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Iraqi intelligence officer in U.S. hands

Detainee once alleged to have met with 9/11 attacker in 2001


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An Iraqi intelligence officer identified as Ahmed al Ani, who at one time was reported to have met with September 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta, is in U.S. hands, officials said Tuesday.

Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Czech Republic authorities told U.S. officials that they had evidence the two men had met in Prague in April of that year.

U.S. officials, however, said they had no evidence that Atta ever went to Prague, and had indications that he might have been in the United States when the meeting supposedly took place.

A senior Pentagon official said al Ani was picked up by U.S. military forces in Iraq last week but could not say whether he was still in military custody.

Al Ani was somewhere between 200 and 300 on the military's list of most-wanted Iraqis, but was also sought by the FBI, the official told CNN.

The circumstances of al Ani's capture were not disclosed.

Any evidence showing al Ani met with Atta would further the theory that Iraq had some role in the September 11 attacks.

CNN national security correspondent David Ensor and senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre contributed to this report.


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