April 8, 2001: Supposedly, Atta flies from the US to Prague, Czech Republic, and meets with Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi spy. He returns on Apr. 9 or 10. [New York Times, 10/27/01] But did he actually fly to Prague? A US official later states, "Neither we nor the Czechs nor anybody else has any information [Atta] was coming or going [to Prague] at that time." [Newsweek, 4/28/02] FBI Director Mueller states, "We ran down literally hundreds of thousands of leads and checked every record we could get our hands on, from flight reservations to car rentals to bank accounts," yet no evidence that he left the country was found. [Washington Post, 5/1/02] Investigators believe Atta was in Florida the whole time. [BBC, 5/1/02] But assuming al-Ani meets with someone, could it be someone other than Atta, possibly even someone impersonating him? "After months of investigation, the Czechs [say] they [are] no longer certain that Atta was the person who met al-Ani, saying 'he may be different from Atta.'" [Washington Post, 5/1/02] "Some in Prague who knew the diplomat say he met with a used car salesman named Saleh from Nuremberg, Germany, who looked like Mr. Atta. 'He is a perfect double for Atta,' said a Syrian businessman who has lived in Prague for 35 years and says he knew the diplomat and the car salesman. 'I saw him several times with [al-Ani].' On Friday, a major Czech newspaper, quoting Czech intelligence officials, offered still another theory: the Mohamed Atta who came to Prague last April was not the hijacker but a Pakistani of the same name. 'He didn't have the same identity card number,' an unidentified Interior Ministry official told the newspaper Mlada Fronta Dnes. 'There was a great difference in their ages, their nationalities didn't match, basically nothing — it was someone else.'" [New York Times, 12/16/01] Could the use of an impersonator explain why some Czech officials remain convinced Atta came to this meeting [AP, 12/17/01], while FBI investigators remain convinced that he never left Florida? [Washington Post, 5/1/02]
From the Complete 9-11 Timeline by Paul Thompson. A vital online resource for anyone wanting to investigate 911 and the war on terror.
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