Image: Muhammed Atta
AP file
Mohammed Atta is shown in an undated photo originally released by the State of Florida Division of Motor Vehicles on Sept. 12, 2001. A previously unseen video made by Atta was found by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and has reportedly been obtained by a British newspaper. news services
updated 10/1/2006 1:26:20 AM ET 2006-10-01T05:26:20

A tape has emerged that appears to show Sept. 11 ringleader Muhammad Atta recording his last will and testament months before the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, according to NBC News and a report in the London Sunday Times.

The Pentagon and FBI are in possession of a videotape showing Atta together with another 9/11 hijacker, Ziad Jarrah, sources tell NBC News.

U.S. military officials obtained the tape at an al-Qaida compound in Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion of that country in the fall of 2001.

According to the Times, which says it obtained a copy of the tape through a "previously tested source," the video bears the date Jan. 18, 2000 and shows Atta and Jarrah laughing and smiling before Atta delivers a solemn statement marked "the will" in Arabic.

The videotape was mistakenly recorded without audio. The FBI has used Arabic translators in an attempt to lip-read the men’s statements, but to no avail, sources tell NBC News.

The Times said the footage was the first to show Atta and Jarrah together, and helped fill in a gap in the chronology of Atta's life.

Until now, investigators had not known where he had been in early 2000, but the tape shows he was in Afghanistan at bin Laden's Tarnak Farm hideout, the paper said.

The Darkest DayThe footage also shows bin Laden addressing a crowd of around 100 al-Qaida members on Jan. 8, 2000 -- 10 days before the footage of the hijackers.

NBC News filed a freedom of information act request for the videotapes early this year, but the Pentagon has not yet turned them over.

Senior NBC News Producer Jim Popkin, the NBC News Investigative Unit and Reuters contributed to this report.


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