The National Security Archive has obtained through a FOIA request newly released CIA documents pertaining to 9/11. There do not appear to be any great revelations in the release, although one of them further illustrates what a liar former Vice President Dick Cheney is.
The fact that the Bush administration, and Dick Cheney in particular, actively promoted the falsehood that Saddam Hussein was somehow tied to al-Qaeda and the attacks of September 11th is at this point uncontroversial. It was a deliberate propaganda campaign to help rally Americans to support a war on Iraq that had already been decided upon.
Two months after the 9/11 attacks, on December 9, 2001, Dick Cheney went on Meet the Press and, when asked by Tim Russert whether “Iraq was involved in September 11,” mentioned a “report that’s been pretty well confirmed, that [9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.”
Despite heavy redactions, one of these just-released CIA documents reveal that one day before Cheney’s appearance on Meet the Press, the CIA confirmed in a briefing that was sent to the White House Situation Room that “11 September 2001 hijacker Mohamed Atta did not travel to the Czech Republic on 31 May 2000.”
Two years later, on September 14, 2003, in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, Cheney appeared once again on Meet the Press. Here is part of the transcript:
MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it’s not surprising that people make that connection.
MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know…With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we’ve never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it.
In fact, it had been completely discredited two years earlier, one day prior to Cheney’s first television utterance of it. It was actually well known at that point, in the government and the press, that an Iraq-Qaeda connection didn’t exist and the Atta visit in Prague was fabricated. Frontline:
As Paul Pillar, former CIA analyst and National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, wrote in his recent book: “The supposed alliance between Saddam’s regime and al-Qa’ida clearly did not drive the Bush administration’s decision to launch the war [in Iraq] because the administration was receiving no indications that any such alliance existed,” adding that “this fact did not stop the administration from nonetheless promoting publicly the notion of such an alliance.”
By August 2003, after another year that included the most intensive selling of the war, more than two-thirds of Americans thought Saddam had been involved in 9/11. Some of this belief was due to innuendo such as the vice president’s repeated references to a phantom meeting in Prague between an Iraqi and 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta. It was due mostly to the administration’s rhetorical drumbeat that repeatedly mentioned Iraq, 9/11, and “war on terror” in the same breath.
After knowingly lying the country to war, Dick Cheney now sits comfortably, writing his memoirs and retaining respect and status, totally immune from any responsibility for his crimes.