BILL HEMMER: Steve Emerson joins me live for some frame-by-frame analysis. Steve, good morning to you.STEVEN EMERSON: Good morning, Bill.
HEMMER: I mentioned four or five years old. Is this new in your view, or is it just newly released?
EMERSON: It's newly released. It's clear that this was a cut and paste job from tape taken years ago. We don't really know exactly when, it'll have to be matched up to previously existing tape. There's only a 40-second selection of him. It's obvious it was taken from a much larger tape. His words are not contemporaneous with any current event, so it's hard to place it any historical context. It could have even taken place before 9/11, although I doubt it. He looks very gaunt and tired, similar to the images we saw right after 9/11.
HEMMER: No date given, no time references -why put it out, Steve?
EMERSON: It is clear to me that the entire tape - 99% of it consists of odes to martyrs - is a motivational tape to would-be jihadists in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world for them to carry out martyrdom operations. This is very similar to the old jihadi tapes that used to be put out prior to 9/11 when they would put out odes to martyrs and basically laud their martyrdom and try to encourage others. It is really a motivational tape. It is not directed at the West, it is not directed at the United States. There are no threats involved here. He simply desires to push, encourage and cajole and jihadis into becoming martyrs against…
HEMMER: If you think, Steve, for a moment, and I will take you at face value that it is not directed directly at the U.S., a message contained in the videotape. If you think of the events on the ground in Pakistan is that enough motivation to put it out?
EMERSON: Certainly the events in Pakistan would provide some motivation. Clearly there is a lot of anger right now after the red mosque blow-up. There's a resurrection of the Taliban and of al Qaeda in the Waziristan areas. It is clear to me this tape is put out by Al-Sahab, which is the public relations arm of al Qaeda. And they have to put something like this out in order to make sure they are still relevant, and nothing could be more relevant than having an endorsement by Bin Laden even though he may not have endorsed this.
HEMMER: In a word, is he alive?
EMERSON: Good question. This doesn't prove that he is alive.
HEMMER: Thank you Steve.