In Staff Statement #16, the 9-11 Commission's
staff comes to the conclusion that the alleged 2001
meeting between hijacker Atta and an Iraqi official
never "occurred." In reaching that conclusion
the staff says it relied on written government documents,
a FBI liaison, and its own "judgment calls."
Yet, just four months earlier,
CIA director Tenet,testified before the Senate Intelligence
Committee about the same meeting, and came to a different
conclusion about whether it occurred: "We can't
prove that one way or another." Presumably Tenet
had access to the same documents and intelligence reports
as the Commission staff.
It is up to the Commission
to determine whether the Staff or the CIA Director is
correct. What key facts are missing in Staff Statement
#16 that the Commission needs to know to make this judgment
It is the business of the staff to produce
for the committee members to appraise, not to make
"judgment calls" without presenting any evidentiary
basis. The staff omits at least seven facts in
"Staff statement #16" that the full Commission
deserves to know to render its own judgment.
Atta made 2 prior trips to the Czech Republic in 2000
at a time he was engaged in the 9-11 plot. They
were the first two trip Atta made outside of Germany
after he obtained his US visa.
2) In applying for his
Czech visa (BONN200005260024), Atta identified himself
as a" Hamburg student."
3) An eyewitness identified Atta
as the person meeting the Iraq official, Al-Ani,on
the outskirts of Prague on April 9th.
4) Atta's whereabouts is unknown
to the FBI on the day in question. The FBI found no
other witness to his whereabouts between April 4, 2001
and April 11th.
5) The FBI has not been able to determine
Atta's purpose in withdrawing $8,000 in cash from his
bank account on April 4th.
6) There is no chain of evidence
showing that Atta himself was in possession of a cell
phone on which billing records indicate calls were made
from Florida on April 9th. It is possible he left
the phone behind (since it did not function in Europe)
and it is possible the phone was used by his roommate
or others. Without evidence he was exclusiver
user, the billing records show the whereabouts of a
phone, not of Atta.
A surreptitious search of the Iraq Embassy (presumably
conducted after the defeat of Iraq) showed, according
to a Czech official, that Al-Ani had scheduled a meeting
on April 8, 2001 with a"Hamburg student."
The staff report makes no mention either of the appointment
book or of the "Hamburg