Administration Discounts Shakir Link

An unidentified administration official has expressed skepticism over reports that a Lt. Col. in the Saddam Fedayeen, Hikmat Shakir, attended the key September 11 planning meeting in Malaysia. The spokesman says that there may be a confusion between two similar, but not identical names. It is reported further that:

[T]he CIA and U.S. Army obtained the lists of members of the Fedayeen shortly after the invasion of Iraq last year. Some, he said, had names “similar to” Ahmad Hikmat Shakir. But, he said, the CIA had concluded “a long time ago” that none were the al-Qaida associate.

Notice how reliable the CIA has suddenly gotten. In any event, there is no doubt about the fact that an Iraqi named Shakir attended the Sept. 11 planning meeting; that he was subsequently apprehended in Jordan; that he was found to be in possession of contact information for key al Qaeda leaders; and that Saddam’s government pressured the Jordanians, successfully, to release him, whereupon he escaped to Iraq. The only serious question about Shakir is whether he was an Iraqi free-lancer with no ties to Saddam’s government, or an agent in Iraq’s service.
That question remains wide open. I have to think, though, that whether Shakir was a member of the Fedayeen or not, the fact that Saddam was anxious to spring him from custody in Jordan suggests a connection. And is it at all plausible that after obtaining Shakir’s release, even assuming that there was no prior connection, Saddam’s government would have simply sent Shakir on his way without finding out what he had been up to in Kuala Lumpur? Then, too, there is the fact that Shakir got his job at the Kuala Lumpur airport through an intelligence agent at the Iraqi embassy. The evidence as we know it is highly suggestive of a connection between Shakir and the Iraqi government, even apart from his possible membership in the Fedayeen.
But you won’t read any of those details in the mainstream media. All you will hear is: pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

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