September 19, 2008— -- Al Qaeda's annual September 11 propaganda video surfaced today, delayed eight days by a concerted US effort to block it.
The tape showed no new pictures or statements from Osama bin Laden, although an al Qaeda figure was interviewed saying bin Laden was in "good health."
Al Qaeda also showed a video it said was captured from a US bounty hunter, Keith "Jack" Idema, as he appeared to threaten to kill an Afghani citizen during an interrogation.
Idema was later convicted by an Afghan court and sentenced to prison there. He maintained at his trial that he was secretly working for US intelligence in the hunt for bin Laden, an assertion flatly denied by US officials.
It was the first time in seven years that al Qaeda failed to get its "anniversary message" publicly released on or before September 11.
US officials declined to comment on what role the government played, saying it is their policy not to comment on sensitive intelligence operations.
But intelligence sources say the US, with help from German and Malaysian authorities, were able to disrupt al Qaeda's normal internet release method.
"It's something we've been trying to do for some time," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant.
Intelligence sources say the US has made major strides in infiltrating the al Qaeda internet distribution network and chose to use its knowledge this year to keep the 9/ll tape from coming out immediately.
US officials said they did not expect they could keep the tape permanently blocked .
"They are determined communicators," said one senior law enforcement official.