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August 23, 2005
Able Danger: More On Atta Timeline

Andy McCarthy makes a good point on today's Corner at National Review Online regarding Able Danger and its impact on the timeline given for Mohammed Atta by the 9/11 Commission. He writes:

The commission could, of course, be right. Its quite possible Atta never went to Prague in April 2001. But the commission could also be dead wrong. And for present purposes, the point is: how sure can we be of its Atta timeline? The timeline based on which the commission insists Atta was not in the U.S. before June 2000, and based on which it rejected Phillpott, whose account has now been seconded.

McCarthy also recaps the known facts surrounding the timeline and the basics of the nagging Czech allegations that Atta met with an Iraqi diplomat and an IIS agent on April 9th, 2001, in Prague. McCarthy notes that the Commission rejected the Czech intelligence for several reasons:

* Atta didn't travel under aliases
* No video or photos of Atta in Prague or coming through Czech borders
* Cell phone activity during the period in question
* Testimony from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh
* No reason to conduct such a high-risk meeting with the muscle hijackers preparing to enter the US

Even the Commission did not go so far as to completely rule out the visit, by the way. On page 229, the report says that the Commission "cannot absolutely rule out the possibility that Atta was in Prague on April 9, 2001." It just concludes that the Czech intelligence is faulty, for the above reasons.

However, in my Daily Standard column tomorrow, I will point out that Atta had a damned good reason to check his six in Europe: the arrest of two Iraqi spies in Germany six weeks earlier and the exposure of their network, as covered in my previous Daily Standard column. The column reviews the information left out by the Commission in the final report and, combined with the Able Danger debunking of their timeline, shows that almost everything that the Commission assumed about Atta's travels come from two sources: KSM and Binalshibh, who may have good reasons to create a disinformation campaign.

I'll post the link tonight or early tomorrow with an excerpt.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 23, 2005 12:42 PM

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