NEW YORK – A tape delivered to ABC News in Pakistan this weekend features a masked man making terrorist threats against Los Angeles and Australia.
ABC News reported that the man is believed to be Adam Yahiye Gadahn, an American from California purported to be an al-Qaeda member and wanted by the FBI. The CIA said Sunday it was aware of the report but had no immediate comment about the tape's authenticity.
Counterterror officials believe Gadahn also may be the person on a 75-minute video given to ABC News last year in Pakistan.
The tape was aired on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Sunday, the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The man on the tape, wearing a black turban with most of his face covered, calls the attacks of four years ago "blessed events" before making a threat against the U.S.
"Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Allah willing. And this time, don't count on us demonstrating restraint and compassion," the man says during the 11-minute tape.
In a joint statement, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and police Chief William Bratton said authorities knew of no specific, credible threat to the city and that they had discussed the tape with FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials.
"The statement was meant to instill fear, and fear is the most potent weapon the terrorists posses," the statement said, "Bombastic pronouncements are expected on the eve of terrorist incidents like September 11, but we cannot let such pronouncements alter our lifestyles."
The man on the tape goes on to call President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair "liars" and issues a warning.
"We love peace, but when the enemy violates that peace or prevents us from achieving it, then we love nothing better than the heat of battle, the echo of explosions, and slitting the throats of the infidels," he says.
Investigators have said Gadahn, who grew up on a farm in California, converted to Islam as a teen, moved to Pakistan, attended al-Qaeda training camps and served as a translator for the terrorist organization.
A phone listing for Gadahn's father, Philip Gadhan, could not be found Sunday. Gadahn's aunt, Nancy Pearlman, said she had seen news coverage of the video but the family had no comment.
Last year Philip Gadahn said that he was baffled by the allegation his son was an al-Qaeda operative, saying he has spoken to his son only occasionally in recent years but still can't imagine that he would be involved with a terrorist network.
Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said that authorities in his country "naturally inquire when such a tape appears, to know who delivered it or how. Asked whether Gadahn could be hiding in Pakistan, Sherpao said, "I have no information."