Bin Laden Tape Fuels Anger,
Doesn't Change Minds
By Jon Herskovitz

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans stood even firmer in their views that Osama bin Laden masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks after watching a videotape released on Thursday in which the Saudi-born militant says the attacks were more deadly than he expected.
Trading slowed on Wall Street and clusters of people in Times Square stood motionless for a moment before the billboard television screen there to watch the low-quality videotape the United States said clearly implicated bin Laden in the attacks that killed about 3,300 people.
"Maybe, for someone, this will be the smoking gun. But I don't need no more convincing," said Yvonne Torlio, a health care worker who watched the broadcast at Times Square.
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the tape showed that bin Laden was the "personification of evil."
"He is obviously delighted he killed more people than he anticipated," Giuliani said at a news conference. "Unless he was brought to justice he would kill a lot more innocent human beings."
Delivery man Mike Contandi joined the crowds watching the tape in Times Square, just a few miles (kilometers) from the site where two hijacked airplanes slammed into the World Trade Center, collapsing the twin towers. In the tape, bin Laden talks about his calculations of death in felling the 110-story towers.
"The smoking gun will be when we finally catch bin Laden," said Contandi.
For Ryan Amundson of Brookfield, Wisconsin, the tape only added fuel to the rage he felt over the attacks.
"It renewed a sense of anger in me. Just to see them sitting there and laughing and going about things nonchalantly while they're talking about killing thousands of Americans," he said.
"They were acting like it was business as usual for them. It made me angry -- again," Amundson said.
Wall Street traders said the airing of the roughly hour-long videotape at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) significantly dampened market action as participants stopped watching their trading screens and turned their attention to television screens.
"We already knew what was on there. It's not very interesting. I'm more interested to see the reaction from the world community and how they take it," said Wall Street trader Brian Pears, head of equity trading at Victoria Capital Management in Ohio.
U.S. officials say the tape, released by the Pentagon and accompanied by an official U.S. government translation, proves bin Laden was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that killed nearly 3,300 people.
"(Inaudible) we calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy, who would be killed based on the position of the tower," bin Laden says in the U.S. translation.
"We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all."
Bin Laden, who inherited millions from his family's construction fortune in Saudi Arabia, makes reference to his own knowledge of that business.
"(Inaudible) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only," bin Laden said. "This is all that we had hoped for."
Instead, the weight of the upper floors brought down the entire structures as they collapsed.
The amateur videotape shows a relaxed and smiling bin Laden sitting and talking to a group of people. It was shot in November and found in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said.
Alan Dean, a financial industry worker from San Diego, who was visiting New York, said that he did not see any need for releasing the tape. He said there was already enough evidence that implicated bin Laden.
"Do we really need to release it? It didn't change my thoughts or opinions," Dean said.
This Site Served by TheHostPros