Controversy Over New Video

Matt Drudge has the siren out again.

World Exclusive Developing…
CONTROVERSY OVER NEW VIDEO

Hmm.

Update (1250): New headline:

ABCNEWS HOLDS TERROR WARNING VIDEO

In the last week before the election, ABCNEWS is holding on a videotaped message from a purported al Qaeda terrorist warning of a new attack on America, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned… MORE…

No link as of yet.

Update (1307): There’s now a link.

In the last week before the election, ABCNEWS is holding on a videotaped message from a purported al Qaeda terrorist warning of a new attack on America, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. The terrorist claims on tape the next attack will dwarf 9/11. “The streets will run with blood,” and “America will mourn in silence” because they will be unable to count the number of the dead. Further claims: America has brought this on itself for electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda.

ABCNEWS strongly denies holding the tape back from broadcast over political concerns during the last days of the election. The CIA is analyzing the tape, a top federal source tells the DRUDGE REPORT. ABCNEWS obtained the tape from a source in Waziristan, Pakistan over the weekend, sources tells DRUDGE. “We have been working 24 hours a day trying to authenticate [the tape],” a senior ABCNEWS source said Wednesday morning.

The terrorist’s face is concealed by a head dress, and he speaks in an American accent, making it difficult to identify the individual. But US intelligence officials believe that man may be Adam Gadhan – aka Adam Pearlman – a southern California native who was highlighted by the FBI in May as an individual most likely to be involved in or have knowledge of the next al Qaeda attacks. According to the FBI, Gadahn, 25, attended al-Qaida training camps and served as an al-Qaida translator. The disturbing tape runs an hour — the man simply identifies himself as ‘Assam the American.’

Potentially huge news, depending on whether the tape is authenticated. In the wake of RatherGate, it’s not inconceivable that ABC News is simply being cautious rather than trying to time this around the election. Indeed, it’s not altogether clear to me whether this would favor Bush or Kerry. On the one hand, it strengthens Bush’s central thesis that these are dangerous times. On the other, Kerry could use it to argue that Bush isn’t doing enough to protect us.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. broadminded says:

    probably just the new eminem mosh video. threat to bushies among the younger class, so have to smear it quick. honestly drudge. what is actually developing here ?

  2. Mark says:

    “Kerry could use it [the video] to argue that Bush isn’t doing enough to protect us”

    I do not see how Kerry can argue this, unless there is actually an attack. The absence of any terror attacks here tells me Bush is doing his job.

  3. Bill K says:

    Mark,

    If that is your arguement than Bush is the worst President ever.

    Most deadly terrorist attack: 9/11

    What, does he just get a freebie?

  4. Chris M says:

    It sends shivers down my spine….this was being held for a election eve “EXCLUSIVE” by ABC…read

    “America has brought this on itself for electing George Bush who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on Al Qaeda.”

    Oh no!!!!…we better vote for Kerry or we will be punished

    God help us all if this conspiracy to get JK/JE elected works…

  5. Boyd says:

    “I do not see how Kerry can argue this,”

    Just like he can’t lambaste Bush over the loss of 380 tons of high explosive, which it appears the US never had control of in the first place? And that in the context of a million tons of arms and explosives estimated to be in Iraq at the time of the invasion, plus almost half a million of that already destroyed or prepared for destruction?

    Without a doubt, Kerry would use it against Bush.

  6. Adam says:

    The last time something like this affected an election was… hmm… oh yeah! Reagan!

    You think this couldn’t affect an election?

    If it got released on Nov 1, though, and was presented as a legitimate warning (because, honestly, it’s probably grandstanding on al Qaida’s part), it would more likely favor Bush. Fear makes people vote conservative.

  7. Attila Girl says:

    If you’re leaning Bush, the info favors Bush. If you’re leaning Kerry, the info favors Kerry.

    The undecideds might be more likely to break for Bush, though: they’d want a warrior in office rather than an appeaser.

  8. James,
    I sent an e-mail off to an insider terrorism expert. He has seen the video and has authenticated it. I would post on it, but, you know. In light of that it seems there are two questions

    a) is if it is saber-rattling of the sort al Qaeda is known to do.

    b) is ABCs decision to hold off on the tape politically motivated as Drudge suggests.

  9. Anjin-San says:

    Mark,

    To suggest no terror attacks (at least since thousands of American’s were horribly slaughtered in the heart of NYC on Bush’s watch) means Bush is “doing his job” seems like a stretch.

    Study Al-Queda’s pattern. They are in no hurry. They are very unpredictible. Years between major Ops is nothing new for them.

    Bush brags about his 30 billion dollar homeland security budget. What a joke. How long does it take to go thru 30 billion in Iraq? Six weeks?

    Experts seem to agree homeland security is pretty damn thin.

    Bush is doing Iran’s job. He is letting them develop real, not fantasy WMD. He destroyed their greatest enemy. The mullahs must be at risk from hemmorages because they are laughing so hard.

  10. Bill says:

    “He destroyed their greatest enemy.”

    Really? When did he destroy Israel?

  11. Anjin-San says:

    Bill,

    Did Iran fight a brutal war that lasted years with Isreal? How many thousands of Iranians has Isreal killed? Has Isreal ever attacked Iran?

    History books are available. Read one sometime…