Skip to comments.Atta in Prague
Posted on 11/22/2005 8:17:42 AM PST by Weimdog
ATTA IN PRAGUE [Andy McCarthy]
Ed Epstein has stayed on the case and has done the 9/11 Commission one better: he has actually conducted something resembling an investigation into whether the top hijacker met with in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence agent five months before 9/11. Eds report on what he found out, after traveling to the Czech Republic and meeting with the BIS (i.e., Czech Intelligence) officials who were personally involved in the matter is featured in the Wall Street Journal this morning (registration required).
His article will not be good news for the Richard Clarkes of Clinton revision-world, who maintain that the previous administration so intimidated Saddam after the attempted murder of the first President Bush in 1993 that the Iraqi dictator foreswore collaboration with terrorists against the U.S. a claim that has never made any sense given that top Clinton officials (including the former president himself) continue to defend their Augugst 1998 bombing of the al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan on the ground that it was a joint Iraq/Qaeda/Sudan effort to develop weapons of mass destruction.
The bottom line, as Ed puts it, is that the Atta/Prague connection remains consigned to a murky limbo largely thanks to American officials leaking the possibility while the Czechs were still trying to investigate it.
But this much is known notwithstanding the energetic effort to suppress it by some former Clinton officials, Democrat partisans, and members of the intelligence community invested in the delusion that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and terrorism. In 1998, Saddam began trying to blow up an American target, Radio Free Europe in Prague, by having Jabir Salim, his consul to the Czech Republic (but in reality, his top intelligence agent there), attempt to recruit terrorists to carry out the mission. This intelligence became known when Salim defected, and Clinton administration was so concerned about it that it took several steps to protect the facility.
Salim was replaced by Ahmad al-Ani, whom the BIS was obviously interested in interest that only intensified when the BIS learned he was trying to access explosives and make contacts with foreign Arabs. It came to a head on or about April 9, 2001, when al-Ani was observed getting into a car with an unknown Arab male who was later identified as Atta an identification that has never been disproved, despite Herculean efforts to knock it down. The Atta identification did not happen until after 9/11 (when Attas photo was splashed across the international press), but the Czechs were so worried about whomever al-Ani had met with back in April that they decided to take no chances: al-Ani was expelled due to suspicion of terrorism four months before 9/11.
In the end, the FBI cannot account for where Atta was between April 4 and April 11, 2001, or how he spent the $8000 cash he abruptly withdrew on April 4 before he disappeared for a week. (Theyve pointed to use of his cellphone in the U.S. during that timeframe, but that, of course, does not mean Atta was the one using the cellphone.) Nor can the FBI explain why Atta stopped in Prague in June 2000 right before flying to the U.S. to begin the 9/11 preparations. The Czechs, meanwhile, regard as pure nonsense al-Anis protestations that he was nowhere near Prague the day he was seen meeting the man a witness has identified as Atta.
This is Able Danger all over again. The "Atta in Prague" possibility never fit the 9/11 Commissions narrative, so it was buried with a shoddy, slap-dash investigation -- the same treatment Able Danger got; the same treatment the Clinton Justice Department's dramatic heightening of "the wall" between criminal investigators and intelligence agents got; the same treatment the internal assessment of the Clinton administration's performance in the run-up to the Millennium bombing plot got, and so on.
Meanwhile, in 1998 alone, we have $300K going from Iraq to Zawahiri (al Qaedas number 2); bin Ladens famous February fatwa calling for the murder of all Americans and prominently featuring, as part of the justification, U.S. actions against Iraq; meetings in Iraq between Qaeda members and Iraqi officials in March; meetings in Afghanistan between Iraqi officials and al Qaeda leaders in July; the embassy bombings in August, after which, of all potential targets, the Clinton administration chose to retaliate against al Shifa, believed to be an Iraq/Qaeda joint weapons venture; an Iraqi member of al Qaeda (now held in Guantanamo Bay) traveling with Iraqi Intelligence to Pakistan to plot chemical mortar attacks on the American and British embassies there; and Iraq seeking to recruit Arab terrorists to blow up Radio Free Europe. Oh, and in February 1999, Richard Clarke objected to a suggestion that U-2 flights be used to try to find bin Laden because, if bin Laden learned the walls were closing in, Clarke wrote to Sandy Berger that old wiley Usama will likely boogie to Baghdad.
But the anti-war left is probably right. There was no connection between Iraq and terrorism. None at all. I dont know why the right-wing nuts keep insisting there was. Posted at 07:42 AM
I've said again and again that this was the worst turn that George Tenet did for President Bush.
Tenet got on TV or spoke to MSM reporters again and again and again, insisting that the story about Atta in Prague was false. Wrong. Czech intelligence stuck with their story, and I am inclined to believe them before I believe a lying clintonoid like Tenet.
There were other connections between Saddam and al Qaeda, but the meeting in Prague was the smoking gun, and Tenet spent an inordinate amount of time shooting it down, contrary to evidence that was well known at the time.
I think President Bush was a fool to keep that traitor in office one day after he assumed the presidency. I also think he is still a fool to keep Mueller as head of the FBI, since Mueller has done nothing but cover up for the clintonoids in the FBI. As this story says, it has taken both the CIA and the FBI to cover up the Prague connection, and they have worked very hard to do it.
You don't need to subscribe (pay money), just register with your email address and you're in.
The opinionjournal site is well worth that mild restriction.
Great news! Thanks for posting this.
I'm off to get the paper version of WSJ!
Remember when Dan Rather interviewed Saddam in 2002 or early 2003? Dan asked Saddam about 911 and Saddam said, in rought translation, that he had a right to defend himself. He justified the attack.
An expert on Arabic should parse it for us.
The reference to the WSJ is a bit confusing. The piece appears in Opinion Journal, and is available to anyone who has done the free registration, here:
One point that needs stressing is that the CIA evidently LEAKED the story prematurely to the MSM, and this rightly angered Czech intelligence. LeakGate, anyone?
This is what LeakGate is really about. Not Scooter Libby or Bush, but the rogues in the CIA who regularly leak to the leftist press for their own traitorous purposes.
If the Republicans were smart (so we know this won't happen)this should pressed and investigated.
If Mizz Clinton comes to power she will be dragging along the foreign policy hacks that have conspired to cover up all this mess.
It was because the CIA is so leaky (and otherwise undependable) that British intelligence has a direct link to the WH, according to to guests on the John Batchelor Show. The Brits gave Bush the Niger yellowcake info directly bypassing the CIA which further inflamed the CIA. Bush said in retrospect that he shouldn't have included the "16 words" in his SOTU--not because it was untrue, but because it was from an outside source.
OK, it's off thread, but linked in a way.
Big ol' Bump.
Bump for a later read.
I forget...did Earl Warren head that commission too? /sarcasm
More on the "boogie to baghdad" from Byron York -
In case you dont remember, Boogie to Baghdad is the phrase that Richard Clarke, when he was the top White House counterterrorism official during the Clinton administration, used to express his fear that if American forces pushed Osama bin Laden too hard at his hideout in Afghanistan, bin Laden might move to Iraq, where he could stay in the protection of Saddam Hussein.
Clarkes opinion was based on intelligence indicating a number of contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq, including word that Saddam had offered bin Laden safe haven.
Its all laid out in the Sept. 11 commission report. Boogie to Baghdad is on Page 134.
youve forgotten, heres the short version of the story behind Boogie to Baghdad, taken from the Sept. 11 report:
In 1996, after bin Laden moved from Sudan to Afghanistan, he wasnt sure if he would be able to get along with his new Taliban hosts. So he made inquiries about moving to Iraq.
Saddam wasnt interested. At the time, he was trying to have better relations with his neighbors and bin Ladens enemy the Saudis.
But a bit later, Saddam apparently changed his mind. According to the report:
In March 1998, after bin Ladens public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with bin Laden.
Still nothing happened. But later:
Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and bin Laden or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the [intelligence] reporting, Iraqi officials offered bin Laden a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Laden declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative.
It was in that context that Clarke believed that if the United States made bin Ladens situation too hot in Afghanistan, then, in Clarkes non-famous words, old wily Osama will likely boogie to Baghdad.
Now, that doesnt at all suggest that Iraq had a role in Sept. 11, but it certainly does suggest a relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda.
Richard Clarke is a scurrilous, scumbag, lying self-promoting traitor. Other than that, he's a ok guy.