The CIA has reportedly concluded that the audiotape played over the weekend on al Jazeera likely is authentic. “After conducting a technical analysis, the CIA’s assessment is that it is likely bin Laden’s voice,” an anonymous CIA official says.
We’ll see. This happened at least once before, and a Swiss audio lab later concluded that the voice on the tape was not bin Laden’s. I’ve suspected for a while that Mark Steyn is right, and bin Laden is dead. Or, in the alternative, that his whereabouts are known and that valuable intelligence is gained from electronic intercepts. This is totally speculative, of course, and may be proved entirely wrong. But it seems to me that there is something odd going on with bin Laden. For some reason, the administration seems content to have him ostensibly at large.
UPDATE: Reader Michael DeZelar thinks we get nothing out of the CIA’s wishy-washy approach: “Has it possibly occurred to them that they might have a slightly better chance of smoking him out if they would just declare these mystery audiotapes to be fraudulent (regardless of whether they really believe it) and work to goad him into releaseing new videotape? At least they would be telling Al Qaeda to ‘put up or shut up’, and at best, they might actually get some worthwhile intellignce on him and his whereabouts.”
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