'From Osama to Obama,' Bin Laden Delivers New Threats

Al Qaeda leader claims responsibility for 'Underwear Bomber' in new tape.

January 24, 2010, 5:18 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2010— -- In a new audio message, Osama bin Laden directly addresses President Obama, threatening new attacks on the United States and claiming responsibility for the Christmas Day airliner bombing attempt.

"From Osama to Obama," bin Laden says at the opening of the message, which was aired early today on the Al Jazeera television network.

"The message delivered to you through the plane of the heroic warrior Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a confirmation of the previous messages sent by the heroes of the Sept. 11," said the voice on the recording, which was released by the Al Jazeera television network.

Until there is "security in Palestine" and an end to U.S. support of Israel, bin Laden says, "America shall not dream about security."

Inelligence officials say they can't verify the authenticity of the tape, but they say there has never been a fake and there is no reason to believe this one is not real.

"I think everybody in this world understands that this is somebody that has to pop up in our lives over an audiotape because he's nothing but a cowardly, murderous thug and terrorist that will some day, hopefully soon, be brought to justice," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said today on Fox News.

"If you're a 22-year-old Nigerian and you've conducted an attack and Osama bin Laden comes out and calls you hero or calls you a martyr and elevates your status, that's very troubling and that can serve as a very valuable recruiting tool," said Rick Nelson, a senior fellow with the Center for Security and International Studies in Washington D.C.

The bin Laden tape comes as new details emerge about the Christmas Day bomb attack and how suspect was handled by interrogators.

According to The Associated Press, Abdulmutallab arrived at a local hospital at 2 p.m., escorted by Detroit police, and made incriminating statements to a doctor giving him treatment about his efforts to detonate an explosive on the plane from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Around 3:30 p.m., FBI agents began interviewing the suspect in his hospital room where he talked openly about his links to al Qaeda operatives in Yemen, the AP reported.

Osama Bin Laden Addresses President Obama in New Audio Tape

Ten hours after his initial arrest, investigators told him he had the right to an attorney and a right to remain silent. After that, Abdulmutallab stopped talking, putting an abrupt end to any further intelligence gathering operation.

Some lawmakers say if bin Laden is claiming Abdulmutallab as a soldier in his army, then the United States should treat him like an enemy combatant.

"He was cooperating until he got a lawyer," Sen. John McCain said today on CBS. "Now that makes it almost impossible for us to pursue the leads that the Christmas bomber might have. That, to me, is unbelievable."

Intelligence analysts say there's no way to know how closely bin Laden is linked to the Christmas Day attack, if at all, but his message makes one thing clear.

"Osama Bin Laden is still alive. He's still having an influence on the al Qaeda movement and the al Qaeda narrative and he does have the ability to plan attacks," Nelson said.

Administration officials say they're still aggressively pursuing bin Laden, but in a recent interview ABC News' George Stephanopolous asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates when the United States last had good intelligence on bin Laden.

Gates responded: "I think it has been years."

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