Thursday, December 18, 2003

That Atta-Iraq Memo

I'll grant you that the memo first reported by the London Telegraph is suspect. But as i read the Newsweek story "debunking" the memo, i worry that we are jumping the gun in discounting the whole idea.

The FBI is relying heavily on a timeline and paper trail.

The problem with this, say U.S. law enforcement officials, is that the FBI has compiled a highly detailed time line for Atta's movements throughout the spring and summer of 2001 based on a mountain of documentary evidence, including airline records, ATM withdrawals and hotel receipts. Those records show Atta crisscrossing the United States during this period—making only one overseas trip, an 11-day visit to Spain that didn't begin until six days after the date of the Iraqi memo.

The only problem is that these are easy to fake. Anyone can register as Mohammed Atta at a motel, check his email, or ride airplanes under that name.

In fact, if you were going to slip out of the country for a meeting with an intelligence operative, you might have an accomplice use your credit card, etc., just to help cover your tracks.

I await further analysis by Mark Reibling and Edward Jay Epstein

But in the meantime i might as well take advantage of the Beltway Traffic Jam

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