- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 11, 2001

President Bush supports releasing a videotape of Osama bin Laden admitting his involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, but lengthy White House deliberations yesterday left the matter unresolved.
"For those who see this tape, they'll realize that not only is he guilty of incredible murder, he has no conscience and no soul," Mr. Bush said yesterday during a White House Hanukkah celebration.
Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said a decision on releasing the tape will come soon.
"I can't guarantee you it's going to be today, but I really don't think this is going to be with us for days," he said, adding that security analysts were "taking a look, crossing t's and dotting i's to make certain that if it were released, there would be no security implications."
Assuming no security implications, Mr. Bush wants to release the tape, Mr. Fleischer said.
"The president's approach is wherever it does not compromise security, it's best to share information with the country and with the world. He thinks it's important for people to know what Osama bin Laden has said in this regard," Mr. Fleischer said.
"On the other side we have not sought opportunities to provide Osama bin Laden with TV time," he said.
Mr. Fleischer said Mr. Bush has seen the 40-minute, low-quality tape and read a translated transcript of bin Laden's Arabic comments.
According to senior administration officials, the tape shows bin Laden who has never expressly claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks telling friends that the damage at the World Trade Center twin towers was greater than he anticipated. He thought only the portion of the towers above the spot where the jets crashed would be damaged.
The White House said officials were weighing the pros and cons of releasing the tape, which several top administration officials described in Sunday political talk shows.
Bin Laden is shown expressing amusement that some of the terrorists aboard airliners used in the attacks did not know they were taking part in suicide missions. The tape also shows bin Laden saying he was dining with friends on September 11 and tuned in to news shows to wait for reports on the damage from the terrorist attacks.
The homemade tape in which bin Laden speaks to an unknown person was found at a private home in the eastern Afghanistan city of Jalalabad.
Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the tape should be made public.
"I believe if you have a choice between treating the American people at arm's length and as adults, you treat them as adults, and they should have the opportunity to see this tape," he said yesterday on CBS' "The Early Show."
Meanwhile yesterday, the White House also announced the United States and 70 nations will commemorate the September 11 attack today, beginning at 8:46 a.m. three months to the minute from the moment the first airliner struck the south tower of New York's World Trade Center.
At the East Room, the national anthem will be played at the White House as part of a ceremony led by Mr. Bush. Federal offices will also play the anthem. Simultaneous ceremonies will take place in Pennsylvania and New York City, where school students will march carrying the flags of the 82 countries that lost citizens in the attacks.

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