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The Iraq connection that never was

May 10, 2002 | Page 2

ANOTHER OF the U.S. government's post-September 11 lies has been exposed--and from the horse's mouth. According to Newsweek magazine, U.S. officials have confirmed that the alleged leader of the September 11 hijackers, Mohamed Atta, couldn't have met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague five months before.

From within hours of the September 11 attacks, Washington's politicians and pundits began searching for a smoking gun to implicate Iraq--and serve as an excuse for another U.S. war. Atta's mythical meeting in the Czech Republic was just the ticket.

Countless commentators repeated the rumor that Atta traveled to Prague in April 2001 to meet with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi diplomat and Saddam's roving super-spy, according to the accounts.

Depending on which blowhard you listened to, al-Ani was either delivering Saddam's personal orders for the September 11 attacks--or arranging for the delivery of anthrax to an unspecified al-Qaeda cell for a follow-up mail attack.

Finally, eight months after September 11, the FBI and Czech authorities have settled on the same story. The Czechs--who went back and forth on their story numerous times--now say they have no solid evidence that Atta was in Prague, and U.S. officials admit there's no evidence that he left the U.S.

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