NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2004 -- A man describing himself as an American member of al Qaeda says a new wave of terror attacks against the United States could come "at any moment," according to a videotape obtained by ABC News.
The tape was acquired by ABC News last Friday from a source known to have Taliban and al Qaeda contacts in the tribal region of Pakistan. ABC paid the source $500 in transportation fees.
While CIA officials say they have not been able to authenticate the 75-minute tape, an agency spokesman says it "appears to have been produced by al Qaeda's media organization, al Sahab productions." The tape is marked with the same logo and graphics seen on previous videos released by al Qaeda.
The man on the tape is identified only as "Azzam the American." U.S. officials say they had not previously known of the nom de guerre. His face is never fully visible and he makes no reference to where in the United States he might have lived.
"No, my fellow countrymen you are guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. You are as guilty as Bush and Cheney. You're as guilty as Rumsfeld and Ashcroft and Powell," he says in what he calls his message to America. "After decades of American tyranny and oppression, now it's your turn to die. Allah willing, the streets of America will run red with blood matching drop for drop the blood of America's victims."
Senior administration officials told ABC News tonight that copies of the tape are being provided to all 13 current and former administration figures mentioned by name in the tape, and that the tape is being shown to captured al Qaeda leaders in U.S. custody to see if they can identify the man on the tape.
"A member of al Qaeda who professes to be a U.S. citizen was always coveted and looked for by the al Qaeda," said Jack Cloonan, a former FBI agent who interviewed a number of captured al Qaeda members and is now an ABC News consultant. Cloonan said he believed the tape to be authentic.
Law enforcement officials and linguistic expert Gerald Lampe, deputy director of the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, believe English was not Azzam's first language. They speculate he may have learned English as a child in a household of non-native speakers.
U.S. officials believe there are several Americans working with al Qaeda, including Adam Gadahn, a former Southern California student who is wanted for questioning by the FBI. U.S. intelligence officials say the voice on the tape does not match Gadahn's or that of any Americans suspected of being part of al Qaeda.
Azzam makes references to several American officials, including 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean, and even refers to the controversial remarks made by comedian Bill Maher about the cowardice of the United States launching cruise missiles compared with terrorist suicide attacks.
And he warned that Sept. 11 was only the beginning.
"People of America, I remind you of the weighty words of our leaders, Osama bin Laden and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, that what took place on Sept. 11 was but the opening salvo of the global war on America," said Azzam. "And that Allah willing, the magnitude and ferocity of what is coming your way will make you forget all about Sept. 11."
Brian Ross' full report aired Oct. 28, 2004, on ABC's "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings."