Back in the late twentieth century, there was one attack on the homeland with ties to Islamic jihad that is being cited as the basis of the "right wing extremist" warning report issued by the Department of Homeland Security -- a story I broke on the blogs last weekend.
It seems to me that if they are going to base this entire mendacious report on a 15 year old bombing, they ought to get the facts straight. McVeigh was a foot soldier. He was not the brains or the brawn behind that heinous attack on America. It is increasingly clear that the Murrah bombing was intended to be one of a number of attacks on the same day (think 911). And many of the players in the first World Trade Center bombing played a central role.
A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security today again has cited executed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh as a reason that "right wing" interests have to be monitored closely by his agency.
Hedgecock had alerted the nation to the Department of Homeland Security report that warned police across the nation to watch out for those who may have anti-abortion bumper stickers, claim the 2nd Amendment right of personal possession of weapons or express loyalty to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul or third-party political candidates. It also mentions war veterans as suspects and cites McVeigh as an example.
Smith said those on the "right" have to be watched, because of situations like McVeigh.
"There was a very tragic example of a threat that was realized and materialized in this country, almost 14 years ago to the day, in Oklahoma City," he said. "I'm talking about Tim McVeigh."
He noted the bombing was carried out "by someone who unfortunately was a returning vet."
What is funny (not) about this is that the only case they cite is tied to Islamic jihad, but nowhere in this jackboot threat to patriotic Americans is there a mention of the Islamic threat:
Within our jurisdictional, legal and resource limits, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee has conducted an intensive investigation into whether there was a foreign connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. The effort focused primarily on two theories that seemed to be based on factual evidence that, if verified, would indicate a foreign participation in the bombing.
At the outset, members of Congress were met with a startling development.
PART I: Possible Middle Eastern Connections
There is serious, yet in some cases circumstantial, evidence that suggests a possible Middle Eastern connection to the Oklahoma City bombing (named “OKBOMB” by federal investigators):
For example, of all the cities in the world, convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef and Terry Nichols were in Cebu City in the Philippines at the same time three months before the Oklahoma City bombing. Yousef was the perpetrator of the first World Trade Center attack as well as the mastermind behind the planning of other high-profile attacks on Americans. Furthermore, Ramzi Yousef’s phone records, from the months before he detonated the first World Trade Center bomb in early 1993, show calls placed to the Filipina neighbor and close friend of Terry Nichols’ in-laws in Queens, New York. The opportunity for interaction between American terrorist, Nichols, and al-Qaeda terrorist, Yousef, is evident.
One indicator that this terrorist act had broader implications came directly from Abdul Hakim Murad, Yousef’s roommate, childhood friend, and fellow convicted terrorist. On the day of the bombing, Murad claimed responsibility for this terrorist act from his jail cell in New York. He bragged to his prison guards, verbally and in writing, that the bombing of the Murrah federal building was the work of the “Liberation Army.” His confession was similar to the one Yousef had made two years earlier in the immediate aftermath of the first attempt to destroy the Word Trade Center. Hours after he drove a Ryder truck into the garage of the north tower of the World Trade Center and detonated the deadly bomb, Yousef called the FBI from a pay phone in Newark International Airport and boasted that the “Liberation Army” had conducted the attack. He then boarded a plane and escaped, ending up in Manila, Philippines.
Note: the Oklahoma City Bombing followed a similar pattern to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center —a rental truck loaded with ammonium-based explosives, using similar detonation devices, based on the strategy of driving a vehicle into or near a target.
Another possibility of Islamic terrorist involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing was pursued by Jayna Davis, a local Oklahoma City television reporter. Davis did extensive research in the immediate and long term aftermath of the crime and concluded that a small group of recent Iraqi émigrés living in the Oklahoma City area helped McVeigh bomb the Murrah building. She documented multiple witnesses who placed Timothy McVeigh with a foreign-looking person (and/or persons) in the days leading up to, as well as the day of, the Oklahoma City bombing. Her witnesses offer substantial support to the theory of a Middle Eastern connection and relate directly to the existence of John Doe Two. The FBI, much to the frustration of some of its own investigators, discarded the possibility of the existence of John Doe Two, two months into the investigation. There are a number of factors, including information provided by Davis, indicating the existence of John Doe Two and a possible Middle Eastern connection.
Note: at the outset of the subcommittee’s investigation, former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating personally requested that the investigation be called off. During his meeting with the subcommittee chairman, Governor Keating mentioned that then- President Bill Clinton had called him only hours after the bombing. According to Keating, President Clinton’s first comment to him after the bombing was “God, I hope there’s no Middle Eastern connection to this.”
This mindset, described by Governor Keating, may or may not have influenced the original Oklahoma City bombing investigators. There were many reasons to believe that there might have been a foreign connection. There should have been no hesitation to investigate and make that determination, even if it would have required a forceful retaliation.
Terry Nichol's in the Philippines
Nichols’ skill as a terrorist seems to have grown while in the Philippines. Initially he was an unsuccessful bomb-maker. According to Michael Fortier’s testimony, Nichols and McVeigh failed miserably when they tested an explosive device in the Arizona desert just six months before they bombed the Murrah building. After Nichols’ final trip to the Philippines, he and McVeigh were fully capable of manufacturing the crude but deadly bomb that was used to bring down the Murrah federal building.
Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef
Lisa and Marife Torres had a Filipina friend and fellow “tour guide” in Shelton’s mail order bride business named Vilma Elumbaring. Lisa claims that Vilma dated a man whose last name was “Khan” and that Marife, Vilma, and Khan were together on at least one occasion at a disco in Cebu one month before Terry Nichols first traveled there.
This Khan could possibly be Yousef friend and fellow terrorist, Wali Khan, who trained aspiring terrorists in the Philippines and was later convicted of plotting to blow up U.S. airliners. According to one Abu Sayyaf (see below) member who trained with Khan, he was a master at making explosives. If the “Khan,” identified by Vilma as part of the Cebu disco scene was convicted terrorist Wali Khan, that would place Terry Nichols and a Yousef ally in the same circles in Cebu City.
In addition to a “Khan” being with Marife’s group in Cebu, a prominent member of the Philippine terrorist organization, Abu Sayyaf, made statements to investigators and police in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. Edwin Angeles had trained at the terrorist camp in Mindanao around the time Wali Khan was there. Angeles told McVeigh defense team interviewers that Terry Nichols had met with Yousef, Khan, and Murad on at least one occasion in Mindanao in the early 1990s.
There is no doubt, however, that Nichols and Yousef were both in Cebu City in December and January prior to the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Yousef, having successfully escaped America after exploding a bomb in the World Trade Center in February 1993, had been living in Manila with Murad and Khan. They were working on their next two part plan, Project Bojinka: a conspiracy to place bombs on twelve American airliners which would explode over the Pacific Ocean, potentially killing hundreds of Americans, and to overtake the cockpits of American airliners and crash them into buildings such as the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Yousef decided to do a test-run of his airline-bombing plot in December 1994. He took a Philippine Airline flight from Manila where, after placing his test bomb underneath a seat, he disembarked in Cebu City. The bomb exploded on its way to Tokyo, killing a Japanese businessman. Meanwhile, Terry Nichols and his wife were in Cebu City, where Marife was attending college at Southwestern University.
Note: Nichols hastily departed the Philippines immediately after the Yousef bomb operation was discovered and Murad was arrested in Manila. Shortly before, Nichols had arranged his reservations to leave at a later date. Inexplicably, his plans changed the day the Manila bomb plot was broken up. All this justifiably leads to speculation that the Bojinka bombing plot may have been tied to a more grandiose scheme. Had the Bojinka plot and the Oklahoma City bombing occurred in the same time frame, it would have been a spectacular worldwide attack on the American people. Evidence is circumstantial but serious questions remains.
Phone Records Possibly Linking Yousef to Nichols
[...]. As Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee in October 2005, I provided the FBI with the evidence showing Yousef’s phone calls to the close friends and neighbors of Terry Nichols’ in-laws in Queens, but have not received a response that addressed these facts. To date, the FBI has not responded to my request for their assessment. Additionally, I asked the FBI for information from their Yousef investigation concerning Mila Densing. Inexplicably, they do not seem to have interviewed her.
Nichols has gotten something of a pass on the culpability of his participation in this horrific act of violence. His complicated attempts to manipulate those investigating OKBOMB, including the subcommittee, suggest capabilities that belie his image as subservient to McVeigh. To this day, Nichols does not fully acknowledge his complicity in this monstrous crime, seeking instead to draw attention to others, some of whom he self-servingly hints have yet to be exposed.
John Doe Two
Timothy McVeigh visited Elliot’s Body Shop in Junction City, Kansas on the afternoon of Monday, April 17, 1995, in order to rent a Ryder Truck for the bombing. After the bombing, FBI sketch artist Roy Rozycki interviewed Elliot’s Body Shop employees Eldon Elliot, Vicki Beemer, and Tom Kessinger. They assisted the FBI in producing a likeness of “John Doe One” and “John Doe Two,” which were released to the public on Thursday, April 20, 1995. McVeigh was clearly John Doe One. [...]
An employee at a tire store in Oklahoma City stated that he saw McVeigh and a “dark” passenger wearing a ball cap pull into the driveway of his tire store at 8:45 a.m. on April 19 and asked for directions to 5th and Harvey Streets. This witness identified Timothy McVeigh from a lineup without having seen the composite drawings. McVeigh denied stopping at a tire store to his lawyers and his methodical planning may make it unlikely that he did. Nevertheless, the witness is credible.
Jeff Davis delivered Chinese food to McVeigh’s room at the Dreamland Motel in Kansas on April 15. Davis, another credible witness, claims the man who opened the door to accept the order was not McVeigh. Here, again, another participant in the crime is apparent, yet never explained by authorities.
On June 14, 1995, the FBI called off the hunt for John Doe Two.
City Ryder truck rental remains adamant that a second man accompanied McVeigh. Eldon Elliot emphatically states that there was a second man with McVeigh, and that the FBI has aggressively pressured him to change his story. He, too, is a credible witness.
Within minutes of the Oklahoma City bombing, local television reporter Jayna Davis was at the scene of the crime interviewing witnesses. In the weeks and months afterward, she continued to investigate the bombing and, in her television broadcasts, asked viewers with information to come forward. She was particularly focused on the FBI’s original sketch of John Doe Two. There are multiple witnesses in Oklahoma City who placed Timothy McVeigh with another person at the scene of the bombing. The description of this accomplice offered by the witnesses at the scene closely resembles the sketch made of McVeigh’s companion when he rented the Ryder truck. The hard fact remains that witnesses saw McVeigh with a man leading up to and on the day of the bombing. Authorities still contend that McVeigh was alone. The belief that the FBI dropped its search for John Doe Two prematurely appears justified.
Davis has presented evidence that John Doe Two, who was with McVeigh in the Ryder truck on the day of the bombing, was a recent Iraqi immigrant who lived and worked in Oklahoma City. The Iraqi in question, Hussain Al-Hussaini, was one of a group of Iraqis hired to do odd jobs for a Palestinian landlord, Samir Khalil, who owned properties throughout the area. K
halil hired the Iraqi newcomers, supposedly refugees from the first Gulf War, to maintain his rental properties. Khalil himself served time for insurance fraud in the early 1990s. Hussaini resembles John Doe Two and was identified by witnesses on the scene. Adding to the suspicion, Hussain al Hussani was less than forthcoming about his whereabouts the morning of the bombing. His alibi, brought out in civil court depositions, is contradictory and unconvincing. One more disturbing revelation of this investigation is that Hussain Al-Hussaini was never interviewed by federal law enforcement.
More alarming is the discovery of a published list of un-indicted coconspirators from the first World Trade Center bombing that includes the name Samir Khalil. This subcommittee asked the Department of Justice to determine if the man’s name on the unindicted coconspirators World Trade Center bombing list is the same man in Oklahoma City. A letter responding to this request stated that such a task would be too “burdensome.” This unwillingness on the part of the Justice Department to look into a possible solid link between the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center attack is extremely disappointing, bordering on dereliction of duty.
To this day, federal law enforcement cannot explain what, if anything was done to examine these possible links or scrutinize Khalil’s activity related to terrorism in his hometown. Justice officials should at least show some curiosity about the subcommittee’s request as to whether there is circumstantial evidence linking two major domestic terrorist attacks. As a result, our investigation into this matter is incomplete.
Federal law enforcement has been accused of an institutional mind-set that congressional oversight is a nuisance to be avoided or blocked. That mind-set was painfully obvious during this subcommittee’s inquiry into the Oklahoma City bombing. If the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee was successful, it should have resulted 12 in a positive affirmation of federal law enforcement’s willingness to find and share vital information.
Instead, Justice Department officials (and perhaps, the CIA) were less than responsive in crucial stages of this investigation, exemplifying needless defensiveness. Most of the official narrative of the OKBOMB investigation survives close scrutiny. However, this inquiry would have been significantly more complete with greater cooperation from federal law enforcement. Congressional investigators should not face such resistance in doing their job, which is to find the facts and determine the truth. Nevertheless, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee’s efforts uncovered significant new and relevant information not previously discovered or disclosed; however, unanswered questions and unresolved mysteries remain. Discoveries
In 2005, ten years after the bombing, after a tip to the FBI and Congress, a second stash of explosives was found under the floorboards of Terry Nichols’ house. It had been inexcusably missed during the FBI’s original searches.
Terry Nichols brought a book entitled The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives with him to the Philippines. This clearly suggests that sensual indulgence was not the only reason Nichols visited the Philippines.
Terry Nichols was responsible for the robbery of Arkansas gun dealer Roger Moore. Nichols acknowledged this for the first time in a two-hour prison interview with the chairman and staff of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
Ramzi Yousef called Mila Densing’s apartment on multiple occasions in the period leading up to the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. The FBI failed to interview Densing, who was a friend and neighbor of the relatives of Marife, Terry Nichols’ Filipina wife.
Palestinian émigré Samir Khalil hired Iraqis who witnesses claim were with Tim McVeigh at the scene of the bombing. The name Samir Khalil appears on the list of possible unindicted coconspirators to the first World Trade Center bombing. Although there are indications that McVeigh may have been involved with the bank robbers along with Strassmeir, three of the bank robbers that the committee was able to contact, Langan, Stedeford and Brescia all denied being involved with McVeigh in anyway. Michael Brescia, a paroled Midwest Bank Robber, asserted to staff that he had never met Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh privately denied knowing Brescia in communications with his legal team.
McVeigh conceded to his legal team the OKBOMB conspiracy did begin September 13, 1994 with the passage of the assault weapons ban. Unanswered Questions
While McVeigh affirmed that the OKBOMB conspiracy began in September 1994, it remains a question if there was a meeting with Elohim radicals, including Strassmeir, on or after that date. What has been verified is that on that day McVeigh checked into a motel that day near Elohim City.
Did McVeigh receive funds from the Midwest Bank Robbers?
Did Kevin McCarthy ever see Strassmeir with McVeigh or did he know of a friendship between them? For a time, McCarthy was Strassmeir’s roommate in Elohim City. After being arrested, another gang member suggested McCarthy had helped McVeigh with the Oklahoma City bombing.
Why has the Department of Justice been unable or unwilling to help the subcommittee locate Kevin McCarthy?
Where was Hussain Al-Hussaini the morning of April 19, 1995? Were the several reliable witnesses wrong when they claimed to have seen McVeigh with Hussaini?
Why was Terry Nichols concerned for his personal safety when he traveled to the Philippines in November 1994?
Why did Terry Nichols leave $20,000 in a package at his ex-wife Lana Padilla’s house before departing for the Philippines in November 1994? Where did Nichols get the money?
How did Terry Nichols, a man with no steady job or source of income, finance his five trips to the Philippines?
Why was an unaccounted-for leg found in the debris after the bombing?
Did Terry Nichols play a bigger role than he has admitted or has been thus far proven?
Why was there so little investigatory focus on Strassmeir and Hussaini?
Why the rush to rule out the existence of John Doe Two? Findings
1) The FBI was not justified in calling off any further investigation into John Doe Two.
2) The FBI did not thoroughly investigate the potential involvement of Andreas Strassmeir and Hussain al-Hussaini, et. al. despite evidence showing they may have played a role.
3) Authorities erred in allowing Timothy McVeigh to move forward the time of his execution while major questions remained about whether others were involved in the crime. 14
4) The DoJ has not seriously examined new information uncovered by this subcommittee. Specifically: phone records from Ramzi Yousef to a friend of Nichols’ in-laws as well as the name Samir Khalil appearing on an unindicted coconspirators World Trade Center bombing list.
5) Whether or not there was a foreign connection to the bombing is inconclusive. Questions remain unanswered and mysteries remain unresolved. Final Thoughts
The original date of the 2001 execution of Timothy McVeigh was postponed by 30 days, following the belated discovery of more than 3000 documents. The files related primarily to the question of John Doe Two and eyewitness sightings. These documents did not raise significant doubt about McVeigh’s guilt. Their disappearance, nevertheless, demonstrated that, despite multiple admonitions from the presiding judge and reassurances from law enforcement, the authorities missed key files in what was then the most prominent case in US legal history. We know now they even missed a second stash of explosives hidden in the Nichols house.