Skip to comments.Unwelcome Truths (Able Danger, OKC, 9/11)
Posted on 08/15/2005 12:57:02 PM PDT by doug from upland
In mid-19th century America a political party sprung up called the Know Nothing Party. It got its name from a trait that more than a century later would be called plausible deniability. Know Nothings - when asked a relevant question - would deny knowledge of the subject. It bemuses us as a quaint eccentricity from a distant time until we realize that were doing the same thing today. Recent revelations about covert Able Danger operations conducted in the US against terrorism are forcing certain people to deal with subjects that they had thought swept fully under the carpet.
Because most of the culprits in this astonishing story of willful ignorance are either Democrats - most especially members of the administration of disgraced President Clinton - or are media liberals, the story is likely to be buried until it explodes on Internet publishing, blogs, and talk radio. But this culpability exceeds even the usual gap between left and right in that it includes many in the so-called realist wing of the Republican Party and Republican liberals (aka, centrists and moderates in the MSM).
By now you will have read many summaries of a recently released Able Danger report. The Able Danger operation is described by former CIA operative and terrorism expert Wayne Simmons as one of our best covert operations. The operation he continues, was expert at using open source intel to locate and identify Islamic terrorists. We can only surmise that a gold mine of information lies yet unrevealed. The latest result was neatly addressed by NY Post columnist Deborah Orin who wrote tellingly of the incredible ineptitude of the highly-touted and endlessly self-absorbed 9/11 Commission. Staffers - perhaps even the self-promoting Commissioners themselves - intentionally ignored Able Danger reports that were delivered on at least two separate briefings, that provided detailed intelligence on terrorist Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers years prior to the September 11 attack.
There are several factors - none flattering to the Commission - that might explain this appalling lapse. John Podhoretz summaries them neatly: So was the [911 Commission] staff a) protecting the Atta timeline or b) Jamie Gorelick or c) the Clinton administration or d) itself, because it got hold of the information relatively late and the staff was lazy? Options b and c are tightly related. Then high-ranking Clinton Justice Department appointee Gorelick wrote the infamous wall memo that forbade interagency coordination of matters involving internal terrorism investigations. Specifically DOD and CIA were prohibited from exchanging relevant information with FBI. This produced much of the harmful lack of intelligence coordination that the Commission then used arrogantly and paternalistically to criticize the Executive Branch - particularly the Bush administration, even though most of the problems arose during Clinton and earlier. Regardless, the eventual outcome of the Able Danger bombshell will tarnish the image the 9/11 Commission burnished so brightly for itself.
But the really upsetting matter is Podhoretzs first note. It requires a deeper reading. The Commission was protecting its interpretation of Mohammad Attas international and domestic US travels. Key in this interpretation in the minds of GOP foreign policy realists, Clinton supporters, and Bush haters, is the necessity to de-link any ties between Saddam Husseins Iraq and al Qaeda operations. After all, in the endless cacophony of criticism against the Iraq War, the two steady drumbeats have been failure to find WMD, and no links between Saddam and the September 11 attack. Till now they have acted in the manner of modern day Know Nothings by deliberate misinterpretations of a series of reports including the 911 Commissions, and WMD reports by David Kay and Charles Dueffler.
However the unimpeachable Able Danger report, reluctantly acknowledged to be correct by 911 Commission staffers, may well blow the lid off the ability of the Know Nothings to continue to cloak the truth. For the movements of Atta prior to the terrorist attack, if acknowledged, will support statements by the Czech Republic that link Atta, and hence the al Qaeda attack on America, irrefutably to Saddams covert intelligence operatives. This is something that surfaced very soon after the attack. The former Czech deputy foreign minister, later ambassador to the UN, gave statements that he personally expelled a high raking Iraqi embassy official in Prague for being a covert foreign intelligence agent after the latter was discovered having met with Atta in the international lounge at the Prague airport in August 2001. There the Iraqi transferred a large amount of cash to Atta, sufficient to fund the completion of the September 11 attack.
Despite cruel pressure from MSM, the hard left, and the US State Department and CIA, the Czechs insisted that their report was correct. Former Congressman John LeBoutellier was furious at the Bush administration for bowing to CIA pressure to discount the Czech report because it verified a vital deadly connection within the covert terrorist community. Now it appears as if the Czechs were right. Dont hold your breath waiting for apologies to be forthcoming from previous critics.
By acknowledging the Iraq-al Qaeda ties, not only to terrorism in general but to the September 11 attack in particular the anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-expansion of democracy and freedom assaults by the critics are suddenly muted. In fact, the war becomes completely acceptable under any and all circumstances. This outcome is so repugnant to the hard left that it will justify even the most extraordinary suppression of evidence or promulgation of an outright lie in order to achieve its ends.
Furthermore, if the Iraq-al Qaeda ties in one attack are proved then we must dig deeper and investigate the possibility of previous links and previous attacks. This brings us to the Oklahoma City bombing, a too-hasty FBI investigation, and political pressure to close the case once the perfect perpetrators were arrested. Who other than Tim McVeigh could have been a more ideal catch? A disgruntled white male redneck, ex-military, supporter of the Branch Davidians, who read neo-Nazi books, McVeigh so represented the lefts worldview that the investigation was halted before it began. Janet Reno, perennial willing accomplice to the Clintons, ordered the FBI to cease work after McVeigh and Terry Nichols were in custody.
Gutsy Oklahoma City reporter Jayna Davis conducted her own contemporary investigation that she details in her excellent book The Third Terrorist, in which she tells of highly suspicious Iraqi behavior in Oklahoma City. Further, she was stunned when the FBI and other law enforcement agencies smugly dismissed her findings and insisted that they had solved and closed the case. For its part, the FBI was happy to wrap up a case quickly without the need to delve into foreign terrorist matters. It was more expeditious to cut away and discard loose ends than to pursue them. Acknowledgement that Iraq and al Qaeda were involved in the bombing would have necessitated a major military response to the attack that the Clinton administration wanted to avoid. As long as the event could be covered by the criminal justice system - as had the 1993 World Trade bombing - Clintons foreign policy aims were accommodated.
Continued investigation by Davis showed that the top Iraqi in question was a former senior Iraqi Republican Guard officer with close Saddam regime ties. Further some of the members of the Iraqi group that fled Oklahoma City when the bombing of the Murrah Building took place moved to the Northeast. One later took a job at Logan International Airport in Boston, the location of two September 11 hijackings. He disappeared after that attack.
The Know Nothing philosophy is harming America, and has become intolerable. It is long overdue for America to sweep away the obfuscating cloud brought on by ludicrous political correctness and the incessant bleating of the Know Nothings. A core principle of war is that in order to win, you must know yourself and know your enemy. We must insist that the truth be surfaced, discussed, analyzed, and acted upon. Continual suppression of essential facts emboldens our enemies and makes us increasingly vulnerable to subsequent attack.
Able Danger reports must be made public to the extent possible, and we must have a reinvestigation of the series of terrorist attacks on America, preferably without the irrational partisanship that has markedly hurt our war effort to date. That may necessitate some harsh words from the White House toward certain opposition politicians and toward the media. It also requires radical reform of the dysfunctional State Department, CIA, FBI, and any other of the Executive Branch agencies that consider themselves a separate branch of government. The American people can handle the truth.
Procrastination - guaranteeing failure - is not an option. tRO
Curious about North Korea? Learn more in Gordons best-selling book Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin became the Evil Twin, Lyons Press available at bookstores now
Contributor Gordon Cucullu
Former Green Beret lieutenant colonel, Gordon Cucullu is now an editorialist, author and a popular speaker. Born into a military family, he lived and served for more than thirteen years in East Asia, including eight years in Korea. For his Special Forces service in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Commendation. After separation from the Army, he worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both the Pentagon and Department of State as well as an executive for General Electric in Korea. His first major non-fiction work, Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is based in large part on his extensive experience in Korea and East Asia as a governmental insider and businessman. [website] [go to Cucullu index]
Separated at Birth : How North Korea Became the Evil Twin Gordon Cucullu
Gordon Cucullu Recommends Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror Thomas McInerney & Paul E. Vallely
Gordon Cucullu Recommends Beyond Baghdad Ralph Peters
Gordon Cucullu Recommends Dawn over Baghdad Karl Zinsmeister
If I thought it would do an ounce of good, I'd argue with you about that point.
But since I don't, I won't. :-)
Czech Spies Still See Iraqi Connection to Sept. 11
Mohammad Attas Decisive Meeting
Jaroslav Spurny, Respekt (independent weekly), Prague, Czech Republic, Nov. 10, 2003
Footage from a closed-circuit camera shows Mohammad Atta (R) passing through security at the airport in Portland, ME, Sept. 11, 2001 (Photo: Portland Police Dept./AFP-Getty Images).
Immediately after the occupation of Baghdad, the CIA succeeded in obtaining nearly the complete archive of the Foreign Ministry and some of the material belonging to the Iraqi secret service. Czech security organs now have access to documents from Iraqs embassy in Prague. This summer, the Iraqi consul to Prague, Ahmed al-Ani, was detained by American soldiers in Baghdad. Although it has not yet been proved whether the consul met with the terrorist Mohammad Atta [suspected leader of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States], new information from the American, the German, and the Czech [intelligence] services indicates that Attas visits to Prague were important. For the terrorist operations of Sept. 11, they may have been decisive.
Money for a Terrorist
Muhammad Atta, 33, an Egyptian, the leader of a 20-member group that committed the attack against the United States in September 2001 that left nearly 3,000 dead in its wake, flew to Prague for the first time on May 30, 2000. He had applied for a visa four days earlier and sat on a plane in Hamburg, although his application had not yet been acted on, and he must have known that Czech officials would not admit him to Czech territory. And, indeed, they didnt: Atta spent six hours in the duty-free zone of the Prague airport and then flew back to Germany. As far as I know, U.S. officials are intensively looking into this visit. Atta must have been brought to Prague by a genuinely urgent and important matter, when he flew with the knowledge that they would not let him leave the airport, says Edward Jay Epstein, a well-known U.S. journalist and author of respected books on the activities of intelligence services who has been researching the case for two years. Still, despite persistent efforts, neither Czech nor American officials know the purpose of Attas trip.
Similarly, they know little about Attas second visit [to Prague]. During that visit, the future terrorist arrived by bus on June 2, 2000. According to a closed-circuit camera and information from the Security Information Service (BIS) [the Czech intelligence agency], Atta lingered for a while at the Happy Day casino at Pragues Florenc station and departed the next day on a Czech Airlines flight to New York. No record, however, has been found of his having spent the night at any Czech hotel; hence it appears he stayed at a private residence. What is interesting is the fact, unpublicized until now, that three days after this Prague visit, tens of thousands of dollars were transferred from several accounts to Attas own American and German bank accounts (officials have not made public the precise amount, and it is not available from unofficial sources).
The CIA is convinced that Attas terrorist group must have been led by professionals from an intelligence service, perhaps Iraqs. U.S. experts believe that during the two aforementioned Prague visits, the execution of the terrorist action was to be confirmed. Atta was to visit Prague a third time in April 2001. The Czech secret service received from one of its informers a warning that Al-Ani, the Iraqi consul, was to meet with a distinguished Arab student from Hamburgthis is information that up until now was top secret. BIS monitored the meeting: The men met in a Prague restaurant on the evening of April 8. To this day, it remains unclear whether this Hamburg student was Atta. Yet again, three days after that meeting, $100,000 arrived in Attas Florida account.
In his report a year ago, Glenn A. Fine, the inspector general of the U.S. Justice Department, rejected the possibility of Attas April visit. In the document, he asserted that two days before the supposed Prague meeting, Atta flew from Virginia Beach to New York and, 70 hours later, was again in Florida. Atta could have managed the Prague meeting only with difficulty. Yet, according to new and as yet unpublished information from U.S. security services, there exists no record of Attas movement from the beginning of March 2001 to the end of April of that year.
At first we checked only two days around April 8, when Al-Ani had the meeting with the supposed student who is believed to be Atta. Considering new information from the United States about Attas six-week disappearance, we have broadened our inquiry to an extended time frame; that means checking tens of thousands of records of airplane passengers and hotel guests, a BIS operative asserts. Atta could have simply come here a lot sooner than when he met with Al-Ani. He could have had a series of meetings in Germany and then in Prague, where the final details of the action were worked out, he adds.
The Capture of Al-Ani
On July 9 of this year, the Americans captured Ahmed al-Ani in Baghdad, and he has been held since then in a temporary jail at the Baghdad airport. Al-Ani refuses to make a statement. We have information that he was an intelligence officer with the power to direct foreign operations, is the terse and only report from American authorities, published some time ago by AFP. Epstein says: My American colleagues and I are very much interested in Al-Anis statement. Despite all sorts of contacts, we havent learned anything. Either the CIA and FBI dont know anything, or they are keeping it top-secret.
Iraqs liberators obtained an array of documents from offices there. The most important was material from the Foreign Ministry and the secret police. A portion of the archives was destroyed, and the allies supposedly dont have any proof yet that Iraq directed terrorist operations abroad. Nor, according to secret service sources, have any documents been found that would prove that Iraq was actually planning an attack against Prague-based Radio Free Europe. Iraqi spy Jabir Salim informed the BIS of such a plan at the end of 1998 and later informed Britains MI6 [intelligence service]. Saddam Hussein supposedly gave him an order to attack the radio station and provided him with $150,000 to carry out the action. Salim (whom the British hastily brought to London from Prague in 1998, after former Foreign Minister Jan Kavan scandalously blew his cover) went to the side of his enemy, supposedly because he did not want to have innocent lives on his conscience, and his testimony was regarded by both secret services as absolutely credible. We have come to the conclusion that either the Iraqis destroyed important papers or hid them someplace, representatives of the secret services assert.
At the end of this March, right after the beginning of the allied attack on Iraq, the Czech Foreign Ministry expelled the last two Iraqi diplomats serving at the local embassy from Prague. They had only 40 hours to leave. The deadline was deliberately difficult: Officials wanted to give the Iraqis the least possible time to destroy documents. What remained at the embassy is now in the hands of local [Czech] security units. There are a lot of interesting things there, but I cant go into any greater detail, says one Czech diplomat. But he will say that no documents were found in those archives proving a meeting between Atta and Al-Ani or an Iraqi role in the terrorist attacks of September 2001.
Thus, so far, there exists only a single official statement linking Iraq, Atta, and Al-Ani with Sept. 11. This May, Manhattan U.S. District Judge Harold Baer allowed damages in the amount of $104 million for the families of two victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The families named Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Saddam Husein and his regime as parties to pay damages. Although the decision is a formality, it is nevertheless important, for in the United States, the word of a court carries weight. One of the pieces of evidence supporting Saddam Husseins participation in the Sept. 11 attack was the information of the Czech Interior Ministry regarding Attas visit to Prague and his alleged meeting with Al-Ani.
Sorry... I listen to the dude almost every day. He knows that this is 'buzzin like a hornets nest on the Internet.
It is PAST time, Nita.
Frankly, I am shocked and a little embarrassed that many of us
haven't already done so. Here's hoping that someone
like Jayna Davis may yet prove to be a catalyst for exposing the truth.
I have a feeling that August was a typo.
So, did the President go too far with his statement about those that harbor terrorists?
I think a solid link between Iraq and terrorism was also documented when the Philippine government expelled an Iraqi diplomat after he was tied to terrorist bombings by the Abu Sayyaf:
Good memory. I don't think I've ever seen that thread. Thanks for the link!
Additional records further illuminate Iraqi complicity in the September 11 massacre. As a May 27 Wall Street Journal editorial reported, Ahmed Hikmat Shakir's name appears on three different rosters of the late Uday Hussein's prestigious paramilitary group, the Saddam Fedayeen. A government source told the Journal that the papers identify Shakir as a lieutenant colonel in the Saddam Fedayeen.
Shakir worked as a VIP airport greeter and facilitator for Malaysian Airlines at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, a position reputedly arranged by intelligence officers at Iraq's Malaysian embassy. On January 5, 2000, Shakir allegedly welcomed Khalid al Midhar and Nawaz al Hamzi to Kuala Lampur and escorted them through immigration and on to the Kuala Lumpur Hotel. That's where these September 11 hijackers met with 9/11 conspirators Ramzi bin al Shibh and Tawfiz al Atash. Five days later, according to The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes (he is also author of the new book The Connection), Shakir vanished.
Saddam Fedayeen Lieutenant Colonel Shakir resurfaced on September 17, 2001, in Qatari handcuffs. His pockets and apartment yielded, among other things, phone numbers for the contacts and safe houses of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. Shakir also possessed information on "Operation Bojinka," al Qaeda's 1995 conspiracy to explode 12 passenger jets simultaneously over the Pacific. Shakir passed from Qatari to Jordanian custody before being released after three months of Iraqi pressure. He reportedly returned to Saddam Hussein's Baghdad.
Papers pulled from the Mukhabarat's Baghdad headquarters indicate that Saddam Hussein's intelligence operatives have known Mohamed Atta's former boss for years.
And just in case you haven't seen the info before...9/11 was just the tip of the iceberg:
Ramzi Yousef (1993 WTC) and Terry Nichols (OKC) crossed paths in the Phillipines. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (9/11)was Yousef's uncle. It is interesting to note that Yousef entered the United States on an Iraqi passport and had been known among the New York fundamentalists as "Rashid, the Iraqi". Another name that could be thrown into the mix is Abdul Rahman Yasin, a U.S. citizen who moved to Iraq in the 1960's and returned to the U.S. in 1992. After the 1993 WTC bombing, Yasin fled to Iraq and was given monthly salary and housing by Saddam Hussein's regime.
Then there were the predictions by an Iraqi with ties to Iraqi intelligence, Naeem Abd Mulhalhal, in Qusay's own newspaper several weeks before the attacks that stated bin Laden would demolish the Pentagon after he destroys the White House and bin Laden would strike America on the arm that is already hurting. (referencing a second IRAQI sponsored attack on the World Trade Center). Another reference to New York was [bin Laden] will curse the memory of Frank Sinatra everytime he hears his songs. (e.g., New York, New York) which identified New York, New York as a target. Mulhalhal also stated, The wings of a dove and the bullet are all but one and the same in the heart of a believer." which references an airplane attack.
The Arabic language daily newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabic also cited the cooperation between Iraq, bin Laden and Al December 1998 editorial, which predicted that President Saddam Hussein, whose country was subjected to a four day air strike, will look for support in taking revenge on the United States and Britain by cooperating with Saudi oppositionist Osama Bin-Laden, whom the United States considers to be the most wanted person in the world. This info is in the link provided below. How could these people have had foreknowledge without Iraq being involved?
Warning...slow loading .pdf file. This was from a lawsuit filed against Iraq after 9/11...the court ruled against Iraq.
There was also another lawsuit filed by the family of John ONeill (a former FBI agent who captured Ramzi Yousef after the 1993 WTC bombings) after he died in the WTC on 9/11. His personal files from his years of traveling around the world investigating al-Qaeda are were used as evidence in the lawsuit. The evidence includes documents unearthed in the headquarters of the Mukhabarat (Iraq's intelligence service) and information gleaned from the interrogation of both al-Qaeda and Iraqi prisoners. (Link below). It also quotes Vincent Cannistraro, the former CIA counter-terrorism chief, who stated in October 2000 that Iraq had been wanting to carry out terrorist attacks, and that the Iraqi military had been in contact with Osama bin Laden.
We know from these IIS documents that beginning in 1992 the former Iraqi regime regarded bin Laden as an Iraqi Intelligence asset. We know from IIS documents that the former Iraqi regime provided safe haven and financial support to an Iraqi who has admitted to mixing the chemicals for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. We know from IIS documents that Saddam Hussein agreed to Osama bin Laden's request to broadcast anti-Saudi propaganda on Iraqi state-run television. We know from IIS documents that a "trusted confidante" of bin Laden stayed for more than two weeks at a posh Baghdad hotel as the guest of the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
List of newspaper article in the 90's which mention the world's concern regarding the growing relationship between OBL and Saddam:
Son of Saddam coordinates OBL activities:
The AQ connection (excellent):
Saddam's link to OBL:
NYT: Iraq and AQ agree to cooperate:
Document linking them:
Iraq and terrorism - no doubt about it:
A federal judge rules there are links:
Wall Street Journal on Iraq and AQ:
Iraq and Iran contact OBL:
Saddam's AQ connection:
What a court of law said about the connections:
Some miscellaneous stuff on connections:
Saddam's Ambassador to Al Qaeda: (February 2004, Weekly Standard)
Yes - it's NewsMax but loaded with interesting bullet points.
Saddam's Fingerprints on NY Bombing (Wall Street Journal, June 1993)
Colin Powell: Iraq and AQ Partners for Years (CNN, February 2003)
The Iraq-Al Qaeda Connections (September 2003, Richard Miniter)
Oil for Food Scandal Ties Iraq and Al Qaeda (June 2003)
Saddam and OBL Make a Pact (The New Yorker, February 2003):
Al Qaeda's Poison Gas (Wall Street Journal, April 2004):
Wolfowitz Says Saddam behind 9/11 Attacks:
Saddam behind first WTC attack - PBS, Laurie Mylroie:
Growing Evidence of Saddam and Al Qaeda Link, The Weekly Standard, July 2003:
Qusay Hussein Coordinated Iraq special operations with Bin Laden Terrorist Activities, Yossef Bodansky, National Press Club
The Western Nightmare: Saddam and Bin Laden vs. the Rest of the World, The Guardian Unlimited:
Saddam Link to Bin Laden, Julian Borger, The Guardian, February 1999
The Al Qaeda Connection, The Weekly Standard, July 2003
Cheney lectures Russert on Iraq/911 Link, September 2003:
No Question About It, National Review, September 2003
Iraq: A Federal Judges Point of View
Mohammed's Account links Iraq to 9/11 and OKC:
Free Republic Thread that mentions some books Freepers might be interested in on this topic:
The Proof that Saddam Worked with AQ, The Telegraph, April 2003:
Saddam's AQ Connection, The Weekly Standard, September 2003
September 11 Victims Sue Iraq:
Osama's Best Friend: The Further Connections Between Al Qaeda and Saddam, The Weekly Standard, November 2003
Terrorist Behind 9/11 Attacks Trained by Saddam, The Telegraph, December 2003
James Woolsey Links Iraq and AQ, CNN Interview, March 2004, Also see Posts #34 and #35
A Geocities Interesting Web Site with maps and connections:
Bin Laden indicted in federal court, read down to find information that Bin Laden agreed to not attack Iraq and to work cooperatively with Iraq:
Case Closed, The Weekly Standard, November 03
CBS - Lawsuit: Iraq involved in 9/11:
Exploring Iraq's Involvement in pre-9/11 Acts, The Indianapolis Star:
The Iraq/AQ Connection: Richard Minister again
Militia Defector says Baghdad trained Al Qaeda fighters in chemical weapons, July 2002
The Clinton View of Iraq/AQ Ties, The Weekly Standard, December 2003
Saddam Controlled the Camps (Iraq/AQ Ties): The London Observer, November 01
Saddam's Terror Ties that Critics Ignore, National Review, October 2003:
Tape Shows General Wesley Clark linking Iraq and AQ:
The Missing Link (What the Senate Ingelligence Report Said about Iraq/AQ Connections) Click Here
Credit to Peach for the above info.
Credit to joesbucks for the following links:
Dozens of links here:
Just a few of those links include:
The Clinton Justice Department's indictment against OBL in federal court which mentions the terrorist's connections to Iraq. November 4, 1998. The federal indictment:
Iraq and AQ agree to cooperate. The federal indictment against OBL working in concert with Iraq and Iran is mentioned. November 1998. The New York Times
Saddam reaching out to OBL January 1, 1999. Newsweek
ABC news reports on the Osama/Saddam connections January 14, 1999. ABC News
Western Nightmare: Saddam and OBL versus the World. Iraq recruited OBL. February 6, 1999. The Guardian
Saddam's Link to OBL February 6, 1999. The Guardian
Saddam offered asylum to bin Laden February 13, 1999. AP
And kabar submitted these two little gems showing Bin Laden supported Iraq and its struggle against the US and the West.
Thanks for the info!
Thanks for the further info on Atta's visits to Prague. ravingnutter also provided links to info on Atta's travels. This is from one of those links, an article by Stephen Hayes, published in the Weekly Standard:
And then there is the alleged contact between lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague. The reporting on those links suggests not one meeting, but as many as four. What's more, the memo reveals potential financing of Atta's activities by Iraqi intelligence.
The Czech counterintelligence service reported that the Sept. 11 hijacker [Mohamed] Atta met with the former Iraqi intelligence chief in Prague, [Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir] al Ani, on several occasions. During one of these meetings, al Ani ordered the IIS finance officer to issue Atta funds from IIS financial holdings in the Prague office.
And the commentary:
CIA can confirm two Atta visits to Prague--in Dec. 1994 and in June 2000; data surrounding the other two--on 26 Oct 1999 and 9 April 2001--is complicated and sometimes contradictory and CIA and FBI cannot confirm Atta met with the IIS. Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross continues to stand by his information.
It's not just Gross who stands by the information. Five high-ranking members of the Czech government have publicly confirmed meetings between Atta and al Ani. The meeting that has gotten the most press attention--April 9, 2001--is also the most widely disputed. Even some of the most hawkish Bush administration officials are privately skeptical that Atta met al Ani on that occasion. They believe that reports of the alleged meeting, said to have taken place in public, outside the headquarters of the U.S.-financed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, suggest a level of sloppiness that doesn't fit the pattern of previous high-level Iraq-al Qaeda contacts.
This article was based on a memo, dated October 27, 2003, that was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration.
I think it was this memo that caused Mr Feith to run foul of intra-agency rivalry and the ire of the know-nothings and which caused him to eventually be dismissed on charges of espionage suspicions.
More reason to bring the Able Danger business up to the front of MSM:
geez, between you and backhoe, I'll be up all night!
Great stuff. Thanks.
Covering your own political ass is not harboring terrorists. They are guilty but not to the same level. (PS. Pardoning terrorists might be, though)
There were also serious economic considerations. Imagine what would have happened to commercial aviation if it were revealed that a surface missile shot down TWA 800. The impact of 9/11 would have paled in comparison if air travelers believed that they risked being shot out of the air by some terrorist with a hand held missile. There must have been tremendous political pressure to come up with the "right" conclusion.
Great link on Gorelick.
1. I most sincerely appreciate all of the efforts that have been put into discovering all of this! Doug from Upland, Jayna Davis, all of the Freepers who are more clever than I at finding things on the web.
2. I fear all of this will be for nothing simply because it is a very, very complicated set of incidents that occurred over several years...and the average American (like me!)is unable to follow all of the twists and turns. Sadly, most Americans DO understand garbage like "Rove leaked the name of an undercover agent" or "Tom Delay..." and the MSM only adds to the mix!
3. Anytime the Clintons are involved, and they appear to be very involved, my perception is that NOTHING will be done.
4. I really hope I'm wrong on all counts!
AD represents a major failure for the entire USG. It also brings into the question the need to create an intelligence czar, which tends to reinforce the bureaucratic culture and to dismiss anything, which doesn't conform to the conventional wisdom. I would prefer competing perspectives, albeit better integrated.
The 9/11 Commission and their bureaucratic allies understand that AD threatens the basic premise of their organizational reform. Under the present system, it would be very difficult for an AD to come into being. IMO the 9/11 Commission and Congress have made things worse in terms of our intelligence operations.
bump and save
Yes, what was that all about? Rush spoke passionately about Able Danger on Friday and today it seemed as though someone silenced him. I like Rush best when he straigh-speaks like he did when he said that all the politicians and staffers were trying to pad their resumes.
We need the straight scoop.
I only now that he was working at Logan on 9/11 in the food handling division.
Early reports after 9/11 said that it was thought that box cutters were smuggled in via food containers.
Whenever I post that, someone always comes on board and tells me that box cutters did not have to be smuggled onboard planes pre-9/11. Be that as it may, many news organizations said that it was thought the box cutters were not brought onboard by the terrorists but had been left onboard the planes for them in a predesignated spot.
?......Atta.....could NOT have one or more "Doubles"....?
I'm reasonably sure that it wasn't a hand held missile. Perhaps fired from the deck of a Q-ship masquerading as cargo ship, remote possibility of Libyan or other nation's submarine.
In early May, he submitted a bundle of strong amendments.The interval had seen the news from Tokyo in March that a doomsday cult,Aum Shinrikyo, had released sarin nerve gas in a subway, killing 12 and injuring thousands.The sect had extensive properties and laboratories in Japan and offices worldwide, including one in New York. Neither the FBI nor the CIA had ever heard of it.
In April had come the bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City; immediate suspicions that it had been the work of Islamists turned out to be wrong, and the bombers proved to be American antigovernment extremists named Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
President Clinton proposed to amend his earlier proposals by increasing wiretap and electronic surveillance authority for the FBI, requiring that explosives carry traceable taggants, and providing substantial new money not only for the FBI and CIA but also for local police.
When announcing his new national security team after being reelected in 1996, President Clinton mentioned terrorism first in a list of several challenges facing the country.
In 1998, after Bin Ladin's fatwa and other alarms, President Clinton accepted a proposal from his national security advisor, Samuel "Sandy" Berger, and gave Clarke a new position as national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection, and counterterrorism. He issued two Presidential Decision Directives, numbers 62 and 63, that built on the assignments to agencies that had been made in Presidential Decision Directive 39; laid out ten program areas for counterterrorism; and enhanced, at least on paper, Clarke's authority to police these assignments.
Because of concerns especially on the part of Attorney General Reno, this new authority was defined in precise and limiting language. Clarke was only to "provide advice" regarding budgets and to "coordinate the development of interagency agreed guidelines" for action.
Clarke also was awarded a seat on the cabinet-level Principals Committee when it met on his issues--a highly unusual step for a White House staffer. His interagency body, the CSG, ordinarily reported to the Deputies Committee of subcabinet officials, unless Berger asked them to report directly to the principals. The complementary directive, number 63, defined the elements of the nation's critical infrastructure and considered ways to protect it. Taken together, the two directives basically left the Justice Department and the FBI in charge at home and left terrorism abroad to the CIA, the State Department, and other agencies, under Clarke's and Berger's coordinating hands.
Explaining the new arrangement and his concerns in another commence ment speech, this time at the Naval Academy, in May 1998, the President said:
First, we will use our new integrated approach to intensify the fight against all forms of terrorism: to capture terrorists, no matter where they hide; to work with other nations to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries overseas; to respond rapidly and effectively to protect Americans from terrorism at home and abroad.Second,we will launch a comprehensive plan to detect, deter, and defend against attacks on our critical infrastructures, our power systems, water supplies, police, fire, and medical services, air traffic con trol, financial services, telephone systems, and computer networks. . . .
Third, we will undertake a concerted effort to prevent the spread and use of biological weapons and to protect our people in the event these terrible weapons are ever unleashed by a rogue state, a terrorist group, or an inter national criminal organization. . . . Finally, we must do more to pro tect our civilian population from biological weapons.
Clearly, the President's concern about terrorism had steadily risen. That heightened worry would become even more obvious early in 1999, when he addressed the National Academy of Sciences and presented his most somber account yet of what could happen if the United States were hit, unprepared, by terrorists wielding either weapons of mass destruction or potent cyberweapons.
4.1 BEFORE THE BOMBINGS IN KENYA AND TANZANIA
Although the 1995 National Intelligence Estimate had warned of a new type of terrorism, many officials continued to think of terrorists as agents of states (Saudi Hezbollah acting for Iran against Khobar Towers) or as domestic crim- inals (Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City).As we pointed out in chapter 3, the White House is not a natural locus for program management. Hence, government efforts to cope with terrorism were essentially the work of individual agencies.
President Bill Clinton's counterterrorism Presidential Decision Directives in 1995 (no. 39) and May 1998 (no. 62) reiterated that terrorism was a national security problem, not just a law enforcement issue.They reinforced the author- ity of the National Security Council (NSC) to coordinate domestic as well as foreign counterterrorism efforts, through Richard Clarke and his interagency Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG).
Spotlighting new concerns about unconventional attacks, these directives assigned tasks to lead agencies but did not differentiate types of terrorist threats.Thus, while Clarke might prod or push agencies to act, what actually happened was usually decided at the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA, or the Justice Department.
The efforts of these agencies were sometimes energetic and sometimes effective.Terrorist plots were disrupted and individual terrorists were captured. But the United States did not, before 9/11, adopt as a clear strategic objective the elimination of al Qaeda.
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Because of concerns especially on the part of Attorney General
Reno GORELICK, this new authority was defined in precise and limiting language. Clarke was only to "provide advice" regarding budgets and to "coordinate the development of interagency agreed guidelines" for action.
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Look at how nonchalantly OKC was marginalized and buttoned up:
In April had come the bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City; immediate suspicions that it had been the work of Islamists turned out to be wrong, and the bombers proved to be American antigovernment extremists named Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
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Whatta whitewash!!! And I'm SO grateful that Clinton worked SO hard and gave such great speeches to protect US..../sarcasm!!
Thanks for the 'ping'...bkmrk for later.
Listen to Rightalk Radio on Wednesday at 2pm Eastern. My guests are Jayna Davis and Lt. Col. (Ret) Gordon Cuculla. Clinton lied to you. The Iraqi connection in the OKC bombing is real.
I always had a strong tendency to believe it ... and I will think it was suspicious that Ashcroft insisted on putting McVeigh to death so quickly til the day I die. Something was TOO fishy about the whole thing.
The fact is, Clinton protected Saddam.
Was there a pay-back to Clinton?
April 9,1995, OKC is bombed.
April 14, 1995, Oil for Food is signed at UN.
I simply cannot believe the Clintons somehow kept their hands out of that cookie jar.
MARC RICH/DENISE RICH!!
Gee....Anyone notice that nice Mr. Wilson has disappeared since this came out. Ya think Ms. Plame is p***** that hubby used her?? Bet she "OUTS" nice Mr. Wilson. Don't forget, HE doesn't have a job!!
Keep in mind that our troops found tons of cash, some American, when we invaded Iraq. I have a pretty good feeling...through the Force of course...that some cash found it's way to Atta via Iraq. They were buried in cash.
Oil for Food program anyone?
Do you have a link for this on the Internet, Doug? No need to reply if that answer is already posted earlier in this thread. Just reading through it now. :)
The Iraq Connection
Was Saddam involved in Oklahoma City and the first WTC bombing?
BY MICAH MORRISON
Thursday, September 5, 2002 12:01 a.m. EDT
OKLAHOMA CITY--With the Sept. 11 anniversary upon us and President Bush talking about a "regime change" in Iraq, it's an apt time to look at two investigators who connect Baghdad to two notorious incidents of domestic terrorism. Jayna Davis, a former television reporter in Oklahoma City, believes an Iraqi cell was involved in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building here. Middle East expert Laurie Mylroie links Iraq to the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, and has published a book on the subject.
Both cases are closed, of course--in the public mind if not quite officially. Timothy McVeigh was convicted of murder in the Oklahoma City bombing and executed in June 2001; Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy and manslaughter, and faces a further trial on murder charges. In the World Trade Center bombing, prosecutors convicted six men of Middle Eastern origin on the theory that they operated in a "loose network." One suspect remains at large, but the apparent ringleader, known as Ramzi Yousef, was captured in Pakistan and is now in federal prison in the U.S.
The prosecutors in both episodes believe they got their men, and of course conspiracy theories have shadowed many prominent cases. Still, the long investigative work by Ms. Davis and Ms. Mylroie, coming to parallel conclusions though working largely independently of each other, has gained some prominent supporters. Former CIA Director James Woolsey, for example, recently told the Journal that "when the full stories of these two incidents are finally told, those who permitted the investigations to stop short will owe big explanations to these two brave women. And the nation will owe them a debt of gratitude."
Ms. Davis, for example, has a copy of a bulletin put out by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol immediately after the Murrah bombing. It specifies a blue car occupied by "Middle Eastern male subject or subjects." According to police radio traffic at the time, also obtained by Ms. Davis, a search was on as well for a brown Chevrolet pickup "occupied by Middle Eastern subjects." When an officer radioed in asking if "this is good information or do we really not know," a dispatcher responded "authorization FBI." Law-enforcement sources tell Ms. Davis that the FBI bulletin was quickly and mysteriously withdrawn.
The next day, the federal government issued arrest warrants and sketches of two men seen together, John Doe No. 1 and No. 2. John Doe 1 turned out to be McVeigh, who was quickly picked up on an unrelated charge. Following the arrest of McVeigh and Nichols, the Justice Department changed course, saying the witnesses were confused and there was no John Doe 2 with McVeigh.
But Ms. Davis, who was covering the case at the time for KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, says in fact there was a John Doe No. 2, and that she has identified him. The original warrant for John Doe No. 2 described a man about 5 feet 10 inches, average weight, with brown hair and a tattoo on his left arm. She says the man matching this description is an Iraqi political refugee named Hussain al-Hussaini, an itinerant restaurant worker who entered the country in 1994 from a Saudi Arabian refugee camp and soon found his way to Oklahoma City. She says she has more than 20 witnesses who can place him near the Murrah Building on the day of the bombing or finger him in parts of the conspiracy.
Seven weeks after the bombing, Ms. Davis's KFOR television station began broadcasting a series of reports on a possible Middle East connection. It did not name Mr. al-Hussaini, but did include photographs of him that digitally obscured his face. Mr. al-Hussaini sued for libel and defamation, denying any association with the bombing. In November 1999, U.S. District Court Judge Tim Leonard dismissed the lawsuit.
Citing defense contentions Mr. al-Hussaini's counsel failed to dispute, the judge ruled that Ms. Davis had proved that Mr. al-Hussaini "bears a strong resemblance to the composite sketch of John Doe #2," including a tattoo on his left arm, that he was born and raised in Iraq, that he had served in the Iraqi army, and that his Oklahoma City employer had once been suspected by the federal government of having "connections with the Palestine Liberation Organization."
Mr. al-Hussaini appealed Judge Leonard's decision to the 10th Circuit Court, where a ruling is pending. He is represented by Gary Richardson, a well-known Oklahoma lawyer who currently is an independent candidate for governor. In an interview, Mr. Richardson denounced the treatment of Mr. al-Hussaini as anathema to American values, saying he had been singled out because he was an Arab. "There is no evidence that Hussain al-Hussaini is John Doe No. 2," Mr. Richardson said. "He was grossly mistreated by the media in Oklahoma."
In 1996, Mr. al-Hussaini returned to Boston, where he had first entered the U.S. He found work as a cook at Logan Airport. According to his medical records, he was haunted by the Oklahoma City episode and the publicity surrounding his libel suit. He began drinking heavily and in 1997 was admitted to a psychiatric clinic for a depressive disorder and suicidal thoughts. Mr. al-Hussaini's lawyer says his client has since moved to another part of the country and is "trying to put his life back together."
According to notes taken by a nurse at the psychiatric clinic, Mr. al-Hussaini quit his job at Logan Airport in November 1997, nearly four years before planes from there were hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001. Her notes say he stated, "If anything happens there, I'll be a suspect."
Evidence supporting Ms. Davis's suspicions surfaced during discovery for the McVeigh trial. An FBI report, for example, records a call a few hours after the bombing from Vincent Cannistraro, a retired CIA official who had once been chief of operations for the agency's counter-terrorism center. He told Kevin Foust, a FBI counter-terror investigator, that he'd been called by a top counter-terror adviser to the Saudi royal family. Mr. Foust reported that the Saudi told Mr. Cannistraro about "information that there was a 'squad' of people currently in the United States, very possibly Iraqis, who have been tasked with carrying out terrorist attacks against the United States. The Saudi claimed that he had seen a list of 'targets,' and that the first on the list was the federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma."
Stephen Jones, McVeigh's lead lawyer, discusses the FBI report in his book, "Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy." Mr. Cannistraro later told Mr. Jones that he didn't know if the caller "was credible or not." But Mr. Foust's memo says Mr. Cannistraro described the Saudi official as "responsible for developing intelligence to help prevent the royal family from becoming victims of terrorist attacks," and someone he'd known "for the past 10 or 15 years."
Ms. Davis's evidence was examined by Patrick Lang, a Middle East expert and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency's human intelligence collection section. In a memo to Ms. Davis, Mr. Lang concluded that Mr. al-Hussaini likely is a member of Unit 999 of the Iraqi Military Intelligence Service, or Estikhabarat. He wrote that this unit is headquartered at Salman Pak southeast of Baghdad, and "deals with clandestine operations at home and abroad."
Larry Johnson, a former deputy director of the State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism, also has examined Ms. Davis's voluminous research. "Looking at the Jayna Davis material," Mr. Johnson says, "what's clear is that more than Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols were involved. Without a doubt, there's a Middle Eastern tie to the Oklahoma City bombing."
Mr. al-Husseini and other former Iraqi soldiers colluded with McVeigh and Nichols in the attack, Ms. Davis charges. "There is a Middle Eastern terrorist cell operating in Oklahoma City. They were operating prior to the Oklahoma City bombing and they are still operating today."
The popular stereotype of McVeigh is of a twisted "patriot" out to avenge government actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge. But in March 1998 he penned a prison-cell "Essay on Hypocrisy" obsessed with Iraq. "We've all seen pictures that show a Kurdish woman and child frozen in death from the use of chemical weapons. But have you ever seen these pictures juxtaposed next to pictures from Hiroshima or Nagasaki?" With calls for war crimes trials of Saddam Hussein, "why do we not hear the same cry for blood directed at those responsible for even greater amounts of 'mass destruction?'"
In dismissing the al-Hussaini libel suit, Judge Leonard pointedly noted the indictment of McVeigh and Nichols included a charge of conspiracy "with others unknown." In sentencing Nichols, U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch remarked, "It would be disappointing to me if the law enforcement agencies of the United States government have quit looking for answers."
The Sept. 11 airline crashes were not the first attempt to topple the World Trade Center towers. In February 1993, a bomb blast in a public parking garage below the North Tower of the World Trade Center killed six people and left a crater six stories deep. It could have been much worse. In her book, "The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks," Laurie Mylroie says that the bomb was designed to topple the North Tower into the South Tower and envelop the scene in a cloud of cyanide gas. Hearing the case, Judge Kevin Duffy agreed, saying that if the plan had worked, "we would have been dealing with tens of thousands of deaths." After the bombing, the FBI rounded up four Muslims who moved in extremist circles in the New York area. Three others escaped overseas: a Palestinian, an Iraqi named Abdul Yasin, and Ramzi Yousef.
Ms. Mylroie's book argues that Iraq was complicit in this attack. At the very least, she notes, Saddam Hussein is harboring a wanted terrorist: Abdul Yasin. He came to the U.S. six months before the Trade Center attack and is charged with helping mix chemicals for the bomb. Picked up in an early sweep after the bombing, he talked his way out of an FBI interrogation and turned up back in Baghdad.
Beyond this, Ms. Mylroie contends that the bombing was "an Iraqi intelligence operation with the Muslim extremists as dupes." She says that the original lead FBI official on the case, Jim Fox, concluded that "Iraq was behind the World Trade Center bombing." In late 1993, shortly before his retirement, Mr. Fox was suspended by FBI Director Louis Freeh for speaking to the media about the case; he died in 1997. Ms. Mylroie says that Mr. Fox indicated to her that he did not continue to pursue the Iraq connection because Justice Department officials "did not want state sponsorship addressed."
According to phone records analyzed by Ms. Mylroie, Abdul Yasin appeared in the orbit of one of U.S. conspirators, Muhammed Salameh, some weeks after Mr. Salameh made a series of phone calls to relatives in Iraq, including to his uncle, Kadri Abu Bakr. Mr. Bakr is a senior figure in the PLO's "Western Sector" terrorist unit; at the very least, his phone calls would be monitored by Iraqi intelligence.
Ramzi Yousef also showed up after the calls to Mr. Bakr, according to Ms. Mylroie's analysis. His arrival "transformed the conspiracy from a pipe bombing plot to an audacious attack on the World Trade Center." Yousef was "the individual most responsible for building the World Trade Center bomb"--1,200 pounds of urea nitrate with a nitroglycerine trigger, booster chemicals, sulfuric acid and sodium cyanide.
After the bombing, Yousef vanished; he had entered with an Iraqi passport, and exited with a Pakistani passport. Yousef's Pakistani passport was in the name of Abdul Basit. He obtained it from the Pakistani consulate in New York shortly before the bombing, saying he had lost his passport and presenting photocopied pages from Abdul Basit's 1984 and 1988 passports.
Ms. Mylroie says her evidence suggests that Abdul Basit and his family were among two dozen Pakistani nationals working in Kuwait who vanished at the time of the Iraqi invasion. Law enforcement authorities believe she overplays this possibility, that Yousef is indeed Basit, and that the original Iraqi passport is the only firm link to Iraq.
After fleeing in the wake of the 1993 bombing, Yousef/Basit made his way to the Philippines, where he planted a bomb that killed the passenger taking his seat after he disembarked from a plane on the island of Cebu. Police investigating a fire in a Manila apartment he occupied found a laptop computer with plans to bomb 12 U.S. jets simultaneously. Yousef escaped but was later apprehended in Pakistan and turned over to U.S. authorities. He was convicted in both the Trade Center attack and the plane-bombing plot.
One of Yousef's confederates, Abdul Hakin Murad, was arrested at the Manila apartment and later convicted in the U.S. in the plane plot. While in custody in the Philippines, he told investigators that he and Yousef had discussed hijacking a jet and crashing it into CIA headquarters. According to a January 1995 Manila police report, Murad said "he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger. Then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at the CIA headquarters. There will be no bomb or any explosive that he will use in its execution. It is simply a suicidal mission that he is very much willing to execute."
Astonishingly, the Murrah bombing and the first WTC attack share a connection. Yousef and Terry Nichols were in the Philippines simultaneously. Nichols's trips there are undisputed; his wife's relatives lived in Cebu City. Cebu is also the territory of the Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. McVeigh lawyers sought to substantiate an "others unknown" defense theory, and made extensive filings concerning Nichols's activities there.
These filings show that he was often in Cebu without his wife, and that he was in frequent contact with Ernesto Malaluan, a relative of his wife who had once lived in Saudi Arabia and owned a boarding house in Cebu City. The filing asserted that his boarding house "shelters students from a university well known for its Islamic militancy."
A defense examination of phone records found that Nichols had repeatedly called the Cebu boarding house in the weeks preceding the bombing. Some of the calls were billed to a prepaid phone card to which McVeigh also had access. The calls were often made from pay phones at truck stops and the like, and sometimes followed mysterious patterns. In one instance, for example, the same number was dialed nine times in nine minutes before someone answered and spoke for 14 minutes.
The McVeigh defense also produced two witnesses, Nichols's father-in-law and a resort worker, who said that while in the Philippines, Nichols had asked them if they knew anyone who knew "how to make bombs."
The defense team also obtained a statement from Philippines law-enforcement officials about a meeting of Nichols and Yousef. The statement was given by a putative Abu Sayyaf leader, Edward Angeles. Angeles is a murky figure. Born Ibrahim Yakub and said to be one of the founders of Abu Sayyaf, he surrendered to the Philippine Army in 1995, claiming he had been all the time a deep penetration agent for the government. Angeles was assassinated in 1999 by unknown gunmen.
The McVeigh defense filings portray the Nichols link to the Cebu City boarding house, Ramzi Yousef and Abu Sayyaf as grounds for believing that bomb-making expertise may have been passed to Nichols through "Iraqi intelligence based in the Philippines." McVeigh attorney Stephen Jones told Insight magazine recently that six months before the Oklahoma City bombing, "Tim couldn't blow up a rock. Then Terry goes to the Philippines," and their bomb-making skills take a great leap forward. The court did not grant Mr. Jones's request to comb through U.S. intelligence files in search of an Iraq connection to the Oklahoma City bombing.
The principal reason for suspecting an Iraqi role in the Sept. 11 attacks is of course the much-discussed report of a meeting in Prague on April 8, 2001, between apparent hijacking leader Mohamed Atta and Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi diplomat expelled as a spy shortly thereafter. Press reports have repeatedly cast doubt on these reports, apparently because the FBI located Atta in Virginia and Florida shortly before and after the meeting and found no record of his leaving the U.S. But the latest report, in the Aug. 2 edition of the Los Angeles Times, quotes a high Bush administration official as saying evidence of the meeting "holds up." In the face of doubts and denials, Czech officials have repeatedly maintained that they're sure the meeting took place. Atta also passed through Prague on his way to the U.S. in June of 2000, returning a second time after being refused entry for lack of a visa.
There are also reports of various contacts between Iraqis and the al Qaeda terrorist network, notably a 1998 visit to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan by Saddam Hussein's deputy head of military intelligence at the time, Faruq al-Hijazi. In congressional testimony in March, CIA Director George Tenet noted that Iraq has "had contacts with al Qaeda," adding that "the two sides mutual antipathy toward the United States and the Saudi royal family suggest that tactical cooperation between them is possible."
Espionage writer Edward Jay Epstein has pointed out that of the eight pilots and co-pilots of hijacked planes on Sept. 11, none got off a distress call. What we know of the incidents came from stewardesses and flyers with cell phones. Commercial satellite photos show the body of an airliner at Salman Pak, where the Iraqis are thought to maintain terrorist training camps. One Iraqi defector, Sabah Khalifa Alami, has stated that Iraqi intelligence trained groups at Salman Pak on how to hijack planes without weapons. Mr. Epstein details these connections at his Web site, www.edwardjayepstein.com.
None of this is "hard evidence," let alone "conclusive evidence," that Saddam Hussein was complicit in Sept. 11 or any of the other domestic terrorist attacks. But there is quite a bit of smoke curling up from various routes to Baghdad, and it's not clear that anyone except Jayna Davis and Laurie Mylroie has looked very hard for fire. We do know that Saddam Hussein plotted to assassinate former President George Bush during a visit to Kuwait in April 1993. Could he have been waging a terror offensive against the U.S. ever since the end of the Gulf War? This remains a speculative possibility, but a possibility that needs to be put on the table in a serious way.