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Thursday, January 22, 2004

Big story in the Chicago Tribune via LGF

If true, 9/11 was joint venture between Al Qaeda and IRAN

I can't get to the actual story in the Tribune, something about my computer eating cookies, but here's the excerpt from littlegreenfootballs:
On what had been the eve of his widely expected acquittal, the trial of the second person charged by German authorities as an accomplice of the Sept. 11 hijackers was thrown into turmoil Wednesday after prosecutors disclosed the existence of a surprise witness purporting to link Iran to the hijackings.

The mysterious witness, who goes by the name Hamid Reza Zakeri and claims to have been a longtime member of the Iranian intelligence service, is said to have told German investigators that the Sept. 11 plot represented what one termed a “joint venture” between the terrorist group Al Qaeda and the Iranian government.

Sources familiar with Zakeri’s story, greeted with skepticism by some German intelligence officials, say he also implicates the defendant, a 31-year-old Moroccan and former student named Abdelghani Mzoudi, as a knowledgeable participant in the hijacking plot.

“If the story was true, the consequences would be remarkable,” said one senior intelligence official, who observed that Zakeri’s account comes nearly 2 1/2 years after Sept. 11, 2001, and “looks a little bit constructed.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
Like many defectors who emerge from the espionage underworld with a story to tell, the Iranian offered a mix of seemingly explosive, far-fetched and hard-to-confirm information, according to the sources, who viewed a transcript of his testimony. The Iranian claimed to have fled Iran in July 2001 and attempted to warn U.S. and French intelligence agents about a big impending attack -- the kind of spectacular assertion that counterterror officials treat with caution. . . Prosecutors have asked for a 30-day delay in the trial while they evaluate the new witness' credibility.