PARIS – American and French officials cast serious doubts Saturday on a French newspaper's report that Usama bin Laden was believed to have died in Pakistan last month.
The French newspaper l'Est Republicain printed what it described as a confidential document from the French foreign intelligence service DGSE citing an uncorroborated report from Saudi secret services that bin Laden died of typhoid last month.
A U.S. official told FOX News that he had seen no evidence to suggest the Al Qaeda leader was dead. "Don't believe it," he said. "I would not give credence to that report."
Time magazine reported Saturday that bin Laden contracted a "serious water-borne disease" and may already be dead. The article cited an anonymous Saudi source who said Saudi officials have not received concrete evidence of bin Laden's death.
French President Jacques Chirac said the information is "in no way whatsoever confirmed."
Chirac said he was "a bit surprised" at the leak and has asked Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie to investigate how a document from a French foreign intelligence service was published in the French press.
The DGSE sent the document, dated Sept. 21 or Thursday, to Chirac and other top French officials, the newspaper said.
"This information is in no way whatsoever confirmed," Chirac said Saturday when asked about the document. "I have no comment."
Officials from Afghanistan to Washington expressed doubts about the report.
A senior official in Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry said he is "very skeptical of the truthfulness" of the document, noting past false reports of the death of bin Laden. He was not authorized to address the issue and asked that his name not be used.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tasnim Aslam, called the information "speculative," saying that Pakistan like other countries was "clueless about him."
In Washington, Blair Jones, a presidential spokesman, said Saturday that the White House could not confirm the accuracy of the report that bin Laden may have died.
CIA duty officer Paul Gimigliano said he could not confirm the DGSE report.
A senior U.S. intelligence official told FOX News that rumors of bin Laden's ailing health occur frequently, and there is "no evidence, no reason to believe it's true."
The Washington-based IntelCenter, which monitors terrorism communications, said it was not aware of any similar reports on the Internet.
"We've seen nothing from any Al Qaeda messaging or other indicators that would point to the death of Usama bin Laden," IntelCenter director Ben N. Venzke told The Associated Press.
Al Qaeda would likely release information of his death fairly quickly if it were true, said Venzke, whose organization also provides counterterrorism intelligence services for the American government.
"They would want to release that to sort of control the way that it unfolds. If they wait too long, they could lose the initiative on it," he said.
The last time the IntelCenter says it could be sure bin Laden was alive was June 29, when al-Qaida released an audiotape in which the terror leader eulogized Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq earlier that month.
Putin suggested that leaks can be manipulated. "When there are leaks ... one can say that (they) were done especially."
Earlier the French defense ministry said it was opening an investigation into the leak.
"The information published this morning by the l'Est Republicain newspaper concerning the possible death of Usama bin Laden cannot be confirmed," a Defense Ministry statement said.
The DGSE, or Direction Generale des Services Exterieurs, indicated that its information came from a single source.
"According to a usually reliable source, Saudi security services are now convinced that Usama bin Laden is dead," the intelligence report said.
There have been periodic reports of bin Laden's illness or death in recent years but none has been proven accurate.
According to this report, Saudi security services were pursuing further details, notably the place of his burial.
"The chief of Al Qaeda was a victim of a severe typhoid crisis while in Pakistan on Aug. 23, 2006," the document says. His geographic isolation meant that medical assistance was impossible, the French report said, adding that his lower limbs were allegedly paralyzed.
The report further said Saudi security services had their first information on bin Laden's alleged death on Sept. 4.
In Pakistan, a senior official of that country's top spy agency, the ISI or Directorate of Inter-Service Intelligence, said he had no information to confirm bin Laden's whereabouts or that he might be dead. The official said he believed the report could be fabricated. The official was not authorized to speak publicly on the topic and spoke on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Embassy officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan also said they could not confirm the French report.
Gen. Henri Bentegeat, the French army chief of staff, said in a radio debate last Sunday that bin Laden's fate remained a mystery.
"Today, bin Laden is certainly not in Afghanistan," Bentegeat said. "No one is completely certain that he is even alive."
FOX News' Nick Simeone, Catherine Herridge and the Associated Press contributed to this report.