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.It is certainly plausible that Osama could have died of typhoid, but until coalition forces have recovered the remains, there's no way to know for sure.
"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 contents of the document, dated Sept. 21, or Thursday, were not confirmed by French or other intelligence sources. However, the DGSE transmitted the note to President Jacques Chirac and other officials, the newspaper said.
Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie "has demanded an investigation be carried out of this leak," a ministry statement said, adding that transmission of the confidential document could risk punishment.
Defense Ministry spokesman Jean-Francois Bureau, clarifying the statement, said that the DGSE document exists but that its contents - that bin Laden is allegedly dead - cannot be confirmed.
The French say that the report is unconfirmed. Well, considering that this is based on a single source that was relayed to both the Saudis and French, take with a grain of salt. Without seeing DNA testing on a body, or a head on a pike, there's no way to know for sure.
Predictably, the fever swamps are already claiming conspiracy. It's a Rove plot. It's a CIA plot to hide the truth about 9/11. You name the conspiracy, and the DUers are all over it.
Never mind that if the US intel agencies got a hold of this information that they might actually want to confirm its accuracy. Never mind that facts and logic go out the window when you're talking conspiracy theories.
AJ Strata wonders about the situation in Pakistan and whether the Taliban funeral caught on a Predator video had anything to do with this information. I'm not too sure that there's any linkage between those two events, but that Pakistan is dealing with the tribal regions in a different manner than they have as a result of a series of deals with those tribes suggests that something might be afoot - as is the way that reports from Pakistan are reflecting what the Pakistanis know or don't know about the Osama death reports.
Time is confirming the French stories, although US sources are more circumspect.
Hot Air has a roundup. Ed Morrissey also notes how we've been down this route before.
Something else to keep in mind, is that the war on terror doesn't start or end with the death of Osama bin Laden. It's just a marker on the side of the road because there are still other Islamists out there plotting mass casualty attacks. People like Zawahiri, and many other unnamed individuals who are busy plotting away hoping to inflict serious casualties in the West.
Tom Maguire has a Keyser Soze moment:
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Osama being considered to be dead works well for Bush, Musharaff, and Osama.Others blogging: Don Surber, Blue Star Chronicles, Macranger, Liberty and Justice, Decision 08, The Moderate Voice, All Things Beautiful, Dan Riehl, and Stop the ACLU.
Technorati: osama bin laden, al qaeda, terrorist.