(Update): Terrorists and use of hidden messages

Iomart claims withdrawn

Following publication of this article, Telepolis was contacted by Stephen Whitelaw of Iomart, the Scottish internet company which claimed to have been asked by US intelligence to track steganographic communications on the internet used by Osama bin Laden. He admitted that the press stories were wrong.

It was "not true" that US intelligence had called in Iomart to help them in tracking Al Qaeda communications, Mr Whitelaw said on Wednesday. He admitted that he and his company had "not discovered any [hidden] messages" on the internet sent by Osama bin Laden. "The company has nothing to do with it. Its all misquotes. Its got out of hand".

Mr Whitelaw said that he was "still analysing" images which had previously been recorded, as a "personal interest", but without results so far. He did not know anything about bin Laden's use of the internet other than what he had read in newspapers.

Other directors of Iomart had been dismayed by the publicity outburst. They were interested in "making sales of Net Intelligence the product", Mr Whitelaw explained, but "they don't want any more publicity to do with this." (Duncan Campbell)