Analysis of Al Qaeda Yemen Tape Shows Not All Footage Is New

Pictures of underwear bomber appear to be mixed in with earlier video.

April 26, 2010, 2:28 PM

April 29, 2010— -- The new al Qaeda video of accused bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab at a desert training camp included footage that had been released previously, in January, 2009, according to a frame by frame analysis by terrorism expert Evan Kohlman of Flashpoint Global Partners.

The al Qaeda propaganda video was provided to a Yemeni journalist working for ABC News earlier in the week.

While the scenes of Abdulmutallab holding a weapon and speaking had not been previously made public, the footage of al Qaeda fighters firing weapons at targets including a Jewish star and the British Union Jack was included in an al Qaeda propaganda tape made public in January, 2009, according to Kohlman's analysis.

Kohlman found a "precisely matching pattern of bullet holes" in the targets.

Al Qaeda frequently mixes and matches old and new videos in its propaganda releases, according to western counter-terrorism officials.

"The release of the video by al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula may be an attempt to demonstrate to their followersand potential recruits that they are still strong despite Yemeni government raids and US bombing," said Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant and former White House counter-terrorism official.

US officials say the most significant parts of the tape are what appear to be the newly released scenes of Abdulmutallab with a weapon in his hand and his martyrdom statement in which he provides justification for jihad against the United States and "the Jews and the Christians and their agents."

Kohlman said the video of he accused bomber is "definitely new (and authentic)" and wonders whether the attempt to splice in the earlier camp footage was an effort "to thrown off investigators" who are studying the tape.

"Either that or Abdulmutallab was an AQAP operative for much longer than anyone thought," Kohlman said in an e-mail message to ABC News.

US officials believe Abdulmutallab was training in Yemen between September and December of 2009.

The scenes of him holding a weapon show others around him, although the al Qaeda video blurred many of the faces.

Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday he and other Justice Department officials had seen the video of Abdulmutallab. Asked for his comment, Eric said only, "I have seen it."

Kohlman's said that other footage showing al Qaeda fighters shooting at what appeared to be an unmanned surveillance aircraft seemed familiar but that he had not yet found a match to any previously propaganda tapes.

"They show them apparently firing on the US predator, when in fact the US drones have done significant damage to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," said ABC News consultant Clarke.

US authorities say the training camp in the video and others in Yemen were likely the target of US cruise missile attacks in late December, 2009 after Abdulmutallab had left on his mission to set off a bomb on a US airliner as it approached Detroit.

Abdulmutallab has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges but US authorities say he is cooperating with the FBI. Officials were expected to show the footage to him to see if he could identify anyone. Officials say he has told the FBI there were "others like him" in training and that he has provided some names.

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