CNN: When the reporter becomes the story
BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a Baghdad hotel room, this Western journalist views horrifying video sent to him by an Islamic insurgent group in Iraq that carried out a recent terror attack.
MICHAEL WARE, "TIME": Oh, my God. I have not seen this. They've been filming this stuff from the beginning.
SADLER: Michael Ware, an Australian reporter working for "Time" magazine, is walking a professional knife-edge, an unlikely go-between for anti-Western militants.
He's viewing what purports to be the gruesome attack that killed four American security contractors in Fallujah some three months ago, when the bodies were dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge.
WARE: This video is straight from the Mujahideen. This is the Blackwater killings. They talk about planning it.
This is the seventh tape I've received in the last three or four days.
SADLER: Including the release of this tape. It illustrates how insurgent groups have developed the technique of using video to record attacks. A group called Unity and Jihad led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terror suspect in Iraq, claims to have made this presentation.
WARE: They have reached a level of organization and sophistication that we have not seen previously. They have become incredibly savvy.
SADLER: What is claimed to be a Zarqawi camera catches this disturbing sequence of a suicide bomber bidding farewell to fighters and boarding a tanker, wired to 3-1/2 tons of explosives, for start-to-finish coverage of the attack.
WARE: Something the last few months has now got them filming the most intimate graphic attacks, like up close and personal. They're trying to tell the Western public this is what your boys are dying for. This is what they're up against. Terrorism is about instilling terror. That's a part of what this is doing.
SADLER: Ware says he holds secret meetings in dangerous places with wanted men.
WARE: Whether you think I'm fortunate or whether you think I'm doomed, the point is I've been given a window into something that no one else has.
SADLER: A window, he says, that opened after 12 months of contact, with access to unexplored territory, straddling a moral and ethical minefield.
WARE: This kind of thing is never easy or comfortable. It doesn't sit well with you as a human being on many levels, but that's what covering war is like.
SADLER: Ware denies he's being used by terror groups and says he filters what he learns, regardless of the source.
WARE: This is a war. It has two sides. I feel an obligation to discover as much as I can about both sides. I feel that's what we're here to do.
SADLER (on camera): Do you worry that you're getting too close to this, that one day they might shoot the messenger?
WARE: I worry about that every waking moment and every sleeping dream and it terrifies me. It terrifies me on a personal level and it terrifies me in terms of what we're up against.
SADLER: And the danger involved.
Brent Sadler, CNN, Baghdad.