CIA Says It Didn't Meet With bin
WiresWASHINGTON – CIA officials Wednesday rejected a French
newspaper report that one of their agents allegedly met with
terrorist mastermind Osama bin laden in July.
Thursday, Nov. 1, 2001
The Saudi underwent treatment for kidney problems at an American
hospital in Dubai, France's Le Figaro newspaper reported Wednesday.
"Complete and utter nonsense," said Anya Guilsher, a spokeswoman
for the Central Intelligence Agency. "It's false, and I told Le
Figaro that, too."
Bin Laden reportedly checked into American Hospital Dubai, a
100-bed, acute-care general hospital, on July 4 and stayed until
July 14. He arrived from Quetta, Pakistan, accompanied by his doctor
and a close aide, possibly Ayman el Zawahiri, a leader of Egypt's
Islamic Jihad, the newspaper said.
Le Figaro cited a "professional partner" linked to the hospital's
management as its source.
Besides a stream of local dignitaries and family members, bin
Laden's visitors included a CIA agent, the newspaper claimed. The
agent was widely recognized locally, Le Figaro said, and later told
several friends of the meeting.
The alleged American agent was called back to the CIA's McLean,
Va., headquarters on July 15, a day after bin Laden checked out, Le
Figaro reported, citing "authorized sources."
Why bin Laden would have met with a CIA officer, or vice versa,
is unclear. Even before the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United
States, the Saudi millionaire figured among America's top terrorist
suspects, blamed for several earlier plots against U.S. targets,
including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
But the French newspaper asserted that a CIA-bin Laden link
stretched back years, and the paper appeared to suggest that bin
Laden gave the agency information regarding future terrorist
"The Dubai meeting is therefore a logical follow to a 'certain
American policy,'" the newspaper said.
In particular, the newspaper noted that just two weeks after bin
Laden checked out of the Dubai hospital, United Arab Emirates
security agents arrested the alleged mastermind of a plot to blow up
the American Embassy in Paris. The suspect, a French-Algerian named
Djamel Beghal, earlier confessed to receiving his orders from bin
Laden, according to French news media citing his written confession.
An American diplomat in Paris refused to comment on the Figaro
article, or on reported allegations of an emergency meeting in Paris
in August between high-level French and American intelligence
"We'll just not comment on any of that stuff," he said. "We can't
talk about meetings like that that may or may not have happened."
Le Figaro said bin Laden had serious kidney problems, and
reportedly had a dialysis machine imported to Afghanistan last year.
Citing a March 2000 report by Asia Week, the newspaper said bin
Laden's illness stemmed from "a renal infection that has spread to
the liver, and needs specialized treatment."
The head of the Dubai hospital's Urology Department, Terry
Callaway, reportedly refused to answer questions about bin Laden's
alleged stay. Radio France reported Wednesday that the American
hospital has denied bin Laden was treated there. Copyright 2001 by
United Press International.
All rights reserved.
Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
A product that might interest you:
Watch! Keep Time Like a Navy SEAL