The Zawahiri tape “appears to

The Zawahiri tape “appears to be genuine,” according to the Administration, and–although I still haven’t seen a complete transcript–is said to contain references that are clearly contemporary. The news reports haven’t indicated whether Zawahiri’s identity has been verified by voiceprint analysis, but I assume that’s what Administration spokesmen mean when they say it is apparently genuine. If so, Zawahiri is, regrettably, alive. It is interesting, however, that the alleged bin Laden audio tape that recently surfaced contains no contemporary references at all, suggesting that it was made a long time ago. If Zawahiri’s tape is genuine, it means that the al Qaeda leadership has access to recording equipment and is willing to take the risks inherent in surfacing, at least to that extent. That being the case, the fact that they have not been able to produce a recent bin Laden tape likely confirms that he is dead, as was recently reported by a pair of Tora Bora survivors.

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