.
(U) Reporting Notice:
(U) DHS and FBI encourage recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to the local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and the Homeland Security Operations Center (HSOC). The FBI regional phone numbers can be found online at http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm and the HSOC can be reached by telephone at 202-282-8101 or by email at HSOC.Common@dhs.gov. For information affecting the private sector and critical infrastructure, contact the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC), a sub-element of the HSOC. The NICC can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9201 or by email at NICC@dhs.gov. When available, each report submitted should include the date, time, location, type of activity, number of people and type of equipment used for the activity, the name of the submitting company or organization, and a designated point of contact.
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