Osama videos show he was active Al Qaeda leader, say US officials

Osama videos show he was active Al Qaeda leader, say US officialsWashington, May 8 - US officials say the five videos of Osama bin Laden released Saturday show that the Al Qaeda chief "remained active" in his outfit's terrorist propaganda operations.

The US officials emphasise that the recordings and other materials seized at bin Laden's Pakistan compound show that he still had a firm hand at the tiller, managing strategic and tactical control of his organisation, even as he stayed out of sight in Abbottabad, CNN reported.

The undated videos make clear Osama "remained active in al Qaeda terrorist propaganda operations, especially in shaping his own image," said a senior intelligence official granted anonymity under the ground rules of a briefing at the Pentagon.

Four of the clips show Osama in more formal attire but no audio of him speaking accompanied the images.

The official said the audio was removed because it would be "inappropriate to spread the words of terrorists and propaganda messages, especially Osama bin Laden."

Besides the missing audio, the videos had not been altered in any other way, the intelligence official said.

The recording of an aging Osama, stroking his beard, reviewing news footage and calling up a DVD menu, portrays him as an ordinary man, not a terror mastermind.

One of the videos is a message, the US officials believe, and was recorded in October or November and is titled "A Message to the American People". In that video, which had not been broadcast by Al Qaeda, Osama's beard has been dyed black and he was well-composed as he delivered his message.

The three other videos are practice sessions for videos Osama was probably planning to release to the world.

The US commandos had seized videos, documents, disks, thumb drives, computers and more. Analysts have poured over them for evidence of further plots or operations.

"The materials reviewed over the past several days clearly show that bin Laden remained an active leader in Al Qaeda, providing strategic, operational and tactical instructions to the group," the intelligence official said.

But US officials would not describe any of that material in detail Saturday.

The Osama videos were shown amid the Obama administration's decision not to release photos of the slain bin Laden. (IANS)