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Reports: U.S. Intelligence Authenticates Bin Laden Tape

16 December 2004 -- Western news agencies say U.S. intelligence analysis has determined with "high confidence" that the speaker on an audio tape posted on the Internet today is Osama bin Laden.

A U.S. intelligence official, who asked not to be identified, was quoted as saying that the tone and message were consistent with previous bin Laden messages.

The speaker on the audio tape praised militants who attacked the U.S. consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 6 December, suggesting the message was taped fairly recently.

The message called on militants to attack Gulf oil supplies and also warned Saudi rulers they could be toppled like the shah of Iran.

The U.S. intelligence official said it appeared to be the first time that a purported bin Laden statement had been posted directly on the Internet rather than being aired first on Arab television.