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.
Does this in any way tie into information by the accounts of Jayna Davis in the book "The Third Terrorist"?
Maybe off-thread, but very interesting. And as the WSJ article makes clear, there is a definite connection between the Atta meeting and constant, deliberate intelligence leaks by rogue agents in the CIA and the FBI.
In other words, all this stuff is interconnected. Most likely the same people who deny the Atta meeting took place because they have a political agenda are responsible for the leaks. Possibly they did it deliberately in order to blow any chance that the Czechs could turn up more evidence.
Cis, I'm increasingly convinced that someone in the CIA, for some reason, was setting up TENET, and that he was passing some (not all) bad info on to Bush. This may have been disgruntled CIA employees, or a deliberate Soviet (or Arab) penetration operation. But Tenet was too incompetent to be that bad. I know professors, for God's sake, who could have done a better job. It seems he must have been deliberately getting fed some bad info---just enough to keep us from completely tying in Saddam.
The Clintonistas and their bureaucratic lackeys actively turned a blind eye to all of this for years, and 9/11 is his resulting legacy. All the lies we're endlessly fed on a daily basis are an attempt to rewrite history and to cover their worthless, incompetent asses.
One Czech faction, let's call them the reformers, would have had it in their interest to share intel info regarding an Atta - Mukhabarat "meet up," if true, with the US. Another Czech faction, let's call them the old boy network, would not have had it in their interest and in fact may themselves have been benefitting from the Oil-For-Food scam while actually facilitating things like the Atta - Mukhabarat "meet up." It is highly likely that this latter group have long been involved in Iraq, Syria, Iran, terrorism and the former USSR, due to being of StB pedigree. What a complicated scenario this may in fact be. Hence, the murkyness.
In Washington, the FBI moved to quiet the Prague connection by telling journalists that it had car rentals and records that put Atta in Virginia Beach, Va., and Florida close to, if not during, the period when he was supposed to be in Prague. The New York Times , citing information provided by "federal law enforcement officials," reported that Atta was in Virginia Beach on April 2, 2001, and by April 11, "Atta was back in Florida, renting a car."
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.
His international license was at his father's home in Cairo, Egypt (where his roommate Marwan al-Shehhi picked it up in late April). Nor were there other records in the hands of the FBI that put Atta in the United States at the time. Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in June 2002, "It is possible that Atta traveled under an unknown alias" to "meet with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague." Clearly, it was not beyond the capabilities of the 9/11 hijackers to use aliases.
The only dispute over Atta's whereabouts is whether he was in Prague on April 9, 2001, to meet with Samir al Ani, an Iraqi intelligence officer. Czech intelligence insists he was. Able Danger, apparently, had information supporting the Czechs.
Spanish police last February arrested Algerians Khaled Madani, 33, and Moussa Laour, 36, on suspicion of furnishing phony passports to, among others, al Qaeda operatives Ramzi Binalshibh and Mohamed Atta. According to a February 29 Associated Press dispatch, Binalshibh revealed Madani's identity to interrogators at the American military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Also info on Shakir at that link, which is another connection between 9/11 and Iraq.
January 4, 2001: Atta flies from Miami to Madrid, Spain.
January 10, 2001: Return flight from Madrid to Miami.
This was 4 months before he allegedly went to Prague. IMHO, this is when he picked up the fake passports, which he used to go to Prague. Meanwhile, in a February 24 letter to James Beasley, Jr., the attorney in the aforementioned lawsuit, Czech U.N. Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek affirms an October 26, 2001 statement by Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross: "In this moment we can confirm, that during the next stay of Mr. Muhammad Atta in the Czech Republic there was the contact with the official of the Iraqi intelligence, Mr. Al Ani, Ahmed Khalin Ibrahim Samir, who was on 22nd April 2001 expelled from the Czech Republic on the basis of activities which were not compatible with the diplomatic status." Atta flew from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Prague on April 7, 2001. Car-rental records place him in the Czech capitol the next day. He flew home to Florida that April 9.
So they have car rental records as well.
Thanks for the ping!
It is known and not disputed that Atta made a previous trip to Prague in 2000: http://www.respekt.cz/english/clanek_detail.php?f_id=62
Atta had previously been appointed head of the "planes" operation by bin Laden. He flew to Prague, stayed a few hours at the airport, and flew back to Germany. One possible explanation for this unusual trip: was he scouting the potential for hijacking an airliner and flying it into Radio Liberty headquarters in Prague?
bttt - marker
We already know exactly what Bergerr took and why...pay close attention to the last para on the Clarke/Kerrick memo. From Ashcroft's testimony:
The NSC's Millennium After Action Review declares that the United States barely missed major terrorist attacks in 1999 with luck playing a major role. Among the many vulnerabilities in homeland defenses identified, the Justice Department's surveillance and FISA operations were specifically criticized for their glaring weaknesses. It is clear from the review that actions taken in the Millennium Period should not be the operating model for the U.S. government.
In March 2000, the review warns the prior Administration of a substantial al Qaeda network and affiliated foreign terrorist presence within the U.S., capable of supporting additional terrorist attacks here. [My note: AD info?]
Furthermore, fully seventeen months before the September 11 attacks, the review recommends disrupting the al Qaeda network and terrorist presence here using immigration violations, minor criminal infractions, and tougher visa and border controls.
It falls directly into the AD timeline. In that same post, I note that what Sandy Berger stole was the versions of the after action report:
The missing copies, according to Breuer and their author, Richard A. Clarke, the counterterrorism chief in the Clinton administration and early in President Bush's administration, were versions of after-action reports recommending changes following threats of terrorism as 1999 turned to 2000. Clarke said he prepared about two dozen ideas for countering terrorist threats. The recommendations were circulated among Cabinet agencies, and various versions of the memo contained additions and refinements, Clarke said last night.
Therefore, they were never provided to the Commission, as evidenced by the Commission Report footnotes (#769):
46. NSC email, Clarke to Kerrick,Timeline,Aug. 19, 1998; Samuel Berger interview (Jan. 14, 2004). We did not find documentation on the after-action review mentioned by Berger. On Vice Chairman Joseph Ralstons mission in Pakistan, see William Cohen interview (Feb. 5, 2004). For speculation on tipping off the Taliban, see, e.g., Richard Clarke interview (Dec. 18, 2003).
And to what does footnote (46) refer? On p. 117, Chapter 4, we find this:
Later on August 20, Navy vessels in the Arabian Sea fired their cruise missiles. Though most of them hit their intended targets, neither Bin Ladin nor any other terrorist leader was killed. Berger told us that an after-action review by Director Tenet concluded that the strikes had killed 2030 people in the camps but probably missed Bin Ladin by a few hours. Since the missiles headed for Afghanistan had had to cross Pakistan, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was sent to meet with Pakistans army chief of staff to assure him the missiles were not coming from India. Officials in Washington speculated that one or another Pakistani official might have sent a warning to the Taliban or Bin Ladin. (46)How about that? How many times have we heard Clinton say that he missed Bin Ladin by just a few hours? Yet the after-action report is missing, so the Commission relied on Sandy Berger's testimony.
Then the Clarke/Kerrick memo peaked my interest and I found this (#784):
Clarke was nervous about such a mission because he continued to fear that Bin Ladin might leave for someplace less accessible. He wrote Deputy National Security Advisor Donald Kerrick that one reliable source reported Bin Ladin's having met with Iraqi officials, who "may have offered him asylum." Other intelligence sources said that some Taliban leaders, though not Mullah Omar, had urged Bin Ladin to go to Iraq. If Bin Ladin actually moved to Iraq, wrote Clarke, his network would be at Saddam Hussein's service, and it would be "virtually impossible" to find him. Better to get Bin Ladin in Afghanistan, Clarke declared.
Although Woodward is listed as an assistant managing editor, Howell said, he has no management duties."He comes and goes as he pleases, mostly writing his bestselling books on what happens behind the doors of power, and he reports only to Downie...", she wrote. "He is allowed to keep juicy stories to himself until his latest book is unveiled in the front page of the Post. He is the master of anonymous source."
Somebody, "behind the doors of power" has to feed these parasites, and then somebody out there salivates at the "juicy stories" that the parasites sell. Imagine, the Czechs are shocked at this state of things! A fine mess.
Must read later
The Iraq/Al Qaeda link seems to me to be a "slam-dunk", as Tenent might say.
Yes, it is...unfortunately, the MSM has a worse memory than Scooter Libby, LOL!
Bookmarked. Thank you.
Yes, and I think also some high-up people in the CIA and FBI committed a variety of crimes at the instigation of the clintons. You might say that they "obeyed orders," but the orders were illegal.
Things like the Vince Foster affair, the Ron Brown affair, TWA 800, drug smuggling over the Canadian and Mexican borders, the coverup and possibly the planning of the OKC bombing, the cover-up of Chinese espionage and campaign donations, to mention a few. Many of these intelligence executives were promoted by clinton because they did his bidding. I remember reading that Mueller subsequently awarded medals to some of these clintonoids in the FBI. I think (though I'm not sure) that the point man who covered up TWA 800 was among the recipients who were honored.
I find it impossible to believe that the FBI could not confirm or refute that information, regardless of what name Atta was using in his passport. It's obvious that the FBI didn't want to know anything that would interfere with their subversion of the administration's war effort.
I tend to agree with you that Tenet was more of an ignorant stooge than a master planner. He was only head of the CIA for a decade or so, whereas the real troublemakers were the long-term professionals. But Tenet was enough of a clintonoid to tolerate the existence of a large number of traitors in the CIA, whose activities were far too blatant to have remained unknown to him.
For instance, I think he probably was not in on the planning that sent Wilson to Niger. But when the whole thing came out, why did he sit there and do nothing about it? Why was there no internal investigation to find out who authorized it and who told Wilson that he didn't need to sign a confidentiality agreement? Why did he sign off on the CIA giving a false briefing to Fitzgerald? I agree that he probably wasn't at the heart of the conspiracy, but he did a lot at various times to help it along. That makes him thoroughly guilty in my opinion.
See, I'm wondering if there wasn't a Wilson (and possibly Clarke who wasn't in the CIA?) faction/opposition to Bush and/or Tenet that was from the outset trying to undercut the War on Terror.
Hard to say. The human mind being what it is, it's possible to know and yet not know something. I would guess that Tenet must have suspected something rancid was going on, or was maybe 99% sure it was going on, but he didn't want to confirm that last 1%, because it would have made him complicit. Nor did he want to root out the traitors, because they were doing political work he approved of.
All the Cintonista Cover-Ups should be under investigation...the damage to National Security under their watch should not go unpunished.
Epstein's article was helpful on this matter as well.
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