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July 09, 2004



And Stephen Hayes pushes back...


Presumably Mohammed Atta is dead, but George Tenent and the CIA can answer for his motivations and risk taking? The CIA finds these dots, and then suggests, based on mind reading, that there are no connections. Consider me unconvinced.


Speculation and best guess are vital parts of the intel business -- though the SSCI seems to have decided to pretend otherwise in their overall Iraq report -- but such things of course derive credibility from the basis on which they're made. Without the full reasoning behind George's skepticism on the matter, it's just impossible to evaluate it.

As to Atta "not risking" such a trip in April, didn't al-Shehi or another pilot/leader make an unexplained multi-week trip to Egypt in May? Without knowing what's behind the CIA's statement, it's hard to see the excessive risk in an April trip to Prague.

I'd like to see the CIA's best guess/analysis on the "Hamburg student" entry in the Iraqi intel officer's appointment book for that April day. It doesn't prove anything -- but it's sort of a gigantic, neon-lit sore thumb that's got to be dealt with before any judgement seems reliable.

I'm also intrigued by Atta's two undisputed -- and weird -- trips to Prague, especially the one where he spent 6 hours in the transit lounge (apparently most of that time out of surveillance camera view) because he lacked a visa.

Someone with the discipline and energy to follow things closely (Hayes? Epstein?) has noted some interesting timing coincidences between the various Prague trips, known or alleged, and turning points in the 9/11 preparations and finances.

Only thing we can say for sure is that, for very different reasons, neither I nor Carl Levn will be the ones getting to the bottom of this in the end ....


It'll be interesting to see what the response out of Prague is. Every time someone in the US said there was no April meeting, their government has turned around and repeated their assertions regarding the meeting. As I understand it, an Intelligence operative observed the meeting, and the CIA's answer is that they can't independently confirm it. No kidding. Though it strikes me that the CIA has relied on thinner intel, and from foreign services. In this instance it seems especially self-defeating, in light od Atta's prior trips to Prague.

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