General News

Secret messages to terrorists in Bin Laden tapes?

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Oct 11, 2001 | 2:32pm EDT

Heads of the major networks have agreed not to broadcast in their entirety live or taped statements by Osama bin Laden or members of his Al Qaeda organization after National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice informed them Wednesday that such messages could contain codes for terrorists to launch attacks in the U.S.

Asked at a White House briefing on Wednesday whether officials had reason to believe that statements by bin Laden contained such codes, press secretary Ari Fleischer responded, "Well, people are analyzing that now... At best, it's pre-taped, pre-recorded propaganda, but propaganda of a most insidious nature. At worst, it could be actually signaling to his operatives."

When a reporter noted that government cryptography analysts must be examining the messages and commented that "it would redound to your good to know what the hell is going on," Fleisher replied, "The issue is not whether or not analysts are able to see these messages. The issue is whether or not terrorists are able to see these messages."

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