I’ve noticed that every time there’s a new message from Osama bin Laden, the press very carefully calls into question its authenticity. For example, CNN’s article “Purported bin Laden message: Iraq is ‘perfect base’” opens:
Al-Jazeera broadcast on Thursday an audiotape on which a voice identified as Osama bin Laden declares “Iraq is the perfect base to set up the jihad to liberate Palestine.”
The voice calls on “Muslims in neighboring countries” to “do their best in supporting their mujahedeen brothers in Iraq.”
So I’m wondering, have there been fake messages?
My understanding is that bin Laden’s manner of speaking, his words and phraseology, are quite unusual and hard to capture. What’s more, it doesn’t make sense for his followers to fake messages from him. As a leader who inspires through his words, the authenticity of those words is very important. It doesn’t jibe with my (admittedly limited) understanding to think that anyone would fake a message from him.
I understand that the intelligence community would like us to believe that they’re on the verge of catching him, that he might be dead, and that he can’t get messages out of his base in Pakistan’s Waziristan region.
But why does the media play along? Is there a problem with fake messages, or an expectation that there might be?