U.S. Officials Confirm American Hostage's Beheading

JUNE 18, 2004 - Posted at 3:50 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON - Two U.S. officials are confirming that Paul Johnson has been beheaded.

The officials didn't want to be identified, and there's been no official confirmation from the government.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said earlier that Johnson's beheading was "a barbaric action" that showed what kind of people the world is dealing with.

He said the killing would push both the Saudis and the U.S. to redouble efforts at chasing terrorists "wherever they are trying to hide."

The officials said al-Quaida's porported top man in Saudi Arabia is considered the chief suspect in Johnson's killing.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)