WASHINGTON – U.S. forces have arrested the Iraqi diplomat alleged by some Czech officials to have met with the lead Sept. 11 hijacker five months before the attacks.
U.S. government officials said Ahmad Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani (search) was arrested on July 2. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said al-Ani had been interrogated but had provided little information.
The arrest was first reported Tuesday by CBS News. U.S. investigators have dismissed Czech accounts of an April 2001 meeting in Prague between homicide hijacker Mohammed Atta (search) and al-Ani, who is widely believed to be an intelligence agent.
Some Czech officials stand by their claims, the only known link between Saddam Hussein's government and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Atta and al-Ani met," Czech U.N. Ambassador Hynek Kmonicek (search) said a year ago in an interview with The Associated Press.
Czech officials said Atta had contacted al-Ani, who was later expelled from the Czech Republic, to discuss an attack on the Prague building that serves as the headquarters for U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Other Czech officials retracted the account after U.S. investigators said that Atta was in the United States during the time he was supposed to have been meeting with al-Ani.