Friday, November 07, 2003

This published recently in National Review:

The Czech Republic stands by its claim that 9/11 leader Mohamed Atta met in Prague in April 2001 with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim an-Ani, an Iraqi diplomat/intelligence agent. He was expelled two weeks after the suspected meeting with Atta for apparently hostile surveillance of Radio Free Europe's Prague headquarters, from which American broadcasts to Iraq emanate.
First of all, the broadcasts to Iraq emanate from another location outside of the center, as I understand it. Second of all, I'd like to know from a source considerably less partisan than National Review whether the Czechs really stand by that story. This is how I understand it, briefly: The Czechs reported the Atta meeting. Then the New York Times's James Risen reported that a) the Czechs realized the report was almost certainly false and b) Havel "quietly" called the White House and told them this. Then Havel's spokesman released a story saying the Times story was wrong and that Havel never made such a phone call.

So.... Was the Times story wrong in that no such phone call (officially) took place? Or was the entire premise of the Times story wrong -- that the Czechs determined that the meeting never happened? I wish somebody would get to the bottom of this. In fact, I think I'll write to Havel's former spokesperson, Jakub Hladik, and ask him.


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