A French Intelligence leak reveals that the Saudi Intelligence service believes it has good information that Osama bin Laden died on August 23 in a remote location in Pakistan of typhoid fever.
Washington Post story
AP provides an English version of the French story:
L’Est Republicain… 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 DGSE, or Direction Generale des Services Exterieurs, indicated that its information came from a single source.
“According to a reliable source, Saudi security services are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead,” said the intelligence report.
There have been periodic reports of bin Laden’s illness or death in recent years but none has been proven accurate.
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.
In Pakistan, a senior official of that country’s top spy agency, the ISI or Directorate of Inter-Service Intelligence, said he had no information to confirm bin Laden’s whereabouts or that he might be dead. The official said he believed the report could be fabricated. The official was not authorized to speak publicly on the topic and spoke on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Embassy officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan also said they could not confirm the French report.
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Original L’Est Republicain story