Richard Clarke, the loved then hated then loved again CIA guy, thinks bin Laden is still alive but that his beard may give clues as to where his lair is.
The jihadist Web site announced the tape with a banner, showing a still picture of bin Laden, now 50 years old, looking fit with a full beard of dark black hair, no gray at all.
"It does look oddly like he is wearing a false beard," Richard Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official and now ABC News consultant, said. "If we go back to the tape three years, he had a very white beard. This looks like a phony beard that has been passed on."
The "phony beard" may be an important clue as to where bin Laden is hiding, according to Clarke.
"One place where a beard would stand out would be southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia," Clarke told ABC News. "No one's thought he was there, but that is an environment where most men, Muslim men don't have beards."
U.S. officials say there is little doubt the al Qaeda leader timed his latest message to the 9/11 anniversary.
"He came up on this occasion to prove he's alive, to taunt us and to take advantage of the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies to get some propaganda," Clarke said.