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 21st 2001? 

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 report?

Corollary Question:

Have the CIA asked, or received answers, to any of these questions in the 6 weeks in which they have had the opportunity?

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