Atta in Prague
Since Able Danger is back on the front burner, the question of Atta’s whereabouts – specifically whether or not he was in Praque in the Czech Republic on April 8th, 2001 is a key point.
Edward Jay Esptein writes in the WSJ Opinion section today:
“PRAGUE--On Oct. 27, 2001, the New York Times reported (erroneously) that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta "flew to the Czech Republic on April 8 and met with [an] Iraqi intelligence officer," helping to give credence to the so-called Prague connection. It subsequently cast doubt on it, editorializing in November 2005 that the alleged meeting between the hijacker and the Iraqi was part of President Bush and his team's "rewriting of history" based on nothing more than a false tale "from an unreliable drunk." But was the putative Prague connection solely an invention of the Bush administration--or was it the product of an incomplete intelligence operation?”
Why is the Atta in Prague connection so important?
Simple, If this meeting did occur, then it would be a strong indication of possible Iraqi government involvement in the 9/11 attacks, especially considering that Mohammed Atta would have had to make a special trip from the United States to Prague to attend this meeting. This meeting would have also been Mohammed Atta's second visit to Prague in less than a year.
However, the US has no solid evidence of either an entry or re-entry into the US in April of 2001. Both the FBI and CIA concur, yet with "exception" as George Tenant finally on March 9th, 2004, seem to leave the question open by saying, “Although we cannot rule it out, we are increasingly skeptical such a meeting occurred”.
However, the Czech’s have to this day maintained that such a meeting took place on April 8th, 2001, although they have never shared complete disclosure as to how they came to believe this.
Yet again, as Tenet couldn't neither deny nor confirm so did The SSCI report on intelligence in July 2004, on page 341 said:
"Committee staff also interviewed FBI analysts regarding these alleged meetings, and the analysts stated that they agreed with the CIA assessment and had no further information suggesting or disproving that the meetings had taken place."
So to the rescue Mr. Espstein goes to Prague to find out:
“To sort out the confusion, I met earlier this month in Prague with Jiri Ruzek, chief at the time of the Czech counterintelligence service, BIS. Mr. Ruzek is in a position to know what happened. He personally oversaw the investigation of Iraq's alleged covert activities that began, with full American collaboration, nearly two years before Mr. Bush became president and resulted, some five months before the 9/11 attack, in the expulsion of Ahmad al-Ani, the Iraqi intelligence officer alleged to have met with Atta. I also spoke with ex-Foreign Minister Jan Kavan, who headed the intelligence committee to whom Mr. Ruzek reported, and to Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek, who, as deputy foreign minister at the time, handled the al-Ani expulsion for the foreign ministry. According to them, here's how the Prague connection developed.”
I’ll save you the time. In the end the US officially pulled back on the assertion , and left the matter with Tenent’s statement. The Czechs, while sticking to their story, bailed on further debate not wanting to get in a battle between “Hawks and Doves” here in the US.
So where are we? Although there is strong evidence that Atta could have been in Prague for that meeting, the jury is effectually still out. To this point there is no "smoking gun" - cold hard evidence (hardcopy), or at least viable non-refutable witnesses.
Now of course where this is important for the Able Danger story is that Lt. Col. Schaffer and other witnesses have stated that Able Danger had kept tabs on Atta’s whereabouts and specific to the April 8th meeting. If so - it's a bombshell.
Which is why I hope – although inside sources tell me not to expect much – there are real conclusive hearings into exactly what Able Danger uncovered.
Again, not to play the blame game because on that day both democrats and republicans and independents died in those towers. However, the reality is that IF Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks, as many do believe, then instead of the President lying us into war, someone has been and continue to lie to keep the truth out - for nothing more than the protection of a supposed "legacy". Which in inself may be even more the reason that Democrats have stepped up the "Bush lied" mantra of late.
As Jack Kelley put it:
"The CIA, and the 9/11 commission, say Atta wasn't in Prague April 9, 2001, because his cell phone was used in Florida that day. But there is no evidence of who used the phone. Atta could have lent it to a confederate. (It wouldn't have worked in Europe anyway.) But acknowledging that possibility would leave open the likelihood that Saddam's regime was involved in, or at least had foreknowledge of, the 9/11 attacks. And that would have been as uncomfortable for Democrats as the revelation that 9/11 could have been prevented if it hadn't been for the Clinton administration's wall of separation. The 9/11 commission wrote history as it wanted it to be, not as it was. The real history of what happened that terrible September day has yet to be written.
We need to get to the truth.
UPDATE: For more on the Atta/Al-ani photo above visit here.
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