Skip to comments.Hijacker 'Given Anthrax Flask By Iraqi Agent'
Posted on 10/26/2001 4:15:17 PM PDT by blam
SATURDAY OCTOBER 27 2001
Hijacker 'given anthrax flask by Iraqi agent'
BY DANIEL MCGRORY
INTELLIGENCE agents from Prague to Swansea are uncovering a trail of clues that point to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq having a hand in al-Qaedas terrorist missions. Iraqi ministers have spent the week protesting Baghdads innocence to the United Nations, but will not say why some of its diplomats who met Mohammed Atta, one of the suspected September 11 hijackers, disappeared from their European posts after that date.
Nor will Baghdad explain why Saddams agents were spotted at various times this year with Atta in Germany, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic.
Many in the Pentagon are sure Saddam helped to orchestrate the simultaneous hijackings and the anthrax attacks, but President Bush and Tony Blair have yet to be convinced. To get proof of the Baghdad connection, senior officials in the Bush Administration even sent a former CIA director to Britain on a covert mission.
Intelligence officers in Washington have deliberately leaked the testimony of an Iraqi defector hiding in Turkey who said that Saddam set up a terrorist training school on the outskirts of Istanbul to practice hijacking a Boeing passenger aircraft. The CIA says that it is assessing the claims.
Meanwhile, a special FBI team sent to Europe to uncover al-Qaeda cells say that they are studying a report from Prague that anthrax spores were given to Atta during his last meeting in Prague in April with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, the Iraqi consul. If it can be shown that Atta was given a flask of anthrax, a Western intelligence official said, then the link will have been made with Osama bin Laden and with Iraq.
What is known is that Atta made at least four visits to the Czech Republic to see Mr al-Ani. Czech intelligence officers who saw them embrace at Ruzyne Airport admit that they had no idea who the man greeting Saddams envoy was. When they were followed to the headquarters of Radio Free Europe the suspicion was that they may have been plotting to bomb it.
Yesterday the German newspaper Bild suggested a more sinister motive for their meetings. The claim, according to Israeli security sources, is that Atta was handed a vacuum flask of anthrax by his Iraqi contact. From Prague, it is believed Atta flew to Newark. From New Jersey, letters laced with anthrax were sent to broadcasters and politicians in New York, Washington and Florida. Czech officials have been to Washington to reveal all they know, but they cant question the Iraqi envoy because Mr al-Ani was deported from Prague in April for activities incompatible with his status as a diplomat.
Stanislav Gross, the Czech Interior Minister, confirmed yesterday a meeting in Prague between Atta and Mr al-Ani just weeks before the envoy was expelled.
US scientists believe the anthrax spores sent to Tom Daschle, the Senate Majority Leader, had been treated with a sophisticated chemical additive only three countries can manufacture: Russia, America and possibly Iraq.
Former UN weapons inspectors suggest that Saddam could have helped bin Laden to get nuclear material. Critics of the Pentagons view say that Iraq would not share its nuclear secrets, but might watch for others trying to buy on the black market.
(Go to the Times site for the rest of the article)
Recent US military policy has been to minimize US casualties. At high levels in US power structures, the preponderance of thinking regards safety of person as ultimate. They are ready to abandon (our) freedom, (our) constitutional rights, (our) treasure, other people's innocent lives, and their own dignity to preserve personal safety. I think that is the key to figuring out what the US response will be.
Before we proceed to do any serious damage to the perps, we will have to disarm the threat in this country. That could take some time.
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