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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Bush U-turn on Bin Laden evidence
Bush and his national security advisers in the White House
Fears that showing proof will reveal intelligence methods
By BBC US State Department correspondent Jon Leyne

Members of the Bush administration have cast doubt on a plan to issue a document containing evidence linking Osama Bin Laden to the recent attacks on the United States.

The idea was suggested by the American Secretary of State, Colin Powell, on Sunday.

Colin Powell
Powell: Raised hopes of seeing hard evidence
But a matter of hours later President Bush failed to endorse it.

Washington seems to have had a swift change of heart on this important issue.

Mr Powell spoke in a television interview on Sunday of issuing a document that would tie Bin Laden to the most recent attacks.

He suggested it would be published in the near future.

Volte-face

But less than 24 hours later President Bush declined to endorse the plan and Mr Powell himself then suggested they would just be releasing individual items of information when it was safe to do so.

Many allies of the United States have been asking for more proof of a link to Bin Laden.

The calls have been loudest from Arab and Muslim countries eager to placate domestic opinion.

But within the Bush administration it seems there is a dispute between those eager to do everything to build an international coalition and other officials who believe releasing too much information would compromise American intelligence sources.

It is certainly true that Bin Laden has come very close himself to admitting culpability, at least for previous attacks such as that on the American warship USS Cole in Yemen last year.


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