Cable News Network has submitted questions intended for Osama bin Laden,
which could lead to his first response to Western media since the Sept. 11
CNN's Wolf Blitzer reported Tuesday that 'someone claiming to represent al
Qaeda has asked Al Jazeera and CNN to submit written questions . that he says
bin Laden will answer on videotape and send back to Al Jazeera.'
Should such a tape be made and should Al Jazeera provide such a feed, CNN
head Walter Isaacson offered other networks full or partial use of the
prospective bin Laden video.
CNN had struck an exclusive deal with Al Jazeera for early footage of the
U.S. and allied strikes in Afghanistan, although competing networks ran footage
Other networks indicated a wait-and-see attitude, although Fox News Channel
was critical of CNN's decision to 'submit questions to a terrorist' without the
opportunity to follow up. But FNC would not rule out its own use of the
Blitzer noted, 'CNN has no information about where bin Laden is or whether he
is alive or dead. We do not know how al Qaeda communicates with Al Jazeera or
how Al Jazeera plans to get the questions to bin Laden.'
The network added that it has not agreed to any prohibitions or preconditions
regarding its use of the tape. 'By submitting our questions, we are making no
commitment to air bin Laden's response.'
CNN's questions for bin Laden are:
\u0007 'Your spokesman has praised the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed
thousands of innocent people and threatened to carry out more attacks involving
planes and tall buildings. How can you and your followers advocate the killing
of innocent people?'
\u0007 'What was your role and the role of the al Qaeda organization in the Sept.
\u0007 'What was your role and the role of your organization in the subsequent
anthrax attacks in the United States?'
\u0007 'Did any of the Sept. 11 hijackers or their accomplices receive al Qaeda
financial support or training at al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, and was any
other government or organization involved?'
\u0007 'In the past, you called on your followers to acquire weapons of mass
destruction -- nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Do you or your
followers have any such weapons and, if so, will those weapons be used?'
\u0007 'The vast majority of Muslim and Arab leaders, including Muslim clerics and
Yasser Arafat, say there is no justification in Islam for the terrorist attacks
you advocate, and they have denounced you, your followers and your self-declared
holy war. How do you respond to their criticism?'