Skip to comments.Summary of Evidence of Middle Eastern Complicity in 1995 Oklahoma Bombing [by Jayna Davis]
Posted on 11/23/2002 12:09:30 AM PST by flamefront
FBI manhunt for foreign terrorists
On April 19, 1995, I was working as an investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City, KFOR-TV and was one of the first journalists to broadcast to an international audience what Americans never expected to hear: an enormous truck bomb rocked the heartland.
The FBI immediately launched an international pursuit of several Middle Eastern looking males who were seen fleeing the Murrah Building in a brown Chevy pickup just moments before the blast. Within hours and without explanation, federal agents instructed Oklahoma County law enforcement officials to cancel the all-points-bulletin issued that morning for foreign terrorists.
However, the FBI apparently continued to aggressively seek Middle Eastern suspects. Agents detained and interrogated several Pakistanis nationals, originally from Dallas and New York, whom were spotted by an Oklahoma Highway Patrolman in Oklahoma City one hour before the bombing. The license plate on their GM Blazer had been switched from a rental car they leased at Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport the day before.
On the afternoon of April 19, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol issued an all-points-bulletin for three Middle Eastern subjects in the GM Blazer. Shortly thereafter, the men were caught and questioned, then subsequently released. Their presence in Oklahoma City and the reason for the switched plate on their vehicle were never satisfactorily explained.
Within 48 hours, the focus of the investigation shifted from the Middle East to homegrown terrorism. The FBI had two suspects in custody, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Both were publicly labeled as disgruntled army veterans who were motivated by anti-government views.
However, the arrests of American citizens did not dissuade the federal government from employing precautionary measures to guard against further strikes by Middle Eastern terrorists. According to a Department of Defense memorandum, the FBI director contacted the defense secretary and requested that the Army Arabic linguists monitor live wiretaps in real time of "radical fundamentalist Islamic organizations" operating in several major U.S. cities. This unique correspondence was initiated in an effort to "protect the President from possible attack during his attendance of the memorial service in Oklahoma City on Sunday, April 23."
The specter of "others unknown"
When the federal grand jury issued the official indictment of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, it concluded they acted with "others unknown." Several members of the Denver juries who convicted the two Oklahoma City bombers candidly expressed their strongly held belief that after months of examining every facet of the government's evidence, they determined the April 19 bombing involved more than those who had been arrested and charged.
Lead defense counsel for McVeigh's federal trial, Stephen Jones, disclosed the American terrorist failed a polygraph examination when he denied that several unidentified conspirators aided and abetted in the construction of the truck bomb. "I believe Timothy McVeigh's role in the Oklahoma City bombing was a very minor one," Jones postulated in a nationally televised interview. "A member of the conspiracy? Yes. The leader? No. The financier? No. The organizer? No. Timothy McVeigh saw his role as the cover for everybody else, to be the person to fall on the sword. It served deep-seated emotional needs that he had, and it furthered the role of the conspiracy."
When sentencing Terry Nichols to life behind bars, U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch remarked, "It would be disappointing for me if the law enforcement agencies of the United States government have quit looking for answers."
Driven by a belief that federal prosecutors presented only a partial picture of the events of April 19, an Oklahoma state legislator spearheaded a citizens' petition drive to seat a grand jury to probe further into the looming presence of un-indicted conspirators. In December 1998, after eighteen months of research and examination of 117 witnesses, the Oklahoma County grand jury making inquiry into "conspiracy theories" swirling around the bombing returned no indictments; yet the panel carefully worded this telling statement in its final report: "However, in spite of all the evidence before us, we cannot put full closure to the question of the existence of a John Doe II."
Middle Eastern terrorist cell operating in the heart of Oklahoma City
On April 20, KFOR-TV's news director assigned me to track local leads regarding possible suspects. The assignment amounted to nothing more than monitoring satellite feeds of FBI press conferences - that is until one telephone call to the newsroom led me directly to the doorstep of what several esteemed intelligence experts later determined to be a Middle Eastern terrorist cell operating in the heart of Oklahoma City.
Several American employees at a local property management company that we were investigating claimed they saw a brown Chevy truck, which matched the getaway vehicle aggressively pursued by law enforcement, parked outside the business office in the days before the bombing.
The PLO/Iraqi connection
The company owner was a Palestinian immigrant from Tel Aviv who had pleaded guilty to federal insurance fraud in the early 1990's and served time in the penitentiary. Court records revealed that the FBI suspected the Palestinian businessman, who operated under eight known aliases, of having connections with the Palestinian Liberation Organization. This man, a psychologist from the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services, funded his vast, four million dollar rental housing empire through money he received from siblings living in Baghdad, Jerusalem, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia and Amman, Jordan.
Six months prior to the bombing, the Palestinian property owner hired a handful of Iraqi soldiers to do maintenance work at his low-income rental houses. On April 19, several witnesses watched in stunned amazement as their Middle Eastern co-workers expressed prideful excitement upon hearing the first radio broadcasts that Islamic extremists had claimed responsibility for the attack on the Murrah Building. The men exuberantly pledged their allegiance to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein vowing they would "die for Saddam." My research showed these same Middle Eastern men were absent from work on April 17, 1995, the day McVeigh rented the Ryder truck that carried the bomb. Furthermore, two of these men had just completed lengthy trips to the Middle East.
The company secretary told the FBI she became suspicious of her employer because she saw the owner's Jordanian business associate at the office before the bombing in a large yellow car similar to the now infamous Mercury Marquis that was driven by Timothy McVeigh. The witness also observed this same man in the driver's seat of a brown Chevy pickup.
The Las Vegas crossroads
Staff members related details about the Palestinian property owner's travel habits, including his frequent trips to Las Vegas where prime suspects McVeigh and Nichols were known to spend one weekend a month. Had the three men crossed paths? Terry Nichols' son Josh identified the Palestinian ex-felon from a photo lineup as a man he had seen in Las Vegas. When asked if the Middle Eastern subject met with his father, Josh refused to answer.
Lana Padilla said her ex-husband Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh would visit Josh in her home city of Las Vegas monthly and were often accompanied by unidentified men of Middle Eastern origin. She recalled the two Oklahoma City bombers frequented a bar known as Glitter Gulch, a strip club/casino located adjacent to Binion's Horseshoe, a casino/hotel where the security staff described the Palestinian ex-patriate from Oklahoma City as a "VIP" customer and "high roller at the poker tables." According to the man's secretary, he routinely traveled to Las Vegas and returned with large amounts of cash.
On April 20, 1995, less than 24 hours after the bombing, the Palestinian businessman boarded a plane in Oklahoma City bound for Las Vegas. The next day, Terry Nichols surrendered to federal authorities at the Herington, Kansas police department. News of the interrogation of the "material witness" flooded the television airwaves. Phone records reveal that just hours later, an unknown party called Nichols' Kansas home twice from a payphone at the Las Vegas casino Circus Circus. At the time, the Palestinian businessman was registered at Binion's Horseshoe and was within walking distance of the pay phones where the calls to Nichols' residence originated.
Palestinian real estate mogul's ex-wife dies in blast
The immigrant with alleged ties to the PLO exhibited peculiar behavior in the wake of the bombing, outraging several of his longtime employees. They were baffled when he departed for Las Vegas the day after the bombing, leaving behind his 18-year-old daughter to grieve the loss of her American mother. The Palestinian immigrant divorced his American wife in 1994, reaching a settlement in which she was awarded ownership of a large number of his rental properties. This woman perished on the fifth floor of the federal complex where she worked for a government agency housed in the ill-fated Murrah Building.
The daughter reluctantly admitted that her Palestinian father discouraged her from reporting her mother missing for several weeks, instructing her not to turn over dental records which were essential for medical examiners to identify the victim's remains. The woman's name did not appear on the official list of dead and missing until forty-eight hours after I turned my evidence over to the FBI field office in Oklahoma City.
FBI halts search for John Doe 2
On May 4, 1995, two FBI agents interviewed me for several hours regarding the evidence Channel 4 had uncovered. They took receipt of KFOR-TV's surveillance tape of the Palestinian real estate mogul and the Iraqi soldiers who worked at his company. In short order, the Bureau distributed a memorandum to field offices throughout the country ordering federal agents to "hold in abeyance all leads" on John Doe 2. Just four days later, on May 8, the FBI officially pulled the plug on the tip line for leads regarding McVeigh's elusive accomplice John Doe 2.
However, the most gripping evidence was displayed on the television monitor at KFOR-TV's studio. This shocking discovery was made while shuttling through surveillance videotape of the Iraqi soldiers. One frame of video captured the side view of a former Iraqi soldier known as Hussain Hashem Al-Hussaini. Alhussaini's picture, when overlaid with the government's profile sketch of John Doe 2, was arguably a perfect match. Alhussaini also fit the general physical description of the government's arrest warrant for the Oklahoma City bomber, including a tattoo on his upper left arm.
Hussain Alhussaini is likely an Iraqi Republican Guardsman
Colonel Patrick Lang, the former Chief of Human Intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency, determined Hussain Alhussaini's military tattoo indicated he likely served in Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard and was recruited into the elite Unit 999 of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. Unit 999 is based in Salman Pak southeast of Baghdad and has been tasked with clandestine operations at home and overseas.
But the most incriminating evidence against the Iraqi soldier was the simple fact that his alleged alibi crumbled under scrutiny. Yet the critical link was still missing. There was no established connection between McVeigh, Nichols, Alhussaini, and his Iraqi cohorts.
Witnesses observe Alhussaini and McVeigh socializing in an Oklahoma City tavern
Then came the watershed breakthrough. On June 7, 1995, KFOR's private investigator and another reporter from the station located two eyewitnesses who independently identified the former Iraqi soldier, Hussain Alhussaini, from a photo lineup. Both were convinced he was the Middle Eastern individual they observed drinking beer with a very boisterous Timothy McVeigh in an Oklahoma City nightclub just four days before the bombing. This was no fleeting encounter. The witnesses were exposed to McVeigh and his soft-spoken friend, with distinct Middle Eastern accent, for at least three full hours.
KFOR management and legal counsel decided we had a moral obligation to report the story. At 6:00 PM that evening, the investigative report led the newscast. We carefully disguised the identities of the witnesses and the location of the establishment where the sighting occurred.
Four days later, on June 11, the tavern witness was stunned and terrified when Hussain Alhussaini returned to the nightclub. In 1998, during his civil deposition, Alhussaini volunteered he had, in fact, visited the bar after KFOR's story aired. He explained that a friend drove him to the rear entrance of the club and parked. At that moment, Alhussaini leaned forward in the passenger seat and peered inside the establishment through an open door. His testimony mirrored the story the witness told me in strict confidence regarding the encounter. She recalled how Alhussaini flashed her a threatening stare as he made eye contact with her. Most incriminating was the undisputed fact that KFOR-TV never publicly disclosed those details. The station's lawyers were the only parties who were given the information.
Three years later in a deposition, my lawyers showed our June 7, 1995 broadcast in its entirety on videotape in front of Hussain Alhussaini. At the end of the story, Channel 4's attorneys asked Alhussaini to point out how he knew the location of the bar where he had been identified socializing with Timothy McVeigh. Alhussaini was unable to provide an answer. KFOR chose not to disclose the name and address of the business in the report. Therefore, there was no reasonable explanation as to how Alhussaini could have returned to that location unless he was, in fact, the man with McVeigh on April 15, 1995.
The FBI interviewed a Chinese food deliveryman who brought an order to Timothy McVeigh's room at the Dreamland motel in Junction City, Kansas on the same day. However, the deliveryman testified during the bomber's federal trial that McVeigh was not in the room and did not receive the order. Therefore, there was no evidence that conflicted with the eyewitness accounts who placed McVeigh in Oklahoma City on the evening of April 15 with Hussain Alhussaini.
John Doe 2: a case of mistaken identity?
In mid-June of 1995, a week after KFOR unveiled the compelling testimony that McVeigh's mysterious co-conspirator could be an Iraqi national, the Department of Justice announced that John Doe 2 was a case of mistaken identity. Tom Kessinger, the mechanic at the Kansas body shop where McVeigh rented the bomb truck, admitted he was wrong about the bombing suspect. Kessinger confessed that he inadvertently described an innocent army private who visited the Ryder rental business the day after McVeigh.
The first two drawings of John Doe 2 were based upon the disavowed testimony of the body shop mechanic. However, according to published accounts, the FBI's third rendition of the suspect, which Hussain Alhussaini strongly resembled, was drafted from additional witness interviews. A downtown employee who worked near the federal complex signed an affidavit stating she spent eight hours with the FBI sketch artist who drew the man in profile. Therefore, the final illustration of John Doe 2 that was released on May 1, 1995 was not convincingly discredited.
Most significantly, the federal court record offered undeniable proof that the FBI did not rely solely upon the faulty recollection of the rental shop employee in Junction City, Kansas. The sketch artist's notes revealed that Tom Kessinger described McVeigh's alleged co-conspirator as a "heavy built" man of no less than "200 pounds." However, just hours later, when the FBI filed the official arrest warrant for the Oklahoma City bomber known only as John Doe 2, authorities dramatically departed from that description. Instead, the man who was now the target of the greatest international manhunt of the 20th Century was depicted as "175 to 180 pounds with a medium frame."
Twenty-five pounds lighter is a far cry from the original description of the suspect. The FBI obviously considered the testimonies of eyewitnesses in Oklahoma City near the crime scene more reliable. The FBI described the stories shared by those same people as credible during Timothy McVeigh's detention hearing just one week after the bombing.
Alhussaini's alibi discredited
Confident that John Doe 2 had been eliminated from the cross hairs of the FBI in June of 1995, Alhussaini contacted local reporters claiming to be a victim of false accusation by KFOR. A sympathetic press touted his tale of persecution and relayed his public plea for federal authorities to officially clear him of suspicion, but the FBI refused.
After watching Alhussaini on the competing television stations, I asked his interpreter if he would be willing to publicly explain discrepancies concerning his alibi, but as before, my requests for an interview were ignored. By that time, I had already obtained a hidden camera interview with the company secretary where Hussain Alhussaini worked who claimed she fabricated a handwritten time sheet to give to the press because she could not find his machine-stamped time card for April 19. More importantly, taped interviews with key witnesses proved conclusively that Alhussaini was not on the job site during the critical hours of April 19.
An investigative dossier implicating Alhussaini and his Middle Eastern cohorts
From that point onward, the investigation moved at a breathless pace. During the months that followed, I interviewed nearly eighty potential witnesses, but I deemed only two dozen to be credible because the veracity of their testimonies could be independently corroborated, and their stories did not conflict with the government's timeline of the movements of the Oklahoma City bombers.
Screening the authentic witnesses from the overzealous ones who were seeking publicity, those who were sincere but sincerely wrong, and those whose testimony could not be verified through independent sources, was an arduous and exhausting undertaking. However, eventually the heart-wrenching truth of April 19 came into sharp focus through the convincing testimony of a cadre of average Oklahomans. All confidently identified eight specific Middle Eastern men, the majority of whom are former Iraqi soldiers, collaborating with McVeigh and Nichols during various stages of the bombing plot.
Many of the witnesses were strangers to one another, yet critical details of their stories overlapped with inexplicable accuracy. They recounted the final deadly moments as the clock ticked closer to 9:02 AM. Their statements are contained in more than twenty affidavits which are corroborated by more than a dozen tape-recorded interviews with the suspects' relatives, law enforcement officials, and intelligence sources, coupled with hundreds of pages of police records, court documents, press accounts, law enforcement statements, and classified intelligence reports.
Here is an abbreviated glimpse of the 1995 bombing through the eyes of unsuspecting bystanders who found themselves witnesses to various stages of an Islamic terrorist plot to murder more Americans in a single explosion than the total number of U.S. soldiers who died on the battlefields of the Persian Gulf War. Several of their names have been withheld due to security concerns.
A patron and a bartender at an Oklahoma City tavern both placed McVeigh in the company of Khalil's Iraqi employee, Hussain Hashem Alhussaini, drinking beer in the establishment the evening of April 15. The bartender recalled the man, whom she identified from a KFOR-TV photo line-up, asked if she was married. "He spoke with an accent, a Middle Eastern accent," the witness recalled. The FBI reportedly interviewed the tavern employee and showed her photos and sketches of possible suspects. But her statement was never disclosed to the bombing defendants' legal teams.
An Oklahoma City gas station attendant fingered Hussain Alhussaini as the customer who paid $100 dollars cash for diesel fuel on April 18, 1995. The witness recounted how Alhussaini disappeared from his view behind the rear carriage of a large Ryder truck while pumping the gas. Most notable was the fact that the foreign looking customer was driving a truck that required unleaded fuel only.
Shortly before daybreak on April 19, three joggers stopped to discuss their curiosity about a Middle Eastern man wearing blue jeans and a backpack running at a breathless pace from the Murrah Building one block east to the intersections of 5th and Broadway Streets. The group noticed the man glancing at his wristwatch as though he were timing his pace. Two of the joggers independently pegged Alhussaini from a photo lineup as the peculiar foreigner they encountered before morning light dawned over Oklahoma City that fateful day.
Mike Moroz, a worker at Johnny's Tire Service, located at 10th and Hudson Streets, said that about 8:30 a.m. on the morning of the bombing, McVeigh pulled up in a Ryder truck. Moroz walked out to the large moving van because it appeared it might strike an aluminum roof on the business parking lot. When Moroz approached the cab, the driver asked for directions to the federal building. The witness observed a second individual with McVeigh sitting in the cab of the Ryder truck. Moroz remembered the stocky, dark-haired man sat quietly, staring straight forward, never glancing his direction as he spoke to McVeigh through the driver's side window. Moroz named Alhussaini as McVeigh's "Middle Eastern" looking passenger after examining Channel 4's surveillance photographs.
I later examined FBI documents that validated Moroz's claim that he picked McVeigh from a live lineup of similar looking soldiers from Fort Sill on April 22, 1995, without the benefit of having viewed the prime suspect as law enforcement escorted him from the Perry, Oklahoma jail. The FBI quoted Moroz' positive identification of McVeigh in downtown Oklahoma City during the prime suspect's detention hearing on April 27, 1995.
At 8:45 a.m., a man named "Leroy" was sitting in his pickup outside the post office located just one block west of the Murrah Building. He observed a yellow Ryder truck parked across the street. Two men, one of whom he identified as McVeigh, were conversing together behind the truck. Leroy recalled a third man who resembled the profile sketch of John Doe 2 sat motionless in the truck cab. He noticed a yellow Mercury Marquis parked several spaces in front of the truck. He then entered the Post Office, emerging five minutes later to find the Ryder truck was parked in front of the federal building and McVeigh was crossing 5th Street.
An employee who worked in the office building directly north of the federal complex, "Gary", walked outside for his morning work break. He observed a yellow Mercury Marquis parked in the lot adjacent to 5th Street. Minutes later, the witness was startled by the Marquis speeding directly toward him. Suddenly, the driver turned east and shot up the alley. Gary said the man behind the wheel was Timothy McVeigh, noting that he was not alone. He observed a dark-haired passenger donning a ball cap sitting in the front seat.
For more than a week following the bombing, the FBI stated at press conferences its belief that McVeigh dropped off his mysterious passenger at an unknown location between downtown Oklahoma City and Perry, Oklahoma, where the American terrorist was arrested the morning of April 19. Around 10:30 a.m., an Oklahoma Highway patrolman stopped him for driving without a license plate.
A customer at the Social Security office on the north side of the Murrah Building, who was critically wounded in the blast, was standing twelve feet away when the Ryder truck pulled up. She observed a "foreign looking man with an olive complexion and thick black curly hair poking out of a ball cap" exit the passenger side of the truck. According to FBI records, she shared her testimony with federal agents from her hospital bed, including her description of the insignia on John Doe 2's ball cap. After reviewing KFOR's photo spread, the witness positively identified Alhussaini as the man she observed getting out of the explosives-laden truck as he made a swift getaway from ground zero.
At 9:03 a.m., a woman named Kay was nearly run over by a brown Chevrolet pickup which matched the getaway vehicle sought by the FBI. She could not escape the disturbing mental image of the driver's menacing, angry stare as the truck careened around the corner, coming dangerously close to where she was stepping off the curb. A few blocks north, thick black plumes of smoke and fire billowed from the Murrah Building, mesmerizing motorists and pedestrians. Traffic had come to a standstill. Only one vehicle was moving, a brown pickup. As it whizzed within six feet of Kay, she locked eyes with the driver. She picked Alhussaini's photograph from a series of pictures which featured several Middle Eastern men, confidently proclaiming she would testify before a federal grand jury he was the same individual she saw speeding away from downtown seconds after the blast.
Kay told the FBI about her encounter, but her statement was never turned over to McVeigh's and Nichols' defense teams before trial. In March 2001, Kay testified at the preliminary hearing for Nichols' state murder trial as one of several witnesses whose statements were allegedly withheld by the FBI.
The most profound discovery of this investigation came when I found myself standing on the staging ground where, according to several witnesses, McVeigh and his Middle Eastern conspirators used an obscure, low rent motel for not-so-clandestine encounters in order to collaborate in their hellish scheme. The motel was conveniently situated off a major interstate with easy access to downtown. Residents and staff recounted numerous sightings of Alhussaini and his Arab confederates with McVeigh, and during a few rare instances Nichols, on the motel grounds in the months, weeks, days, and hours leading up to the terrorist strike on America's heartland.
The most intriguing testimony involved a close encounter with a large Ryder truck which emanated a pungent stench of diesel fuel. The malodorous moving van was parked on the west side of the motel the morning of April 19. The motel owner instructed the maintenance man to inspect the vehicle to determine the source of what they suspected was a fuel leak. Surprisingly, the gas cap was marked "Unleaded Fuel Only."
A few minutes later, at approximately 7:50 a.m., the owner stood behind the desk of the office as the same Ryder truck pulled up and McVeigh stepped out to return the room key. A Middle Eastern man, whom the witness identified as Alhussaini, climbed into the passenger seat of the truck and flashed an angry stare at the motel owner. Shortly thereafter, the maintenance man, manager, and owner observed the Ryder truck exit the property trailed by a caravan of vehicles that included McVeigh's Mercury Marquis and a brown Chevy Blazer. The motel witnesses testified they recognized Alhussaini's Iraqi associates as the occupants of those vehicles. The truck was dusted for fingerprints. The findings remain undisclosed.
According to an FBI report, an Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms agent confiscated the motel's registration logs for several months preceding the blast and turned them over to the Bureau. To this day, the United States Department of Justice has been unwilling to return the original registration logs for the motel where five witnesses testified McVeigh collaborated with Middle Eastern men. After two federal trials and the most exhaustive criminal investigation of the 20th Century, which included 700 field agents, the FBI has failed to produce confirmation of McVeigh's whereabouts for the night of April 18 or the early morning hours of April 19.
The FBI confiscates the suspected getaway vehicle
In the early stages of my investigation for KFOR-TV, I discovered the FBI seized a suspicious brown Chevy pickup after Oklahoma City police towed the abandoned truck from a local apartment complex on April 27, 1995. According to the police report, law enforcement suspected it might be the same vehicle seen fleeing the federal building with Middle Eastern suspects. The Chevy Silverado had been stripped of its license plate, inspection tag, and all its Vehicle Identification Numbers. It also had been hastily spray-painted yellow, but the original color was listed as brown.
FBI documents revealed Dallas FBI Agent Jim Ellis was assigned to investigate the impounded truck. He interviewed several residents at the apartment complex where the vehicle was recovered. One witness told the agent she saw the driver of the mysterious pickup hours before it was deserted. She described him as being "clean shaven with an olive complexion, dark wavy hair, and broad shoulders," in his late 20s or early 30s, and of Middle Eastern descent. She later identified the man from KFOR-TV's surveillance photos of the Iraqi soldiers who were employed by the Palestinian businessman's property management company.
Terry Nichols, Iraqi Intelligence, and the Philippines Factor
The brief summary of the witnesses' testimonies provides only a glimpse into the eighty pages of notarized statements and 2500 supporting documents which present a persuasive argument that 4-19 was the precursor for 9-11. A probing look into the background and travels of convicted bomber Terry Nichols further substantiates that disturbing theory.
I have obtained sealed filings by McVeigh's defense team which outline reasons why they believed Terry Nichols received bomb making expertise through Iraqi intelligence based in the Philippines. Nichols, a small time Kansas farmer of modest means, took expensive and unexplained trips to the Philippines, frequently without his Filipino mail order bride.
Phone records reveal Nichols received and made numerous calls to a boarding house in Cebu City, which according to McVeigh's defense lawyers, sheltered students from a local university well known for Islamic militancy. In an attempt to cover their tracks, Nichols and McVeigh used a phone debit card to make a series of cryptic calls to untraceable numbers in the Philippines from public pay phones in Kansas.
The court record reveals the Oklahoma City bomber, Terry Nichols was in Cebu City in December 1994 at the same time as the convicted mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack Ramzi Yousef. Did Ramzi Yousef and Terry Nichols cross paths? According to the sworn statement of the late Edwin Angeles, co-founder of the Filipino Muslim terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, that meeting took place in the early 1990's on the island of Mindanao. Angeles said he was present when Terry Nichols, Ramzi Yousef, and two Middle Eastern co-conspirators met to discuss the acquisition of firearms and bomb making.
On April 19, 1995, Abdul Hakim Murad, a Middle Eastern terrorist who was later convicted with Ramzi Yousef in a foiled plot to blow up twelve U.S. airliners in Manila, corroborated the testimony of Abu Sayyaf leader, Edwin Angeles. Murad told a prison guard at a New York City detention center where he was confined that as a member of the Philippine Liberation Army, he was responsible for the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. In addition to his verbal confession, Murad put this startling admission in writing.
Official interrogation reports detailing Murad's 1995 statements to U.S. and Filipino authorities reveal the Islamic terrorist disclosed visionary details of the 1994 plot to hijack commercial airlines and convert them into flying missiles. One of the alleged targets, according to Murad, was CIA headquarters.
In summation, Abdul Hakim Murad proved he was familiar with intimate details of the failed 1995 plot to destroy U.S. airliners, the 1993 attack on World Trade Center, and a future scheme to convert commercial jets into bombs. But FBI investigators discounted the confessed terrorist's emphatic claim on April 19 that a radical Islamic group based in the Philippines was behind the Murrah building attack - this allegation coming from a man, who according to the leader of Abu Sayyaf, was present when Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef met to discuss bomb making.
The Islamic recruitment of two "lily whites" to strike on U.S. soil
While the Philippines connection implies Iraqi involvement in the 1995 terror campaign, intelligence collected by the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare also points the finger of blame at the nation of Iran, the most notorious proponent of state-sponsored terrorism in the world.
The Director of the Task Force, Yossef Bodansky, shared he independently came across the same Middle Eastern suspects KFOR-TV was investigating. In the years that followed, he disclosed sensitive intelligence documents that refuted the notion that two disenfranchised army buddies had the bomb making expertise to execute such a massive attack.
On February 27, 1995, the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism issued a prior warning which stated there would be an "Iran-sponsored Islamic attack" on U.S. soil. Washington, D.C. topped the hit list. The primary targets were Congress and the White House, a foreshadowing of the events of 9-11.
The warning was distributed to the FBI and other federal intelligence agencies. In response to the alert, security was beefed up in the nation's capitol, so the focus then shifted from Washington, D.C. to America's Heartland.
On March 3, 1995, the Task Force chief authored an updated warning that predicted the terrorists now planned to strike at "the heart of the U.S." Twelve cities were placed on the potential target list because of the radical Islamic groups and terrorist networks operating within those cities. Oklahoma City was on the original list.
But more importantly, the Task Force learned that the Middle Eastern terrorists had recruited two "lily whites" to carry out the bombing of an American federal building. "Lily whites" in the lexicon of the intelligence community refer to individuals who have no criminal history and no obvious ties to Middle Eastern terrorist organizations. Both Timothy McVeigh, a decorated Gulf War veteran, and Terry Nichols, a former soldier and Kansas farmer, both fit that criterion.
The 1995 prior warnings were generated from multiple intelligence sources in several Middle Eastern countries over a period of 18 months prior to the Oklahoma City bombing. Intelligence was also gathered from terrorist conferences which took place in the fall of 1994 and early 1995 in which Tehran's overriding desire to strike inside the "Great Satan" was unveiled. Osama bin Laden attended those conferences.
There was ample evidence that an international terrorism offensive, sponsored by Iran and Syria, was about to be launched inside the United States in the spring of 1995, sometime after the start of the Iranian New Year on March 21. However, I must emphasize that at no time did I uncover any evidence that would indicate law enforcement had enough information to stop the bomb.
The Congressional Task Force also obtained intelligence that revealed two "Oklahoma City Islamists" had traveled to Chicago in the summer of 1993 to attend a Hamas terrorist training camp to learn how to make car bombs from readily available, off the shelf materials. According to Mr. Bodansky, the bomb making techniques involved materials and design similar to the type of explosives used in the Oklahoma bombing.
Mr. Bodansky believed the heartland terrorist attack bore a distinct Middle Eastern signature. In his written analysis, the Task Force director postulated the "initial forensic investigation in Oklahoma suggests strong similarities to bombing techniques used by Iran-sponsored Islamic terrorists." He illustrated the uncanny analogy to the Middle Eastern car bomb that destroyed the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina on July 18, 1994. The AMIA bombing involved the Islamic terrorist recruitment of a "lily white" Caucasian who delivered the truck bomb.
The striking parallel to the Oklahoma City operation led Bodansky to deduce the AMIA bombing was a "test run" for Oklahoma City, just as the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina served as the "test run" for the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
Timothy McVeigh: Saddam Hussein's unabashed devotee
Until the date of his execution on June 11, 2001, McVeigh steadfastly maintained he acted alone, with minimal participation from Terry Nichols. Yet even in death, the lingering suspicion of McVeigh's treasonous collusion with enemy soldiers, upon whom he had once fired as a Bradley gunner in the Gulf War, persists today.
In March 1998, McVeigh's ire ignited as U.S. troops gathered in the Persian Gulf to launch air strikes if Saddam Hussein continued to block United Nations' inspections of his weapons arsenal. The veteran of Operation Desert Storm fired off a jarring salvo from his death row cell, expressing outrage at opinion polls that showed widespread favor for bombing Iraq. In a published essay, which received little fanfare, the convicted terrorist accused the federal government and public of "blatant hypocrisy."
"Do people think that government workers in Iraq are any less human than those in Oklahoma City? Do they think Iraqis don't have families who will grieve and mourn the loss of their loved ones?" McVeigh asked, expressing unambiguous sympathy for Iraq.
But most unnerving was this former Army sergeant's shameless condemnation of the U.S. bombing of Baghdad during the Gulf War, in which he donned the American military uniform. Brimming with righteous indignation, he passionately argued the Iraqi dictator's justification for "stockpiling weapons of mass destruction" in order to protect his people against neighboring hostile nations. In an April 2001 letter to Fox News, McVeigh made known his tacit endorsement of Ramzi Yousef's 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center when quoting the Muslim defendant's statement to a New York court before sentencing. "Yes, I am a terrorist and proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government," Yousef proclaimed during a January 1998 hearing. But this telling reference to the public proclamation of a militant Islamist was not the first time McVeigh ardently defended the murderous actions of Middle Eastern terrorists.
In a rare television interview with 60 Minutes, McVeigh castigated the United States government for cruise missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan in retaliation for Osama bin Laden's 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Africa. But for years, McVeigh's empathy for bin Laden, Saddam, and Iraq would remain unknown, while courtroom evidence shaped the profile of an American terrorist, who allegedly exacted revenge against the government for what he perceived to be totalitarian actions against its own citizens, not foreigners.
Shortly after McVeigh was arrested in April of 1995, ABC's Prime Time Live aired a segment in which a former army acquaintance of McVeigh said, "Tim always wanted to become a mercenary," preferably for the Middle East, because he said they "paid the best."
Alhussaini files a libel lawsuit
Despite the persuasive indicators pointing to Middle Eastern complicity in the Murrah Building attack and the eyewitness testimony which implicated Hussain Alhussaini, the Iraqi soldier filed a libel lawsuit against KFOR-TV in August of 1995.
Two years passed and he offered no evidence or witness affidavits that refuted Channel 4's stories or established his innocence. In 1997, the plaintiff, Hussain Alhussaini, voluntarily dismissed his libel complaint against KFOR, twenty-four hours before the state district judge was expected to rule on the station's motion to dismiss the case.
Six months later, in September 1997, the Oklahoma County Grand Jury, which was investigating the possibility of other unknown conspirators in the bombing, subpoenaed me to testify. With the permission of my confidential witnesses, I submitted to the panel copies of their sworn statements regarding Middle Eastern involvement in the bombing. One day after my publicized appearance before the Grand Jury, Alhussaini re-filed his libel suit in federal court.
Alhussaini's psychiatric records expose dark revelations about "John Doe 2"
Once again, nearly a year passed while the case languished. There were no depositions, no hearings, and no trial date. Then in July of 1998, the stalemate abruptly ended. A federal judge ordered Alhussaini to come to Oklahoma for a deposition. During the next few months, the former Iraqi army veteran stonewalled several subpoenas for him to appear in Oklahoma City to defend his contention that he had been falsely accused as a possible John Doe 2.
The dark revelations that would come to light during the ensuing weeks were astounding. After legal wrangling back and forth, Alhussaini's attorney reluctantly released to my legal counsel hundreds of pages of psychiatric records in which the Iraqi immigrant claimed to be experiencing mental delusions. The documents told a chilling story. Just two weeks after I testified before the Oklahoma County Grand Jury in the fall of 1997, he committed himself to a psychiatric hospital in Boston. He was seeking treatment more than two years after Channel 4 broadcast the stories that he contended "defamed" him and caused him emotional distress.
Most significantly, he lamented to his doctors that he was extremely apprehensive about the prospect of being subpoenaed before the Oklahoma County Grand Jury, claiming he was emotionally unfit to travel to Oklahoma to testify. He confided he had been haunted by visions of bombing victims. He claimed he fantasized about making a bomb and confessed his paranoia that the police would come arrest him in the dead of night.
After it became evident Alhussaini would have to comply with the presiding judge's order to appear in Oklahoma City for a deposition or risk an almost certain dismissal of his lawsuit, he finally appeared for questioning in October of 1998. Much to everyone's surprise, Alhussaini broke down under intense questioning by my attorneys and inadvertently disclosed self-incriminating details. Visibly shaken, he described what he said was an auditory hallucination in which a voice he believed to be Timothy McVeigh's said to him, "Why should I be executed by myself? I want you to be executed with me." He reluctantly admitted he told his psychiatrist that a voice whispered to him, "You are John Doe 2."
My attorneys speculated that even if the plaintiff was telling the truth about his unstable mental condition, he could not have imagined himself to be a bloodthirsty terrorist as a result of having viewed several brief television news broadcasts in which his identity and name had been painstakingly concealed.
We pondered perplexing questions that yielded no simple answers. Why did Hussain Alhussaini dream about making bombs, hide from the police, cower from macabre images of bombing victims, and evade being interviewed by the grand jury?
Alhussaini's tale of imprisonment as an Iraqi dissident discredited
With extraordinary frequency, Alhussaini's sworn testimony contradicted his previously published interviews with the press. His heartrending stories of persecution and imprisonment under the villainous leadership of Saddam Hussein unraveled as my lawyers placed before him immigration records that exposed glaring inconsistencies in his personal history. The documents refuted his claims of having been convicted of distributing anti-government propaganda against Saddam's regime. Most astonishing was our discovery that he failed to mention to his intake officer at the International Rescue Committee that he served eight years behind bars as a political dissident. Instead, during his alleged years of confinement and "torture" in an Iraqi prison, Alhussaini was working as a calligrapher for an Arabic advertising institute.
Intelligence and defense experts who have comprehensively reviewed Alhussaini's seven-day deposition and immigration file have concluded that his personal history was a complete fabrication. Alhussaini's absurd stories of participating in subversive activities against Saddam while serving in the Iraqi military would have led to execution, not imprisonment as he claimed. Defense intelligence analysts view his phony background as a clever means to facilitate his infiltration into the United States as a false defector and an Iraqi intelligence agent.
Federal judge rejects Alhussaini's claims of libel
On Nov. 17, 1999, U.S. District Judge Tim Leonard granted Channel 4's motion. In his ruling, Leonard determined that all fifty statements of fact and opinion that KFOR-TV set forth implicating Alhussaini in the bombing were "undisputed." Most notably, Alhussaini had not filed any witness affidavits to establish his alibi, leaving the witness testimonies, which discredited his whereabouts for the morning of April 19, unchallenged.
Another intriguing piece of this puzzle fell into place during a press conference in August of 1995 when Alhussaini first announced his defamation lawsuit against KFOR-TV. Alhussaini's lawyers refused to allow him to answer when a reporter asked where the Iraqi soldier was when the bomb went off. The lead attorney abruptly interjected, "I'm going to stop him from giving the exact location."
Seven witnesses named Alhussaini as the "dark-haired, olive-skinned" stranger they observed the company of McVeigh before the bombing, riding in the passenger seat of the Ryder truck, stepping out of that truck at ground zero, and speeding away from the shattered and burning remains of the Murrah Building in a brown pickup targeted by federal agents; yet the FBI had apparently never questioned him.
DOJ unwilling to official clear Alhussaini of suspicion in the bombing
Alhussaini's lawyers failed to produce an official on-the-record exoneration by the Department of Justice after the Iraqi national went on the local airwaves in June 1995 to publicly plead with the FBI to step forward and clear his name. That never happened. Given the controversial nature of the story, I doggedly pursued federal officials to publish an on-the-record statement exonerating Hussain Alhussaini of suspicion. The Oklahoma City FBI, U.S. Attorney's office, and a spokesman for the former Attorney General Janet Reno refused to do so.
I then reached out to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Chief of Staff for Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, Herb Johnson, asked the FBI if the Bureau was able to officially clear Hussain Alhussaini. The agency delivered this evasive response: "We cannot comment on a pending investigation." Mr. Johnson later confirmed the FBI's unwillingness to absolve Alhussaini of complicity in a letter to my attorneys.
In the fall of 1998, during his civil deposition in the lawsuit against KFOR-TV, the station's lawyers asked the Iraqi soldier this pivotal question: "To your knowledge, has any official agency of the United States government cleared you as a suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing?" After a long pause, Alhussaini sheepishly responded, "No."
Alhussaini takes job at Boston Logan where he fears another terrorist hit
When Middle Eastern terrorists unleashed their murderous fury on September 11, 2001, I scoured the investigative dossier to discover that Hussain Alhussaini went on to work at Boston Logan International Airport. In November 1997, four years before two planes were hijacked from Boston Logan on a murderous trek to the World Trade Center; Alhussaini confided to his psychiatrist he was apprehensive about his airport job stating, "If something were to happen here, I would be a suspect." He also disclosed that he was residing with two Iraqi brothers who provided food-catering services to the commercial airlines at Boston Logan. A background check into Alhussaini's former residence confirms his testimony. This intriguing fact just grazes the surface of the disturbing connections I have uncovered between 4-19 and 9-11.
Published: March 23, 2002
The Indianapolis Star
Though the U.S. government clings to the notion that Timothy McVeigh, acting alone, set off the horrendous explosion on April 19, 1995, that pancaked the nine-story Oklahoma City federal building, a former high-ranking CIA official says there's solid evidence to indicate he worked with an Iraqi John Doe No. 2.
Larry Johnson, former CIA officer and deputy director of the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism, told a network news show this week the FBI had failed to properly investigate significant eyewitness accounts of McVeigh meeting with the man believed to be a former Iraqi soldier.
Johnson made those comments on The Big Story with John Gibson, a Fox news program airing nightly at 5 p.m., which delved into an extensive dossier on the case compiled by former Oklahoma TV reporter Jayna Davis. The program aired just days after a lawsuit filed by the watchdog organization Judicial Watch that alleges Iraqi involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing and seeks compensation for victims from frozen Iraqi assets.
Davis, who reported from Ground Zero in Oklahoma City for NBC-affiliate KFOR, broadcast a series suggesting a possible accomplice to the bombing who had been seen with McVeigh on the days leading up to and the day of the bombing. Gibson unabashedly reported Davis' work to a national TV audience on three consecutive days this week.
On Monday, Gibson relayed that Davis' evidence is based "on the simple proposition that Tim McVeigh's John Doe 2 was an Iraqi, a former Iraqi soldier from the Gulf War, paroled into the U.S. under a claim of political asylum, known to be in Oklahoma City as of November of '94 almost a year before the Murrah bombing, spotted with McVeigh by multiple witnesses, and who in recent years was working at (Boston) Logan airport," where the Sept. 11 hijackings originated.
On Tuesday, Gibson posed the question to Johnson about a possible link between Iraq and Oklahoma City.
"I think this woman (Davis) has done a remarkable job of finding a link that was overlooked," Johnson said. Johnson also commented on a Justice Department review of the thousands of documents that resurfaced or were destroyed, delaying McVeigh's execution for a month.
"The FBI . . ., they still have not turned over all of the documents to the defense teams that came out of Oklahoma," he said. "In particular, the information that links, shows possible links to Middle Eastern subjects."
KFOR's reports distorted the face of one of those suspects and did not name him. However, on his own volition, a former Iraqi soldier who claims he surrendered to the U.S. in the Gulf War and who was brought to the United States from a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia, stepped forward and identified himself to two other Oklahoma City TV stations and The Associated Press as the man that KFOR had implicated as John Doe No. 2.
Hussain Hashem Alhussaini sued KFOR and Davis for defamation, saying the reports falsely identified him as John Doe No. 2. But a U.S. District Court disagreed. In ruling for KFOR, U.S. District Judge Timothy Leonard found in November 1999 that the station had taken extraordinary measures to hide Alhussaini's identity.
Leonard added that KFOR's reports were either "based on fact or a matter of opinion," and not negligence or reckless disregard for the truth. Alhussaini, who went to work at Boston's Logan International Airport after leaving Oklahoma City, continues to deny any involvement in the bombing. Former CIA Agent Johnson is unconvinced.
"I compared it to all the human intelligence I've looked at," he said. "And comparing it to classified material, this is not from just one witness, this is not from two witnesses; you're talking 23 people, you're talking at least 10 people who put Tim McVeigh with Hussain Alhussaini before the Oklahoma City bombing.
"Two people who identified Hussain Alhussaini and Tim McVeigh in a bar on April 15; three people who identified Hussain Alhussaini running from the federal building early in the morning at 5:30 as if he is practicing timing himself. You have two witnesses that put Tim McVeigh with Hussain Alhussaini in the Ryder truck; you have one witness inside the Murrah Building who sees Hussain Alhussaini eating out of the truck . . .
"The point is the FBI has not thoroughly, fully investigated this. It is an outrage. I went along for many years thinking they have covered the bases. They have not, John."
You can't say Davis didn't try. She tried to give the witness statements to the FBI in the fall of '97, but it wouldn't take them.
Patterson is a Star editorial writer. Contact him at 1-317-444-6174 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Dispatcher: "Be on the lookout for a late model almost new Chevrolet full-size pick-up full size pickup brown pick-up. Will be brown in color with tinted windows brown in color with tinted windows. Smoke colored bug deflector on the front of pick-up."
" Middle-Eastern males 25-28 years of age, six feet tall, athletic build, Dark hair and a beard dark hair and a beard. Break."
Officer: "Ok, Is this good information, or do we not really know?"
Dispatcher: "Authorization FBI."
The New Jersey Star-Ledger
Date: 1995/03/22 Wednesday
Page: Section: NEWS Edition:
LAWMEN GET WARNING OF PLOT ON U.S. TARGETS
U.S. law enforcement authorities have obtained information that Islamic terrorists may be planning suicide attacks against federal courthouses and government installations in the United States.
The attacks, it is feared, would be designed to attract worldwide press attention through the murder of innocent victims.
The Star-Ledger has learned that U.S. law enforcement officials have received a warning that a ''fatwa,'' a religious ruling similar to the death sentence targeting author Salman Rushdie, has been issued against federal authorities as a result of an incident during the trial last year of four persons in the bombing on the World Trade Center in New York.
The disclosure was made in a confidential memorandum issued by the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington calling for stepped-up security at federal facilities throughout the nation.
The ''fatwa'' was allegedly sanctioned by an unidentified Islamic Iman, or holy man, in retaliation for what was perceived as a religious ''insult'' against Islamic fundamentalists by federal law enforcement officers. According to the memo, the information about the threat was obtained from an unidentified ''informed source'' who said the death sentence was specifically directed against U.S. Marshals Service personnel.
The informant reported that the threat was issued because deputy U.S. Marshals allegedly ''insulted'' Islam ''by stepping on a copy of the Koran,'' the Islamic holy book, during a scuffle with several prisoners convicted in the World Trade Center bombing.
The Marshals Service memo said the agency believes that ''there is sufficient threat potential to request that a heightened level of security awareness and caution be implemented at all Marshals Service-protected facilities nationwide.''
Government sources say authorities in New Jersey are taking the danger seriously and have increased security at key federal facilities in the state, including all federal courthouses.
The memo, issued by Eduardo Gonzalez, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, warns that attacks may be designed to ''target as many victims as possible and draw as much media coverage as possible'' to the fundamentalist cause
The Kansas City Star
October 28, 1995
Camera saw figure in bomb truck
Oklahoma City video is unclear, but it may show John Doe No. 2.
The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY - Videotape from a surveillance camera captured a glimpse of a shadowy figure in the passenger seat of a bomb-laden Ryder truck minutes before it blew apart the federal building, a federal law enforcement source says.
The footage is not clear enough to identify anyone, but it adds to the body of evidence that a third figure - perhaps the long-sought John Doe No. 2 - took part in the attack with two other persons, the source said.
``There's a shape in there, but they can't see a face,'' the source said of footage, which was taken by a camera on a nearby apartment building. The camera picked up the shadowy passenger about three minutes before the bomb went off April 19 at the Murrah Federal Building.
The government says Timothy McVeigh drove to Oklahoma City in the truck, parked it in front of the federal building and made his getaway in a yellow Mercury Marquis. But prosecutors have given no indication that Terry Nichols, also charged in the case, was in Oklahoma City the day of the bombing.
Although a federal grand jury indicted only McVeigh and Nichols on murder and conspiracy charges, agents scoured the country for a third conspirator, known only as John Doe No. 2, who was portrayed in sketches distributed shortly after the blast.
Authorities later said that an innocent Army private resembled the sketches. But the drawings were never withdrawn. Moreover, the indictment accuses McVeigh and Nichols of acting with ``others unknown,'' and agents were still hunting for other conspirators.
A call Friday to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Mullins, a spokesman for the prosecution team, was not returned immediately.
Prosecutors repeatedly refused to discuss surveillance tape or other evidence in the case.
McVeigh's lawyer, Stephen Jones, said he had not seen the tape and could not comment.
A senior federal official in Washington said recently that agents currently searching did not expect to turn up another key player in the plot.
The law enforcement source, however, said many investigators remained convinced that John Doe No. 2 was still at large.
McVeigh and Nichols go on trial May 17.
Judge David L. Russell 1210 Federal Court House 200 N.W. 4th Oklahoma City, OK 73102
Dear Judge Russell:
Pursuant to instructions from lead prosecutor, Joseph Hartzler, I write you this letter to express my concerns about the Oklahoma City bombing investigation. January is coming upon us fast and I am concerned that there will then be no one in authority with sufficient motivation to pursue the case.
The families of the victims deserve to know who all was involved in the bombing, and there appears to be an attempt to protect the identity of certain suspects, namely John Doe II, evidenced by the following:
1) The hoax perpetrated by authorities that John Doe II was a Ft. Riley private who rented a truck on a different day. The Ft. Riley private was not with Tim McVeigh, nor does he remotely resemble the police sketch of John Doe II.
2) The lack of witnesses relating to John Doe II, namely:
a) the manager of the Great Western Inn on I-70 in Junction City, Kansas, where John Doe II registered using a foreign name and reportedly stayed in room #107. This manager apparently reported that John Doe II spoke in broken English and was driving the mystery "second Ryder truck." Strangely, this manager has reportedly "disappeared" and cannot be found;
b) the Elliott's Body Shop employee that reportedly gave the FBI artist the description of Tim McVeigh and John Doe II. The McVeigh sketch was almost perfect and there is no reason to doubt that the John Doe II sketch is less so;
c) the Oklahoma City tire shop employee who saw John Doe II in the Ryder truck with McVeigh shortly before the explosion.
3) The lack of the use of the John Doe II sketch in interviewing witnesses that had apparently seen him in locations other than those previously acknowledged.
Perhaps a new Grand Jury should be empaneled in 1996 dedicated to this investigation. If so, I suggest the following list of witnesses that need to be subpoenaed for testimony:
1) The manager (at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing) of the Great Western Inn on I-70 in Junction City, Kansas, if he is still alive and can be found.
2) The Ft. Riley private identified by authorities as John Doe II.
3) Architects, structural engineers and explosive experts selected by the Grand Jury.
4) Area seismologists and geophysicists, including Ray Brown.
5) All video surveillance tapes from cameras near the Murrah Building, including the one made by a Southwestern Bell camera which reportedly shows John Doe II getting out of the Ryder truck before McVeigh drove it to the Murrah Building.
6) Ralph McPeak, Jr.
7) Vickie Beemer
8) Tom Kissinger
9) Hilda Sostra
10) Mike Moroz
11) James Rosencrans
Time may be of the essence before witnesses disappear or lose their memories or their materials. The truth is as important to you as it is to me, I trust; therefore your response will be eagerly awaited.
Very truly yours,
The response to Hoppy Heidelberg from Judge David L. Russell
David L. Russell, Chief Judge United States District Court Western District of Oklahoma 200 N.W. 4th Street Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102
October 24, 1995
Mr. Hoppy Heidelberg
Re: U.S.A. v. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols: Case No. CR-95-110-A; and U.S.A. v. Michael Fortier, Case No. CR-95-111-R, United States District Court- Western District of Oklahoma
Dear Mr. Heidelberg:
Effective immediately, you are dismissed from the grand jury. Your obligation of secrecy continues. Any disclosure of matters that occurred before the grand jury constitutes a contempt of court. Each violation of the obligation of secrecy may be punished cumulatively.
David L. Russell United States District Judge
HEARING RE MCVEIGH'S MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Criminal Action No. 96-CR-68
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, vs. TIMOTHY JAMES McVEIGH and TERRY LYNN NICHOLS, Defendants.
No. 131, production of the memorandum warning identified in the New Jersey Star Ledger. The Government's response was it will submit in camera, and I don't know whether they have done that or not. That is one that is still to be resolved.
MS. WILKINSON: Your Honor, we need to discuss that, I believe. I, I think, disclosed the basic material that's in that threat; that it was specific to the conviction of the sheik in New York and the other -- his co-conspirators and that any information tending to indicate there was any threat said Washington, D.C. could be the -- would be the target.
THE COURT: Well, is this a marshal service communication that was sent to like chief judges? Or is this something different?
MS. WILKINSON: It's addressed -- can I get my copy?
THE COURT: You may. I don't think you've submitted it in camera.
MS. WILKINSON: No, I haven't.
THE COURT: Maybe we won't have to.
MS. WILKINSON: It is addressed to all the marshals across the country, your Honor, and it says at the bottom, This information should not be disclosed outside the marshal service and the court family. I believe that's their normal warning where it goes down through the marshal's service to the chief judge. Obviously, you're in a better position to know whether that's the procedure than I am, but --
THE COURT: Sometimes chief judges are in the court family. I --
MS. WILKINSON: It's my understanding that's how it works and that, often, it is also disseminated to local law enforcement, as I said yesterday.
MR. JONES: Well, your Honor, we asked for production of that under protective order to the defense. That memorandum was sent out within 30 days before the Oklahoma City bombing. It describes a threat to federal property. Talks about --
THE COURT: Well, why don't you go ahead with your plan to submit it to me and I'll decide it.
MS. WILKINSON: Sure.
MR. JONES: That's fair.
THE COURT: I'll -- my ruling is that the request is overbroad, just as the Government has responded.
137, list of ATF employees absent from the Murrah Building on April 19, 1995, before 9:00 a.m. The Government's response was it does not negate guilt or mitigation, but in a response the Government filed Friday, it addressed that issue.
And the Government's response resolves the issue, although we dispute that the resident agent fell eight floors in the elevator. We don't believe that's true.
But that -- nevertheless, he was in the building which is what the request --
THE COURT: That's the only thing that's relevant.
MR. JONES: 139, evidence of prior warning referenced in the Oregonian - - that's been resolved by the Government's announcement of the submission for 131 and the two letters concerning threats which previously have been furnished. The Government represents that's all it has.
MS. WILKINSON: Excuse me, your Honor, just to correct that. To be clear, we have made those two disclosures of threats, but we continue to review our files and obviously, if we discover other threats or new information comes, we'll continue to disclose that. I just wanted to make that clear that we're continuing with our obligations.
THE COURT: All right.
MR. JONES: One thing we do not have is a 302 of any interview with Judge Alley so I assume there wasn't one.
THE COURT: You don't have a 302?
MR. JONES: Correct.
THE COURT: Was --
MR. JONES: I don't know that he was interviewed.
THE COURT: Was the judge interviewed by an FBI agent and a 302 produced?
MS. WILKINSON: I don't know, your Honor. I have to go back to the index. I assume Mr. Jones has looked at the index, and if he says he didn't receive the - -
THE COURT: This is all about something that appeared in a newspaper?
MS. WILKINSON: Yes, Judge. What it is, it's the same story, I believe, as I told you this threat was -- the threat warning from the marshal service on March 15 was given to the -- the court family; and I believe after the bombing, Judge Alley made mention of the fact that he had received a general warning, you know, prior to the bombing.
MR. JONES: Well, I don't know that they are the same.
THE COURT: I see. But I mean, this is generated by the fact that there was some -- something in this newspaper in Oregon?
MR. JONES: He was interviewed by the Oregonian on the day of the bombing. He grew up in Oregon, and they called him because of the connection.
THE COURT: I see.
MS. WILKINSON: Your Honor, could I ask if Mr. Jones has interviewed Judge Alley?
THE COURT: Do you want to answer that, Mr. Jones?
MR. JONES: Well, if you'll consult your index of people I've interviewed, no, I haven't interviewed Judge Alley. He's interviewed me on a few occasions.
173 and 174 --
THE COURT: Well, have we left that open here? I'm not sure what the resolution of this has been. You don't have an interview report of anybody interviewing Judge Alley about this public statement? Is that the response?
MS. WILKINSON: I don't believe we do, your Honor, but I'd have to go back and check our index. As I said, we're working from the same index that we provided to Mr. Jones.
THE COURT: Yeah. Yeah. And I'm sure Judge Alley is equally available to the defense counsel as he is to the Government's counsel.
MS. WILKINSON: That was my point.
THE COURT: Yes. Well, I'll make it explicitly for you.
MS. WILKINSON: Thank you.
The following are excerpts from a complete transcript of the preliminary hearing of Timothy McVeigh, held April 27, 1995 in Oklahoma City. The hearing established that there was probable cause to hold McVeigh over for trial for the bombing of a federal office building on April 19, 1995.
JON HERSLEY(FBI Agent)
Q. In your review of the surveillance photos, did you find any surveillance photos of that parking lot across the street from the Murrah Building?
A. You characterized that as my review of the photographs. I was shown those particular photographs by Agent Lamar.
Q. Have you been shown a photograph of that particular parking lot, sir, across the street from the Murrah Building that includes the speeding Mercury in the photograph?
A. We don't know for sure yet. Those photographs are not
real clear. They are taken from a pretty good distance away. There appears to be a light-colored car in the very vicinity where this witness testifies -- or provides the information was speeding away from. We are not able to determine yet if that is in fact the yellow Mercury.
Q. Can you clearly tell in the photographs that you have seen or have you been advised that you can clearly tell in the film the time of the explosion?
A. I'm not sure I understand your question.
Q. Well, I don't know how to -- can you tell in the film or the photographs when the explosion occurs?
A. The film that I viewed was before the explosion. I did not view the entire film. The pictures that were shown to me were before the explosion.
Q. The pictures that you saw of that particular parking lot -- now I'm talking about the parking lot across the street from the Murrah Building --
Q. -- in a northerly direction, that parking lot, there is film of that parking lot prior to the time of the explosion?
Q. Is it time-stamped so that you can tell a particular time of day on the 19th of April that that camera is viewing, scanning that parking lot?
Q. Can you tell me where that particular camera was located?
A. I believe that particular camera was located on the apartment building there that we have been speaking of.
Q. So those were some more pictures from the Regency?
A. Yes, those are the pictures from the Regency.
Q. So the camera from the Regency -- is this the camera at the very top of the Regency Tower?
A. I don't know the exact location of the camera, but it kind of scans that whole area there, is what has been represented to me. It scans in front of the Tower building and also over towards the parking lot.
Witnesses Say McVeigh Not Alone - Testimony Places John Doe 2, Another Man With Bomber
Judy Kuhlman, Diana Baldwin 09/11/1997
NOTE: Staff writer Ed Godfrey contributed to this report.
Another witness also told grand jurors Wednesday he saw McVeigh and the mysterious John Doe 2.
Dennis Rodney Johnson, 32, was the third witness of the day and testified for two hours and 20 minutes.
Johnson said he told jurors he nearly struck the two men with his catering truck as they crossed the intersection of NW 5 and Robinson less than a minute before the explosion.
Johnson said he talked to federal authorities immediately after the bombing and several times before McVeigh's trial.
He said federal authorities told him he was going to be called as a witness in the McVeigh trial. Then in January he was told he would not testify.
"I know I wasn't called because I would have to testify that I did see John Doe 2. I know I saw John Doe 2," Johnson said.
He wants the federal government to quit doubting the existence of John Doe 2.
Johnson described the man he saw as dark-skinned, about 5 feet 8 inches tall with black hair. He said the man was wearing blue jogging pants, a sweat shirt and jacket.
The jury also has received a deposition from another man, Danny Wilkerson, who is seriously ill.
Wilkerson owns a convenience store on the first floor of the Regency Tower Apartments, just west of the Murrah Building on NW 5.
Wilkerson claims he sold McVeigh a pack of cigarettes and two soft drinks about 10 minutes before the bomb exploded. He claims another man was sitting in the Ryder truck cab that was waiting outside the store.
Staff writer Ed Godfrey contributed to this report.
Now why might this have been covered up?
Houston Chronicle,p.A-1, May 12,1995
Published: May 12,1995 Author: Dan Thomasson and Peter Copeland/Scripps Howard News Service
A third man wanted in the Oklahoma City bombing has been identified as Steven Colbern, a fugitive from a previous firearms charge.
Colbern, aged 35 or 36, is described as 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds with green eyes, which roughly matches the description of John Doe II.
Law enforcement sources said Thursday night that Colbern was identified through his brown pickup. It was captured, by chance on video taken from the state trooper's car that stopped Timothy McVeigh for speeding only 80 minutes after the blast.
"That trooper had a hell of a day," a federal investigator said.
An automatic camera in the car of Trooper Charles Hanger was taping the arrest of McVeigh. In the background was the image of the pickup, which also pulled over while McVeigh was being questioned.
Sophisticated enhancement techniques were used to improve the video until investigators could read the license plate number.
The truck, registered to Colbern, contained traces of ammonium nitrate, believed to be the main explosive ingredient used in the bombing.
Colbern's age is uncertain. His address is unknown, but he shared a mail drop with McVeigh in Kingman, Ariz., sources said. The truck was found parked outside an abandoned mobile home in Kingman.
Colbern already was wanted on a federal firearms charge, officials said. He was arrested last summer in San Bernadino, Calif., for carrying a gun with a silencer. He was allowed to post bail but skipped."
Link November 10, 2001
No Bail for Friend of Man Suspected of Preparing for Sept. 11 Hijackings By JO THOMAS
An Oklahoma friend of Zacarias Moussaoui, the man the authorities suspect was meant to be the 20th suicide hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks, has been ordered held without bail on weapons charges by a federal magistrate in Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma man, Mujahid Abdulqaadir Menepta, 51, who was arrested on Oct. 11 and taken to New York as a material witness in the World Trade Center investigation, is dangerous and poses a flight risk, Jeffrey Whitney, an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, testified at a hearing on Wednesday. He made no specific reference to Mr. Moussaoui.
Without offering many details, Mr. Whitney told the court that some telephone numbers connected with cellphones seized in a search of Mr. Menepta's home in Norman were associated with continuing criminal investigations in Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Detroit, El Paso and Kansas City, Mo. These involve organized crime, drugs and money laundering, he said.
Mr. Whitney told the court that Mr. Menepta, who was born Melvin Lattimore in St. Louis, and changed his name in 1989 after converting to Islam, came to the attention of the authorities the day after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. He testified that an informer told federal agents that Mr. Menepta had belonged to an Islamic group in Norman and St. Louis, whose leaders advocated terrorist acts and killing law enforcement agents.
Mr. Whitney also told the court that Mr. Menepta had said the Secret Service told him that one of the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 had used his visa number. Mr. Whitney said he could not confirm Mr. Menepta's account.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Menepta, who lives in Norman, gave several interviews in which he defended Mr. Moussaoui, 33, whom he knew through a mosque. Mr. Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan descent was arrested in Minneapolis on Aug. 17 on immigration charges after he sought lessons on how to fly jets, but expressed no interest in learning how to take off or land.
Mr. Moussaoui lived in Norman last year while a student at the Airman Flight School there. Mr. Menepta told The Daily Oklahoman in an interview on Oct. 2 that he had seen Mr. Moussaoui every day at a local mosque and would be shocked if he were involved in the attacks.
"I think he's a scapegoat," Mr. Menepta told the newspaper in an article published on Oct. 9.
He was arrested as a material witness two days later. Shortly afterward, federal agents said they found a shotgun, a rifle, a semiautomatic pistol and more than 600 rounds of ammunition at Mr. Menepta's home. He told the agents he used the shotgun for hunting.
Mr. Menepta served time in prison for a 1970 robbery in Colorado and was charged with being a felon in possession of firearms.
Susan Otto, Mr. Menepta's lawyer in Oklahoma City, on Wednesday questioned the truthfulness of the government's informer and observed that no one had been charged with a crime back in 1995.
Mr. Menepta's mother, Cynthia Lattimore, 87, said her son collected guns, nothing more. "He just likes guns," she said. "Not to kill nobody."
Note:Susan Otto was one of McVeigh's first defense attorneys
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