From Dublin to Oklahoma City
'There comes a time in every botched operation when the informant has to speak out to save his skin, and that's now, Andreas'. 'How can he?' Strassmeir shouted into the telephone. "What happens if it was a sting operation from the very beginning? What happens if it comes out that the plant was a provocateur?' 'A provocateur?' 'What happens if he talked and manipulated the others into it? What then? The country couldn't handle it. The relatives of the victims are going to go crazy. He's going to be held responsible for the murder of 168 people.' 'That is true.' 'Of course the informant can't come forward. He's scared shitless right now.' 'It sounds to me as if you've got a problem, Andreas.' 'Schiesse'.
Evans-Pritchard - The Secret Life Of Bill Clinton
The owner of the motel in which Timothy McVeigh stayed prior to the bombing of the Murrah building reported to the FBI that three of the September 11, 2001 hijackers attempted to book rooms at the motel in late July or early August 2001 telling him they were taking flight training. They were Mohammed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Zacarias Moussaoui, who is presently in Federal Custody as the possible 20th hijacker.
When an Algerian terrorist was arrested in Seattle and charged with plotting a terrorist attack in the United States, it quickly became evident that there were links to Osama bin Laden, the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, and a "charitable" organization (Mercy) based in Dublin, Ireland .....
January 27, 2000 New York Times
American investigators have uncovered what they believe are links between Algerians who have been charged with plotting a terrorist attack in the United States and Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi accused of bombing two American Embassies in East Africa. In recent days, the authorities in Senegal arrested a man who American investigators believe directed an Algerian group in Canada in its effort to enter the United States and carry out a bomb plot late last year. The investigators said the man being held in Senegal, Mohambedou Ould Slahi, is a brother-in-law of one of Mr. bin Laden's key lieutenants. Officials disclosed, for example, that one of the men charged in the case had a roommate who was associated with an Islamic charity that prosecutors said played a role in the embassy bombings. Mr. bin Laden has been charged with directing those attacks, which killed more than 200. Officials said that the emergence of Mr. Slahi as a key suspect reinforces American and Canadian suspicions about the origins of the bomb plot. Mr. Slahi's connections to Mr. bin Laden's group, Al Qaeda, they said, suggest the possibility that Mr. Bin Laden may be at the heart of the plot. Little is known about his background, but investigators say he had "constant communications" with a construction company in Khartoum, Sudan, that was owned by Mr. bin Laden. The company, officials said, was used as a front for Al Qaeda. Mr. bin Laden lived in Khartoum from 1991 to 1996. Several officials said that Mr. Slahi is related by marriage to one of Mr. bin Laden's key operatives, known as "the Mauritanian." They would not identify this person, but one official said he had been tied to the African bombings. More recently, officials said, Mr. Slahi was living in Germany. Last fall, he arrived in Canada. While in Montreal, the officials said, Mr. Slahi worked closely with Mokhtar Haouari, an Algerian man who has been charged with arranging the logistics of the plot. .... Officials said that Mr. Slahi fled to a Montreal mosque before leaving the country. ..... American officials said there are several other emerging links between the bomb plot and Mr. bin Laden's group. One involves Hamid Aich, an Algerian who lived for three years in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, until May 1999. A law enforcement official said that after leaving Canada, Mr. Aich moved to Ireland and was associated with Mercy International Relief Agency, an Islamic charity that American prosecutors have linked to the embassy bombings and Mr. bin Laden. The charity's director, prosecutors said in court papers, received calls on his mobile phone from Mr. bin Laden's satellite telephone. An F.B.I. search of the charity's files in the days after the embassy bombings uncovered a receipt dated July 24, 1998, two weeks before the bombings, that referred to plans to obtain weapons from Somalia. In his three years in Canada, Mr. Aich shared an apartment with Abdel Majid Dahoumane, according to the building's superintendent. Mr. Aich was briefly detained last month in Ireland, and the police there seized his computer and personal papers.
February 19, 2000 The New York Times
Government officials investigating a decade of international terrorist attacks say they have found a common thread, Islamic charities and relief organizations that they suspect are being used to move men, money and weapons across borders. American officials said Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile charged with masterminding the 1998 bombings of American Embassies in East Africa, relied on at least nine of the groups in his recent operations. Other charities and relief groups, the Americans said, have been linked to a recent plot to bomb historic and tourist sites in Jordan, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and terrorist attacks in Egypt against tourists and Government officials. "These charities and relief groups are a crucial part of terrorism's infrastructure," said one official who monitors terrorism closely. "Money people give for worthy causes should not wind up buying explosives or phony passports. But we still know too little about how Islamic fundamentalists use and abuse these groups." Although the administration has previously investigated alleged links between individual Islamic charities and specific terrorist groups, this is the first time that it is scrutinizing a block of such groups to determine whether they are being used, wittingly or not, by Islamic terrorist networks. As such, officials say, the inquiry is a major expansion of the government's counterterrorism efforts. Israel has been pressing the United States for years to spearhead an international crackdown on Islamic charities and private relief groups. In recent months, American officials have circulated within the government a list of more than 30 groups that they are examining for links to terrorism, at least two of which are based in the United States. One instance in which investigators said they believed that the role of charities was crucial was the bombings of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, crimes that killed more than 200 people and wounded thousands. Prosecutors said material seized from the Nairobi office of the Mercy International Relief Agency includes records of calls to the cellular telephone of Mr. bin Laden. Another document found at the office, dated two weeks before the bombings, refers to "getting the weapons from Somalia." Mercy, based in Ireland, was one of five private associations that Kenya closed weeks after the bombing. The government said those groups had "deviated from development objectives" and "posed a serious threat" to Kenya's security. In recent days, officials disclosed that a roommate of one the men charged with plotting to bomb targets in the United States had worked for Mercy in Dublin. The list of more than 30 groups with suspected terrorist ties includes two in the United States, the Global Relief Foundation Inc. and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, in Richardson, Tex. American officials have been looking into Holy Land since the mid-90's. Some government officials recommended that the group be prosecuted in 1997 for supporting Hamas, the militant Islamic group. But others opposed the effort, fearing that it would expose intelligence sources and spur public criticism of the administration as anti-Muslim. The inquiry appears to have been revived. Responding recently to a lawsuit by Steven Emerson, a journalist who follows militant Islamic groups, the State Department said it could not make documents about Holy Land public because the group was the subject of "an ongoing law-enforcement proceeding." Contending that it was a front for Hamas, Israel closed the charity and four others in May 1997.
At the center of the Oklahoma City bombing was an individual who also had ties to a terrorist organization based in Dublin ...
May 20, 1996 Electronic Telegraph Issue 387
Andreas Strassmeir lives quietly with his parents in a well-to-do area of West Berlin. His father was once a top aide to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. His brother is a city councillor. For seven years he served in the German army, at one point doing a tour of duty as a liaison officer with the Welsh Guards. It is hard to imagine a more unlikely figure to surface in the drama of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the worst act of terrorism ever committed on US soil. But last week an Oklahoma couple, Glenn and Kathy Wilburn, announced that they were going to name Strassmeir, 36, in a lawsuit as a "US federal informant with material knowledge of the bombing". They say that Strassmeir became involved with the far-Right underworld when he lived with the Elohim City "Christian Identity" sect on the Arkansas- Oklahoma border from 1991 to 1995.
The Wilburns lost two grandchildren in the attack on the Alfred Murrah federal building, which killed 168 people including 19 children. After taping more than 300 hours of testimony in their own investigation, they have concluded that the government had prior knowledge of the blast. They say that the FBI has refused to pursue and arrest a number of suspects seen near the crime scene with Timothy McVeigh, who is said to have been in contact with paramilitary groups in the area and has been charged with the bombing. The Wilburns say the refusal is presumably because the FBI is afraid of exposing the government's negligence. "This was a sting operation that went berserk," said Glenn Wilburn.
The family has accumulated evidence which they claim indicates Strassmeir was an undercover US agent who, while based at Elohim City, penetrated the white separatist movement and alerted the authorities about the impending attack. "Andy did his best, he tried to stop this thing, we're not blaming him for what happened," said Wilburn. "But we're going to sue the US government to break this wide open."
The Wilburns now believe that they have evidence from witnesses that five to seven men were involved in the bombing, and indications that several of these had connections with Elohim City. So far only two people have been charged: McVeigh and Terry Nichols. The FBI now says that nobody else was involved. Strassmeir denies that he was an informant. "I've never worked for any US government agency, and I've not been involved in any intelligence operation since my discharge from the German army in 1988," he said. "This family [the Wilburns] is on a fishing expedition." "The FBI asked where I was on the day of the bombing."
The decision to name him in the lawsuit comes after witnesses allegedly identified him at the end of April as one of a number of men seen in Junction City, Kansas, when McVeigh was also there during the days leading up to the bombing. One of the witnesses said she contacted the FBI as soon as she was shown a photograph of Strassmeir by a US news organisation investigating the Oklahoma affair. Within days, a US Justice Department team questioned Strassmeir, calling him in Berlin on April 30 and again on May 1 to ask about his alleged ties to McVeigh. "The FBI asked where I was on the day of the bombing," he said. "They wanted to help debunk the rumours spread about me." Strassmeir said he was at work near Elohim City at the time of the blast.
In a series of five interviews with The Telegraph he said that he first lived in the US in 1989 because he was planning to work on a special assignment for the US Justice Department. "I discussed the job when I was in Washington. I was hoping to work for the operations section of the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency]," he explained. "It never worked out."
Vincent Petruskie, a retired US Air Force colonel, said that he helped Strassmeir try to get a job in the DEA and the US Treasury. "We took him under our wing when he first came to the United States, and to be quite honest he's a little immature," he said. "I mean he's a good kid, but he fantasises." In the end, Strassmeir says that he went to Texas and started working as a salesman for a computer company. From there he seemingly drifted into the sub-culture of the Ku Klux Klan, the Aryan Nations, and the extreme fringes of the Christian Right. In 1991 he went to live in Elohim City, a primitive community of huts, guns and impenetrable theology. He established himself as chief of security and weapons training, he said.
On April 5 1995 McVeigh - or somebody using his telephone billing card - telephoned Elohim City. It was minutes after McVeigh had reserved the Ryder rental van that was allegedly used to blow up the Oklahoma City building. According to Joan Millar, who answered the telephone, the caller asked to speak to "Andy". "I don't know why McVeigh was trying to contact me," said Strassmeir. "I met the guy once at a gun show. We spoke for five minutes, that's all. I sold him a US Navy combat knife."
Without identifying himself, McVeigh also called the offices of Strassmeir's American lawyer, Kirk Lyons, for 15 minutes on April 18, 1995, the day before the bombing. He apparently talked about the controversial raid by federal agents on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, which resulted in more than 80 deaths, and the need to "send a message to the government". Strassmeir says that McVeigh never visited Elohim City. But McVeigh was stopped for speeding on October 12 1993, 10 miles from Elohim City, on the road to the compound. Strassmeir says that his four years at Elohim were among the happiest of his life. But it was a curious existence for a man who had once been a lieutenant in the Panzer Grenadiers. He told The Sunday Telegraph that he had received military intelligence training. Part of his work was to detect infiltration by Warsaw Pact agents, he explained, and then feed them disinformation.
He is scathing in his criticism of the ATF - the US Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms - saying that it did not have the anthropological skills to infiltrate the Christian militias. "The Right-wing in the US is incredibly easy to penetrate if you know how to talk to them," he said. "Of course it's easier for a foreigner with an accent; nobody would ever suspect a German of working for the federal government."
In February 1992 Strassmeir's maroon station wagon was impounded by the Oklahoma highway patrol for a traffic violation. The police found in his briefcase a collection of documents, some of them in German. According to the tow-truck driver, Kenny Pence, Strassmeir soon brought heavy pressure to bear. "Boy, we caught hell over that one," he said. "The phone calls came in from the State Department, the Governor's office, and someone called and said he had diplomatic immunity. He was just a weird cookie." Strassmeir said the man must have been confused about some of the details. "Some calls did come in to rattle their cage," he said. "Something may have been said about my father's position."
In hours of conversations with The Sunday Telegraph, over several days, Strassmeir remained adamant that he had met McVeigh only once. He also claimed that he had copper-bottomed information about the bombing, but seemed torn over how much he felt able to impart. "The ATF had an informant inside this operation. They had advance warning and they bungled it," he said. "What they should have done is make an arrest while the bomb was still being made instead of waiting till the last moment for a publicity stunt." Asked if he thought the alleged informant would ever speak out, he replied with passion: "How can he? What happens if it was a sting operation from the very beginning? What happens if it comes out that the plant was a provocateur? What then? The relatives of the victims are going to go crazy, and he's going to be held responsible for the murder of 168 people? Of course the informant can't come forward. He's scared stiff right now." Before and after this outburst he kept repeating that he was not making veiled references to himself.
Lyons, Strassmeir's lawyer, says that his client has been dragged into the Oklahoma bombing story by McVeigh's defence team. He says the defence tactic is to muddy the waters by sketching a vast conspiracy involving neo-Nazis in Europe and even Middle Eastern terrorists. "I call it the Space Alien Elvis Presley theory, and it's been fuelled by nutcases and conspiracy theorists," he said.
December 8 1996 Electronic Telegraph Issue 564
A new and alarming terrorist movement has emerged in the United States. It is inspired by the Provisional IRA and is adopting the Provos' structure of impenetrable underground cells. Calling itself the Aryan Republican Army, the group appears to be the secret military arm of the American neo-Nazi movement. It is committed to the overthrow of the US government, the extermination of America's Jews, and the establishment of an "Aryan Republic" on the North American continent. "We call ourselves the Aryan Republican Army because in some of our tactics, and some of our goals, we have modeled the organization after the successful and yet undefeated Irish Republican Army," said Commander Pedro, a self-styled member of the Aryan high command, on a recruitment video tape obtained by The Sunday Telegraph. "The Irish, another tribe of the Aryan people, have fought off the Jewish-inspired elite of the English."
The FBI discovered the terrorist cell by accident earlier this year while investigating a string of 18 bank robberies in the Mid West. The armed assaults were allegedly carried out by members of the Aryan Army - wearing Ronald Reagan and Count Dracula masks - to fund their revolutionary activities. Three men are being prosecuted for the robberies and possession of explosives. The leader of the group, Richard Guthrie, was found dead in his prison cell, apparently after hanging himself from an air vent with a sheet. Among items seized from a storage locker belonging to the group was the Irish Republican Army handbook, a terrorist manual known in Ireland as the Green Book, along with an assortment of books on the Irish struggle including A Little History of Ireland by Seamus MacCall and cassette tapes of a Gaelic language course.
The Aryan recruitment video, filmed at a "safe house" in Kansas around New Year 1995, features armed men in ski masks. It starts with an IRA song, The Patriot Game, then moves on to a theatrical discourse on knee-capping. "We will deal with informers ruthlessly and permanently. For actively working with our enemies, you'll be terminated. If you just like to run your mouth, you'll be knee-capped," explained Commander Pedro, holding up an automatic pistol, and then an electric drill. "Either one, I can guarantee you, are extremely painful." The tape also singles out the Serbs for praise as role models in ethnic cleansing. Commander Pedro warned that all blacks would be deported from the "Aryan Republic". The pro-IRA sympathies of these neo-Nazis are a new twist in the story of the American racist Right. The Ku Klux Klan used to be virulently anti-Catholic, but many of the members of the Aryan Republican Army are from middle-class Catholic backgrounds.
Mark Thomas, allegedly the intellectual mentor of the Aryan Republican Army, says that he identifies with the "anti-colonial" struggle of the IRA. "I am no Catholic, but my prayers are with the IRA," he wrote in his publication, The Watchman. "The Hard Men who lead them are the mighty of our race . . . May God bless them and keep them. Sinn Fein. Hail the IRA!" It is an astonishing position for a man who was once a "state chaplain" of the Ku Klux Klan. (He is now Pennsylvania director of the Aryan Nations, a successor to the fascist "Silver Shirts" of the 1930s that looks down on the KKK as "do-nothing belly-achers".)
Thomas is a follower of Nietzsche and the "ancestral memory" theories of Carl Jung. He has become a priest in the growing religion of "Christian Identity". The sect believes that the European peoples are the lost tribes of Israel. He told The Telegraph that the Celtic outposts of Scotland and Ireland are the most pure of the Aryan peoples, as the last to succumb to Judaic influences.
Commander Pedro is in fact Peter Langan, 38, a high-school drop-out from suburban Washington, whose father worked for the CIA. He and his friends are clownish figures in many ways, but the Aryan Army cell was well-equipped for terrorism. The FBI captured a shoulder-fired rocket launcher, Semtex explosives, hand-grenade canisters, 11 pipe-bombs, and an arsenal of guns. "These people had a support system. They had safe-houses and very good false documents," said Mike Reynolds, senior intelligence analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Centre, which monitors Right-wing violence across the country. "They were clearly preparing for something beyond bank robberies."
What makes this Aryan Army cell so menacing is the growing body of evidence that its members were in contact with Tim McVeigh, the prime suspect in the bombing of the Oklahoma federal building in April last year. Two of the bank robbers were residents of a Christian Identity compound in Oklahoma named Elohim City. McVeigh telephoned Elohim minutes after reserving the truck allegedly used in the bombing. Michael Brescia is believed to be a fifth member of the Aryan Army cell. He also lived at Elohim City. Five women at a night club in Tulsa have identified Brescia as the man they saw sitting with Tim McVeigh - and paying for the drinks - on April 8, 1995, 11 days before the bombing. A mother and daughter in Kansas have told the FBI that they met Brescia in the company of McVeigh several times.
January 26, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 611
The patriot militia movement in the United States has launched a campaign to hunt down neo-Nazis and bring them to justice for alleged acts of terrorism. The militias claim that they have been falsely linked to the wave of bombings in the US over the past two years, especially the Oklahoma blast that killed 168 people in April 1995. A number of their leaders have set out to prove that the real culprits are members of the white supremacist underground - a network of fascist cells committed to the overthrow of the constitutional order. ....
The FBI conducted a massive manhunt for John Doe II in 1995. Then, the Justice Department suddenly announced that there was no John Doe II after all. It had all been a big mistake. McVeigh acted alone on the day of the crime. The problem is that a large number of witnesses saw other men with McVeigh on the morning of the crime in Oklahoma City, and at critical times before that in Junction City, Kansas, and Tulsa. Several have identified one man as Michael Brescia, a neo-Nazi with ties to a paramilitary cell called the Aryan Republican Army that has boasted of its plan to kill Jews and deport blacks. The militia believe that Brescia is being shielded from prosecution, possibly because he knows things about the bombing that could cause acute embarrassment to the federal authorities - for example, whether or not the conspiracy was penetrated by an informant. Brescia now lives at his parents' house in Philadelphia. Last weekend, on a freezing winter's day, the militia mounted an operation to expose him and to rebuke the Justice Department. "Someone's got to do this," said the commander, Arlin Adams. "If nobody makes the effort, the system will fail." The team darted from one telegraph post to another fixing posters of Michael Brescia outside his house, at his family's church, and at the University of La Salle, where he is finishing a degree in finance. The posters bore the message, "Unwanted by the FBI" and showed Brescia's picture next to a police sketch of John Doe II
February 2, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 618
The government case in the Oklahoma bombing trial, due to open next month, is disintegrating. .... The latest blow to the prosecution is a report that the FBI crime lab altered forensic conclusions to accommodate government claims that the blast, which killed 168 people in the spring of 1995, was caused by a 4,000lb ammonium nitrate bomb. The report, by the Justice Department's Inspector General, found that some lab officials have been pressed to falsify evidence and commit perjury to support prosecutions. With the FBI crime lab going through the worst crisis in the history of the Bureau, everything it touches is now tainted. .... The prosecution has been tying itself in knots from the beginning. This is chiefly because it insists on a 'lone bomber theory' - with another man, Terry Nichols, helping in the background - when the evidence clearly indicates a more complex conspiracy involving a terrorist cell. Last week it became clear that the Justice Department is willing to let the case collapse rather than risk collateral revelations. On Thursday the FBI arrested Michael Brescia, the man alleged to be the mysterious 'John Doe II' seen with McVeigh in the days before the bombing. Brescia has been named in a private lawsuit by victims of the blast as a co-conspirator of McVeigh. But in keeping with the "Alice in Wonderland" character of this investigation, Brescia was arrested for his alleged role in a series of bank robberies carried out by a neo-Nazi group called the Aryan Republican Army. McVeigh is also tied into this ARA cell, and his sister told the FBI in May 1995 that her brother had been involved in bank robberies. But the Justice Department does not want to know. Indeed, it has gone to hazardous lengths to stamp out talk of a broader bombing conspiracy involving the Aryan Republican Army. On Wednesday, the day before Brescia's arrest, it announced that John Doe II - the subject of the massive FBI manhunt in the weeks after the bombing - had never existed.
The Justice Department stated that Tom Kessinger, a clerk at the Ryder rental agency where McVeigh allegedly rented the bombing vehicle, was confused when he helped to produce a artist's sketch of a second man with McVeigh. This is highly contentious. Mr Kessinger provided the famous John Doe II sketch immediately after the blast. Almost two years later he abruptly changes tack and asserts that he muddled John Doe II with a soldier named Tod Bunting who came into the office on a different day. Unfortunately for the prosecution, Mr Kessinger has already given too many interviews ridiculing the Bunting canard. "He was laughing about it and said 'I don't know how they came up with that one'," said Glenn Wilburn, a bombing victim, when he visited Mr Kessinger last year. The Justice Department has now destroyed Mr Kessinger's credibility, so it can no longer put him on the stand to identify McVeigh as the man who rented the Ryder truck. But the prosecution does not have much else to rely on.
The original FBI statements by the employees at the Ryder rental agency describe the man supposed to be McVeigh - who used the alias of Robert Kling - as 13 stone, 5ft 11in, stocky, with a pock-marked face. This bears no resemblance to the lanky, 11 stone, 6ft 3in, baby-faced McVeigh. The prosecution, of course, can draw on an army of witnesses who saw McVeigh with a Ryder truck shortly before the bomb went off at 9am on April 19 1995. But they all saw him with other suspects, making a mockery of the claim that McVeigh acted alone.
So it appears that none of these witnesses is going to be called to testify. Instead, the prosecution is relying on a single man who thought he might have seen McVeigh getting out of a Ryder truck. Why is the Justice Department destroying its own case? A clue came last Tuesday in an Oklahoma newspaper, the McCurtain Daily Gazette, which has gathered evidence that the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) was monitoring the bombing conspiracy from the very start. According to the Gazette, a paid informant working for the Tulsa office of the ATF has come forward to admit that she used hidden cameras to film three members of a neo-Nazi group in Oklahoma discussing plans to blow up a federal building.
One was Andreas Strassmeir, a former German army officer with ties to McVeigh. Strassmeir shared a house at the time with Michael Brescia of the Aryan Republican Army underground. The story helps to explain how bomb squads could have been seen in downtown Oklahoma hours before the explosion. It also buttresses testimony that McVeigh appeared to be operating as part of a team on the day of the crime in Oklahoma City. The only conclusion that one can draw is that the Justice Department is protecting a federal informant who had penetrated the bombing conspiracy - probably Strassmeir, but possibly also Brescia - and is trying to cover up a bungled sting. McVeigh's defence lawyer, Stephen Jones, says that the American people will never be able to think of their government in the same way once they learn the full truth about the Oklahoma bombing. Is he just bluffing?
February 9, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 625
An Oklahoma newspaper has convincing evidence that the US Government was warned about the bombing of the Oklahoma federal building in 1995, the most deadly act of terrorism in US history. Next Tuesday the McCurtain Daily Gazette is scheduled to publish how an informant for the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was paid $120 a week to monitor a neo-Nazi compound in eastern Oklahoma, called Elohim City. The informant, Carol Howe, wrote monthly reports for her ATF case officer in Tulsa, warning that the group was planning to blow up a federal building, with a probable target date of April 19, 1995. She told the ATF that the terrorist cell, sometimes known as the Aryan Republican Army, had narrowed down the list of targets to three buildings: one in Oklahoma City and two in Tulsa.
The ATF has confirmed that Howe was a source. After repeating for two years that allegations of prior knowledge were a crazy "conspiracy theory", the US authorities now admit that they received warning, but insist the information was too vague to prompt action. Ms Howe said that the prime instigator of the conspiracy was Andreas Strassmeir, a former German army officer from a prominent political family in Berlin. Strassmeir told The Telegraph last year that he moved to the United States in 1989 to work as an undercover agent for the US Justice Department, but says that the job fell through. Instead, he went to live at Elohim City, where he took charge of paramilitary training.
Two days after the bombing, which killed 168 people, Ms Howe was taken to an underground command centre in downtown Oklahoma City for an extensive debriefing. In her official statement to investigators, she identified sketches of suspects "John Doe I" and "John Doe II" as two members of Elohim City's terrorist underground, both housemates of Andreas Strassmeir. According to the Gazette, one of them was called Michael Brescia, a member of the Aryan Republican Army underground. Other witnesses also raised concerns about Brescia within days of the bombing, but there was no follow-up. The FBI did not question Brescia until his name started surfacing in the press last year. Two weeks ago the FBI arrested him in Philadelphia - for bank robberies carried out by the Aryan Army, not for questioning about the bombing. Glenn and Cathy Wilburn, an Oklahoma couple who lost two grandchildren in the blast, have named Brescia and Strassmeir as co-conspirators in a civil lawsuit against the chief suspect, Tim McVeigh. Carol Howe has revealed that Tim McVeigh used to visit Elohim City, using the alias of Tim Tuttle. He would frequent the house of Strassmeir, who had an extraordinary influence over him.
March 23. 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 667
The US government has brought criminal charges against a key witness who gave advance warning of a bombing conspiracy in Oklahoma in what looks like a flagrant attempt to cover its own tracks. Carol Howe, a former Tulsa beauty queen, has been indicted for allegedly conspiring to make an unrelated bomb threat and possession of a "destructive device". It is a remarkably thin case stemming from an inflammatory anti-government message that her boyfriend recorded on an answering machine. The indictment followed interviews that she gave to an Oklahoma newspaper, the McCurtain Daily Gazette. She revealed she had been recruited by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) as an undercover informant, at $120 a week, to spy on the activities of a neo-nazi group at Elohim City in Oklahoma. From June 1994 until March 1995 she filed more than 70 reports on her activities to her ATF case officer in Tulsa, Angela Finley. At Elohim City she learned that a group called the Aryan Republican Army was discussing a terrorist attack on buildings in Oklahoma. According to Howe, the prime instigators included a former German army officer named Andreas Strassmeir. Strassmeir, the son of a prominent politician in Berlin, is widely suspected of being an undercover agent. In a series of interviews with The Telegraph last year he admitted that he engaged in undercover intelligence work in the German military. He said that he had first come to the United States in 1989 with the intention of working for the US Justice Department.
According to Howe, the group targeted three buildings, including the Murrah building. She said that they "cased" the Oklahoma building three times, in November and December 1994, and February 1995, once in her presence. It was blown up on April 19, 1995. Whether or not she filed ATF reports detailing specific threats is now a subject of great contention. The documents were turned over to the defence team of Tim McVeigh, whose trial for his role in the bombing opens next week, after their existence was revealed in the press. The critical material dates from December 1994 when Carol Howe moved into Elohim City for five weeks and collected sensitive intelligence. The December documents have vanished. However, a debriefing report filed two days after the bombing quotes Howe reminding her ATF handlers that she had told them of the group's interest in the Murrah building. She also identified an artist's sketch of suspect John Doe II as Strassmeir's housemate, Michael Brescia.
The FBI, which has conducted more than 23,000 witness interviews, did not question either Strassmeir or Brescia after the bombing. Fifteen months later, when Strassmeir's name surfaced in the press, the FBI telephoned him in Berlin, but only to reassure him that he was not a suspect. The Justice Department is now claiming that Carol Howe was unreliable and had to be dropped as an informant. But the documents show that she was given 17 polygraph tests to check whether she was telling the truth: she passed every one.
Immediately after the bombing the ATF, then in a panic, recalled her at a much higher pay of $400 a day and sent her back into Elohim City to find out what had happened to Strassmeir, Brescia and other members of the Aryan Republic Army. Carol Howe is likely to be the star witness in the trial of Tim McVeigh, which starts on March 31. Is that why the Justice Department decided to indict her?
March 25, 1997
From Stephen Jones' petition for a writ of mandamus to Federal judge Richard P. Matsch on behalf of Timothy James McVeigh that he should issue more discovery orders for material to be turned over:
An official in the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service reported < reference 17> on April 19, 1995, and possibly earlier, that Iraq had hired seven Pakistani mercenaries, all veterans of the Afghanistan War, to bomb targets in the United States, one of which was the Alfred P. Murrah Building. D.E. 2191 at 3 (Exhibit "A"). A former Chief of Counterterrorism Operations for the Central Intelligence Agency provided this information to the United States government and described his source as "responsible for developing intelligence to help prevent the (Saudi) Royal Family from becoming victims of a terrorist attack." Id.>>> Footnote 17: Significant portions of this material are in the public record either through media account or court proceedings. ...... The Saudi Arabian official reported that the bombing of the Murrah Building was sponsored by the Iraqi Special Services, who "contracted" the mission to seven (7) former Afghani freedom fighters currently living in Pakistan. The official also advised that the identity of the true sponsor of the bombing was concealed from the Pakistanis and the Afghan mercenaries may not have knowledge of Iraqi involvement or sponsorship. This is not unusual..... Despite repeated requests, the defense has been provided the sum total of three pages of information concerning this aspect of the case. See D.E. 2191 Exhibit "A." The defense requested assistance from the United States State Department, via letter to the Secretary of State, to assist in defense investigation and travel to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has very stringent entry requirements and the defense was unable to facilitate investigation there. The State Department declined politely to assist the defense's travel to Saudi Arabia and attempt to interview the Saudi Arabian official. However, the State Department sent a list of law firms practicing in Saudi Arabia to the defense; ...... the State Department had no difficulty in facilitating entry into Saudi Arabia of American FBI agents traveling there to investigate the death of Americans in Saudi Arabia.
March 30 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 674
The Provisional IRA supplied the detonator used in the Oklahoma bombing two years ago, the worst terrorist attack on American soil, defense lawyers for the chief suspect, Timothy McVeigh, have claimed. Documents submitted to the court in Denver where McVeigh's trial will begin tomorrow allege that a neo-nazi cell had been conspiring to blow up a US federal building in early 1995 and had received assistance from "Sinn Fein", described as "the Irish terrorist group". The source of the allegations is Carol Howe, an American government informer. If proved, the claim of IRA involvement in the Oklahoma bombing would mark the most disastrous setback to the republicans' cause in decades. Any IRA link to mass murder in America would destroy the fruits of years of lobbying by Sinn Fein in Washington and devastate republican fund-raising. A US president would never again shake hands with a Sinn Fein leader such as Gerry Adams. Rumours of an Irish connection to the bombing have surfaced repeatedly in the case for McVeigh's defence. Stephen Jones, his lawyer, has visited Northern Ireland and interviewed a member of the IRA and officials from MI5 and Belfast counter-terrorism specialists.
Mr Jones has also been relying on British forensic scientists with detailed knowledge of IRA bombing techniques to help prepare his defense. "The greatest concentration of expertise in the world on this kind of explosion is sitting in London and Belfast," he told The Telegraph. One of them, Dr John Lloyd, an expert on explosives based in Birmingham who has handled several cases of miscarriage of justice, is expected to appear as a witness in the trial. Another, Professor Brian Caddy of Strathclyde University, has worked with Mr Jones on the defense case.
McVeigh's defense says that it was the neo-Nazi group, based at Elohim City, Oklahoma, and which called itself the Aryan Republican Army, which was responsible for the terrorist attack, in which 168 people died. The defense team is accusing the government of withholding documents critical to the trial's conduct and is demanding the release of all reports that Ms Howe gave to her case officer. The government counters that McVeigh's defense team is using "smoke and mirrors" to undermine the prosecution case by sowing confusion.
Ms Howe alleges that the link with the IRA was Andreas Strassmeir. A former officer in the German army, he became chief of paramilitary operations at Elohim City and trained large numbers of zealots who passed through the camp. McVeigh tried to telephone Strassmeir at Elohim City shortly before the bombing and left a message saying: "Tell Andy I'll be coming through." There appears to be a bizarre link between the IRA and the US neo-Nazi movement. Dennis Mahon, a leader of the White Aryan Resistance and a friend of Strassmeir, claims that he has given advice to the IRA, encouraging the terrorists to murder "top British officers and police officials" but to avoid indiscriminate attacks that kill civilians.
A recruitment tape made by a group of graduates from Elohim City makes continual references to the IRA. The tape was discovered by the FBI last year when it was investigating 18 bank robberies in the Mid-West. Among the items seized from a storage locker belonging to the group was the IRA's terrorist handbook, known as the "Green Book", along with books on Ireland and Gaelic language tapes. The FBI also found Semtex explosives, a shoulder-fired rocket launcher, and 11 pipe bombs. The intellectual mentor of the Aryan Republican Army, Mark Thomas, told The Telegraph that he identified with the IRA's "anti-colonial" struggle.
March 30, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 674
Dennis Mahon must lead a charmed life. The FBI has pursued endless leads into the 1995 Oklahoma bombing, collecting more than 26,000 witness statements. But it has never been to visit him at his bungalow in Tulsa. The omission is curious. Mahon, 47, is an associate of the government's chief suspect, Tim McVeigh. Indeed, McVeigh's defence team says Mahon sent a tape to their client in prison urging him to accept his "sacrifice" and reminding him in a subtle way that members of his family were vulnerable. Before the bombing on April 19, 1995, he was the subject of a terrorism investigation which generated allegations that he was plotting to blow up a federal building in Oklahoma.
In case the authorities had overlooked this, an undercover informant reminded the FBI two days after the bombing that she had told them that Mahon had made three trips to Oklahoma City. On one visit in 1994, the informant said he "cased" the building that was attacked. A former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and now a leader of the more militant White Aryan Resistance, Mahon has never made a secret of his extremism. He has called for the overthrow of the United States government by "any means" and regards it as an honour to have been barred from Britain and Canada. "I always deliver my bombs in person, in disguise," he said mischievously. "I can look like a hispanic or even a Negro. I'm the master of disguise." He has kept his sense of humour, despite being the chief target of McVeigh's defence team in the trial that starts tomorrow. McVeigh's lawyers have introduced documents in court asserting a "high probability" that Mahon and his friend Andreas Strassmeir, a former German army officer, were behind the Oklahoma bombing.
"This is where I make my bombs," he said, giving me a tour of a workshop attached to his house. "Just kidding. Everybody seems to think I did the bombing. Even the Iraqis think I did it," he explained, saying he had been on the Iraqi payroll as a propagandist for more than three years. "They paid me $100 a month. Not much, but it all helps. . . Then they cut me off, a month after the bombing - bastards!"
Mahon is now in some difficulty. An Oklahoma newspaper, the McCurtain Daily Gazette, is set to publish a story today revealing the existence of a sealed deposition in the McVeigh trial, implicating Mahon in the bombing. The testimony was given by an investigative reporter, John D. Cash, on March 26, 1996, after he tricked Mahon into thinking that he was an emissary from a neo-nazi group. Cash says Mahon took credit for helping to build the bomb. "Dennis is really a very nice man, for a terrorist," said Cash with characteristic dry wit.
Mahon insists he had nothing to do with the bombing. "I'm a terrorist with words. I terrorize with the truth," he said. "Look, it was a justifiable act to blow up that federal building, but if I'd been involved I wouldn't have done it at nine in the morning with all those children in there. Anyway, I've got an alibi, I was up at the family farm in Illinois from April 16 to April 23." He said that it was a "bald-faced evil lie" that he had cased the building with an undercover informant, Carol Howe. "That girl was out of her mind. She was always talking about violence and killing. . . You know, she watched Natural Born Killers nine times," he added. "She was always popping these pills, I never could reach her soul."
Mahon also has problems with his friend Strassmeir, who has returned to Germany and now admits to having ties to the US Justice Department. Preparing for trouble, Mahon is having his cat put down and is disposing of his property. "I've got to get out of this country, soon," he said. "I think I'll go to Argentina."
March 31, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 675
In a heavily-guarded courthouse in Denver, the long-awaited test of FBI evidence against Timothy McVeigh, prime suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing, begins today ...... But, as has happened throughout the nearly two years since the blast, yet another attempt was made by the defense yesterday to float the idea that the plot was not totally home-grown. After efforts to pin the blame on Middle East terrorists appear to have got nowhere, documents have been submitted in the case alleging that "Sinn Fein, the Irish terrorist group" supplied the "real" perpetrators, a neo-nazi group, with the detonator.
The claim is said to have come from a former Tulsa beauty queen, Carol Howe, recruited as an undercover agent by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who infiltrated a white supremacist organisation at Elohim City in eastern Oklahoma. ....Several doubts about the case have emerged, with the suspicion that federal agents knew the explosion was coming but failed to react to a tip-off. Six witnesses have emerged to say they spotted a bomb squad inspecting the nearby court building about an hour before the blast.
McVeigh's alleged associate, Terry Nichols, is to be tried separately, but there are indications that a third man has avoided capture. The idea has surfaced that he was a government informer within an Aryan Republican Army organization behind the bombing....
April 25, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue
A prosecutor in Denver said yesterday that the "hate-filled" mastermind of the bombing in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people was involved in a Right-wing plot ...... McVeigh's lawyer, Stephen Jones, is expected to suggest that a foreign government, "probably Iraq" hired a "a Middle Eastern bombing engineer" to detonate the explosion with the help of neo-Nazis. In a court petition, lawyers say the attack was "contracted out" through an Iraqi base in the Philippines and it was "possible that those who carried out the bombing were unaware of the true sponsor".
Was Stephen Jones on the right track and what was behind the evidence he wanted to introduce into the McVeigh trial but could not? Some clues may lie in another link with the Phillipines that involved his co-conspirator Terry Nichols .....
November 22, 1994 (See NY Times December 24,
Terry Nichols left for a 59 day stay in the Phillipines. He left letters, with his ex-wife, Lana Padilla, explaining what to do in case he died. Three days after he returned on January 16, 1995, he was sharing a motel room in Kansas with Mr. McVeigh
What was the purpose of this visit? Did he meet with Ramsey Yousef, who at the same time was testing a plan to blow up airliners in the Philippines and who was later convicted in the bombing of the World Trade Center? Did Nichols receive training there on how to construct and detonate large bombs?
December, 1994 (See TIME magazine July 29, 1996)
Ramsey Yousef tests his plan for attacking U.S. carriers by boarding a Philippine Airlines flight on the first leg from the Philippines to Japan. He carried with him the components of a bomb, unassembled in his carry-on bag. On board he assembled the bomb, which was made of gun cotton, a nitroglycerine solution packed into a contact-lens bottle. He tucked the bomb under a cushion and left the plane after its first stop in the Philippine city of Cebu. Two hours later the device exploded killing a passenger.
Incidentally Cebu is the city where in July 1990 Nichols traveled to find a mail-order bride and met Marife Torres. He was 35, she was 17 and they were married there on November 20, 1990. (NY Times December 24, 1997). In early 1990 a key person also visited the Phillipines - Osama bin Laden.
An associate of Ramsey Yousef, Edwin Angeles, had been arrested in the Phillipines where he was contacted by McVeigh's attorney, Stephen Jones. Angeles linked Nichols to Yousef in a meeting on the island of Mindanao. In his book 'Others Unknown', Jones describes that at a meeting in Davao, Angeles met an American who introduced himself as 'the farmer'. Among those present at the meeting were Ramsey Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad, and Wali Khan Amin Shah. The meeting was to discuss terrorism and Murad, Khan and Yousef would later be defendants in the plot to blow up twelve U.S. airliners. All were convicted on September 5, 1996 and are in American prisons. On April 19, 1995, Murad told his guard in his New York cell that the Oklahoma city bombing was the work of Islamic Jihad.
But back to Yousef and the World Trade Center bombing where we find a link also between him and Iraq .....
February 15, 1995 Los Angeles Times
Acting on tips, police mounted strict security checks Tuesday on Wall Street to try to avert a new outbreak of terrorist attacks as the World Trade Center bombing approaches its second anniversary. ..... In a related development, the Kuwaiti government linked Iraq and Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who was arrested last week and charged with masterminding the trade center bombing. Yousef, who was arrested in Pakistan last week, collaborated with the Iraqi invasion force during its six-month occupation of Kuwait, the Kuwaiti interior minister charged. Yousef is described as a militant who carried out missions on behalf of Iraq in 1990 and 1991, although Kuwaiti officials in Kuwait City and Washington refused to specify the nature of his activities. Anxieties about new terrorism were fed by the approaching anniversary of the Feb. 26, 1993, attack on the twin towers and by the arrest of Yousef. Informants reportedly told investigators that groups of Muslim extremists were planning new attacks in part to protest the trial of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 10 followers charged with plotting to bomb the United Nations, two tunnels linking New York and New Jersey, and the Manhattan field office of the FBI. ..... Siddig Ibrahim Siddig Ali, a co-defendant in the alleged plot, decided to cooperate with prosecutors. In his guilty plea, Siddig Ali, a Sudanese national who acted as the sheik's bodyguard and later as his translator, told the court that he had received help from representatives of an unnamed foreign government for access to and surveillance of the U.N. garage and the use of diplomatic license plates...... One U.S. source close to the investigation said that, during questioning by federal investigators, Yousef implicated Iraq as a sponsor of the 1993 bombing. Ranking administration officials, however, have denied at least twice that such a link has been established or that Yousef is cooperating with investigators. Yousef may have been given his current and previous identities by Iraq, according to Laurie Mylroie, an Iraq expert who has briefed White House, State Department and congressional officials. Yousef arrived in the United States in 1992 on an Iraqi passport. He left six months later carrying a Pakistani passport under the name Abdul Basit on Feb. 26, 1993, the day of the bombing. According to Mylroie, Basit was the son of a middle-class Pakistani family who had lived in Kuwait and is believed to be dead. Basit's father worked for Kuwait Airways. After going to school briefly in Britain, he returned to Kuwait and worked for the Planning Ministry. During the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, Mylroie said, the Iraqis gave Yousef the identity papers for Basit. "Among other things, the Iraqis saw the invasion as an opportunity to create identities for its agents," Mylroie said. The Iraqis even doctored the Kuwaiti file on Basit, adding Yousef's fingerprints and explanations that the family had returned to Pakistan. But the family instead may have disappeared, Mylroie contends. She believes that members of the family died during the occupation, opening the way for Yousef to assume Basit's identity without danger of being caught.
September 15, 1996 The Telegraph (U.K. Electronic Edition)
According to Dr Mylroie, the attempt to blow up the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York on February 26, 1993 .... was an act of Iraqi state-sponsored terrorism conducted by proxies. After studying the telephone records and document archives from the trial, she has concluded that the mastermind said to be behind the bombing, a shadowy figure called Ramsi Yousef, was working for Iraqi intelligence. The Justice Department did not address this issue in the official investigation. It concluded that the bombing was the work of Islamic fundamentalists loyal to a blind Egyptian cleric. Jim Fox, then head of the New York FBI office, suspected Iraqi involvement but says that the Washington headquarters refused to look at the evidence.
The use of proxies seems to be a common trait among terrorist organizations and Nichols acting as a proxy for the Iraqis would parallel a similar proxy situation in France involving French citizens ......
November 27, 1997 The New York Times
Forty people accused of helping Algerian Islamic militants plant bombs that killed eight people and wounded more than 170 in Paris in 1995 went on trial this week. They are charged with conspiracy to support a terrorist campaign to get the French government to drop support for the Algerian government......... The defendants .... were arrested two years ago, after French commandos and the police killed one of the suspected ringleaders of the bombings, Khalid Kelkal, near Lyons and arrested hundreds of Algerians or people of Algerian origin suspected of being part of an underground support network for the Algerian Armed Islamic Group in France. ...... Three of the defendants in this trial -- identified as Joseph Jaime, David Vallat and Alain Celle -- are French citizens who converted to Islam and underwent military training in Afghanistan, prosecutors said.
June 3, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 739
Painted by prosecutors as a fanatical bomber obsessed with a warped sense of patriotism, Timothy McVeigh, convicted of the Oklahoma bombing, gave his attorneys no help in establishing an alibi to counter the fact that he was caught driving at speed on a highway north of the city 75 minutes after the blast wearing a T-shirt soaked in explosives. ............ Mr Macey said: "From the beginning I've said this was an Oklahoma case." He spoke of anxiety that an appeal tribunal might rule that McVeigh was prevented from presenting his full defencse.
Judge Richard Matsch kept a tight hold on the trial, doing much to erase the impression that the US justice system is going haywire after the O J Simpson trial lasted nine months. The Denver trial was over in five weeks. Witnesses testified at lightning speed, sometimes as many as 13 a day. But the judge refused to allow Stephen Jones, McVeigh's lawyer, to present an alternative theory, gathered after spending $10 million (£6.25 million) travelling the world, that an international conspiracy was responsible. Many of the victim's relatives are so concerned at evidence of this aspect that they are suing the government, insisting that the FBI had prior knowledge of the blast. Chris Cregan, whose mother died in the blast, said he was certain that others were involved beyond McVeigh and his former army friend, Terry Nichols, 41, who is to be tried next on similar charges. ......
Suspicion that much more expert terrorists were behind the explosion is based partly on the way it was set up. The explosives were so efficient that they took away a third of the building and left behind only microscopic crystals. Judge Matsch could have cleared up the mystery by allowing McVeigh to call his key witness, Carol Howe, a paid informant from Tulsa, Oklahoma, hired by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. For an undisclosed reason he ruled that her evidence was not relevant to the trial, even though she virtually acted as a federal agent in infiltrating a heavily-armed white supremacist compound at Elohim City in eastern Oklahoma that McVeigh telephoned a fortnight before the bombing.
Ms Howe was also supposed to have met McVeigh at the compound run by the Aryan Republican Army about four months before the bombing. She said that people at the compound had been talking about taking action against the government, fearful they would be targeted in siege like the one at Waco, Texas, where Branch Davidian cult members were burned to death. Ms Howe singled out in her statement a Tulsa racist group leader at the compound, Dennis Mahon, saying he talked about "targeting federal installation for destruction through bombings", including the Murrah building. She also said that a German, Andreas Strassmeir, who returned to Berlin a year ago without being questioned, had "discussed assassinations, bombings and mass shootings". Both men vehemently deny any links to the bombing.
What has raised interest in the German is that McVeigh, in his call to the compound, asked for him. He has said he had no idea why he made the call. Mr Strassmeir's name came up briefly in the trial as a defence attorney asked a state trooper: "Have you in the performance of your duties ever arrested an Andreas Strassmeir?" Prosecutor Beth Wilkinson instantly objected, and the judge sustained her protest. The trooper actually impounded Mr Strassmeir's car after a traffic incident in 1992 near Elohim City. All that Mr Strassmeir, a former German army lieutenant, has acknowledged is that he once met McVeigh at a Tulsa gun shop, and that they discussed the Waco siege, which, witnesses said, was the prime reason for the Oklahoma attack.
Glen Wilburn, 45, whose grandsons were killed by the bomb, is so convinced that Mr Strassmeir was somehow linked to the conspiracy that he helped his daughter file a wrongful death suit, naming him as "a US federal informant with material knowledge of the bombing". He thinks that, like Howe, the German worked undercover for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Mr Strassmeir insists that he has not been involved in any intelligence work since his discharge from the German army in 1988.
McVeigh's calm demeanor was such that he spent hours chatting with his sister Jennifer in a cell below the court before she gave damning evidence against him. It was a dramatic moment, as she had once screamed at FBI agents that she was not going "to help you kill my brother". However, after being threatened with prosecution herself, she gave exact details of how her brother gathered explosives to avenge the 1993 FBI attack on Waco, Texas. She said: "He was very angry." He boasted to friends that his intention was start a popular uprising. He singled out the Oklahoma building full of children and office workers, because it was "an easy target". His aim was to kill what he called agents of "the evil empire", federal officials working on the upper floors.
July 20, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 786
Gaping cracks are opening in the US Justice Department's claim that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was the exclusive work of the convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh and his alleged co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, who is still awaiting trial. A month after McVeigh, a 29-year-old former soldier, was unanimously sentenced to die by a Denver jury, most Americans would prefer to forget the horrendous deaths of 168 men, women and children in what was the worst act of domestic terrorism in the country's history.
However, in Oklahoma itself, especially among many of the victims' families, the clamor is growing for further inquiries into a wider conspiracy. Many believe that the authorities are suppressing the truth. In a case due to open next week in Tulsa, jurors will hear fresh evidence that US security agencies had ample forewarning of an attack on a federal target, possibly Oklahoma City's Murrah building. The testimony will come from Carol Howe, 28, daughter of a wealthy Tulsan, who acted for two-and-a-half years as an undercover informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). In the McVeigh trial it was disallowed as irrelevant by Judge Richard Matsch. Now Howe, an avowed white separatist, is facing charges, including conspiracy to make threats and possession of a bomb, that her defenders claim were brought to intimidate her.
Those who believe her claims had expected that the charges might subsequently be dropped in return for her silence. However, Howe's version of events - while still all but unreported in the mainstream media - is now on the public record in appeal documents submitted by McVeigh's lawyer, Stephen Jones. Her story, backed up by plentiful documentary evidence, is simple. A victim of an assault by three black youths, she drifted towards the white racist movement where she met Denis Mahon, a leader of the so-called White Aryan Resistance group, linked to an Oklahoma commune of extremists called Elohim City. After allegedly being sexually assaulted by Mahon, she filed an Emergency Protective Order against him, thereby alerting the interest of the ATF. Approached by ATF agent Angela Finley, she agreed to act as an informant. Her numerous reports included warnings that some at the commune planned to bomb a federal building.
According to Mr Jones's appeal submission, Agent Finley's handwritten notes confirm a report from Howe that Mahon had bomb-making expertise. He had told her he had exploded a 500lb ammonium nitrate bomb in Michigan five years earlier. Howe also reported that Mahon, together with another Elohim resident, the German-born "head of security" Andreas Strassmeir, had taken three trips to "case" Oklahoma City. Prosecution attorneys have cast doubt on Howe's credibility. They point to her undisputed white separatist sympathies and that she once sought psychiatric help. Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence that Howe's reports were taken extremely seriously by the ATF. Mr Jones's defense appeal also points out that she was immediately rehired by the ATF in the wake of the Oklahoma bomb and sent back to Elohim City to gather more information. She continued to be on the payroll until December last year.
Charges were brought against her last March after she and her fiance, Jim Viefhaus, were said to have recorded an alleged bomb threat on a telephone "newsline" and to have been in possession of a bomb. Her defence is expected to claim that the taped threat was the work of Viefhaus, which she had opposed, and that the bomb equipment was part of her "cover". What is most worrying for prosecuting attorneys is that Howe claims little knowledge of Tim McVeigh. Instead she identified from descriptions several other Elohim figures, including Mahon, Strassmeir and a bank robber, Michael Brescia, as likely bombers. But to date, although the FBI is said to have spoken to more than 20,000 individuals in America's most extensive criminal inquiry, Mahon has yet to be interviewed. Strassmeir, another suspect named by Howe, has been only cursorily interviewed in Germany by telephone.
That has prompted further speculation that the murky world of Elohim City was a nest of undercover agents and agents provocateurs, many of whom were working for the authorities - possibly on different inquiries. A theory shared by believers in a wider conspiracy is that the government is covering up a bungled "sting" operation that may have involved a squabble over jurisdiction between the FBI and the ATF. At least one civil suit brought by victims' families centres on claims that it was a failure by federal agencies to act swiftly that led to the bombing. Evidence to support that case emerged at pre-trial hearings into the Howe case on June 30. Local reporters claimed "near pandemonium" in the Tulsa courtroom when an FBI agent revealed that a leading figure in Elohim City was an FBI informant. The revelation, made under cross-examination, was that "the Reverend" Robert Millar, the community's rabble-rousing spiritual leader, had collaborated closely with federal agents.
Meanwhile last week new hearings by a grand jury in Oklahoma City convened to look into the possibility of a wider conspiracy, heard damaging testimony from two eyewitnesses. They claimed to have seen McVeigh on the morning of the bombing accompanied by as many as three other possible suspects. Their evidence was not heard in the McVeigh trial as they were not called by either the prosecution or the defense. That Stephen Jones failed to call them is understandable as they would have implicated his client in the crime. That the prosecution failed to do so only reinforces the view that there was an as yet unexplained desire on the part of the US attorneys' office to keep the number of suspects to a minimum.
September 28, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 857
The most disputed claim in the whole Oklahoma bombing case comes under skeptical scrutiny this week when the trial of Terry Nichols opens in Denver. On the surface the question at issue is whether Nichols, an old army buddy of the convicted bomber Tim McVeigh, helped plan and execute the April 1995 bombing that left 168 men, women and children dead.
But for many, the trial is an opportunity to put the entire investigation in the dock. It will test once again the widely disbelieved claim by government prosecutors and FBI agents that McVeigh and Nichols alone were responsible for the worst act of domestic terrorism in US history. Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, prosecutors still insist that only McVeigh and Nichols merited prosecution. ... Whatever the outcome, Nichols's trial will not achieve the government's aim of closing the Oklahoma file. Already two other rigorous inquiries are under way, while Congress will weigh in with its own investigation soon after the Nichols trial is over. The case against Nichols is a lot weaker than that made against McVeigh .... Nichols was 240 miles away from Oklahoma City the day the bomb went off. When he heard he was wanted, he voluntarily turned himself over to the police and subjected himself to nine hours of interrogation. He always denied being behind the bomb.
...Tigar's defence strategy is also expected to mobilize the argument that McVeigh's defense lawyer was not allowed to bring: that there is plenty of evidence of a much wider conspiracy. A civil suit brought by some 160 families of victims, suing the authorities for as much as $3.2 billion, will want to explore the abundant evidence that the conspiracy may have been hatched in a white-supremacist commune called Elohim City - which was under the close scrutiny of government agents. The FBI is charged with not only mishandling the bomb investigation, but also ignoring prior warning that an attack was imminent. For most Americans, the fate of Nichols is of little consequence. The good name of its premier law enforcement agency, however, is an altogether different matter.
October 21, 1997 Electronic Telegraph Issue 880
The trial of Timothy McVeigh for the 1995 Oklahoma bomb was a government cover-up to shield FBI agents who knew about the plot but failed to stop it, according to a book by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard alleging massive corruption under President Clinton. With McVeigh already sentenced to death for the blast which killed 168 people, and Terry Nichols, an alleged accomplice, standing trial, the book's claim will spark anger, particularly in Oklahoma City where witnesses saw bomb squad officers before the explosion, and 70 per cent of citizens believe that the government is lying about it.
'The Secret Life of Bill Clinton' includes a transcript of an official debriefing of Carol Howe, an undercover informant for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Howe warned that the Oklahoma federal building had been a target and said: "Strassmeir has talked frequently about direct action against the US government. He is trained in weaponry and has discussed assassinations, bombings and mass shootings"
Andreas Strassmeir, a former German army officer, had penetrated a neo-Nazi commune called Elohim City (God's City), from which, the book says, the terrorist attack may have been planned and executed. Despite this and despite interviewing more than 20,000 witnesses, the government has interviewed Strassmeir only on the telephone a year after the bombing when he had fled to Germany. The author, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who worked as The Sunday Telegraph correspondent in Washington until the summer and who now works for The Daily Telegraph, recounts a remarkable interview of his own with Strassmeir. They discuss an "informant". Strassmeir has denied that he was referring to himself during the conversation.
Mr Evans-Pritchard writes:
" 'There comes a time in every botched operation when the informant has to speak out to save his skin, and that's now, Andreas'. " " 'How can he?' Strassmeir shouted into the telephone. "What happens if it was a sting operation from the very beginning? What happens if it comes out that the plant was a provocateur?' 'A provocateur?' 'What happens if he talked and manipulated the others into it? What then? The country couldn't handle it. The relatives of the victims are going to go crazy. He's going to be held responsible for the murder of 168 people.' 'That is true.' 'Of course the informant can't come forward. He's scared shitless right now.' 'It sounds to me as if you've got a problem, Andreas.' 'Schiesse'. "
Some 300 members of the victims' families are suing the government claiming that the bombing was a "government sting" designed to trap neo-Nazis but which went horribly wrong. There is no doubt that McVeigh was guilty, says the author, but the whole truth has been concealed because none of the witnesses who saw McVeigh with accomplices was called to testify by the prosecution. That would have led back to Elohim City and the culpable incompetence of the FBI and ATF, the book argues. These conclusions may gain credence even among the sceptical American press following comment yesterday by Robert Novak, a respected columnist, in the Washington Post. Dismissing previous smears of the author, Mr Novak writes, he "is no conspiracy theory lunatic (and) is known for accuracy, industry and courage".
December 11, 1997 The New York Times
Marife Nichols, former wife of the Oklahoma City bombing defendant Terry Nichols, defended her husband on the witness stand Wednesday, but it was two strangers who gave Nichols his strongest challenges so far to the government's outline of the conspiracy. One of those strangers was a plain-spoken mechanic from rural Kansas, the other was a former Tulsa debutante, neo-Nazi, and government informer. Both gave evidence that the bombing was part of a broader conspiracy that the government has never addressed in court, although the indictment mentions "persons unknown" having participated. The mechanic, Charles Farley of Wakefield, Kan., told the federal court jury hearing murder and conspiracy charges against Nichols that he chanced upon five men and four vehicles, including a large Ryder truck, and a farm truck laden with bags of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, at Geary State Fishing Lake, near Herington, Kan., at about 6 p.m. on April 18, 1995, the day before the bombing. Farley said he later saw one of the men, an older man with gray hair and a beard, on television. The man's photograph was shown to the jury Wednesday, but he was not named. Sources close to the defense team said the man was a Kansas militia leader. ... The former debutante, Carol Howe, linked McVeigh both to Dennis Mahon, an Oklahoma leader of the white supremacist group, White Aryan Resistance, and to Elohim City, a 400-acre Christian Identity community in Muldrow, Okla., near the Arkansas state line. Miss Howe, who was acquitted last August on federal charges that she threatened to blow up buildings in 15 cities, told the jury that she had become friendly with Mahon in the spring of 1994. Without specifying the date, she said she was sitting in the living room of his Tulsa home when the telephone rang. Mahon went to the bedroom to take the call. "I heard him say 'Tim Tuttle, Tuttle, Tuttle, Tuttle, Tuttle"' and then he laughed, Miss Howe testified. Miss Howe, who later became a government informant, gathering information on Mahon, testified on cross-examination that she never told federal investigators about this conversation after the bombing because she did not realize that the name "Tim Tuttle" had any importance. Tim Tuttle was an alias commonly used by McVeigh, especially in Kingman, Ariz., where he lived in the months before the bombing. Miss Howe also told the jury that she saw McVeigh at Elohim City in July 1994, walking across a lawn with Peter Ward and Andreas Strassmeier. ... After the bombing, she said, she told federal investigators that she thought Ward and his brother might be John Doe No. 1 and No. 2 ... The government says John Doe No. 2 turned out to be a soldier who had nothing to do with the case. Miss Howe testified that agents at the Tulsa office of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms showed her a videotape of McVeigh on April 24 or 25, 1995, and she told them she had seen him at a Klan rally. Prosecutors have introduced telephone records that indicate that McVeigh placed a call from his room at the Imperial Motel to someone at Elohim City on April 5, 1995. ... Joan Millar, the daughter-in-law of Robert Millar, the religious leader of Elohim City, told the jury that she was probably the person who answered the telephone .... "When I answered the phone, it was a male voice," she said. "He gave a name, but it wasn't 'McVeigh.' He said that he had -- he would be in the area within the next couple weeks and he wanted to know if he could come and visit Elohim City." When she asked how he had heard about Elohim City, "he was reluctant at first." Then he said he had met some young men from Elohim City at a gun show. A man with "a very broad foreign accent" had given him a card with a telephone number on it. She asked if it was "Andy," meaning Strassmeier, and the caller replied that might have been the name. .... Miss Howe ... said she heard Millar, Strassmeier and Mahon advocate direct violent action against the federal government.
December 24, 1997 The York Times
Denver, Dec. 23 - Terry L. Nichols was convicted today of conspiring to bomb the Oklahoma City Federal Building, but in a nuanced verdict, a Federal ... jury acquitted him of ... committing .. the worst terrorist act on United States soil.
Should we be surprised? Did the jurors realize that they had not been told the whole story?
January 7, 1998 CNN Web posted at: 8:03 p.m. EST (0103 GMT)
Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols escaped a death sentence Wednesday, when a badly divided panel of jurors was unable to agree on a unanimous decision in the penalty phase of his trial. "The government was not able to prove to us satisfactorily that Terry Nichols was greatly involved in this process, only that he was somewhat involved," jury forewoman Niki Deutchman told a news conference after jurors were dismissed. ...... "There were a lot of things about the evidence that seemed to be sloppy," she said. In particular, she questioned the FBI's decision to take notes, rather than tape record, key interviews in the case, including a nine-hour interview with Nichols. Those notes were then submitted to the jury. ... "It seems arrogant to me, on the part of the FBI, to say, 'You know, we have good recall, and you can take what we have said,'" Deutchman said, adding that the trial experience led her to "understand how someone would be unhappy with the government." ...... While saying nothing justified the bombing and massive loss of life, Deutchman said the "government's attitude -- and the FBI is definitely included in that -- is part of where all of this comes from in the first place. There are a fair number of people out there who are pretty unhappy with the government and feel unsafe and very suspicious," Deutchman said. "I think maybe it's time for the government to be more respectful and to be more aware of each of us as people with inalienable rights ... and not with the attitude of 'We know, and you don't. We have the power, and you don't.'"
So there you have it - not from a 'nutcase' or a 'conspiracy theorist' but from the forewoman of the jury: "We know, and you don't. We have the power, and you don't."
Glenn Wilburn and his group managed to get a special grand jury convened to bring forward the evidence of a wider conspiracy but the 20 or so witnesses who did see John Doe 2 before and on the morning of April 19th, 1995, were never called to the witness stand. The County Prosecutors were informed on numerous occasions that they were available to testify but they deftly steered the Grand Jurors away from hearing the testimony from any of these witnesses.
December 31, 1998 The New York Times
A state grand jury created largely through the efforts of a grieving grandfather and a suspicious legislator ended 18 months of investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing Wednesday, saying it found no evidence of a broader conspiracy or a government coverup. After hearing 117 witnesses and weathering criticism that its work gave legitimacy to wild conspiracy theories surrounding the blast, the grand jury reported: "We cannot affirmatively state that absolutely no one else was involved in the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. However, we have not been presented with or uncovered information sufficient to indict any additional conspirators." The grand jury did return one sealed indictment. Prosecutors would not say what was in it, but in an interim report in October, the grand jury criticized, without going into specifics, "improper and perhaps illegal attempts to exert influence on the outcome of our investigation." The grand jury was convened in June 1997, after a petition drive organized by Charles Key, then a Republican state legislator from Oklahoma City, and Glenn Wilburn, whose grandsons, Chase Smith, 3, and Colton Smith, 2, were killed in the day care center at the federal building. Wilburn, who died of cancer in July 1997, was not satisfied with the prosecution of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols and had sought out witnesses on his own and pressed for more investigation, even as law enforcement officials and some relatives of other victims said he should let the government do its work. .... Wilburn, who suspected a broader conspiracy, did not believe official denials that no one in federal law enforcement had any warning of the April 19, 1995, attack that killed 168 people. Key, who helped collect more than 10,000 signatures on the petition to form the grand jury, criticized its conclusions. "It was a ditto of what the federal government presented in the McVeigh trial," he said Wednesday. "It had huge, gaping holes." ...... The grand jury said it found no credible evidence that the bombing ... was linked to foreign terrorists. It concluded that it was an act "perpetrated by Americans on Americans." It also reported: "We can state with assurance that we do not believe that the federal government had prior knowledge that this horrible terrorist attack was going to happen." The witnesses called before the grand jury ranged from Dennis Mahon, a Tulsa, Okla., leader of White Aryan Resistance, an extremist group, to Arlene Blanchard, an Army sergeant at a recruiting office in the building who survived the bombing. The grand jurors also reviewed hundreds of exhibits and thousands of pages of documents. Key .... set up and won nonprofit status for a private group, the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee, which also gathered information about possible witnesses and submitted their names to the grand jury and urged Congress not to let the federal investigation drop. He said Wednesday his committee would present its own final report, and "it will read quite differently than this report today." Among other things, the grand jury investigated the identity of John Doe No. 2, the mystery suspect depicted in FBI sketches shortly after the attack. It reported that 26 witnesses offered such conflicting descriptions that he could have been anywhere from 5-foot-3 to 6-foot-3, with a skinny build or perhaps a stocky physique.
While Yousef and Nichol's partner, McVeigh, chat in a Federal prison.
March 11, 1999 The New York Times
When the nation's most infamous terrorists -- the Oklahoma City bomber, the Unabomer, and the World Trade Center bomber -- are allowed out of solitary confinement so that they can have one hour of exercise in the nation's most secure Federal prison, what do they do? Apparently, they just chat. .... Timothy J. McVeigh is a right-wing extremist convicted of carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing, while Ramzi Ahmed Yousef is a Muslim terrorist who masterminded the World Trade Center attack. .... The prison, the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colo., is so secure that it is known as Super Max. McVeigh, Kaczynski and Yousef, who are otherwise allowed no contact with each other, are permitted to spend their one-hour exercise period in separate cages in the prison yard, speaking to each other through mesh fences. Because of their distance from each other, they must speak loudly, so guards can hear what they say. ... Lawrence K. Feitell, wrote to the judge that he had seen on a television news program that McVeigh, Kaczynski and Yousef were allowed to have their daily exercise chats in the prison yard. He asked that Felipe be allowed "to share" with the three "in their outdoor mutual recreation." ..... Precisely what the inmates discuss through the prison fence is not known. Yousef's lawyer, Bernard V. Kleinman, said by phone that his client has had conversations with McVeigh through the fence and also as they have been moved from their cells to the recreation area. "They talk about innocuous things like the movies," Kleinman said. "They don't talk about anything that they shouldn't be talking about."
The FBI refuses to accept the evidence
March 21, 2001 WorldNet
A former investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City last night told Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly she has gathered massive evidence of a foreign conspiracy involving Saudi terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in the 1995 bombing of the federal building that killed 168 people. Jayna Davis, former reporter for KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, says she took her evidence -- including hundreds of court records, 24 sworn witness statements and reports from law enforcement, intelligence and terror experts -- to the FBI, which refused even to accept the material. Two men were convicted of murder and conspiracy charges in the bombing -- Timothy McVeigh, who faces execution May 16, and Terry Nichols, who yesterday asked that Oklahoma charges against him be dismissed as he has already been convicted in federal court. Nichols, 45, is serving a life prison sentence for his federal conviction on eight involuntary manslaughter counts and conspiracy for the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. State prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Nichols. But defense attorneys said yesterday constitutional protection against double jeopardy bars the state from seeking the death penalty. Davis said federal authorities investigating the bombing decided early on in the probe that the blast was the result of a domestic conspiracy, not a foreign one, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. She said a Middle East terrorist cell was in operation only blocks from the federal building, and that an Iraqi national who formerly served in Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard was in contact with McVeigh the day of the bombing. She said this suspect arrived at the crime scene in a Ryder truck moments before the blast and sped away in a brown Chevrolet pickup truck immediately after. An all-points bulletin was issued for this suspect, but was later withdrawn inexplicably. Davis said her evidence indicates a conspiracy involving McVeigh, Nichols and at least seven men of Middle Eastern ethnic background. She called bin Laden the mastermind of the conspiracy. "The evidence we have gathered definitely implicates McVeigh and Nichols," she said. "I want to make that very clear. They were in it up to their eyeballs." Davis also points to court records offered in the Nichols defense that suggest he had contacts with a member of bin Laden's terrorist organization in the Philippines prior to the bombing. When she took her hundreds of pages of documentation of conspiracy in the bombing to the FBI, Davis said agents "turned me away and refused to take my statements." "I was flabbergasted," she told O'Reilly. "I am unable to imagine any reason they would not accept it."
But McVeigh supplied strange hints of links to both Osama bin Laden and Ramsey Yousef
Friday, April 27, 2001 1:41 a.m. EDT NewsMax.com
A month after a former NBC News reporter went public with evidence of links between Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Middle Eastern terrorist Osama bin Laden, McVeigh himself has cited bin Laden in a letter to the Fox News Channel. Responding to questions from FNC's Rita Cosby, McVeigh rejected some of the labels that have been applied to him, then tossed in the chilling reference to the notorious Muslim terrorist.
"Most of the insults are meritless and quite often absurd, so I don't pay them much attention," wrote McVeigh. "Hitler? Absurd. (Geraldo Rivera uses this same analogy, so Keating and Ashcroft are in good company!) Coward? This label would make Orwell proud it is double think at its finest. Collateral Damage? As an American news junkie; a military man; and a Gulf War veteran, where do they think I learned that? (It sure as hell wasn't Osama Bin Laden!)"
In the next sentence, McVeigh mentioned convicted World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, in perhaps another indication of a Middle Eastern connection to his own crime. "For all else, I would refer you to my enclosed paper 'Hypocrisy,' and to Ramzi Yousef's statement to the court just prior to his sentencing. I filter all labels and insults thusly." In the Jan. 8, 1998, court statement to which McVeigh referred, Yousef proclaimed, "Yes, I am a terrorist and proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government," before being sentenced to 240 years in jail.
Last month former NBC reporter Jayna Davis told Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly that compelling evidence links McVeigh to a Middle Eastern terrorist cell ultimately controlled by bin Laden. "What we discovered, an intelligence source at one of the highest levels in the federal government later confirmed, was a Middle Eastern terrorist cell living and operating in the heart of Oklahoma City just a few miles from the Alfred P. Murrah building," Davis said. Her NBC affiliate had located several witnesses who claimed that an Iraqi national with ties to Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard was seen in the company of McVeigh just prior to the bombing, Davis said. The Iraqi was also seen driving away from the bomb scene in a car identified by the FBI as a possible getaway vehicle.
"We have 24 sworn witness affidavits that tie seven to eight Arab men to various stages of the bombing plot from the beginning all the way to the day in which the plot was executed," the former NBC reporter told O'Reilly.
"It really is a foreign conspiracy masterminded and funded by Osama bin Laden, according to my intelligence sources," she asserted.
Davis is not alone in that belief. In his 1999 book on the Oklahoma City tragedy, "Others Unknown," McVeigh's lawyer Stephen Jones made similar claims, citing a meeting in the early 1990s between World Trade Center bomber Yousef and McVeigh's partner, Terry Nichols, in the Philippines, which he called a "hotbed of fundamentalist Muslim activity." Jones said his research shows that bin Laden was in the Philippines at the same time as Yousef and Nichols. Both Jones and Davis said federal investigators were uninterested in exploring any possible Middle Eastern connection to the crime.
Links which were further verified by a dying widow.
April 5 - 11, 2002 LA Weekly by Jim Crogan
In response to articles published in the L.A. Weekly and Indianapolis Star, U.S. Representative Dan Burton, (R-Indiana) is planning to hold congressional hearings into whether a conspiracy, with Middle East connections, was behind the 1995 truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. Burton, the chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, is "hot to move on this," said David Schippers, a high-powered Chicago attorney and lifelong Democrat, who ran the House impeachment inquiry into former President Clinton. Schippers said he found the evidence put together by former Oklahoma City TV reporter Jayna Davis compelling. For the past year, he unsuccessfully pushed the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to reopen the case. "I've tried to reach [U.S. Attorney General] John Ashcroft a number of times. But I've never heard back from the DOJ," said Schippers. Last month, Burton called and asked him to head up the Oklahoma inquiry for his committee. Burton had already met with Davis. But Schippers told the congressman that his law practice had gotten too busy, and he couldn't take on the assignment. Instead Schippers suggested hiring Jeff Pavletic, another Illinois lawyer, who served with him during the impeachment hearings. Recently, Schippers and Pavletic flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with Burton and his staffers. Pavletic could not be reached for comment. "We were supposed to meet with the congressman, but he had a family emergency. So we met with five staffers." They questioned Schippers closely. "For instance, they asked me how Davis' witnesses, who said they saw McVeigh in the company of Middle Easternlooking men, could remember details seven years later. Schippers reminded them those witnesses were interviewed on tape by Davis seven years ago, when their memories were fresh. Since Schippers returned from D.C., he's had another call from Burton reaffirming his intention to hold hearings. "He said the American people deserve the truth, and he intends to discover whether the investigation was botched. He also wants to know if there is an active terror cell operating in Oklahoma City that might have links to the bombing and the 9-11 terror attacks," emphasized the attorney. Burton's interest in the alleged conspiracy was heightened by a series of Indianapolis Star articles that appeared in February. The L.A. Weekly story, "Heartland Conspiracy," was published on September 28, 2001. Those stories focused on the bombing investigation done by Davis, a former KFOR-TV reporter. "I was called by Burton's office on February 23. They asked me if I would come to Washington and meet with them," explained Davis. "I told them I would." Armed with 2,000 pages of documentation and tapes of her KFOR-TV stories, Davis and her husband met with Burton, his staffers and committee staffers for an hour on February 28 and again with staffers, the next day. "Burton stayed in the first meeting about 15 minutes, and asked very pointed questions. He was intensely interested," she said. "And he seemed committed to getting the truth." Davis told the Weekly she explained to the congressman and his people how she got into the investigation and reviewed her findings' most sensitive points. "They seemed especially interested in the Philippines connection to Terry Nichols." Davis said she found her congressional audience "receptive and open-minded." She also gave Burton's staffers the names and numbers of her witnesses, and said they would participate in hearings. Since she's returned to Oklahoma, Davis received several follow-up calls from a committee staffer. Davis, who's investigated the bombing for the past seven years, obtained 22 signed affidavits from witnesses putting McVeigh in the company of a group of Iraqis working for a local property-management company, in the weeks before the bombing. Davis turned those affidavits over to a 1997 Oklahoma County grand jury. Davis focused her attention and stories on one Iraqi, who appeared to match the third FBI sketch of John Doe No. 2, a man noted in police-radio traffic moments after the explosion. Some of Davis' witnesses said they had seen a man who resembled John Doe No. 2 riding with McVeigh in the bomb-laden truck. This person, Hussain Al-Hussaini, later came forward and publicly demanded an apology and retraction. Davis and KFOR management refused. Al-Hussaini then sued them twice, first dropping his state suit and then refiling it in federal court. A federal judge dismissed the action as baseless. Al-Hussaini appealed, and a decision is pending. Davis, who's since left KFOR, has tried twice to give her material to the FBI. In 1997, DOJ attorneys rejected it, allegedly claiming they didn't want more material to turn over to McVeigh's and Nichols' defense attorneys. In 1999 she gave the material to FBI agent Dan Vogel, who unsuccessfully tried to get the Oklahoma Bombing Task Force to accept it. Vogel, now retired, was subpoenaed to testify about Davis' material at a recent pretrial hearing for Nichols' upcoming state murder trial. But the DOJ refused to let him take the stand.
April 19, 2002 Insight Online World Exclusive by Kenneth
R. Timmerman (Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight
The retirement of career FBI Special Agent Danny Defenbaugh, accused by defense attorneys and plaintiffs in the Oklahoma City bombing case of withholding key evidence, wasn't the only dramatic development in the continuing controversies surrounding the April 19, 1995, attack that killed 168 people. Insight has learned that the widow of Philippine-government intelligence agent Edwin Angeles has provided audiotaped testimony to an investigator working for the American victims' families that directly ties Iraqi intelligence agents to Terry Nichols, the man sentenced in 1998 to life in prison for his role in bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Building seven years ago. Elmina Abdul is the 27-year-old widow of Angeles, one of the cofounders of the Abu Sayyaf group, a Muslim separatist terrorist organization in the Philippines whose members trained in Osama bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan. Her astonishing story, revealed in this exclusive story for the first time, could blow the lid off what a growing number of people believe is a U.S. government cover-up of vital evidence in the Oklahoma City bombing case.
With the knowledge that she was dying of liver disease, Elmina agreed to meet with Dorian Zumel Sicat, a Manila Times correspondent serving as an investigative liaison in the Philippines and the Pacific Rim for Oklahoma City lawyer Mike Johnston, who represents the victims' families. "I want to tell the truth of what I know of my late husband," she said in a taped audio statement. Angeles was "what they call a 'deep-penetration agent'" who was working for "some very powerful men in the DND," the Philippine national defense-intelligence agency, Elmina said. Angeles was arrested in 1995 after he had negotiated a deal to turn himself in to the Philippine authorities. By that point, the Abu Sayyaf he had helped create in 1991 with bin Laden protégé Abdurajjak Abu Bakr Janjalani had carried out a series of terrorist attacks. These included a failed assault on a U.S. Information Agency library in Manila in January 1991 that was part of a worldwide terrorist campaign against U.S. interests orchestrated by Iraq during the Persian Gulf War. "Does the name 'Ramzi Yousef' mean something to you, Mr. Sicat?" Elmina asked. Angeles had extensive meetings with Yousef and two Americans, including one whom he called "Terry" or "The Farmer," she said.
Angeles ultimately was cleared of terrorism charges at trial, when documents proving he was working as a government agent were produced. He was released from prison in 1996 - but not before he provided astonishing details during a videotaped interrogation by Philippine police authorities of his activities with Abu Sayyaf, including the secret meetings with Iraqi intelligence agent Yousef, Nichols and the second American identified in the document as John Lepney. The earliest meetings took place at a Del Monte canning plant in Davao in late 1992 and early 1993 - just prior to the first World Trade Center bombing. Later meetings with Nichols, Yousef and the second American - whose name has never been revealed until now - took place at Angeles' house in late 1994, according to a report on that interrogation which has been obtained by investigators working for attorney Johnston, who has been joined by Judicial Watch in representing families of those murdered in the Oklahoma City bombing. Angeles also revealed the meetings to Elmina, who became his third wife in 1997, "because he knew that he would soon be killed," she said in her audiotaped statement with Sicat, which was witnessed by a Philippine-government official. "He wanted me to know everything so that if anything happened to him I could tell others." Also present at those meetings was a half-brother of Yousef, who was using the pseudonym Ahmad Hassim, she said. "They met almost every day for one week. They met in an empty bodega [warehouse]. They talked about bombings. They mentioned bombing government buildings in San Francisco, St. Louis and in Oklahoma. The Americans wanted instructions on how to make and to explode bombs. He [Edwin] told me that Janjalani was very interested in paying them much money to explode the buildings. The money was coming from Yousef and the other Arab." When asked if Angeles had told her the results of those conversations, Elmina replied: "He told me that the Americans exploded one bomb in Oklahoma in 1995, after he was arrested and after we first met."
Later in the interview, she chided Sicat for not knowing that Yousef was "representing Iraq and Saddam Hussein." "Did Edwin tell you that?" Sicat asked. "Not only Edwin, but others that were close to us, before he was killed," Elmina said. "One time, a [Philippine-army] soldier and Edwin were talking secretly. I was there because Edwin demanded [it]. The soldier ordered Edwin never to tell anybody about the Iraqis." On Jan. 14, 1999, Elmina was waiting for her husband in an open-air market in Isabela, the provincial capital of Basilan province. Suddenly, as he emerged from a nearby mosque, she watched as two of his former associates walked up behind him and, with .45-caliber automatics, pumped six bullets into him. He staggered toward her and died in her arms.
The video interrogation linking Nichols to Yousef, bin Laden and Iraq initially was obtained by Stephen Jones, the defense attorney who represented convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. But at the insistence of federal prosecutors, trial judge Richard P. Matsch refused to admit it into evidence. The judge also refused to admit into evidence the testimony of Yousef coconspirator Abdul Hakim Murad, who was a federal prisoner at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. Murad was awaiting trial for his part in Project Bojinka, a plot hatched up by Yousef to blow up 11 U.S. 747 jetliners over the Pacific Ocean in 1995. On the day of the Oklahoma City bombing he told his jailers that Yousef had orchestrated the plot. "Why should Murad be believed?" Johnston asks rhetorically. "For one thing, Murad made his 'confession' voluntarily and spontaneously. Most important, Murad tied Ramzi Yousef to the Oklahoma City bombing long before Terry Nichols was publicly identified as a suspect." Johnston informed Jones last week he would be serving him with a desk subpoena to obtain this and other materials that were either sealed by the court or not admitted as evidence in the McVeigh trial. Shortly after Johnston got off the phone with him, Jones received threatening calls from federal prosecutors in Denver and Oklahoma City, warning him not to release the materials, Insight is told by a close associate of the lawyer. Jones did not return several calls by press time.
FBI spokesman Bill Carter tells Insight the FBI was unaware of a "foreign terrorist connection" to the Oklahoma City bombing. "There is no evidence of a foreign connection in our files," he says. "The Oklahoma City bombing was investigated thoroughly by the FBI; no evidence was found that would tie it to any foreign terrorist group. If we had found any evidence, it would have been presented." That statement, like so many others from the government in this murky case, appears to be extraordinarily misleading to the families of victims still not convinced that they or the American public know the full story of what happened seven years ago.
In the Philippines, the real story of the Abu Sayyaf and its ties to Iraq, bin Laden and to former president Ramos - who is planning a comeback into Philippine politics - is a dangerous topic. In his videotaped interrogation, Angeles says Yousef first approached him in July 1989 as the "personal envoy" of bin Laden to set up a new base for regional Islamic expansion on the Muslim island of Mindanao. At the time, bin Laden's brother-in-law, Mohammad Jamal Khalifa, was operating commercial front companies in the Philippines for bin Laden. This apparently led to the creation of the Abu Sayyaf. A former CIA station chief in Manila confirms to Insight that bin Laden came to the Philippines personally in 1992 and was flown down to Mindanao in a government C-130 aircraft by then-president Ramos. "Bin Laden presented himself as a wealthy Saudi who wanted to invest in Muslim areas and donate money to charity," the former CIA officer says. While Yousef was collecting money from bin Laden, he was taking orders from Iraq and is believed by U.S. intelligence officials to have carried out the June 20, 1994, bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine in Mashad, Iran, on orders from Iraq. Yousef reportedly carried out that attack with help from his own father and a younger brother, Abdul Muneem, in conjunction with an Iraqi front group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran.
Angeles "knew he was going to be killed by his own people once he was released from jail," Sicat tells Insight in a telephone interview from Davao, a city on Mindanao. "The question is, who were his own people? Abu Sayyaf, or the cabal who had Angeles help set them up?" Angeles' second wife, who had prepared the meals for Nichols and Yousef, was gunned down during a government raid on an Abu Sayyaf safe house in 1996. Elmina died last month just days after giving her taped audio statements to Sicat, who tells Insight that he has received death threats and been shot at in recent weeks by unknown assailants. He recently has been given round-the- clock police protection by the government, which is investigating the attacks. If the remaining witnesses live long enough, the only question left is whether the Bush administration will order the FBI to reopen its files. Or, as some of the lawyers in the case and their clients fear, the administration will endorse what they believe - and testimony now in hand suggests - was a wider conspiracy that was hidden by the Clinton administration and Janet Reno's Justice Department. It may require full and open congressional hearings if the current administration refuses to help or otherwise blocks the federal courts from re-examining the case to find out why the U.S. government shut down preliminary investigations into possible overseas links to the murder of Americans in downtown Oklahoma City.
It took six months after the "September 11" attacks on the World Trade Center and the pentagon for another link between the OKC bombing and the World Trade Center to be exposed. The mainstream national press remain silent that three of the September 11, 2001 hijackers attempted to stay in the same motel where McVeigh plotted with others to blow up the Murrah Building.
May 7, 2002 Fox News O'Reilly Factor - Interview with Larry Johnson,
The O'Reilly factor interviewed Larry Johnson, formerly of the CIA, who revealed that the identity of John Doe #2 in the Oklahoma City bombing to be Hussain Al-Hussaini, a former member of the Iraqi Republican Guard Guard. He worked for Samir Khalil who was linked to the "charitable" organization "The Holy Land Foundation" which was declared by the Bush administration to be sending funds to terrorists. John Doe # 2 was seen with Timothy McVeigh three days before the OKC bombing, the morning of the bombing, getting out of the Ryder truck after it pulled up in front of the Murrah building, and he was seen driving away from the building. In 1996/1997 when he left Oklahoma City Al-Hussaini went to work at Logan airport in Boston from which several of the September 11, 2001 hijackers left. McVeigh's accomplice, Terry Nichols, an unemployed guy, made several trips to the Phillipines with unexplained sources of cash (See the book 'Others Unknown' by Stephen Jones, McVeigh's original attorney) where he was associated with Osama bin Laden's Al Quaeda organization, Abu Sayyaf. Additionally, the owner of the motel in which McVeigh stayed prior to the bombing of the Murrah building reported to the FBI that three of the September 11, 2001 hijackers attempted to book rooms at the motel in late July or early August 2001 telling him they were taking flight training. These were Mohammed Atta, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Zacarias Moussaoui, who is presently in Federal Custody as the possible 20th hijacker.
July 26 - August 1, 2002 LA Weekly The I-40 connection
between Zacarias Moussaoui and Mohamed Atta by Jim Crogan
What happened at the nondescript motel outside Oklahoma City was just a fleeting encounter during the twisted cross-country odyssey of the terrorists who would carry out the September 11 attacks. Mohamed Atta, alleged leader of the plot, and two companions wanted to rent a room, but couldn't get the deal they wanted, so they left. It was an incident of no particular importance, except for one thing. The owner of the motel remembers Atta being in the company of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker," who was arrested prior to September 11 and now faces conspiracy charges in connection with the terror assaults. If this recollection is correct, the entire incident, and its absence from the public record, raises new questions about the FBI investigation of Moussaoui and even the 1995 destruction of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Already the FBI has endured a withering political and media critique for failing to aggressively investigate Moussaoui and his contacts during his four weeks in custody prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Some FBI officials have responded by characterizing Moussaoui as only a minor player. But the report from the motel owner, if proven, could change that. And it also could force the FBI to reopen its investigation of Middle Eastern connections to the 1995 Oklahoma City blast, because convicted bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols reportedly stayed at the same motel, interacting with a group of Iraqis during the weeks before the bombing.
At press time, the erratic Moussaoui, who is representing himself, was attempting to plead guilty and bring his trial to a close. The 34-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent had previously filed some 94 hand-scrawled, rambling motions attacking the government's case and its right to prosecute him. But that circus obscures a conundrum of a different sort. The government's case, as outlined in its new six-count conspiracy indictment, is largely circumstantial, lacking any definitive link between Moussaoui and the 19 hijackers identified by federal authorities. All of which makes the apparent shelving of the Moussaoui-Atta sighting all the stranger. In fact, even though multiple sources contend that the FBI interviewed the motel owner, there's no indication that prosecutors were told. It's possible that the FBI found the motel owner's identifications wrong or his story unreliable. But it's still odd that, in interviews with the Weekly, Justice Department prosecutors seemed to know nothing about the motel encounter, especially because agents reportedly told the motel owner they would pass the information on to Moussaoui's defense team. The motel co-owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the incident occurred around August 1, 2001, just six weeks before 9/11. "They came in around 10 or 11 a.m. and started talking to my desk clerk," he said. Even though he was working about 10 feet away from the trio, the owner didn't really pay any attention at first. "They were asking my clerk, who no longer works here, about a weekly rate for our rooms." (The former clerk could not be reached for comment.) The motel, explained the owner, sets aside some rooms with small kitchenettes to rent on a weekly basis. "But they were all taken." He said the clerk explained the situation, but the visitors were persistent. "Finally, my clerk asked me to talk to them." The motel owner said that Moussaoui and a man who appeared to be Marwan al-Shehhi -- who helped crash a jetliner into the south tower of the World Trade Center -- were friendly and said a few things, but Atta was clearly the leader. "He did most of the talking and seemed very serious," said the owner, adding, "I was standing face to face, about two feet away from Atta, and talked to the three of them for about 10 minutes. Atta asked if he could rent one of the other rooms at a weekly rate, and I told him no. "I asked him what they were doing here in the area. And Atta told me they were going to flight school. I thought he meant [Federal Aviation Administration] training in Oklahoma City. But Atta told me no, they were taking flight training in Norman. "I said I didn't understand why they wanted to rent one of my rooms, since we were about 28 miles from Norman and there are a lot of reasonably priced motels a lot closer. But he said they had heard good things about my place and wanted to stay there. I told them I was sorry, but we couldn't accommodate them. Atta finally said okay. Then they all thanked me for my time and left." After the attacks, said the motel owner, he recognized his visitors in photos from television reports. "I was really stunned," he said. Then he decided to call the FBI hot line. The motel owner said he didn't hear right back from the FBI. In the interim, he also spoke to a former law-enforcement officer who was investigating reported sightings of Mujahid Abdulquaadir Menepta at the same motel during the mid-1990s. Menepta, reportedly a friend of Moussaoui's, was arrested 30 years ago in Colorado for aggravated robbery and served more than three years in prison. After September 11, Menepta publicly defended Moussaoui, calling him a "scapegoat." The FBI arrested him as a material witness and subsequently charged Menepta with a federal gun violation. He pleaded guilty and in April 2002 was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. He was never charged with any terrorism-related crime. But during the preliminary hearing on the gun charge, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agent Jeffrey Whitney testified that a confidential source placed Menepta at a meeting of a radical Islamic group in St. Louis where he allegedly threatened to shoot any police officer who entered the mosque. Menepta's attorney challenged the credibility of this report in court. A former desk clerk at the motel -- a different clerk from the one who purportedly dealt with Atta and Moussaoui -- told the Weekly that he remembered Menepta because in 1994 and 1995 -- prior to the Oklahoma City attack -- Menepta frequently visited the motel office. There, he bought coffee and talked for hours to this clerk. The clerk and his wife, who both formerly worked at the motel, said they picked Menepta's picture out of a photo lineup prepared by a law-enforcement officer who had interviewed the motel owner. This officer, who also spoke to the Weekly on condition of anonymity, said that after the motel owner told him about the Moussaoui sighting, he contacted a member of Oklahoma's Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the FBI. The FBI finally acted on the tip. The motel owner said that on December 19, 2001, he went to FBI offices in Oklahoma City for a formal interview, where he was debriefed by an FBI agent and by Oklahoma City Police Sergeant Jerry Flowers. "We talked for several hours, and I told them everything I knew." The motel owner said he would have taken a polygraph exam but was not asked to do so. The Weekly's law-enforcement source corroborates the December 19 interview. The motel owner never heard from prosecutors in Moussaoui's case but got one more call from the FBI several weeks later. "The agent told me they had passed on a copy of my statement to Moussaoui's defense team, and I might be getting a call from them. But I was under no obligation to talk to them. However, I don't know if that was the truth. Since then, I have never heard from anyone connected to Moussaoui's case."
One reason for the FBI's apparent lack of interest might be this motel's connection to Timothy McVeigh and a group of Iraqis who worked in Oklahoma City. According to the motel owner and other witnesses and investigators interviewed by the Weekly, McVeigh and several of these Iraqis were motel guests in the months preceding the 1995 bombing. Witnesses also claimed they saw several of the Iraqis moving barrels of material around on the bed of a truck. The motel owner said the material smelled of diesel fuel and he had to clean up a spill. Diesel fuel was a key component of the truck bomb that blew up the Federal Building. The motel owner said he and his staff reported this information to the FBI in 1995. "We did have an ATF agent come out and collect the originals of the room registrations for that period, but we never heard back from them. And I never could get the registrations returned." He added that his previous experience with the FBI made him reluctant to contact them about Moussaoui. "But I decided it was my duty to tell them what had happened. So I did." Former Oklahoma City TV reporter Jayna Davis also interviewed motel staff and former guests. In the process, she collected signed affidavits about their contacts with McVeigh and the Iraqis. She tried twice to give the Bureau this information, but the FBI refused to accept her materials. (The Weekly first reported on her investigation in an article published in September 2001.) The Weekly's law-enforcement source said he has reviewed Davis' material and considers it credible. "Last December I personally took the documents to the Joint Terrorism Task Force," he said. "I told them they should do their own investigation." The response was not encouraging. He said he was later informed that the Bureau brought in an analyst, "but I was told it would probably go nowhere. They were afraid the whole Oklahoma City bombing can of worms would be opened up and the FBI would have to explain why they didn't investigate this material before." The Weekly contacted numerous local and federal investigators and agencies, including the Oklahoma task force, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Justice Department. All declined to comment. Prosecutors on the Moussaoui case also declined official comment, but their reactions suggested they knew nothing of the motel encounter. After being told about the motel owner's interview and allegations, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Spencer responded with a one-word question about the sighting: "When?" Spencer then declined further comment. Another Moussaoui prosecutor, David Novak, also declined comment. But Novak wanted to know the name of the motel owner.
Other substantial connections already tie the Sooner state to Moussaoui and, separately, several 9/11 hijackers. According to the Moussaoui indictment, on September 29, 2000, Moussaoui made e-mail contact with Airman Flight School in Norman. Then, on February 23, 2001, he flew from London to Chicago and then to Oklahoma City. What he did in the next few days is unknown or at least not accounted for in the indictment. But on February 26, Moussaoui opened a bank account in Norman, depositing $32,000. From February 26 to May 29, he attended flight school in Norman. Then he suddenly quit the school. Between July 29 and August 4, Moussaoui made calls from public pay phones in Norman to Germany. On August 1 and 3, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh wired Moussaoui a total of about $14,000 from two train stops in Germany to somewhere in Oklahoma. This wire transfer does imply a connection to terrorist plotters because al-Shibh, an alleged al Qaeda member, wired money to other hijackers. On August 3, Moussaoui purchased two knives in Oklahoma City. And on August 10 or 11, an acquaintance drove Moussaoui from Oklahoma to Minnesota for enrollment in a new flight school. Authorities arrested Moussaoui in Minnesota on August 17 on an immigration violation. As has been widely reported, Moussaoui attracted attention because he said he was interested in flying a plane but not learning how to take off or land. He was in federal custody when the 9/11 attacks occurred.
As for the terrorists who took part in 9/11, Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi visited the Airman Flight School in Norman in July 2000, according to the Moussaoui indictment. (The motel owner identifies al-Shehhi as the third person with Atta and Moussaoui when they allegedly inquired about a room.) And on April 1, 2001, Nawaf al-Hazmi, who helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, was stopped for speeding in Oklahoma and given two tickets. The Oklahoma state trooper found no outstanding warrants and turned al-Hazmi loose. The media has since reported that the CIA had been tracking al-Hazmi, but never told the immigration service or the FBI that he was a suspected terrorist during his 21-month U.S. stay. Authorities have never publicly accounted for Atta and al-Shehhi's whereabouts during the time of the alleged motel encounter. The Moussaoui indictment lays out a tantalizing possible association between Atta and Moussaoui, but never puts the two in the same place at the same time. The link could exist, however, along a dusty Oklahoma roadside, off Interstate 40, at a small motel that is indistinguishable from hundreds of others, except for its possible connection to terrorists.
And so the story continues from an Algerian terrorist and a "charitable" organization known as "Mercy" to an Iraqi Republican Guard member and a "charitable" organization known as "The Holy Land Foundation" and on to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed a top al-Qaida lieutenant whom federal authorities believe may have masterminded the September 11, 2001 attacks who trained Nichols for the OKC bombing in the Philippines.
June 22, 2002 WorldNetDaily.com By Jon Dougherty Saudis warned
FBI about OKC bombing? Evidence suggests possible Iraq link to terror
attack on Murrah building
Saudi Arabian intelligence officials warned the FBI about an Iraqi plot to attack federal facilities in 1995, including the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, according to an Oklahoma lawyer teaming up with a noted Washington, D.C., public-interest law firm. Mike Johnston, co-counsel for Judicial Watch, said Thursday that on April 19, 1995 the day of the Oklahoma City bombing Saudi intelligence alerted CIA officials in Washington, who in turn advised FBI agents at the Washington Metropolitan Field Office. "Vincent Canastraro, who is the former chief of counter-terrorism for the CIA called Special Agent Kevin L. Foust and informed him that one of his best sources from Saudi Arabian intelligence specifically advised him that there was a squad of people currently in the United States, very possibly Iraqi, who, and I'm quoting, 'have been tasked with carrying out terrorist acts against the United States,'" Johnston said during an interview on the "Judicial Watch Report" radio program. "The Saudi informant, who's part of the Saudi counter-terrorism service, told [federal officials] that he had seen the list and that 'first on the list was the federal building in Oklahoma City, Okla.'" Johnston continued. Johnston said the Saudi agent reported that an Internal Revenue Service building in Houston, Texas, was "second on the list," followed by the FBI's field office in Los Angeles. The FBI facility was targeted because, according to Johnston, it was the bureau's main counterintelligence operation at that time. Johnston also said that documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that about a year later, on April 16, 1996, the FBI filed a follow-up report claiming the initial information gleaned from Saudi sources was most likely accurate. "Even though the government has consistently maintained that no credible evidence exists linking McVeigh to international terrorists," Johnston said, "the FBI generated a follow-up 302 report one year later where a supervisory special agent, name blacked out, contacted another source regarding the original information from Canastraro." The special agent "was told that the information was confirmed as generated from a general within the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service," said Johnston. "The FBI 302 memo went on to conclude that this information appears to have validity, citing Canastraro's former position within the CIA." An FBI spokeswoman told WorldNetDaily the bureau had no comment on Johnston's allegations. CIA officials could not be reached for comment prior to press time. When asked why the government did not do more to press McVeigh before his death if he was working for another government, Johnston said such a strategy" was apparently not in the game plan for the Justice Department " Johnston says some of his information came from documents ordered sealed by U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, the presiding judge in McVeigh's initial trial, which took place in Denver, Colo. He went on to note that Matsch has never lifted the order, though "its kind of hard to see how it would affect Tim McVeigh now." "The federal government continues to seek the maintenance of that sealing order on the basis of privacy concerns," he said. Johnston's disclosure comes on the heels of a report Wednesday that said the U.S. government was warned before the bombing that Islamic extremists were planning attacks. Islamic terrorists were planning to "strike inside the U.S. against objects symbolizing the American government in the near future," said one warning memo, according to The Associated Press. That report did not mention Saudi Arabia, but said only that U.S. officials were tipped by evidence "gathered across the globe from Iran and Syria to the Philippines." AP said documents show the warnings became progressively more specific as to the time, place and type of attack. Stephen Jones, McVeigh's attorney, was reportedly upset by the disclosure. "We specifically asked on the record for all evidence, documents and tangible objects to show whether the government had received a warning of acts of terror against federal buildings. We didn't receive this," he told AP. As WorldNetDaily reported in March, Johnston and Judicial Watch have filed suit against Iraq, charging that Baghdad masterminded and financed "in whole or in part" the OKC bombing. Chris Farrell, investigative director for Judicial Watch, told WorldNetDaily that the suit has yet to be served on the Iraqi government, but that it is "trudging along" in its process. He said the suit is being handled "through diplomatic channels" in the State Department, which will hand it off to the Polish government. The U.S. maintains a section in the Polish Embassy in Baghdad, and will serve the Iraqi government through it, with Polish assistance, Farrell said. As to whether the U.S. government has responded to reports of the suit, Farrell said, "We haven't heard anything." McVeigh and accomplice Terry Nichols were eventually charged and convicted for differing roles in connection with the OKC bombing. McVeigh was executed June 11, 2001; Nichols has been sentenced to life in prison, but could face state death penalty charges in Oklahoma. Johnston, in his radio interview, also said there was some evidence suggesting that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed a top al-Qaida lieutenant whom federal authorities believe may have masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks trained Nichols for the OKC bombing in the Philippines. Mohammed "was not only involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, he was involved in the 1993 World Trade Center attack" as well, Johnston charged. "He was in the Philippines at the same time as Terry Nichols, by the way, in the last trip that he made down there before the Murrah building bombing." U.S. officials believe Mohammed was also in charge of transferring the funds used by the Sept. 11 hijackers. "There's lots of links that tie him to 9-11," one government official told AP June 5. "He was intricately involved." Mohammed is also believed to be an accomplice of Ramzi Yousef, who is currently serving a life sentence in the U.S. for his alleged role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Upon his arrest, Yousef was found in possession of plans to blow up a dozen U.S. airliners. Prosecutors also believe he had planned to crash a plane into the Pentagon.
The Third Terrorist - The Middle East Connection to the OKC Bombing Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were not the lone conspirators in the OKC bombing. They were part of a greater scheme, one which involved Islamic terrorists and at least one provable link to Iraq.
Stephen Jones - Others Unknown: The Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy.
Evans-Pritchard - The Secret Life Of Bill Clinton.