CIA Can’t Authenticate Alleged al Qaeda Tape

Contrary to yesterday’s report by Matt Drudge, the CIA can’t authenticate alleged al Qaeda tape, according to CNN.

After a technical analysis, the CIA cannot determine whether a videotape obtained by ABC News in Pakistan featuring a man claiming to be affiliated with al Qaeda is authentic, a U.S. intelligence official said Thursday. “We have been unable to verify the tape’s authenticity,” the official said.

Portions of the 75-minute tape were aired Thursday evening by ABC News, which said it obtained the tape from a source known to have Taliban and al Qaeda contacts in the tribal regions of Pakistan. ABC said it paid the source $500 in transportation fees.

A U.S. official said there were “real questions about its authenticity.” By that, the official said, he meant that it was not clear whether the tape was prepared by someone affiliated with al Qaeda and taking orders from its leaders, or whether it was a hoax. With the presidential election just days away, officials are wary of a possible trick by an impostor. “Without being able to authenticate it, it’s just some guy talking on a tape,” the U.S. intelligence official said.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Chris says:

    When I saw the bits they broadcast last night my first thought was that it is a forgery. I certainly don’t feel threatened by it. I don’t see any way that tape will have any impact on the election. It’s just way too lame.

  2. LJD says:

    Has Michael Moore made any trips to Pakistan lately?

  3. dw says:

    With the new bin Laden tape today, this other tape really does look and sound like a forgery.

    This loon with the bad accent says if you vote for Bush, you’re dead. Bin Laden says it doesn’t matter, you’re dead so long as you’re an American. Which one sounds like Al-Queda to you?