One of the most easily understood reports about Saddam's connection to 9/11 was the report from Czech intelligence that Atta met in Prague with Iraqi intelligence prior to the 9/11 attack.
This incident has been consistently misreported by almost everyone but Edward Jay Epstein who in today's Opinion Journal fills in the interstices of his previous reporting.
His report confirms that Czech intelligence thinks the meeting did take place; that someone in U.S. intelligence leaked the information to the AP, making it impossible to complete the investigation. Finally, he reports that Al—Ani, the Iraqi intel officer Atta reportedly met with was captured in Iraq, is in our custody and we have not properly interrogated him.
And we are wasting yet more time on the non—outing of a non—undercover agent?
The proximate cause for BIS interest in al—Ani was a sensational revelation of Jabir Salim, the Iraqi consul who defected in Prague in December 1998. Mr. Salim said in his debriefings that the Mukhabarat, Iraq's intelligence service, had given him $150,000 and tasked him with carrying out a covert action against an American target in the Czech Republic: Using a freelance terrorist, he was to blow up the headquarters of Radio Free Europe in Wenceslas Square, in the heart of Prague.
This intelligence about state—sponsored terrorism was taken very seriously by both America and the Czech Republic. The U.S., for its part, doubled security at the Radio Free Europe facility and began its own countersurveillance, including photographing suspicious individuals in Wenceslas Square. The BIS did what counterintelligence services do in such circumstances: It sought to penetrate the Iraq Embassy by recruiting Arabic—speaking employees familiar with its operations. The source the BIS used, according to Mr. Ruzek, was neither unreliable nor a drunk.
How much more must we hear before a serious investigation is undertaken into the damage we have suffered as a result of the internicine anti—Administration warfare and incompetence of the apparatchniki in Foggy Bottom and Langley?
Clarice Feldman 11 22 05