Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mahmoud Ahmed, Redux

One of our commenters is bringing this up yet again, so I thought I'd run through it as a little exercise:

Why didn't the 9/11 Commission bother investigating Lt. General Mahmood Ahmad of the Pakistani ISI? They were told about him two times. Once in the form of a question from the families, and once in the form of testimony from Sibel Edmonds. Yet, they didn't think him important enough to investigate, or mention in their report. He was only alleged to have ordered Omar Sheikh to wire transfer $100,000 to Mohammad Atta, the alleged lead hijacker of the 9/11 attacks as reported by the Times of India and Agence France-Press.

I replied that the $100,000 wire transfer existed in the mind of one journalist with the Times of India.

Really, then why did Agence France-Press, the Press Trust Of India, India Today, and the Daily Excelsior report on it as well without mention of the original Times of India article? If it was based on the "imagination of one reporter", they would have cited the reporter, and they didn't.

Unfortunately no links to the other stories, but here's the Agence France-Press account as archived at a Troofer site. Like all Troofers, our commenter appears unable to read:

Former Pakistani intelligence chief Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmad was sacked after arch rival India said it had provided evidence linking him to the US terror attacks, a report said Wednesday. The Times of India newspaper reported the general lost his job after India said he had ordered money to be wired to Mohammad Atta who hijacked one of the planes that crashed into the World Tade Center in New York on September 11.

(Bolding added for emphasis).

AFP does, as the commenter notes, claim to have done some original reporting on the piece:

A highly-placed government source told AFP that the "damning link" between the general and the transfer of funds to Atta was part of evidence which India has officially sent to the US. "The evidence we have supplied to the US is of a much wider range and depth than just one piece of paper linking a rogue general to some misplaced act of terrorism," the source said.

You know how it is; getting some Indian government source to (anonymously) say something negative about Pakistan is not exactly difficult. But we'll talk about this at the end of the post.

And later:

Let's also not forget Dawn which the Wall Street Journal cited.

He links to this post from the Wayback Machine. It appears that Dawn itself has disappeared. It does mention the supposed $100,000 wire transfer to Atta.

But note the attribution:

The FBI team, which had sought adequate inputs about various terrorists including Sheikh from the intelligence agencies, was working on the linkages between Sheikh and former ISI chief Gen Mahmud which are believed to have been substantiated, reports PTI website.

Not sure what the PTI website is; P____ Times of India?

But curiously, the original Wall Street Journal post that mentions the Dawn site notes only the following:

The Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports that Islamabad has replaced the head of its Inter-Services Intelligence agency, Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, "after the FBI investigators established credible links between him and Umar Sheikh, one of the three militants released in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999."

Somehow they missed this huge scoop about Ahmed sending the dough to Atta. But the next day they catch it in (you guessed it):

Yesterday we noted a report from a Pakistani newspaper that Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmad had been fired as head of Islamabad's Inter-Services Security agency after U.S. linked him to a militant allied with terrorists who hijacked an Indian Airlines plane in 1999. Now the Times of India says Ahmad is connected to the Sept. 11 attacks:

(Bolding added for emphasis).

And I've always felt this was an odd argument for the MIHOP or even LIHOP crowd. Remember the original Times of India piece claimed:

the us authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to wtc hijacker mohammed atta from pakistan by ahmad umar sheikh at the instance of gen mahumd.

Why exactly would the US authorities demand his removal if they were in on the plot, or at least knew about it and let it happen?

Details on the financing of the terrorist operation is here. As you can see, there is pretty extensive detail on dates and amounts.

So to reiterate, the original source for the story remains one report in the Times of India; all other accounts start from this. Agence France Press claims to have confirmed the story, but the piece is not bylined and the source is undisclosed. This is rather typical of the "proof" that Troofers come up with.

9-11 Myths has a much more exhaustive treatment of this issue.