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Iraq, 9/11 Still Linked By Cheney
Washington Post ^ | Oct. 29, 2003 | Dana Priest and Glenn Kessler, also Margot Williams

Posted on 09/29/2003 8:21:01 AM PDT by pttttt

Edited on 09/29/2003 8:29:49 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]

Iraq, 9/11 Still Linked By Cheney

Minutes after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, Vice President Cheney was in the operations center with his chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, far right, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, center left, and his wife, Lynne Cheney, far left. (White House Photo David Bohrer)

By Dana Priest and Glenn Kessler Washington Post Staff Writers Monday, September 29, 2003; Page A01

In making the case for war against Iraq, Vice President Cheney has continued to suggest that an Iraqi intelligence agent met with a Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker five months before the attacks, even as the story was falling apart under scrutiny by the FBI, CIA and the foreign government that first made the allegation.

The alleged meeting in Prague between hijacker Mohamed Atta and Iraqi Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani was the single thread the administration has pointed to that might tie Iraq to the attacks. But as the Czech government distanced itself from its initial assertion and American investigators determined Atta was probably in the United States at the time of the meeting, other administration officials dropped the incident from their public statements about Iraq.

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Anthrax Scare; Foreign Affairs; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 911; alani; alqaedaandiraq; atta; cheney; czech; czechatta; havel; iraq; prague; terror
Excerpted per policy. Entire article is at link.
1 posted on 09/29/2003 8:21:02 AM PDT by pttttt
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To: pttttt
The claim that Atta, an Egyptian and Sept. 11 hijacker, had met with al-Ani in early April 2001 has been a constant element of the vice president's case against Iraq. Surveillance cameras at the Radio Free Europe building in Prague had picked up al-Ani, an intelligence officer at the Iraq embassy, surveying the building in April, five months before the Sept. 11 attacks. The tape was made available to Czech intelligence. Al-Ani was expelled at the U.S. government's request soon afterward for conduct incompatible with his diplomatic status.

Bears repeating.
2 posted on 09/29/2003 8:26:57 AM PDT by Peach (The Clintons have pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: pttttt
If Bigtime says it, I believe it then.
3 posted on 09/29/2003 8:28:15 AM PDT by The G Man (Wesley Clark is just Howard Dean in combat boots)
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To: pttttt
Briefer excerpt next time, please.
4 posted on 09/29/2003 8:30:11 AM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: The G Man
What Cheney said when asked if Iraq had any role in 911 was"I don't know".He did say that Iraq did have ties to terrorism.
5 posted on 09/29/2003 8:41:36 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: MEG33; Badabing Badaboom; archy; pokerbuddy0; Fred Mertz; aristeides; Mo1; seamole; dogbyte12
Interesting Al Ani meeting update story. New info in the WashPost story.

Obviously an anti-Cheney leak. With some good new info, some misleading about Havel again.

"...In October 2001, after pictures of Atta had circulated publicly, an Arab student who worked as an informant for BIS, the Czech Security Information Service, told the service he had seen Atta meeting with al-Ani in April.

That November, Stanislav Gross, the Czech Republic's interior minister, said publicly that al-Ani and Atta had met in Prague. A short while later, Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman told Powell that the two had discussed targeting the Radio Free Europe building, not the Sept. 11 targets.

On Dec. 9, 2001, Cheney said on "Meet The Press" that "it's been pretty well confirmed that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack."

But that same month, Czech President Vaclav Havel was retreating from the more definitive accounts provided by his government, saying there was "a 70 percent" chance the meeting took place. Indeed, while Czech officials never officially backed away from their initial stance, officials at various agencies say that, privately, the Czechs have discredited the accuracy of the untested informant who came to them with the information. According to one report, Havel quietly informed the White House in 2002 there was no evidence to confirm the meeting...

6 posted on 10/03/2003 2:05:29 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Havel denied calling the White House about Atta.
7 posted on 10/03/2003 2:12:37 PM PDT by MEG33
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To: aristeides; Allan; Mitchell
IMO, what makes the Atta in Prague story intriguing is the degree to which some wanted to destroy it. Tactics include the completely false planting of the story that Havel debunked the story. Also, the retired Czech Foreign Ministry official trotted out who, when cutting to the chase, said nothing much more than a meeting didn't happen in April.

Also, our govt. must have closely reviewed where Atta was throughout his life. But they only say they have no "evidence" that Atta left in "April"

Well, what about March?
8 posted on 10/03/2003 2:14:40 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: MEG33; seamole
Havel denied calling the White House about Atta.

True, and wasn't that story planted by Isikoff? In retrospect, the plant was a mistake, it was to easily discountable...although it gained traction.

Reading this article does seem to tell a story about a Cheney v. CIA battle.

But if you remember from 2001, the Admin, even Cheney, never went out of its way to link 9/11 to Iraq. They were circumspect, to say the least.

The article ends with Al Ani supposedly "denied meeting Atta." Maybe he didn't, maybe he did. He certainly wouldn't say.

9 posted on 10/03/2003 2:18:56 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
I was shocked to hear Americans believed the tie because the admistration had not pushed it.Al Ani of course would not tie himself to a 911 murderer.I find no real meat in this article.
10 posted on 10/03/2003 2:32:31 PM PDT by MEG33
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To: pttttt; Peach; MEG33
This is a May 2002 Isikoff piece. Notice that much of the Wash Post article is not new.

A Spy Story Tying Saddam to 9-11 is Looking Very Flimsy

FR Thread, Same Story

11 posted on 10/03/2003 4:06:06 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Thanks for the ping; I'll read it later. (Trying to get over a cold)

This topic interests me and I appreciate your remembering.
12 posted on 10/03/2003 4:14:19 PM PDT by Peach (The Clintons have pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
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To: Peach; seamole; dogbyte12; MEG33; Destro
You guys ever see this report from Czechoslovakia? -

http://respekt.inway.cz/english/priloha-eng-2002-43-01.php
13 posted on 10/03/2003 4:15:14 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
"...Atta was living in Florida at the time when he was to have visited Prague. Two days before a possible meeting with al-Ani he flew from Virginia Beach, Florida to New York, but seventy- two hours later he was back in Florida. Czech officials checked out all suspicious men who arrived in Prague on the incriminating days, but were not able to confirmed Atta's visit. Nonetheless a visit was possible. Atta, say, could have flown to Vienna and taken a bus to Prague. "Atta's mysterious stay in Prague can neither be ruled out nor confirmed. We're at the same place we were a year ago," says one reporter occupied on the case. One interesting piece of evidence is the report by the New York Times stating that a few days after the alleged visit to Prague last year one hundred thousand dollars was transferred to Atta's bank account at Sun Bank in Florida from the United Arab Emirates. ..."

Mistook "Virginia Beach" as being in Florida

14 posted on 10/03/2003 4:38:49 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: archy; aristeides; Allan; Mitchell; Badabing Badaboom; pokerbuddy0; Alamo-Girl; Betty Jo
http://respekt.inway.cz/english/priloha-eng-2002-43-01.php

""The report by the U.S. Inspector General of the Justice Department, Glenn A. Fine, reads: "Egyptian terrorist Muhammad Atta most likely did not meet in Prague in April of last year with an Iraqi spy Ahmed al-Ani operating in the Czech capital under the diplomatic protection." ""

Any of you guys ever hear of this report by "Glenn A. Fine"? The Wash Post article doesn't mention it. Also, the Wash Post article says ""they could find no indication he had left Virginia or traveled outside the United States." But the Czech article explicitly mentions a flight to New York City.
15 posted on 10/03/2003 4:44:13 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy; DoctorMichael; wirestripper
Flashback: article from April 2002 with links.

Czech Officials Say Story That Atta Met with Iraqi Agent in Prague May Be Wrong

16 posted on 10/03/2003 4:50:01 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: mrustow; marron
Forgot to ping you guys too.
17 posted on 10/03/2003 4:52:16 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Washington Post, Sept. 29, 2003 - never left Virginia in "April".

U.S. records showed Atta living in Virginia Beach in April 2001, and they could find no indication he had left Virginia or traveled outside the United States.

Newsweek, May 6, Isikoff Atta in Virginia AND Florida:

The FBI could find no visa or airline records showing he had left or re-entered the United States that month. The bureau does have records showing Atta was in Virginia Beach-where officials suspect he was casing U.S. naval facilities in the area - and Florida in April.

2002 Prospekt, the Czech site:

Atta was living in Florida at the time when he was to have visited Prague. Two days before a possible meeting with al-Ani he flew from Virginia Beach, Florida to New York, but seventy- two hours later he was back in Florida. Czech officials checked out all suspicious men who arrived in Prague on the incriminating days, but were not able to confirmed Atta's visit. Nonetheless a visit was possible. Atta, say, could have flown to Vienna and taken a bus to Prague. "Atta's mysterious stay in Prague can neither be ruled out nor confirmed. We're at the same place we were a year ago," says one reporter occupied on the case. One interesting piece of evidence is the report by the New York Times stating that a few days after the alleged visit to Prague last year one hundred thousand dollars was transferred to Atta's bank account at Sun Bank in Florida from the United Arab Emirates.

Unfortunately the Czech is a little confused about "Virginia Beach" being in Florida. New York?

Interresting side point - Ahmed Alhaznawi was treated by Dr. Tsonas for a sore, possibly anthrax, in June 2001.

18 posted on 10/03/2003 5:25:49 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Bill Gertz, July 30, 2003

September 11 report alludes to Iraq-al Qaeda meeting

"The 850-page congressional report on September 11 intelligence failures says that a key terrorist organizer may have met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in the months before the attack.

Mohamed Atta, one of the pilots of the two hijacked jets that hit the World Trade Center, "may have traveled" to Prague to meet an Iraqi intelligence officer, the report said, quoting CIA Director George Tenet.

Whether Atta and Iraqi intelligence officer Ahmed al-Ani met in the Czech capital remains one of the mysteries of the September 11 plot.

A senior U.S. official said yesterday that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies differ on whether the meeting occurred.

The reported meeting has been cited by some officials as a link between the al Qaeda terrorist network and Iraqi intelligence.

Intelligence officials who are part of the Pentagon's Iraq Survey Group are searching Iraq for any information that could establish connections between al Qaeda and the Iraqi intelligence service, including information about any meeting between Atta and al-Ani.

"We haven't ruled out the possibility of [the meeting] happening," a senior U.S. official said yesterday. "But we have no evidence to demonstrate conclusively that it did."

.... ....

Later, the report states that CIA's Mr. Tenet told the committee: "Atta may also have traveled outside of the U.S. in early April 2001 to meet an Iraqi intelligence officer, although we are still working to corroborate this."

According to the report, "Atta may have traveled under an unknown alias: the CIA has been unable to establish that he left the United States or entered Europe in April under his true name or any known alias."

The U.S. official said yesterday that the FBI is more skeptical than the CIA that the meeting took place.


19 posted on 10/03/2003 5:31:08 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: okie01; JohnHuang2
Forgot the Bill Gertz link

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/954925/posts
20 posted on 10/03/2003 5:32:40 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Hmmm ... I recall it being challenged and then the challenge refuted by a terrorist expert in Prague. I'm not sure who had the last word.
21 posted on 10/03/2003 7:26:47 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Shermy
It appears to still be a mystery of sorts.

I wonder how the recent info that Atta was out ranked by another Islamo (forget the name) who went to Allah aboard the Jet that crashed in the field.

I understand that this guy was apparently running the show and Atta was more of a lieutenant or something. I wonder if we have any info on this guys travels prior to 9/11 regarding the Chek meeting. It is also possible that someone used Atta's name or Atta traveled under a fictitious name and passport for the trip.

22 posted on 10/03/2003 7:52:45 PM PDT by Cold Heat ("It is easier for an ass to succeed in that trade than any other." [Samuel Clemens, on lawyers])
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To: Alamo-Girl
I recall it being challenged and then the challenge refuted by a terrorist expert in Prague. I'm not sure who had the last word.

It's interesting. There was a retired fellow, from the intel part of their Foreign ministry, who came out to doubt the story. But he wasn't in the govt at the time, I recall, and wasn't part of the security service who was handling the matter.

All other Czechs check out.

The "Havel quietly told" Bush story was disinformation that came out in the New York Times. Havel immediately denied it.

23 posted on 10/03/2003 7:54:40 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
I'm fairly certain the terrorist espionage information we get from the press is inaccurate. And I doubt some of it would be shared with Congress because of leaks. I also doubt all of it is spread within the CIA, because I believe there is some doubt about their loyalties - at least there ought to be IMHO.

I suspect only the very highest levels - NSC, Rice, Tenet, Ashcroft, Ridge, Rumsfield, Powell, Cheney and Bush - have a complete, coherent picture. If Cheney implies there is a connection, I believe him.

24 posted on 10/03/2003 8:59:56 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
The fact that he didn't drop it is telling - since he didn't need it.
25 posted on 10/03/2003 10:07:27 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
Indeed. Great catch - again.
26 posted on 10/03/2003 10:36:57 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl; Badabing Badaboom; aristeides; pokerbuddy0; okie01; Allan; Mitchell; marron
If Cheney implies there is a connection, I believe him.

You notice how all the talk, successes and failures about anthrax and smallpox vaccinations has dissapated since the end of the Iraq war?

Consider whether Iraq was blackmailing us and Cheney knew or sensed it. Or that Uday speech was the "message." And possibly the anthrax attack was Iraqi/AQ coordinated somehow.

Just some food for thought.

27 posted on 10/07/2003 8:51:19 PM PDT by Shermy (Support Free Republic Anti-Pit Bull Threads)
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To: Shermy
Great catch, Shermy! Thanks!
28 posted on 10/07/2003 8:56:48 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Shermy
IMO, what makes the Atta in Prague story intriguing is the degree to which some wanted to destroy it.

And also the degree to which some wanted to promote it. I'm honestly not sure how it balances out.

29 posted on 10/07/2003 9:30:52 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
And also the degree to which some wanted to promote it. I'm honestly not sure how it balances out.

True.

I think I was impressed in the beginning that the Czechs seemed to me sincere, and the news was taken by surpirse in Washington.

One Czech spokesman now wishes they didn't release the allegation publicly.

30 posted on 10/07/2003 10:10:11 PM PDT by Shermy (Support Free Republic Anti-Pit Bull Threads)
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To: Shermy
Laurie Mylroie's book Bush Versus the Beltway connects both the anthrax and 9/11 with Iraq through Al Qaeda. She plays up the Prague meeting big, and pretty clearly believes it happened. It's obvious from her sources and the blurbs on the back cover that she has the sympathy if not the agreement of the neoconservatives and hawks in the administration.
31 posted on 10/08/2003 4:00:10 AM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides; Mitchell; Allan; okie01; Battle Axe; FilmCutter; pokerbuddy0; Badabing Badaboom; ...
Here's a Spertzel Oct. 6 article of interest

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/7346.htm
GLASS HALF FULL

32 posted on 10/08/2003 3:30:56 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Shermy
"YET to be accounted for is some significant WMD-production material that we know Iraq had. It is not apparent that current investigative units are even aware of these - i.e., a spray-dryer ideally suitable for making a powdered agent; 25 metric tons of Aerosil imported by Iraq in 2002, a product important to both the chemical and biological programs; and the missing 1,000-liter fermenters. These should have been among UNMOVIC's highest priorities, but the sites where they were located were not inspected. Where are these items now?"

A very good question, don't you think?

Why does the media show no interest in the answer?

We both know why. But, at least, they could be hammering the administration about something that was actually important...

33 posted on 10/08/2003 5:27:57 PM PDT by okie01 (www.ArmorforCongress.com...because Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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To: okie01; cardinal4
I was in Baghdad, at the U.S. Interests Section, in the late summer/early autumn of 1983. My walk to the Section from my hotel took me past the PFLP-GC compound every day. At that time, terrorist groups of every stripe were active in Baghdad. More recently, we learned that Abu Nidal "committed suicide" in Baghdad, and Abu Abbas, architecht of the Achille Lauro murder was rolled up by U.S. forces in Baghdad. That Saddam Hussein was in bed with all of these anti-American murdering moslem thugs is not open for discussion. And as President Bush said in his address to the nation shortly after 9/11, if you're harboring or supporting terrorists, you are guilty, and we're coming after your asses. He did, and he was justified.
34 posted on 10/08/2003 5:42:19 PM PDT by Ax
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To: pttttt
What are the odds that this is the rope-a-dope of the century?

Bush surely understands that his re-election is the most important aspect of the WOT next year. They don't seem terribly forceful or concerned about correcting misconceptions pushed in the media.

Are they just waiting for the opportune time?

35 posted on 10/08/2003 6:04:10 PM PDT by Monti Cello
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To: Ax
"That Saddam Hussein was in bed with all of these anti-American murdering moslem thugs is not open for discussion."

It defies common sense that Saddam and the terrorist organizations in the Middle East would not be making common cause.

That the media would blithely assume the contrary has always astounded me.

It is as if "birds of a feather" was an unrevealed truth, awaiting some kind of mystical flash of insight...

36 posted on 10/08/2003 6:07:22 PM PDT by okie01 (www.ArmorforCongress.com...because Congress isn't for the morally halt and the mentally lame.)
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To: okie01; Ax
".......And that case has not been made connecting Iraq and terrorism. In other news today, Abu Nidal, architect of the OPEC hostage taking in Vienna in 1975, and also the Christmastime masscres at Rome and Vienna airports, was found dead in his Baghdad apartment. Baghdad is the capital city of the country that is no way connected to terrorism, Iraq. It was ruled a suicide, based on the 9 bullets in the back of his head. Next up, the Bush admin flounders for reasons to go war......."
37 posted on 10/08/2003 6:29:09 PM PDT by cardinal4 (Hillary and Clark rhymes with Ft Marcy park...)
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To: Technogeeb
You might like this thread.
38 posted on 10/09/2003 5:41:16 PM PDT by Shermy (Visit Las Vegas. Then leave.)
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To: Tailgunner Joe
You might like this thread, and links.
39 posted on 12/03/2003 2:32:32 PM PST by Shermy
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