Question:

     More than three years have passed since the putative meeting in Prague between hijacker Mohammed Atta and Iraq Consul al-Ani. What has the CIA, FBI, Czech intelligence (BIS) and other intelligence services established about the activities of the alleged participants at this meeting?

Answer:

1)   Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani served as consul at Iraq's embassy in Prague between March 1999 and April 21, 2001 and he was activity involved in agent-handling during this period.
2)  Mohammed Atta applied for a visa to visit the Czech Republic on May 26, 2000 in Bonn, Germany. According to Czech visa records, Atta identified himself as being a "Hamburg student." Since a visa was not necessary to catch a Czech plane to the US, Czech intelligence concluded he had business in the Czech Republic.
3)   Just prior to leaving for the U.S., Atta made 2 trips to the Czech Republic in 2000. The first was on May 30, where he went without a visa to the transit lounge of Prague International Airport; the second was by bus to Prague on June 2 with visa BONN200005260024.  
4)    On April 4, 2001, Atta checked out of the Diplomat Inn in Virginia Beach and cashed a check for $8,000 from a SunTrust account, according to the FBI. Atta was not seen again in America by any witness before April 11, 2001.
5)   Al-Ani scheduled a meeting in April with a "Hamburg student" according to an appointment calendar subsequently turned up by Czech intelligence in a surreptitious search of the Iraq Embassy (presumably after the defeat of Iraq in April 2003.)
6)   Al-Ani was observed meeting a young Arab-speaking man on the outskirts of Prague at about 11 am on April 9th by a watcher for Czech counterintelligence.

7)  Al-Ani was expelled from Prague less than 2 weeks after that meeting.

8) After seeing Atta’s picture on September 11th, the Czech watcher identified the Arab-speaking man meeting al-Ani as Mohammed Atta.
9 )  Al-Ani denied that he met Atta , as did the Baghdad government. Al-Ani repeated that denial after he was detained by U.S. forces in July 2003.
10 ) According to George Tenet testimony before a Joint Committee of Congress (June 18, 2002): “Atta allegedly traveled outside the US in early April 2001 to meet with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague, we are still working to confirm or deny this allegation. It is possible that Atta traveled under an unknown alias since we have been unable to establish that Atta left the US or entered Europe in April 2001 under his true name or any known aliases.”
11) Subsequently, Spanish intelligence found evidence that Algerians Khaled Madani and Moussa Laouar provided false passports to Mohamed Atta and his associate Ramzi bin al-Shibh.


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