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Jan. 28, 2002
Hospital Worker: I Saw Osama
Accused Terrorist Said To Have Had Dialysis On Sept. 10
(CBS) Everyone remembers what happened on Sept. 11 and, reports CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen, here's the story of what may have happened the night before.
In a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS Evening News has been told that the night before the Sept. 11 terrorists attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.
Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into a military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment.
"On that night," said a medical worker who wanted her identity protected, "they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them." She said it was treatment for a very special person and "the special team was obviously up to no good."
"They military had him surrounded," said a hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, "and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time," he said, "I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after."
Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments — back and stomach problems.
Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, said the military was often there to help before Sept. 11.
"There were reports that Pakistan intelligence had helped the Taliban buy dialysis machines and the rumor was that these were for wanted for Osama bin Laden," said Rashid.
Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they declined our request to see any records. Government officials reached Monday night denied that bin Laden received any medical treatment that night.
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday the United States has seen nothing to substantiate the report.
MAYBE NEAR DEATH
It was Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf who said in public what many suspected: that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death.
His evidence — watching the most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don't know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.
"With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden's health, I just am...don't have any knowledge," said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Bin Laden Underwent Dialysis
In Pakistan September 10
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden underwent clandestine kidney dialysis in a Pakistani military hospital the day before members of his al Qaeda network launched attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Pakistani intelligence sources told CBS News in a report aired on Monday.
Bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, received the treatment at a military hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, the source told CBS.
A hospital nurse told CBS that the hospital's urology department was cleared of its usual staff and replaced with another group of medical workers.
"It was a treatment for a very special person," said the nurse, who declined to be identified. "The special team was obviously up to no good."
Another hospital employee told CBS he saw a "mysterious" man being helped out of a car.
"He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other," said the man, who also requested anonymity. "They were saying to each other that Osama bin Laden has to be watched carefully and looked after."
Hospital officials and the Pakistani government denied the reports.
Bin Laden has not been seen since December, when he released a videotaped message to al-Jazeera television that appeared to have been recorded in early to mid December.
Earlier this month, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the United States has no way of knowing whether bin Laden had died of kidney problems but added that President Bush would not view that as "an unwelcome event."
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said bin Laden may have died of a kidney ailment.
"The photographs ... show him extremely weak," Musharraf told CNN. "He is a kidney patient and I know that he has donated two dialysis machines to Afghanistan and one was specifically for his own personal use."