Skip to comments.Pentagon aide denies suicide-hijacker met Iraqi president
Posted on 09/09/2002 12:47:18 PM PDT by HAL9000
BERLIN, Sept 9 (AFP) - A Pentagon advisor said Monday that he was wrongly quoted in an article claiming that one of the September 11 suicide-hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had met Iraqi President Saddam Hussein prior to the attacks.
Italy's business daily "Il Sole 24 Ore" quoted the aide, Richard Perle as saying that: "Mohammed Atta met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad prior to September 11. We have proof of that, and we are sure he wasn't just there for a holiday."
But Perle, a consultant to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said the information was not correct.
"I was speaking about meetings Atta had with a secret collaborator of Saddam Hussein in Prague," Perle told the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.
"For the Italians, it appeared to be a new piece of information," he said.
In the initial report, Perle said that "the meeting is one of the motives for an American attack on Iraq."
The FBI believes Atta was at the controls of one of the hijacked passenger planes that was flown into the World Trade Center.
My guess is that Perle actually spoke of Atta's meeting with Saddam's agent in Prague, and this report is a sloppy, garbled version of that. I would be most surprised if Saddam Hussein met with Mohammed Atta personally, or that, if he did, we would have proof of it or, that if we had proof of it, the first person to hear about it would be an Italian reporter for a business daily. The administration gave the LA Times a heads up a few weeks ago that the Atta-al-Ani meeting did take place and would form part of the case for taking out Saddam: White House says Sept. 11 skyjacker had met Iraqi agent.That was an easy call.
53 posted on 9/8/02 10:29 AM Pacific by The Great Satan
Rumsfeld: "Look, Richard Perle is Richard Perle. He is very bright, very talented, served in government with distinction and you're quite correct, he is chairman of the Defense Policy Board. He however is not a government official, he does not speak for the president, he does not speak for me, and my way to respond to that is that those are decisions that are made by the country, by the president of the United States, and he has made no announcements with respect to Iraq."
Pentagon-Berater dementiert Atta-Besuch bei Saddam Hussein
Pentagon-Berater Richard Perle hat Berichte dementiert, wonach die USA Informationen über ein Treffen zwischen dem Terrorpiloten Mohammed Atta und dem irakischen Diktator Saddam Hussein vor dem 11. September 2001 haben. Entsprechende Zitate von ihm seien "nicht korrekt", teilte Perle der Financial Times Deutschland mit.
Der Mailänder Zeitung "Il Sole 24 Ore" zufolge hatte Perle bei einer Konferenz in Italien von dem Besuch Attas in Bagdad berichtet. "Ich habe von den bekannten Treffen Attas mit einem Geheimdienstmitarbeiter von Saddam Hussein in Prag gesprochen", schrieb Perle der FTD in einer E-mail. "Für die Italiener war das offenbar eine Neuigkeit."
Nach dem 11. September hatte der tschechische Geheimdienst von einem Treffen Attas mit einem irakischen Geheimdienstoffizier in Prag im April 2001 berichtet. Das US-Justizministerium hat offiziell aber keine Erkenntnisse, dass Ata in dem fraglichen Zeitraum die Vereinigten Staaten verlassen hat.
Pentagon advisor disclaims Atta attendance with Saddam Hussein
Pentagon advisor Richard bead disclaimed reports, according to which the USA have information about a meeting between the terror pilot Mohammed Atta and the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein before 11 September 2001. Appropriate quotations of it are "not correct", communicated bead of the Financial Times Germany.
The May countries newspaper "IL brine 24 Ore" according to had reported bead at a conference in Italy of the attendance Attas in Bagdad. "I spoke of the well-known meetings Attas with a secret service coworker of Saddam Hussein in Prague", wrote bead of the FTD in email. "for the Italians that was obvious a piece of news."
After 11 September the Czech secret service had reported of a meeting Attas with an Iraqi secret service officer in Prague in April 2001. The US Ministry of Justice has officially however no realizations that Ata in the questionable period left the United States.
"I was speaking about meetings Atta had with a secret collaborator of Saddam Hussein in Prague," Perle told the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper."
Ah...I guess the Italian paper got the quote screwed up, and this is simply a correction. I hope that's what it's meant to be, otherwise, it's an article about nothing, but at least a mercifully short article about nothing.
I wish our government could get this story straight. Even if the meeting did take place (with Saddam or an agent), all this contradiction makes us look uncoordinated and incompetent. I think it can end up backfiring, because it gives the doves fodder for their 'even the hawks can't agree on their so-called smoking gun! What kind of a case is that?' argument.
I think this should only have been made public if we had pretty incontrovertible evidence of it.
Mr. RUSSERT: One year ago when you were on MEET THE PRESS just five days after September 11, I asked you a specific question about Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Lets watch:Last month, an unnamed senior official in the administration told Los Angeles Tiimes journalists that the Prague meeting "holds up" and added, "We're going to talk more about this case." See White House says Sept. 11 skyjacker had met Iraqi agent.
(Videotape, September 16, 2001):
Mr. RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No.
Mr. RUSSERT: Has anything changed, in your mind?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I want to be very careful about how I say this. Im not here today to make a specific allegation that Iraq was somehow responsible for 9/11. I cant say that. On the other hand, since we did that interview, new information has come to light. And we spent time looking at that relationship between Iraq, on the one hand, and the al-Qaeda organization on the other. And there has been reporting that suggests that there have been a number of contacts over the years. Weve seen in connection with the hijackers, of course, Mohamed Atta, who was the lead hijacker, did apparently travel to Prague on a number of occasions. And on at least one occasion, we have reporting that places him in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official a few months before the attack on the World Trade Center. The debates about, you know, was he there or wasnt he there, again, its the intelligence business.
Mr. RUSSERT: What does the CIA say about that and the president?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Its credible. But, you know, I think a way to put it would be its unconfirmed at this point.
Yes, you're right. Still, our officials have been flip-flopping on whether or not the meeting actually took place. It doesn't seem likely that we have any concrete proof, which makes those who claim the meeting took place look desperate. I, for one, hope it took place, and that we CAN prove it. It would make the case for war that much easier.