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Sunday, July 11, 2004

CIA finally reveals its grounds for rejecting Ani-Atta (Iraq-al Queda) link

One of the great mysteries of the last couple of years is why the CIA dismisses the Czech intelligence report that 9/11 attack leader Mohammad Atta met with Iraqi spymaster Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al Ani in Prague five months before 9/11. It is known that Atta's cell phone was used back in the States at the time of the alleged trip to Prague, but the terrorists are known to share cell phones, so that doesn't give much grounds for rejecting the Czech intelligence. Further, the Czechs not only continue to stand by their Atta-Ani claim, but have corroborated it by sleuthing Al Ani's datebook from the Iraqi embassy in Prague. Atta described himself on his passport as "a Hamburg student." Ani's schedule notes a meeting on the day in question with a "Hamburg student." Yet outgoing CIA chief George Tenet claimed this week that the agency is "increasingly skeptical" of the Czech intelligence.

Increasingly skeptical in the face of corroboration? Surely the CIA must have some contrary information that no one else knows about. In a departing letter to Congress, Tenet has now spilled the beans. Tenet claims that Atta "would have been unlikely to undertake the substantial risk of contacting any Iraqi official" so close to the attack date. There you have it. The CIA doesn't think it would have been wise for Atta to meet with Ani in Prague, therefore it didn't happen, no matter that Czech intelligence was watching Ani and SAW IT HAPPEN, no matter that Atta is known to have taken some suspicious and risky trips to Prague before, including one without a valid passport, requiring him to stay in the airport.

For the last three years, Tenet, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1997, hasn't done a damned thing but try to cover his ass for pre-9/11 intelligence mistakes. He has utter contempt for honest assessment of intelligence information, no matter how crucial to national security. Good riddance.

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