President Jacques Chirac said Saturday that information contained in a leaked intelligence document raising the possibility that Osama bin Laden may have died of typhoid in Pakistan last month is "in no way whatsoever confirmed."
Chirac said he was "a bit surprised" at the leak and has asked Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to probe how a document from a French foreign intelligence service was published in the French press.
The regional newspaper l'Est Republicain on Saturday printed what it described as a copy of a confidential document from the DGSE intelligence service citing an uncorroborated report from Saudi secret services that the leader of the al-Qaida terror network had died...
The Washington-based IntelCenter, which monitors terrorism communications, said it was not aware of any similar reports on the Internet.
"We've seen nothing from any al-Qaida messaging or other indicators that would point to the death of Osama bin Laden," IntelCenter director Ben N. Venzke told The Associated Press.
Al-Qaida would likely release information of his death fairly quickly if it were true, said Venzke, whose organization also provides counterterrorism intelligence services for the American government.
"They would want to release that to sort of control the way that it unfolds. If they wait too long, they could lose the initiative on it," he said...
According to this report, 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.