Take Sabah Khalifa Khodada Alami, a 47-year-old former Iraqi army captain who from 1994 until 1998 was a military instructor in the elite militia known as Saddam's Fighters. He escaped with his family into Iraqi Kurdistan and then to Turkey in 1999 and received U.S. permission to settle as a refugee in Fort Worth last May. Alami, a soft-spoken man with the engaging quiet smile endemic to the Tigris and Euphrates delta, guardedly outlined to me here Wednesday details of the training given for airliner hijacking and assassinations in the Salman Pak area of Baghdad while he was there. The Iraqi National Congress had tracked Alami to Fort Worth and made him available for an interview here while he sought a meeting with the FBI. Discussing Iraq's links to terrorism with an American was a novel experience, Alami said. The Immigration and Naturalization Service official who interviewed him in Turkey for his refugee visa did not probe his military specialties. More surprising: An Iraqi ex-intelligence officer who has told the Iraqi National Congress of specific sightings of "Islamicists" training on a Boeing 707 parked in Salman Pak as recently as September 2000 says he was treated dismissively by CIA officers in Ankara this week. They reportedly showed no interest in pursuing a possible Iraq connection to Sept. 11.From today's KR piece:
Many of the articles relied on interviews with the same defectors, who appeared to change facts with each telling. For instance, one defector first appeared in several stories as an Iraqi army former captain, but a later story said he was a major. Another defector told one interviewer that the aircraft fuselage on which Islamic extremists received training in hijacking belonged to a Boeing 707 and was quoted in a later story as saying that it came from a Russian-made Tupolev. Intelligence debriefers look for such differences when trying to determine the reliability of defectors, who sometimes exaggerate their importance or try to tell interviewers what they think the interviewers want to hear. The Information Collection Program (ICP) was financed out of the more than $18 million that Congress approved for the Iraqi National Congress, led by Chalabi, now a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, between 1999 and 2003. The group remains on the Pentagon's payroll.
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