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Bin Laden Urges Americans to Convert
Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute, said she believes "strongly that al-Qaida has regrouped" but that its core bases are more scattered than previously, comprising several training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She said it was likely bin Laden is hidden in a more secure location, away from any of those sites.
During the video, bin Laden's image moves for only a total of about 3 1/2 minutes in two segments, staying frozen the rest of the time while his remarks continue.
Katz said it appeared to be a technical problem rather than intentional, speculating the video might have been made with a cell phone. A former senior U.S. intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it might have resulted from a technical glitch while al-Qaida passed the video through a variety of computer sites to mask its cyber trail.
The United States intercepted the video before it was released on Islamic Web sites where al-Qaida usually posts its messages, a U.S. counterterrorism official said in Washington. U.S. officials had analyzed the video for hours before transcripts and videos were leaked, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The official said analysts were studying bin Laden's physical characteristics _ for clues about his health after unconfirmed rumors earlier this year that he had died of kidney disease.
Soon after word emerged that the United States had the video, Islamic militant Web sites that usually carry statements from al-Qaida went down and were inaccessible. The reason for the shutdown was not immediately known.
Evan H. Kohlmann, a terrorism expert at globalterroralert.com, said he suspected it was the work of al-Qaida itself, trying to find how the video leaked to U.S. officials.
"For them this is totally disruptive that the U.S. government could have a copy before their targeted audience does," he said. "They could be concerned and trying to plug the leak quickly."
Associated Press writers Lara Jakes Jordan, Pamela Hess and Matthew Lee in Washington and Sarah DiLorenzo in New York contributed to this report.