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Hijacker "Given Anthrax Flask By Iraqi Agent"
London Times ^ | 10/27/01 | Daniel McGrory

Posted on 10/27/2001 10:27:09 PM PDT by Fulbright

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-Qaeda’s terrorist missions. Iraqi ministers have spent the week protesting Baghdad’s 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 Saddam’s 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 Saddam’s 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 can’t 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 Pentagon’s view say that Iraq would not share its nuclear secrets, but might watch for others trying to buy on the black market.

Italian police say they are investigating how Saddam also used his Embassy in Rome to foster his partnership with al-Qaeda. One of Saddam’s intelligence agents, Habib Faris Abdullah al-Mamouri, was sent to be the new headmaster of a school for Iraqi diplomats in Italy. The bogus headmaster has not been seen in Rome since July, shortly after he also met Atta. The pair are also said to have been together in Hamburg and Prague. There is no proof the men were in direct contact, but as one intelligence source in Madrid said: “They chose a strange time and place to take a holiday.” The Rome daily Il Messaggero, quoting Western intelligence sources, said of Mr al-Mamouri that “he spent more time pursuing contacts helpful to the Iraqi regime among fundamentalist Islamic groups than he had on his supposed teaching duties”.

Italian officials say that Mr al-Mamouri held the rank of general in the Iraqi secret service, and from 1982 to 1990 worked in the Special Operations Branch forging Baghdad’s links with Islamic fundamentalist groups in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Gulf and Sudan. He was transferred to his “teaching duties” in 1998, although all the Iraqi Embassy will say of his sudden departure is that “he had money problems”. Although Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, and others in his department are sceptical of Saddam’s involvement, there are many influential figures in US intelligence who claim that Iraq’s links with bin Laden go back to the early Nineties.

Desperate for allies after the Gulf War, Saddam sent Faruq Hijazi, his secret service director, to Sudan in 1994, where bin Laden then had his headquarters. The meetings were brokered by Hassan al-Tourabi, the Sudanese Muslim leader, who was bin Laden’s protector. The Sudanese belatedly offered to show the CIA all they knew about bin Laden and his visits, to ingratiate themselves back into the international fold, but the Americans scorned the approach. The Iraqi connection with bin Laden continued when the terrorist leader moved to Afghanistan. Mr Hijazi, who is now Saddam’s envoy in Turkey, reportedly met the al-Qaeda leader at his fortified home in Kandahar and in Kabul.

Mr Hijazi also disappeared from his embassy last month after the first reports of his meetings with al-Qaeda, and he is believed to have slipped back into Ankara earlier this week. The Foreign Ministry in Turkey says it has not been told that the Ambassador had returned, although the Iraqi Embassy says that he is “resting”. What puzzles Turkish officials is that there are no airport records of his return. US Intelligence says Saddam cultivated the relationship with al-Qaeda at the start of 1998 by inviting the man regarded as bin Laden’s deputy — Ayman Zawahiri — to dine with Taha Yasin Ramadan, the Iraqi Vice-President. That was such a success that a delegation from al-Qaeda attended Saddam’s birthday celebrations that April, and it was during this trip that arrangements were made for bin Laden recruits to receive the sort of advanced weapons training they could not get in their camps in Afghanistan.

The hand-picked bin Laden agents found themselves under the supervision of Saddam’s violent son, Uday, who wanted to conscript some of bin Laden’s skilled fighters into his own militia. Bin Laden reciprocated by dispatching “400 Afghan Arabs” to Iraq to fight Kurds. The most curious attempt to implicate Saddam was in South Wales last month when James Woolsey, the former CIA Director, is reported to have visited a Swansea college. The hope was that the testimony of college lecturers and recollections of former students could be used to convince sceptics in the US Administration and Downing Street that Saddam has helped to provide agents to carry out al-Qaeda attacks.

Mr Woolsey, who refuses to give details of his British itinerary, has always believed that the Iraqi leader masterminded the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Centre. The trip to the Swansea Institute was to establish the true identity of one of bin Laden’s bombers, who claims to have studied computer-aided engineering in South Wales.

Additional reporting by Roger Boyes in Berlin; Richard Owen in Rome and Andrew Finkel in Istanbul.

For educational and discussion purposes only.


TOPICS: Anthrax Scare; News/Current Events
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Mewsmax reports on their site that, as incredible as it may seem, no special testing for anthrax has occurred at the hijacker's suspected residences in Florida, while every weak lead to a right wing domestic nut is being covered like a wet blanket.
1 posted on 10/27/2001 10:27:09 PM PDT by Fulbright
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To: Fulbright
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.

Oh, they're convinced all right. They have yet to figure out what to do about it.

2 posted on 10/27/2001 10:33:53 PM PDT by Clinton's a rapist
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To: Clinton's a rapist
If I were Bush or Blair, I too wouldn't tip my hand. Let Sadamn wander for a while......then nail him.
3 posted on 10/27/2001 10:37:51 PM PDT by umgud
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To: Fulbright
According to the Clintonized FBI its still an example of domestic terrorism because Mohammed Atta lived in the US.
4 posted on 10/27/2001 10:40:13 PM PDT by Dialup Llama
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To: Fulbright
No special testing up until recently. There was a report last night that they have begun testing on their apartments and on some vehicles they were associated with owning or driving.

Here is the article on the flask incident posted earlier.

Hijacker 'Given Anthrax Flask By Iraqi Agent'

5 posted on 10/27/2001 10:41:46 PM PDT by piasa
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To: Fulbright
I'm hoping that the drill goes like this:

Focus on Afghanistan and Al Queda. Hold Coalition #1 together for the years it takes to see the Taliban thrown down, AL Queda broken up, etc. A stable Afghanistan installed so we don't have to go back in a few more years.

Meanwhile, use the threat of "You're next" against Sudan, Lebanon and Iran to get what agreements/concessions/intelligence/support we can from them. Simultaneously, begin rebuilding the CIA's human assets in these countries.

When Afghanistan is done, decide what to do next. We may be able to fight in the shadows completely via new CIA assets, Delta Force raids, etc. Or we may try to build Coalition #2 to openly take on, say, Iraq.

The important thing is to focus and buckle down. If we get all worked up about Iraq and the pressure builds to openly attack them now, we're sunk. If Pakistan actually turns on us, we will be unable to defeat the Taliban. It'll be another Vietnam, except that it's a thousand-mile border instead of a Ho Chi Min trail and those sending in the supplies and giving sanctuary have nuclear weapons.

6 posted on 10/27/2001 10:42:54 PM PDT by the Wayne
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To: Clinton's a rapist
They have yet to figure out what to do about it.

There's the rub. Especially if they know that Sadaam has more weaponized (i.e. antibiotic resistant) strains, and that he and bin Laden have agents all over the U.S. waiting for some signal to release it, like we attack Iraq.
By the way, the VRWC theory is not just in the FBI.

7 posted on 10/27/2001 10:57:49 PM PDT by patriciaruth
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To: piasa
It has been nearly a month since anthrax was discovered at the American Media building (now a Superfund cleanup site).

If the FBI has only recently begun testing the hijackers apartments for anthrax, we need to ask for our money back.

8 posted on 10/27/2001 11:06:22 PM PDT by Fulbright
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To: Fulbright
No kidding.
9 posted on 10/27/2001 11:09:57 PM PDT by piasa
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To: patriciaruth
seems to me the answer is right under our nose.By that I mean,remember when Bush began following thru on campaign issues and the left was mad he was keeping those promises ? He did what he said.... In this war he said "dead or alive" and "you are with us or you are with the terrorists". Bush keeps his word and that pisses off the press because the media's power is maintained on a world wide stage,weakest at home. Lastly,Cheney said "We will have more losses at home" of course allowing the numbers from 911. Words mean things so to me we are on Iraq like rocks on the taliban...
10 posted on 10/27/2001 11:21:24 PM PDT by cactusSharp
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To: cactusSharp
we are on Iraq like rocks on the taliban...

Sorry, I misplaced my code book. If you can't translate in the clear, then please FReepmail me.

11 posted on 10/27/2001 11:26:38 PM PDT by patriciaruth
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: Fulbright
As Shakespeare once said, "First we kill all the Taliban, then we go after Saddam."
13 posted on 10/27/2001 11:39:59 PM PDT by Slyfox
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To: WileyCoyote22
Ah, "we are on Iraq, like rocks on the taliban..."

For want of a comma the meaning was lost. Still, I didn't know we were throwing rocks. I've only heard about bombs and MRE's.

14 posted on 10/27/2001 11:47:30 PM PDT by patriciaruth
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To: Fulbright
If the FBI has only recently begun testing the hijackers apartments for anthrax, we need to ask for our money back.

You know, I don't think there was ever any doubt about the source of the anthrax, at the highest levels. This search is just a dog-and-pony show for the proles. I actually wonder if the FBI is even in the loop.

15 posted on 10/28/2001 12:37:29 AM PDT by Clinton's a rapist
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To: Fulbright
The baseless theory that this was caused by "right wing groups in the U.S." was first floated in the NY Times by two Clinton appointees that are now Harvard professors and the theory continues to grow despite the fact that the only evidence that anyone knows about points to Iraq.
16 posted on 10/28/2001 5:37:33 AM PST by Croooow
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To: Croooow

Federal Bureau of Idiots

Whatever happened to the FBI?

17 posted on 10/28/2001 5:49:32 AM PST by Enduring Freedom
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To: Fulbright; Fred Mertz; *Anthrax; The Great Satan
Time for a bump on this one.
18 posted on 09/05/2002 12:45:38 AM PDT by Wallaby
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To: Clinton's a rapist; Nogbad; Mitchell; Travis McGee; Fred Mertz; aristeides; Mohammed El-Shahawi
Very perspicacious of you, old chum. Good thinking.
19 posted on 09/05/2002 7:06:26 AM PDT by The Great Satan
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To: Clinton's a rapist
Only took the FBI ten months to go back and look for the J-Lo letter. Wonder if they found it yet? Wonder if they have had it all along?
20 posted on 09/05/2002 7:07:58 AM PDT by The Great Satan
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To: Wallaby; Nogbad; Mitchell
Wednesday, September 04, 2002

FBI continues hunt for clues in Boca Raton anthrax attack

News-Journal wire services

BOCA RATON -- Federal investigators and scientists searched for clues inside the anthrax-infested former home of The National Enquirer for a fifth day Tuesday after collecting hundreds of samples through the holiday weekend.

Investigators said their work has been "successful" but declined to say whether they have found whatever brought the anthrax inside the building, a key piece of evidence in the 11-month-old criminal investigation.

The investigation will continue until at least Sept. 11, the deadline FBI agents set in their search warrant for the building, owned by tabloid publisher American Media Inc. AMI spokesman Gerald McKelvey said the warrant could be extended.

"There's a lot of space to go over," McKelvey said of the three-story, 67,000 square-foot building.

Police Cmdr. Maria Maughan said investigators tried new sampling techniques Tuesday. She declined to elaborate on the techniques or the samples being taken from the building but said hundreds of samples have been collected from all three floors.

Although federal investigators searched the AMI building in October, after photo editor Robert Stevens was fatally infected, they say they have developed new techniques to search for large amounts of anthrax and hope to follow a trail of spores to the source.

In addition to finding the source of the anthrax, the teams of FBI agents and scientists hope to compare large samples of anthrax spores found inside the AMI building to those found in letters sent to the congressional offices of Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

The comparisons could help revive the slow-moving investigation into the attacks, which killed Stevens and four others. Another American Media worker, mailroom employee Ernesto Blanco, became ill and was hospitalized more than three weeks.

Federal officials quarantined the building Oct. 7, and AMI officials soon moved their headquarters to rented offices less than a mile away. The company publishes six supermarket tabloids, including the Enquirer, Globe and Weekly World News.

21 posted on 09/05/2002 7:14:16 AM PDT by The Great Satan
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To: The Great Satan; piasa
The FBI is totally politicized. If they were ordered to only look for Paraguayan anthrax suspects, they would do so.
22 posted on 09/05/2002 7:25:48 AM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: The Great Satan; Nita Nupress
Bttt
23 posted on 09/05/2002 1:28:12 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: Mitchell
"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."

You'll recall that, on several occasions, I've remarked about a source claiming a Thermos had been passed between al-Ani and Atta. But I couldn't recall the article.

Here it is...

24 posted on 09/05/2002 1:35:27 PM PDT by okie01
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To: okie01
Thanks. The only other reference to this I've seen is in an Oct. 29, 2001, PBS interview, in which the interviewer states: "You know that the allegation in today's paper is that Mr. al-Ani allegedly gave a bottle or vacuum bottle of anthrax to Mr. Atta."

In any case, I've never understood what the evidence for this could be. Based on what we've been told, Czech intelligence saw Atta meet al-Ani and may have taken pictures of the meeting. They may even have seen a bottle being transferred. But how could they know what was in the bottle?

There are three possibilities I can think of:

  1. They eavesdropped on the conversation between Atta and al-Ani. But I find it hard to believe, to the point of incredulity, that al-Ani and Atta would have said anything so incriminating.
  2. There is inside information, from a double agent or the like, as to what happened.
  3. The anthrax in the bottle is pure speculation. It may be known that al-Ani gave Atta a bottle, and people may say, "What else could have been in it?" But, if that's what's happening here, it's not very definitive.
By the way, has anybody seen any article purporting to state the size of this bottle? [What I'm really asking is: Was it large enough to hold envelopes?]
25 posted on 09/05/2002 1:42:25 PM PDT by Mitchell
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To: Mitchell
[What I'm really asking is: Was it large enough to hold envelopes?]

Suggesting that the envelopes would have been prepared in an Iraqi lab...and all Atta (or his confederates) had to do was drop them in a mailbox.

The accompanying note paper was cut out of larger sheets (w/scissors?), for no apparent reason -- suggesting that there probably was a reason.

Could it be that they needed to disguise that the notes had been written and copied on European standard sheets (R-4, instead of 8.5 x 11.5)?

26 posted on 09/05/2002 2:09:58 PM PDT by okie01
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To: okie01
The accompanying note paper was cut out of larger sheets (w/scissors?), for no apparent reason -- suggesting that there probably was a reason.

Good point.

Could it be that they needed to disguise that the notes had been written and copied on European standard sheets (R-4, instead of 8.5 x 11.5)?

Yes, quite possibly.

27 posted on 09/07/2002 12:15:05 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: The Great Satan
Very perspicacious of you, old chum. Good thinking.

Go ask Alice!

28 posted on 09/07/2002 12:36:58 AM PDT by Mitchell
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To: okie01
This is an interesting thread, the possibility certainly exists that by the time our planes are in the air, Bush will go on TV with the evidence trail in hand.
29 posted on 09/29/2002 8:10:24 PM PDT by palmer
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To: palmer
"...Bush will go on TV with the evidence trail in hand."

He may. Or he might not. I'd make it a 50/50 proposition.

I can think of two reasons not to. The first being that while we might be certain the anthrax came from Iraq, we can't necessarily prove it, in a legalistic fashion. The circumstantial evidence might be overwhelming, but the employment of "plausible deniability" might preclude an ironclad link. Or there might be intelligence sources that they don't want to compromise.

Perhaps an announcement might be forthcoming after the war is over and we can examine his laboratories and biowarfare personnel.

The other reason might be even more compelling. If some other tinpot despot discovered that, after discovering an Iraqi connection to 9-11, we remained quiescent for over a full year, he might conclude that "blackmail by WMD" could actually be made to work. We would definitely want to dissuade him of such a notion...

30 posted on 09/29/2002 8:25:06 PM PDT by okie01
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To: Fulbright
Ping For The Axis of Evil Evidence
31 posted on 01/15/2003 8:41:48 PM PST by Samurai_Jack (Ive got a tag line around here somewhere...)
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