Experts Examine Bin Laden Tape

ByABC News
May 20, 2002, 9:29 AM

May 20 -- As experts examine a tape of Osama bin Laden for clues about his whereabouts, ABCNEWS has learned that intelligence reports indicate the world's most wanted man may have received medical treatment in Pakistan after the U.S. military offensive in Afghanistan.

The latest speculation about bin Laden's health and movements came as a British daily newspaper acquired a 40-minute tape of the al Qaeda chief from the Britain-based Al-Ansaar Islamic news agency over the weekend.

Officials at Al-Ansaar said they received the tape, which includes three sections apparently filmed at different times, from a Pakistani security official in Islamabad about a month ago.

According to Al-Ansaar, the tape was shot in March, but a senior editor at Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arabic television network, said today the station had received the tape four months ago and he believed the tape was recorded in October last year.

"We didn't show [the tape] because we didn't think it was newsworthy," Ibrahim Helal told the Associated Press. "There was nothing new in it and [it] seemed to be a P.R. stunt."

In recent months, there has been much speculation about the Saudi-born terrorist mastermind's health, since a previous tape, which was aired in December, showed a pallid and gaunt-looking bin Laden.

But amid widespread reports that bin Laden suffers from a persistent kidney problem, ABCNEWS' John Miller today said that on viewing the new tape, there appeared to be no further deterioration in the master terrorist's health.

"He looks about the same or not much better thanhe did in the tape that we believe was made and released around December, probably in Tora Bora [in eastern Afghanistan]," Miller told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America today.

ABCNEWS has learned that intelligence reports indicate bin Laden had received a kidney transplant in Pakistan. The reports suggested that after the medical procedure, which was financed by bin Laden's al Qaeda network, the Saudi fugitive was probably on the move again.