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Osama or Not, U.S. to Take Threat Seriously, Prez Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2002 -- U.S. experts are studying a tape broadcast from Qatar that may have been made by Osama bin Laden.

The al Qaeda leader praised recent terrorist attacks in Bali, Indonesia, and Moscow and threatened more attacks against the United States and allies. It's the first hard evidence since last November that the terrorist leader is alive.

"We're looking at this latest tape. Our experts are analyzing the voice content, and we'll let them determine if it's him or not," President Bush said following a White House Cabinet meeting Nov. 13.

However, the tape's message is serious, the president stated. The tape, he said, should remind Americans and U.S. friends and allies that an active enemy continues to hate and to use murder to achieve its goals.

"Whoever put this tape out has put the world on notice yet again that we're at war," Bush said.

He has directed that the appropriate authorities take the tape seriously. U.S. officials will continue to deal with domestic vulnerabilities; overseas coalition allies will take the threats seriously by continuing the hunt.

"We'll chase these people down one at a time," Bush said. "It doesn't matter how long it takes, we'll find them and bring them to justice."

Bush said the United States is "dismantling" the terrorist networks. He said the coalition arrayed against terror is denying the terrorists sanctuary, cutting off funds and conducting an international manhunt. "I've warned the American people that this is going to take time to achieve the objective," Bush said. "We're in a different kind of war."

News reports indicated Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein will comply with the tough U.N. resolution aimed against his country. If the news reports are correct, the next step is for U.N. weapons inspectors to go to Baghdad. Saddam has 30 days now to list his weapons of mass destruction inventory.

President Bush stated that the United States will brook no Iraqi deceit in the process. "There's no negotiations with Mr. Saddam Hussein," Bush said. "Those days are long gone, and so are the days of deceit and denial. So it's up to him. I want to remind you all that inspectors are there to determine whether Saddam Hussein is willing to disarm. It's his choice to make, and if he chooses not to disarm, we will disarm him."

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