SLUG: 2-299528 US React / Bin Laden
TITLE=U-S-REACT / BIN LADEN (s)
INTRO: U-S State Department says the tape attributed to Osama bin Laden and aired Tuesday by the al-Jazeera Arab television network confirms the link between the al-Qaida terror network and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. V-O-A's David Gollust has details from the State Department.
TEXT: The United States acquired its own copy of the bin Laden tape through undisclosed sources and Secretary of State Colin Powell was the first to reveal its existence Tuesday at a Senate hearing.
Mr. Powell said the terrorist leader reveals his "partnership" with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and says the tape shows that the "nexus" between terrorists and states that are developing weapons of mass destruction "can no longer be looked away from and ignored."
After the tape was played by the Arab network, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was interviewed on al-Jazeera and said it shows that al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein "seem to have common cause together."
He said Mr. bin Laden threatens the United States and everyone in the Arab world except Saddam Hussein, and puts to rest the notion that the two are too philosophically divergent to ever link up.
Mr. Boucher reiterated charges raised last week at the U-N by Mr. Powell that Iraqi intelligence has had links with al-Qaida for many years and given operatives linked to Mr. bin Laden safe-haven. (Signed)
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