Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Obama says Bin Laden tape shows al-Qaeda 'weakened'

President Barack Obama on ABC's Good Morning America, 26 January 2010
Barack Obama told ABC that America was now much safer since 9/11

US President Barack Obama says the latest audio tape said to be from Osama Bin Laden is an indication of how "weakened" al-Qaeda has become.

In the message, the speaker praises the attempted bombing of a transatlantic US airliner over Detroit on 25 December.

Mr Obama told ABC's Good Morning America the failed attack had not necessarily been directed by Bin Laden.

And he said security measures introduced since the 11 September 2001 attacks had made the US "much safer".

Bin Laden sending out a tape trying to take credit... is an indication of how weakened he is
Barack Obama

The BBC's Paul Adams in Washington says despite the fears generated by the Christmas Day attempted bombing, the US administration is at pains to play down any suggestion al-Qaeda is a growing threat.

The voice recording - which said it was from "Osama to Obama" - claimed al-Qaeda was behind the plot, and warned of further attacks.

Broadcast on al-Jazeera TV on Sunday, it said a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is charged with attempting to blow up the airliner, was a "hero".

But in the interview which aired on ABC on Tuesday, Mr Obama said: "Al-Qaeda itself is greatly weakened from where it was back in 2000.

The authenticity of the audio tape has not been verified. Courtesy al-Jazeera

"Bin Laden sending out a tape trying to take credit for a Nigerian student who engaged in a failed bombing attempt is an indication of how weakened he is, because this is not something necessarily directed by him."

On Monday, the US state department's co-ordinator for counter-terrorism said the "Bin Laden" audio tape was an attempt to bask in "reflected glory" of the plot.

The Yemen-based regional wing of al-Qaeda has said it was behind the attempted attack.

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