Mary Katharine Ham

I got this from Ace, who has gone ahead and thrown up a fireworks graphic, but Drudge is still running the angry-Clinton story as his lead, so I'm gonna remain skeptical, but hopeful. But man, if this is true, the nutroots are gonna go truly nuts. Karl's "October surprise," they'll shout. We're talking serious apoplexy, here.

According to Saudi police (story originally from AP France) he died of typhoid fever in Pakistan a couple weeks ago:

The French defense ministry on Saturday called for an internal investigation of the leak of an intelligence document that raises the possibility that Osama bin Laden may have died of typhoid in Pakistan a month ago but said the report of the death remained unverified.

"The information defused this morning by the l'Est Republicain newspaper concerning the possible death of Osama bin Laden cannot be confirmed," a Defense Ministry statement said.

The daily newspaper for the Lorraine region in eastern France printed what it described as a confidential document from the French foreign intelligence service DGSE citing an uncorroborated report from Saudi secret services that the leader of the al-Qaida terror network had died.

The leaked document:

According to this document, Saudi security services were pursuing further details, notably the place of his burial.

"The chief of al-Qaida was a victim of a severe typhoid crisis while in Pakistan on August 23, 2006," the document says. His geographic isolation meant that medical assistance was impossible, the French report said, adding that his lower limbs were allegedly paralyzed. On Sept. 4, Saudi security services had their first information on bin Laden's alleged death, the unconfirmed document reported.

The U.S. government cannot confirm the reports:

"We cannot confirm the account," said the official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. "It's quite possible (that) there was some talk of this, but in terms of being able to confirm this, that I can't do."...

U.S. officials have suggested that his death would be accompanied by a surge of e-mail and telephone chatter among bereaved al Qaeda members, if not an actual announcement from the militant network.

But officials said they were not aware of any such chatter in recent weeks.

French blog No Pasaran says "take it for what it's worth."

But Ace has gone and started analyzing, and he's making some sense. He has six reasons to believe Osama's running with the devil these days.

The press conference one sounds about right to me, but there's much more over there:

4. Bush's Strangely Overhyped Press Conference. Maybe this is just me trying to save face. But when the WH put out the word for all conservatives to watch the September 6th press conference, noting that 9/11 families would be in attendance, and that there would be "big news" announced there, a lot of us got the crazy idea that there would be big news announced there. Yes, I speculated that Osama bin Ladin was dead (incorporating reason two, above, as a reason for hope).

Yes, Bush did make news that day. But a lot of us felt a bit overwhelmed, after we'd been juiced up to expect... more.

It might be that Bush was prepared to announce Osama bin Ladin's death on that day, but was restrained by advisors who felt there simply wasn't sufficient proof to make such a dramatic statement.

And so the speech became about what had been intended to be a secondary matter or, perhaps, the next day's intended speech.

Update: Allah is weighing Ace's six reasons and finds all but one wanting. Hmph. Killjoy.

Neither CNN's nor Fox's websites are carrying anything on this, which seems odd, considering the cable networks aren't usually too shy about airing unconfirmed reports, especially of stuff this big. Their TV coverage is usually ahead of the web stuff, though, and I haven't had a chance to check that yet.

Update:  The new leader of al Qaeda in Iraq reportedly made his first appearance on the Internets today, courageously shooting a Turkish hostage in the back of the head. Abu Ayyoub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, took the place of Zarqawi after he was killed in a U.S. air strike. Reports say the video of al-Masri is old, but was posted Friday.

al Qaeda trying to show its strength in the face of the coming announcement about their leader?

Update: Heh. Stop the ACLU has photographic evidence of the Tallest Jihadi's demise.

Via Gateway Pundit, Pakistani officials doubt the reports.

Pakistan has received no information from any foreign government that would corroborate a French newspaper report on Saturday that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan, a senior government official said.

"No government has shared any such information with us so far, which is the normal thing to do under such circumstances," the official, who has close knowledge of intelligence matters, said on condition of anonymity.

A senior official in Pakistan's Interior Ministry also said: "We have no information about Osama's death."

Update: Jacques is shocked! Chirac is concerned about how a secret document was leaked (yeah, tell us about it, Jacques), and confirms that the report is unconfirmed.

French President Jacques Chirac said on Saturday he would investigate the leak of confidential French defense ministry documents containing a report that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is dead, and said that report has been in no way confirmed.

"I was rather surprised to see that a confidential note from the DGSE (General Directorate for External Security) was published and I have asked the minister of Defense to start an investigation immediately and to reach whatever conclusions are necessary," Chirac said. "Secondly, speaking of the source of the information itself, this information is in no way confirmed."

Update: Time is reporting that bin Laden may be very sick with a "serious water-borne illness," from "credible Saudi sources:"

Fugitive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, believed to be on the run in rugged terrain in the Afghan-Pakistani border region since the September 11 attacks five years ago, has become seriously ill and may have already died, a Saudi source tells TIME, echoing earlier reports in the French media.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that Saudi officials have received multiple credible reports over the last several weeks that Bin Laden has been suffering from a water-borne illness. The source believes that there is a "high probability" that Bin Laden has already died from the disease, but stressed that Saudi officials have thus far received no concrete evidence of Bin Laden's death.

"This is not a rumor," says the source. "He is very ill. He got a water-related sickness and it could be terminal. There are a lot of serious facts about things that have actually happened. There is a lot to it. But we don't have any concrete information to say that he is dead."

Update: I should have added this earlier, but my computer battery crapped out on me. Rusty has some very good news on the terrorist front.

We should be shouting for joy that the leader of Ansar al Sunnah has been captured. This should just as big as when we got Zarqawi. It is that important.

Ansar al Sunnah's organizational structure is not as well know as al Qaeda's. It appears, though, that al-Jibouri's voice can be heard on at least two hostage murder videos-and probably many many more (thanks to Mike for the reminder). Like Zarqawi, al Jibouri is said to have personally murdered many of Ansar al Sunna's victims.

Read all about Ansar al Sunnah at the link.

And, Ace does the inevitable dumpster diving on the left side of the 'sphere today, and finds some doozies:

It's amazing. They believe the CIA is conniving to help keep bin Ladin alive, under a new identity.

That doesn't make sense even given their own lunatic premises.

Update: Osama's family and BFF say they have heard no reports of his death, but the reporter who wrote the original story is standing by the documents he used as a source. So, we could be dealing with a case of "genuine but inaccurate."


Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of HotAir.com, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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