From the Summary: "The release of a new videotape by Osama Bin Laden in late October 2004 rekindled public debate surrounding Al Qaeda's ideology, motives, and future plans to attack the United States. The highly political tone and content of the two most recent statements released by Osama Bin Laden [April and October 2004] have led some terrorism analysts to speculate that the messages may signal a new attempt by Bin Laden to create a lasting political leadership role for himself and Al Qaeda as the vanguard of an international Islamist ideological movement. Others have argued that Al Qaeda's presently limited capabilities have inspired a temporary rhetorical shift and that the group's primary goal remains carrying out terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies around the world, with particular emphasis on targeting economic infrastructure and fomenting unrest in Iraq and Afghanistan. This report reviews Osama Bin Laden's use of public statements from the mid-1990s to the present and analyzes the evolving ideological and political content of those statements. The report will be updated periodically. For background on the Al Qaeda terrorist network, see CRS Report RS21529, 'Al Qaeda after the Iraq Conflict.'"
CRS Report for Congress, RS21973