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Syriana Source May Provide
Major Piece of 9-11 Puzzle





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Posted: December 15, 2005
© WorldNetDaily.com

by Jack Cashill

Easily the best, most hair-raising stories I have ever heard over dinner were told by former CIA agent Bob Baer. What made the stories even more fascinating is that they were true. Thus, Baer’s eye-opening report about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, innocently told a few years back, deserves attention.

I had met Baer in Kansas City about five or six years ago. This was back before he wrote the best-selling expose of the Clinton failures in the Middle East called See No Evil, back when The New York Times was still referring to him cryptically as “Bob from the CIA” in a full-page profile.

This weekend, I went to see Syriana, a movie based on the book. After watching the movie, I reread large portions of the book to make sure I remembered the book correctly. I had. “Whether it was Osama Bin Laden, Yassir Arafat, Iranian terrorism, Saddam Hussein, or any of the other evils that so threaten the world,” wrote Baer as something of a thesis statement, “the Clinton administration seemed determined to sweep them all under the carpet.”

Published in 2002, and written largely before September 11, Baer makes no mention of George W. Bush. About the Clinton administration, however, and about the President himself, he was unsparing. Indeed, Baer was eased out of the CIA when he tried to blow the whistle on Clinton donor Roger Tamraz, an international rogue and possible front man for the KGB. Tamraz had employed the Democratic National Committee to pressure Baer and the CIA to open the doors to the White House, a scandal of far greater magnitude than any of the last five years.

With George Clooney serving as executive producer of Syriana, however, I was not at all surprised to see the time frame of the movie shifted from Clinton’s anomalous 1996 presidential campaign, easily the most corrupt in memory, to the present day. Having butchered American history in Good Night and Good Luck, Clooney was taking another, even more careless swipe at it this time.

In one scene, for instance, set seemingly in the Justice Department, Clinton’s photo adorns the wall. Somehow the plot slides into the present, post 9-11 world without any comparable movement forward in the action. And although the movie does not mention George W. Bush by name, it refers ominously to a corrupt American president and litters the landscape with enough cartoonish Texas oilmen to smear America directly and Bush by inference. Indeed, the movie’s suicide bombers are portrayed more sympathetically than its oil producers.

What intrigued me about Baer’s book, however, had nothing to do with Clinton or this misbegotten movie. It is an offhand comment that Bear makes towards book’s end. After leaving the CIA, he returned to the Middle East as a consultant. In December 1997 he found himself huddled by a fire in a desert night with one of his clients, a disinherited prince, who had tried to unseat a cousin as emir and failed. Baer refers to him only as a member of a “Gulf royal family” but does not name the state. (Syriana would puff up this fellow into the hero’s role of the film.)

The prince, who had served as the nation’s chief of police, tells Baer about an Osama Bin Laden cell that had been operating in his country. One of the two main members of the cell Baer identifies as “Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, whose area of expertise was airplane hijackings.” Although Baer was unaware of it at the time, it was this same individual, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as his name is usually spelled, or KSM as he is often called, who was the mastermind of September 11. Yes, he obviously did have an expertise in hijackings.

As Baer relates, when the FBI tried to arrest KSM, the prince’s government gave him an alias passport and spirited him out of the country. What is most intriguing about Baer’s story is the city where KSM “settled”—a telling choice of words. That city is Prague.

Prague matters. It is the city in which 9-11 ringleader Mohamed Atta reportedly met with Iraqi Ahmad al-Ani, an Iraqi intelligence officer, in April 2001. Although the American anti-war media have spent a good deal of energy trying to deny an Iraqi-al Qaeda connection, there is ample reason to believe that Iraqi intelligence was actively recruiting Arab terrorists in Prague, and Atta may have been one of them. So too might have been KSM.

In December 1998, Jabir Salim, the Iraqi consul in Prague, defected. Upon defection, he made the credible claim that the Mukhabarat, Iraq's intelligence service, had given him $150,000 to recruit a freelance terrorist to blow up the headquarters of Radio Free Europe, located in the center of Prague.

Understandably, Czech intelligence closely monitored Salim’s successor, Ahmad al-Ani. Its agents soon learned al-Ani was trying to secure explosives and recruit foreign-based Arabs, one of whom was allegedly Atta. Whether Atta was correctly identified or not on the April 2001 day in question—an unsolvable problem--there is no doubt that he had previously applied for a Czech visa in Germany in 2000 and had traveled to Prague in June 2000.

In a saner world, the major media would have dedicated their considerable resources to discovering why Atta went to Prague in the first place. Instead, they have chosen to use those same resources to discredit the reported Atta sighting in April 2001 for no better purpose than to undermine the Bush administration’s credibility.

Given the media’s ill-spirited myopia, I could find no other reference to KSM’s presence in Prague than the offhand one in Baer’s book. If Baer’s source was telling the truth, and there was no reason for him not to have, Prague may have played a major role in the 9-11 plot, and it might well be the site where al-Qaeda and Iraq joined hands and shared plans.

Today, al-Ani and KSM are both in custody. If the major media were not so perversely intent on proving negatives, they might try to uncover what these men knew and whether they knew each other.




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