Question: Saddam's Rules?

The issue:

Fourteen weeks before he blew up the World Trade Center, Mohammed Atta met with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi intelligence officer stationed at the Iraqi Embassy in Prague. Although this meeting was the only observed liaison between a 9-11 hijacker and an official of a foreign intelligence service, the New York Times reported on February 6th that although the CIA established the meeting in fact took place, it does not consider it evidence of Iraqi involvement in Atta's actions ("Terror acts By Baghdad Have Waned, U.S. Aides Say.")

The Times gathered from its CIA source that "experts" had concluded the meeting for which Atta had flown 7000 miles was not relevant to the terrorist attack because " [Saddam] Hussein would never have entrusted such a secretive matter to a mid level officer like Mr. Ani." (The Times had reported a similar CIA assessment in a story on December 15th.) If this logic is valid, the clandestine meeting between Atta and al-Ani is unimportant.

Question: Does Saddam Hussein entrust his intelligence officers with bombings and assassinations?


Yes. Saddam Hussein has entrusted mid-level case officers in its intelligence service with missions that supported highly-sensitive bombings and assassinations. Consider, the following three examples.

1) In l998, Iraq plotted the bombing of Radio Free Europe, a highly-sensitive American target in Prague. If the bombing had succeeded, Americans could have been killed and the station, which broadcasts to Iraq and other nations in the Middle East, destroyed. The Iraq intelligence officer entrusted with the bombing mission was Jabir Salim, the consul and second secretary at the Iraq embassy in Prague, which was the precise position Al-Ani held at the time of his meetings with Atta.

This plot was revealed in late 1998 when Salim defected from the Czech Republic with his family and was debriefed by the British MI-6. He said that Baghdad had allocated $150,000 to finance the terrorist operation. Salim's replacement in 1999 was Al-Ani. The information, which became a huge scandal in Prague leading to the firing of Czech counter-intelligence, was made available to the CIA. So, the CIA knew that Iraq entrusted its intelligence officers in Prague with covert missions and, specifically one, involving the bombing of an American target.

2. On April 14, 1993, Iraq plotted to assassinate former President George Bush while he was visiting Kuwait. The assassins were Ra'ad al-Asadi and Wali al-Ghazali, two Iraqi nationals, who had been supplied with a sophisticated car bomb. They were captured in Kuwait City and, when interrogated by the FBI, they admitted that they had been recruited by individuals associated with the Iraqi intelligence Service in Basra, Iraq, who provided them with the explosive device four days before Bush arrived in Kuwait.

The CIA concluded with "confidence" from its secret sources that the Iraqi government, at the highest levels, had directed the case officers in Basra to recruit and supply the assassins. So, again, the CIA found that Saddam Hussein entrusted officers of his intelligence service with sensitive assassination missions— in this case, the assassination of President Bush.

3. On February 26, 1993, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, a Baluchi bomb-maker, helped organize the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City— a bombing that aimed at collapsing the north tower onto the south tower and releasing a lethal cloud of cyanide gas onto the trapped people inside them. Yousef subsequently attempted the bombing of 12 US airliners over the Pacific in 1995.

Yousef's escape from New York, and subsequent mission, was greatly facilitated by false documentation, including a passport in the name of Abdul Basit Mahmood Abdul Karim, which could only have been created and supplied to him by officers of the Iraqi intelligence service, as Laurie Mylroie exhaustively documents in her book, "Study of Revenge."

For this false documentation, or "legend," the Iraq intelligence officers needed Kuwait's Interior Ministry files, which were in Iraqi custody during the six month occupation of Kuwait. These records contained the biographical data about the real (and probably dead) Abdul Basit Mahmood Abdul Karim. The Iraqis then inserted into these records the real fingerprints of Yousef, so Yousef's identity would trace back to Kuwait. The Iraq government would have to authorize the preparation of such a legend, since it controlled Kuwait's Interior Ministry files. Then, an Iraqi officer provided Yousef with a copy of Abdul Basit's passport, probably seized from the dead Abdul Basit.

Presumably, the purpose of this Iraqi-created legend was to provide a mask for Yousef for his covert actions. So again, Iraq entrusted a case officer with a covert action— one which, as it turned out, supported attempts to destroy the World Trade Center and create mass murder in the air.

Consequently, the proposition Saddam Hussein does not entrust mid-level official with murderous missions is contradicted by these three prior incidents. The first one shows that Iraq had entrusted Ani's direct predecessor with $150,000 for terror bombing. The second shows Iraq had entrusted intelligence officers with the task of assassinating ex-President Bush. The third one shows Iraq was deeply involved in the 1993 attempt to mass murder the inhabitants of the World Trade Center. Why wouldn't it repeat itself?