Thu January 22, 2004 10:47 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is no truth to a rumor in the foreign exchange markets that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been captured, a U.S. official said on Thursday.
"It's not true," the official said when asked about the rumor. Traders cited the rumor as one reason why the dollar gained ground.
U.S. forces have been hunting for bin Laden since the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks on America that were blamed on al Qaeda.
While other al Qaeda leaders have been captured or killed, bin Laden has remained elusive and is believed to be hiding in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The bin Laden market rumor was also fueled by news that Treasury Secretary John Snow would hold a briefing to announce a joint U.S. action with Saudi Arabia in the financial war on terrorism.
Now I don't mean to be sounding like some conspiracy-theory crackpot but could they just be denying this so that they can release this information at a more useful time, say just before a certain presidential election?