In July 2003, the U.S. military captured Iraqi intelligence
officer Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani in Iraq. This
arrest had great potential importance because al-Ani
had been the Iraqi official in the Czech Republic accused
of meeting with the 9-11 terrorist, Mohammed Atta. Prior
to his capture, CIA director George Tenet testified
before the Joint Inquiry Into Terrorists Attacks (June
18, 2002) that "Atta allegedly traveled outside
the U.S. in early April 2001 to meet with an Iraqi intelligence
officer in Prague; we are still working to confirm or
deny this allegation."
The CIA is now in a position to provide al-Ani with
incentives, including money, immunity and relocation,
to resolve this matter. What ten questions should the
CIA ask Al-Ani?
Al-Ani is in a form of prisoner's dilemma since he
cannot be sure what the US may learn from captured archives
or the interrogation of his former associates in Baghdad
and Prague. For example, he cannot safely lie about
what he previously reported because, for all he knows,
his interrogators already have copies of the reports.
So if he wants the rewards that can be offered (including
his freedom), he has a powerful incentive to answer
the CIA accurately.
Here is what should be asked:
1) Before you were dispatched to Prague in March 1999,
what briefing did you receive on the defection of the
previous Iraq counsel, Jabir Salim in December 1998?
Specifically what the Mukhabarat and foreign office
tell you about Salim's assignments and his agent-managing
responsibilities? What were you told in this regard
about his organizing the bombing of Radio Free Europe?
2) Were you told to avoid agents and other operatives
who had been blown by Salim's defection? If so, who
were they and what were their assignments?
3) Which of Salim's tasks were you assigned to continue?
If you assigned his task bombing of Radio Free Europe,
were you told to recruit new agents?
4) In recruiting new agents were you instructed to
approach individuals who could not be traced back to
Iraq? If so, did these include Moslem extremists? What
ground rules did you operate under? Did they permit
disguising your own identity or otherwise using a false
flag to facilitate such recruitments? If so, what false
flags did you use with Moslem extremists?
5) Were you aware of the scrutiny of Czech counterintelligence?
Were you instructed to take precautions to counter or
evade it? If so, what were they?
6) Did you receive any medals or commendations for
your work during this period? If so, explain why you
were so rewarded?
7) What were your activities on or about Friday, June
2, 2000? Who did you meet with? How were these meetings
arranged in advance? Did you file reports about them?
Did you file expense statements?
8) What were your activities in Prague between April
7 and April 14th 2001? Who did you meet with during
this period? Were these meetings arranged in advance?
If so, how? Had you met with any of them before? If
not, what measures did you take verify their identities?
Did you meet with Mohammed Atta or anyone using his
passport or identity? If so, what was the purpose and
outcome of the meeting?
9) Which of
your activities brought you to the attention of Czech
counterintelligence (BIS) between April 1st and April
Did the BIS
confront you in this period and offer you an opportunity
to defect-in-place? What, if anything, did you tell
the BIS about the person with whom you met?
10) Did you file a report with either the Embassy or
Mukhabarat on these activities prior to your expulsion
from the Czech Republic on April 22, 2001? How was this
report received by your superiors both before and after
your expulsion on April 22, 2001? Were you further debriefed
on your mission and expulsion when you returned to Baghdad?
If so, how did you explain the activities that led up
to your expulsion? Did you have further assignments
abroad? If so, what was their purpose? After it became
a matter of public record in October 2001 that Czech
intelligence had identified you as having been in contact
with Atta, were you further briefed or debriefed by
your superiors in Baghdad? If so, what instructions
did you receive? What, if anything, did you add to your
Have the CIA asked, or received answers, to any of
these questions in the 6 weeks in which they have had