"The newly released CIA documents confirm what we already knew: There was no 'Prague connection' between al-Qaida and Iraqi intelligence,"... "What is new in the documents, however, is evidence that the Bush White House had intelligence strongly refuting the 'Prague connection' in December 2001, yet continued to make public claims to the contrary in the run up to the U.S. war in Iraq."Pat Curley of the Screw Loose Change blog isn't so sure, writing in his post, "Cheney Lied... Or Maybe He Didn't," that:
Unfortunately, the document in question, prepared by the CIA, is heavily redacted and thus I cannot tell if this completely rules out the possibility of Atta meeting with the Iraqi intelligence agent or not. It is apparent that at some point in time, quite possibly after Cheney's interview with Tim Russert, the administration decided that the meeting had not taken place. It is not apparent that was the case in December of 2001.But we don't need the new documents to prove that Cheney lied. As David Sirota and Christy Harvey demonstrated in an August 3, 2004 article on InTheseTimes.com:
They knew there was no Prague meeting...Furthermore, former FBI agent Ali Soufan, (who refused a request from the Bush administration to report links between Iraq and Al Qaida) writes in his book, The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11, of fellow agent Andy Arena. Soufan notes that Arena was "in charge at the Detroit office who was appointed Pat D'Amuro's deputy in investigating 9/11." Soufan reports "how the Bush administration, unsatified with an initial FBI report showing no links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, asked for rewrite, a request that senior FBI official Andy Arena refused."
In August 2002, when FBI case officers told Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz that there was no Atta meeting, Newsweek reported Wolfowitz “vigorously challenged them.” Wolfowitz wanted the FBI to endorse claims that Atta and the Iraqi spy had met. FBI counterterrorism chief Pat D’Amuro refused.
In September 2002, the CIA handed Cheney a classified intelligence assessment that cast specific, serious doubt on whether the Atta meeting ever occurred. Yet, that same month, Richard Perle, then chairman of the Bush’s Defense Policy Board, said, “Muhammad Atta met [a secret collaborator of Saddam Hussein] prior to September 11. We have proof of that, and we are sure he wasn’t just there for a holiday.” In the same breath, Perle openly admitted, “The meeting is one of the motives for an American attack on Iraq.”
By the winter of 2002, even America’s allies were telling the administration to relent: In November, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he had seen no evidence of a meeting in Prague between Atta and an Iraqi intelligence agent.
But it did not stop. In September 2003, on “Meet the Press,” Cheney dredged up the story again, saying, “With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohammed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack.” He provided no new evidence, opted not to mention that the Czechs long ago had withdrawn the allegations, and ignored new evidence that showed the story was likely untrue.
Even today, with all of the intelligence firmly against him, Cheney remains unrepentant. Asked in June about whether the meeting had occurred, he admitted, “That’s never been proven.” Then he added, “It’s never been refuted.” When CNBC’s Gloria Borger asked about his initial claim that the meeting was “pretty well confirmed,” Cheney snapped, “No, I never said that. I never said that. Absolutely not.”
His actual words in December 2001: “It’s been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service.”
In other words, Cheney hit a new low. He resorted not only to lying about the story, but lying about lying about the story.
This was after December 2001.
Hat tip to 9/11 researcher James Dorman for pointing the last bit of info out to me and to Michael Moore's book, The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader, for the article.
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