Establishing whether Mohammed Attta could have been in Prague on April 8th, 2001 to meet with Iraqi Intelligence officer, Al-Ani is tanamount to establishing a direct tie between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 plot.

First, a little history from Jay Epstein:

"October 13, 2001. Based on an apparent leak from the Czech foreign ministry in Prague, Czech newspapers reported that Czech foreign minister Jan Kavan had briefed Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington about a trip Atta had taken to the Czech Republic in April. Kavan said that Czech intelligence had observed Mohamed Atta meeting in Prague with Iraqi Counsel Al-Ani. Since Ani worked as a case officer for Iraqi intelligence, the liaison implied a connection between the hijackers and Iraq.

The MSM ran with this story almost immediately, then on October 20th, the NY Times John Tabiabue wrote that the story was denied by “Czech officials”, which drew an immediate rebuke from Czech official Ladislav Spacek who called The Time's story "a fabrication", and further Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross reasserted the original Czech report.

Delroy Murdock picked up the thread in this 2004 editorial in National Reiview:

"Czech authorities have defended their story despite the American media's valiant efforts to discredit it.

On October 21, 2002, the New York Times reported on its front page that "The Czech president, Vaclav Havel, has quietly told the White House he has concluded that there is no evidence to confirm earlier reports that Mohamed Atta, the leader in the Sept. 11 attacks, met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague just months before the attacks on New York and Washington, according to Czech officials."

Havel quickly spurned the Times's creative writing. Within hours, his spokesman, Ladislav Spacek, dubbed the Times story "a fabrication." He added, "Nothing like this has occurred."

That same day, Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross reasserted his government's finding, complete with unique spellings of the names of two key characters: "In this moment we can confirm that during the next stay of Mr. Muhammad Atta in the Czech Republic, there was the contact with the official of the Iraqi intelligence, Mr. Al Ani, Ahmed Khalin Ibrahim Samir, who was on the 22nd April 2001 expelled from the Czech Republic on the basis of activities which were not compatible with the diplomatic status."

Two days later, America's so-called "Paper of Record" retreated. On October 23, 2002, it quoted Spacek, Havel's spokesman.

"The president did not call the White House about this. The president never spoke about Atta, not with Bush, not with anyone else."

Hynek Kmonicek booted Al-Ani from Prague. He was then the Czech Republic's deputy foreign minister, and today is its United Nations ambassador. As Kmonicek tersely insisted in the Prague Post in June 2002: "The meeting took place. "Yet even with all this confirmation from the Czechs, the MSM has declared nothing less than all out war against the story throughout 2003-2004 - specifically Michael Isokoff of Newsweek, went to great and stretched links to throw mud on it."

However, after last year's election the matter seemed to drop off the radar, the MSM smugly thinking they killed it.

Then Rep. Curt Weldon came forward with the Able Danger story. Suddenly Atta in Prague in the Spring is back on the front burner. Of course now the MSM are back out in force to show us that the meeting never took place.

Just as an example, search Google News for "Atta + Prague" and you get a slew of stories. Here is just a round up from the last two days:

"Cheney is the guy who repeatedly insisted that Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met in Prague with an agent for Saddam Hussein - even though the Czechs, the CIA and the FBI told the White House, long before the war, that no such meeting had occurred; in 2004, Cheney denied on CBS that he had ever described the Atta story as "pretty well confirmed" - even though he was captured on tape by NBC using those exact words in 2001. And Cheney maintained in 2002 that there was "irrefutable evidence" of an Iraqi nuclear program, even though, long before the war, the Energy and State Departments had concluded otherwise.” - Dick Polman, Knight Ridder Newspapers

Gee Dick, tell us how you really feel!

Here are some more links:

Richard Cohen here.

Murray Waas here.

As well as this leftist rag here

On and on. The motive for the push and distortion of the actual facts, in spite of the Czech government assertion to this day that the meeting took place is telling of how important it is to the MSM and the antiwar left.

Another example, earlier in the week, the MSM rehashed a story from 2004 about German Intelligence warnings about “Curveball”. Just after Bush pushed back on Veteran’s Day against critics that called him a liar, a NY Times editorial wrote:

"The Bush administration was also alone in making the absurd claim that Iraq was in league with Al Qaeda and somehow connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That was based on two false tales. One was the supposed trip to Prague by Mohamed Atta, a report that was disputed before the war and came from an unreliable drunk.

You would be hard pressed to find "unreliable drunk" in any of the IC analysis.

The Blog Soccer Dad takes the "drunken press" to task.

More at Flamingo Bar and Grill with some great comparison graphs on the analysis.

Clarice Feldman's take in American Thinker, for more on Jay Esptein's WSJ opinion article yesterday.

The fact is though that despite the efforts of the MSM, the fact is that it apparent the meeting took place, and from their vehement response they are once again showing, we know there must be something there they don't want out.


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