PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I think it’s really an attempt to interfere with the tourist economy in Egypt, an attempt to attack the Egyptian government indirectly since tourism is such an important component of the Egyptian economy. We’ve seen now a campaign of attacks against Egyptian tourist targets in the past year and a half. Before that, there was really no attacks on tourists since 1997 when most of the main Egyptian terrorist groups did a sort of cease-fire with the Egyptian government. That cease-fire is clearly dead now. These groups inspired by Al Qaeda or perhaps links to Al Qaeda certainly inspired by Ayman al Zawahiri, bin Laden’s number two guy in Al Qaeda.

Books in Canada In 1997, Peter Bergen travelled to Afghanistan to interview a young Saudi who, word had it, was using his family wealth to finance international terrorism. Bergen listened for an hour as the tall, thin man in camouflage quietly declared war against the West. Asked about his plans, he replied: “You’ll see them and hear about them in the media, God willing.”

BUSH administration defenders, right-wing bloggers and neoconservative publications are crowing about Iraqi documents newly released by the Pentagon that, they say, prove that Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were in league.

Even though the 9/11 commission found no ”collaborative relationship” between the ultrafundamentalist Osama bin Laden and the secular Saddam Hussein, the administration’s reiterations of a supposed connection — Vice President Dick Cheney has argued that the evidence for such an alliance was ”overwhelming” — have convinced two out of three Americans that they had ”strong” links.

Friday, Mar 24, 2006 review of OBL I Know in Le Monde

Wanted: dead or alive, announced President George W. Bush over four years ago. Despite a reward of $25m Osama bin Laden is still at large. The mass of books claiming to explain the phenomenon have more than anything only deepened the mystery.

The man sitting opposite me in the hotel room in downtown Baghdad was adamant. His group did not ever combine forces with al-Qaida. They had never done so and they never would. “We met some of them, but we have refused to work with them because it is too dangerous,” he said. “They are really bloodthirsty people. They do not care if they kill honest Iraqi people. They are crazy, I tell you.”

Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006 The Madrassa Scapegoat

Peter Bergen is a Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation and an adjunct

professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Swati Pandey is a researcher and writer at the Los Angeles Times.

Bergen, author of the acclaimed Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden, has pieced together the accounts of over 50 people who have known bin Laden to construct a narrative of the man and his deeds.

After viewing an Al Qaeda videotape circulating on the Internet, Bergen wrote to John Burns saying that he was “alarmed” as it seemed to presage a major Al Qaeda attack. Burns filed a story which was put on the ‘New York Times’ website but not in the newspaper of September 9. Two days later the Times took the story off its website

When I visited Osama bin Laden’s former base in Tora Bora little more than a year ago, I climbed steep, scree-covered slopes to reach his Afghan house, perched high above the snow line and commanding views of verdant valleys several thousand feet below. The hamlet, known as Milawa, comprised several lookout posts strung out along ridge lines, a bakery, bin Laden’s two-bedroom house and even a crude swimming pool, all of which had been destroyed by U.S. air strikes in December 2001. It is a place where bin Laden seems to have been very happy. He once told Abdel Bari Atwan, a Palestinian journalist, “I really enjoy my life when I’m here. I feel secure in this place.”

After four years on the run, Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted man, is nowhere to be found. So rather than answer the $50m question, “Where is Osama?”, journalist and terrorism expert Peter Bergen decided to take the easier option of finding out, “Who is Osama?”. As one of the few westerners ever to have met the Al-Qaeda leader face to face, he was well placed to do this.