The day Osama bin Laden accepted responsibility for 9/11


This article is part of Yahoo’s “On This Day” series

More than three years after the September 11 terrorist attacks on American soil, Osama bin Laden has accepted responsibility for the atrocities.

In a video posted that day 17 years ago, the founder of al Qaeda first admitted that he had planned the 9/11 attacks.

Osama bin Laden in a video broadcast on Al Jazeera television on October 29, 2004. Source: Getty Images

On October 29, 2004, the Al Jazeera news channel broadcast excerpts from a video in which bin Laden spoke to the American people.

Timing was important – al Qaeda released the videotape just four days before the US election, in which Republican President George W Bush faced Democratic candidate John Kerry.

The fact that Bin Laden referred to Kerry as a presidential candidate in the video indicated that he had been taped in recent months.

Osama bin Laden addresses press conference in Afghanistan raising affected left hand

Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility for September 11 three years after the attacks. Source: Reuters

Bin Laden had appeared in previous videos after September 11, in which nearly 3,000 people were killed, but it was the first time he claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In the clip, he spoke for almost 15 minutes in front of an unruffled brown background, reading his notes which were resting on a catwalk.

Speaking in Arabic, he warned the United States against further attacks and goaded President Bush.

He began: “You, the American people, I speak to you today about the best way to avoid another catastrophe and war, its reasons and its consequences.

    Osama bin Laden saw recorded video speaking into a microphone

A video of Osama bin Laden broadcast by the Al Jazeera television channel in October 2001. Source: AFP via Getty Images

“Although we are entering the fourth year after September 11, Bush is still confusing and misleading you and not telling you the real reason.”

Bin Laden claimed he was inspired to attack the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York after witnessing destruction during the Lebanese Civil War in 1982.

He added: “We never knew that the Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces would leave 50,000 of his men in the two towers to deal with these events on their own when they needed their leader most urgently. “

In a reference to Bush reading the book, The pet goat, to schoolchildren while being informed that the attacks were in progress, Bin Laden declared: “He [Bush] was more interested in listening to the child’s story on the goat rather than worrying about what was happening to the towers.

Bin Laden said: “Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al-Qaeda. Your safety is in your hands. Any nation that does not attack us will not be attacked.

Just hours after the video aired, Bush made a brief statement from the tarmac outside Air Force One at Toledo Express Airport in Ohio.

US President George W. Bush delivers remarks to Air Force One

Then US President George W Bush comments on the last video of Osama bin Laden on October 29, 2004. Source: AFP via Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry speaks to reporters at West Palm Beach airport

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry condemns the video of Osama bin Laden on October 29, 2004, at an airport in Florida. Source: Reuters

The US President said, “Let me be very clear: Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country.

“I am sure Senator Kerry agrees with this. I also want to tell the American people that we are at war with these terrorists and I have no doubts that we will prevail.

Kerry made her own statement saying, “Let me be clear: as Americans we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists.

“They are barbarians, and I will stop at nothing to hunt down, capture or kill terrorists wherever they are, no matter what. Period.”

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the National Security Team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the White House situation room

Then US President Barack Obama, second from left, then Vice President Joe Biden, first from left, await updates on the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011. Source: PA

Bush won the presidential election, winning 286 Electoral College votes to 251 for Kerry, while winning 50.7% of the vote – 62 million to 59 million for Kerry.

Political commentators have speculated that the bin Laden video was programmed to give Bush a boost in the polls. Bush took a six-point lead in the polls in the first poll after the recording aired.

Several other video and audio recordings of the founder of al Qaeda were released over the next seven years until, on May 2, 2011, bin Laden was killed in Pakistan as part of a Navy operation. American seals named “Operation Neptune Spear”.

The raid on his complex in Abbottabad was launched from Afghanistan, while US President Barack Obama, along with then-Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waited in the situation room from the White House updates from the field.

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