More Czeck connection clues tie Atta to Iraq
Did Mohamed Atta meet an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague five months before he slammed a Boeing 767 into World Trade Center? Fresh evidence bolsters the view the attack on America might have had Ba'athist fingerprints.
Edward Jay Epstein, best-selling author of 12 books on politics and history, has followed "the Prague Connection" since its outlines emerged in autumn 2001. Peruse his findings at edwardjayepstein.com.
According to his May 26, 2000, Czech visa application — completed in Bonn, Germany — Atta called himself a "Hamburg student." He studied urban planning at Hamburg-Harburg Technical University, where he set up an Islamic club in 1999.
Atta apparently had pressing business in Prague. With his visa pending until May 31, Atta nonetheless flew to Prague International Airport May 30 and remained in its transit lounge about six hours before flying back to Germany. Czech officials believe he may have met someone there. On June 2, he returned to Prague by bus on Czech visa number BONN200005260024. He stayed some 20 hours, then flew to Newark on June 3.
On April 4, 2001, the FBI says, Atta departed Virginia Beach's Diplomat Inn with fellow hijacker Marwan Al-Shehhi and cashed a SunTrust check for $8,000. Atta wasn't seen in America again until April 11.
Atta next was observed April 8 by an informant of BIS (Czech intelligence) who reported Mr. Al-Ani met an Arabic-speaking man in a restaurant on Prague's outskirts. Atta returned to America the following day.
BIS found Mr. Al-Ani's appointment calendar in Iraq's Prague Embassy, presumably after Saddam Hussein's defeat. Mr. Al-Ani's diary lists an April 8, 2001, meeting with "Hamburg student." Perhaps Mr. Al-Ani and a young scholar analyzed 19th-century German philsopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Or maybe Al-Ani saw Atta and discussed more practical matters.