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Missing Links Found
NY Times ^ | Nov 24, 2003 | William Safire

Posted on 11/23/2003 11:30:28 PM PST by neverdem

WASHINGTON — Two blockbuster magazine articles last week revealed evidence that Saddam's spy agency and top Qaeda operatives certainly were in frequent contact for a decade, and that there is renewed reason to suspect an Iraqi spymaster in Prague may have helped finance the 9/11 attacks.

On weeklystandard.com, you can find chunks of a 16-page letter by Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, responding to a Senate Intelligence Committee request for evidence of Saddam-bin Laden collaboration. Fifty specific instances from C.I.A., N.S.A., F.B.I. and Pentagon files are described, many from "sensitive reporting" never made public.

The Defense Department acknowledged the Oct. 27 letter included a classified annex of "raw reports or products" of U.S. intelligence agencies on "the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," cautioning that it "drew no conclusions." But with so much connective tissue exposed — some the result of "custodial interviews" of prisoners — the burden of proof has shifted to those still grimly in denial.

Remember how anti-liberation politicians and journalists pooh-poohed Colin Powell's February 2003 speech to the U.N. about the presence in Iraq of a Qaeda associate, identified in this space as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi? Powell's assertion had this "sensitive reporting" basis: "As of Oct. 2002 al Zarqawi was setting up sleeper cells in Baghdad to be activated in case of a U.S. occupation of the city."

Deniers derogate as "cherry picking" Feith's intelligence summary available to senators: "The Czech counterintelligence service reported that the Sept. 11 hijacker [Mohamed] Atta met with the former Iraqi intelligence chief in Prague, al Ani, on several occasions. During one of those meetings, al Ani ordered the IIS [Iraq Intelligence Service] finance officer to issue Atta funds from IIS financial holdings in the Prague office."

If true, that would implicate Saddam's regime in the murder of 3,000 Americans. Though the C.I.A. can confirm two Atta trips to Prague, in 1994 and 2000, it cannot confirm the two other visits the Czechs reported, including one on April 9, 2001, with Saddam's top European agent, al-Ani, then vice consul in Prague. C.I.A. chief George Tenet testified that the meeting reported by the Czech service was "possible," but the F.B.I. floated hints that car rental records showed Atta to be traveling between Virginia and Florida that week.

Enter the writer Edward Jay Epstein in the liberal online journal Slate: "All these reports attributed to the FBI were, as it turns out, erroneous. There were no car rental records in Virginia, Florida, or anywhere else in April 2001 for Mohamed Atta, since he had not yet obtained his Florida license." You cannot rent a car without a driver's license.

Epstein went to Prague this month to interview Czech officials who want to cooperate with the U.S. to get to the bottom of the Atta-Iraqi story but have been stiffed by the F.B.I., whose bureaucracy is sensitive to charges of failed surveillance. Read his detailed Slate report and subsequent commentary on edwardjayepstein.com.

Since July, al-Ani has been in U.S. Department of Justice custody and I wonder how effectively he is being interrogated. Have we learned the whereabouts of his Prague and Baghdad aides and secretaries, and taken their testimony? Have we asked M.I.5 to let us speak to Jabir Salim, his Prague station-chief predecessor, who defected to Britain and may know which employees and which banks could transfer $100,000 to an account accessible to Atta?

Did al-Ani order any payment to "the student from Hamburg" or his co-conspirators, as Czech intelligence believes, and did the paymaster carry out the order? To what superior in Baghdad did al-Ani report, and who worked most closely with him, and are they in custody and do their stories jibe? What have we offered al-Ani, in protection or immunity or plea bargain, to turn state's evidence?

F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller is duty-bound to examine the full transcript of the interrogation to see how seriously this is being pursued; same with Senate Intelligence. I'd also assign new agents to follow up leads in Prague.

Intrepid journalists will ultimately bring the full story of the Saddam-bin Laden connection to light. In the meantime, the F.B.I. should stop treating 9/11 as a cold case.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alqaedaandiraq; iraq; iraqalqaeda; missinglinks; osamasaddam; terrorism; williamsafire
Finally, the clarion call can be suppressed from the NY Times any longer.
1 posted on 11/23/2003 11:30:28 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem
can = can not
2 posted on 11/23/2003 11:34:54 PM PST by neverdem (Say a prayer for New York both for it's lefty statism and the probability the city will be hit again)
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To: neverdem
LOL, the former "paper of record" finally decided to report this "blockbuster" story?
Talk about a day late and a dollar short! Pathetic.
3 posted on 11/23/2003 11:36:03 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard
Safire's been all over the Atta/ Al-Ani thing since 2001.
4 posted on 11/23/2003 11:49:02 PM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: Lancey Howard
Safire's been all over the Atta/ Al-Ani thing since 2001. IOW, he's no latecomer.
5 posted on 11/23/2003 11:49:29 PM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
This story printed in the NY Times is earth-shattering. The Left can officially no longer deny the connection.
6 posted on 11/23/2003 11:56:02 PM PST by thoughtomator ("A republic, if you can keep it.")
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
I thought I'd ping ya this one as well.
If my pingings get annoying, feel free to slap me...
7 posted on 11/23/2003 11:59:51 PM PST by RandallFlagg ("There are worse things than crucifixion...There are teeth.")
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To: phasma proeliator
Ping
8 posted on 11/24/2003 12:05:12 AM PST by da_toolman
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To: neverdem
"Since July, al-Ani has been in U.S. Department of Justice custody and I wonder how effectively he is being interrogated."

Hey Ernie, do you still have that pair of vise-grips in your desk? This guy don't wanna talk to me.
9 posted on 11/24/2003 12:05:20 AM PST by DeepDish (Depleted uranium and democrats are a lot alike. They've both been sucked dry of anything useful)
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To: Lancey Howard
"LOL, the former "paper of record" finally decided to report this "blockbuster" story? Talk about a day late and a dollar short! Pathetic."

The NYT did not report it. Safire is their token conservative columnist. As far as I know the news section has yet to mention this story.

10 posted on 11/24/2003 12:09:08 AM PST by Neanderthal
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To: thoughtomator
Are you taking bets on that?
11 posted on 11/24/2003 12:10:13 AM PST by FormerlyAnotherLurker
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To: thoughtomator
This story printed in the NY Times is earth-shattering. The Left can officially no longer deny the connection.

It is a Safire piece. He is the NYT's token conservative columnist. (Dismissive sneer) "It is not hard news, just a notorious conservative's opinion, don't you know."

12 posted on 11/24/2003 12:14:22 AM PST by Plutarch
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To: FormerlyAnotherLurker
Ha! No.
13 posted on 11/24/2003 12:19:20 AM PST by thoughtomator ("A republic, if you can keep it.")
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To: Plutarch
It's amazing that the op-ed has the headline news, and the headline news is the op-ed.
14 posted on 11/24/2003 12:20:05 AM PST by thoughtomator ("A republic, if you can keep it.")
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To: thoughtomator
Rats! (pun intended) I was hoping for some easy money.
15 posted on 11/24/2003 12:21:43 AM PST by FormerlyAnotherLurker
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To: Lancey Howard
"LOL, the former "paper of record" finally decided to report this "blockbuster" story?
Talk about a day late and a dollar short! Pathetic."

The "paper of record" has been losing more and more folks who formerly bothered with their "paper of record".

My question is "why has GWB basiclly remained mum". My guess is that he's saving everything for a big info dump at the end of October, FWIW.
16 posted on 11/24/2003 12:21:55 AM PST by neverdem (Say a prayer for New York both for it's lefty statism and the probability the city will be hit again)
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To: neverdem
Don't worry. Just as the Dems try to refocus the fact their tactics have been leaked in their own memos to who "stoled" the memos, the left will eventually get around to killing the messenger and remind everyone that the "Weekly Standard" is nothing but a far right wing puppet of the necons that control the Bush administration (in their words).

17 posted on 11/24/2003 12:22:32 AM PST by Fledermaus (Fascists, Totalitarians, Baathists, Communists, Socialists, Democrats - what's the difference?)
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To: neverdem
BTTT (I must be asleep and dreaming.)
18 posted on 11/24/2003 12:23:49 AM PST by DaughterOfAnIwoJimaVet (I don't suffer from stress. I'm a carrier.)
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To: Neanderthal
They have two tokens now. They also hired David Brooks from the Weekly Standard. Both are right of center, but not hard right. Neither are pure libertarian or pure conservative, each is niether fish or fowl. Brooks advocates gay marriage. The author of this Op-Ed, who was a Nixon speechwriter, routinely rails against gambling and called for ballistic fingerprinting in the wake of Muhammed and Malvo.
19 posted on 11/24/2003 12:42:53 AM PST by neverdem (Say a prayer for New York both for it's lefty statism and the probability the city will be hit again)
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To: Neanderthal
The NYT did not report it. Safire is their token conservative columnist. As far as I know the news section has yet to mention this story.

Good point.

20 posted on 11/24/2003 12:50:59 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: neverdem
My question is "why has GWB basiclly remained mum". My guess is that he's saving everything for a big info dump at the end of October, FWIW.

I agree. And perhaps the timely discovery of the bodies of bin Laden and Saddam as well? Or, if one or both is still alive, their capture. I figure if either is still alive we will leave them in place to gain intelligence about terror cells and plans for new terror attacks. No telling when that well will run dry.

21 posted on 11/24/2003 12:59:58 AM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard
"LOL, the former "paper of record" finally decided to report this "blockbuster" story?
Talk about a day late and a dollar short! Pathetic."

Bill Saffire is not exactly the NYT. He is only their token conservative.
22 posted on 11/24/2003 1:05:14 AM PST by billhilly (If you're lurking here from DU, I trust this post will make you sick)
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To: billhilly
Somehow you missed comment# 19. Now they two somewhat conservative columnists, Bill Safire and David Brooks.
23 posted on 11/24/2003 1:42:51 AM PST by neverdem (Say a prayer for New York both for it's lefty statism and the probability the city will be hit again)
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To: neverdem
they two = they have two
24 posted on 11/24/2003 1:50:36 AM PST by neverdem (Say a prayer for New York both for it's lefty statism and the probability the city will be hit again)
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To: Lancey Howard
$.75 a day short anways...
25 posted on 11/24/2003 2:35:14 AM PST by RaceBannon
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To: RandallFlagg; MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...
Thanks, RF.
~~~~~~~~~

Two blockbuster magazine articles last week revealed evidence that Saddam's spy agency and top Qaeda operatives certainly were in frequent contact for a decade, and that there is renewed reason to suspect an Iraqi spymaster in Prague may have helped finance the 9/11 attacks.

~~~~~~~~~
William Safire in the New York Times.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you want on or off my Pro-Coalition ping list, please Freepmail me. Warning: it is a high volume ping list on good days. (Most days are good days).

26 posted on 11/24/2003 6:17:58 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl (If SH is behind the current activities it will be the 4th war that he's lost in 20 yrs.~Gen K *11/18)
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To: Lancey Howard
I remain very troubled by three aspects of this "case":

1. There is little movement on documenting the events leading up to and resulting in the 9/11 attacks by investigators. This has allowed numerous conspiracy theories to develop and get traction, especially abroad.

2. A number of "investigative" reporters, such as Isakoff and others, have already staked a position, and their reputations, that there is no evidence of a link between Iraq and Al-Qaida, or a link between Iraqi support of Al-Qaida and 9/11. This culminated in a very public and coordinated rebuke of public opinion polls showing a significant majority believed Iraq had ties to Al-Qaida and shared liability for 9/11. It is now very difficult for these journalists to objectively consider these ties, especially with little information from non-existant aggressive official investigations.

3. President Bush publicly quelled interest in this issue by stating he had no evidence of a link between Iraq and the 9/11 attack by Al-Qaida. Worse, it seemed there was not much interest in pursuing and exposing a link if there was one. It basically undercut the case made by Powell at the UN in February and others in his administration prior and after that. It undercut the case decided by Judge Baer. It undercut the case being brought on behalf of FBI agent John O'Neill's estate.

So, either some journalists will have to admit they were wrong and 70% of America was right - and those being informed by FoxNews were right - or Oliver Stone Jr. will be making films about how the CIA remotely flew airliners into the WTC and Pentagon to initiate a war on behalf of an imperialistic and oil thirsty evil US administration.
27 posted on 11/24/2003 7:06:23 AM PST by optimistically_conservative (assonance and consonance have nothing on alliteration)
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To: neverdem
INTREP
28 posted on 11/24/2003 8:09:35 AM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Missing Links Found ~ Bump!
29 posted on 11/24/2003 9:20:00 AM PST by blackie
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To: neverdem
Finally getting some attention......BUMP
30 posted on 11/24/2003 2:34:19 PM PST by JulieRNR21 (One good term deserves another! Take W-04....Across America!)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump!
31 posted on 11/24/2003 9:31:05 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: neverdem
In the NYT tomarrow ? Aren't they a few months late with this ?
32 posted on 11/24/2003 9:36:22 PM PST by ChadGore (Kakkate Koi!)
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To: ChadGore
"In the NYT tomarrow ? Aren't they a few months late with this?"

Better late than never. I think Safire had most of the story already written months ago, but his bosses wouldn't go to print with it. Finally, after that recitation of connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq, the Slimes let it go a conservative's Op-Ed column.
33 posted on 11/24/2003 9:54:18 PM PST by neverdem (Say a prayer for New York both for it's lefty statism and the probability the city will be hit again)
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