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Friday, January 16, 2004

ANALYSIS: New MS Claims Elohim City Link to OKC Bombing


A story published by the McCurtain Daily Gazette details an elaborate conspiracy to bomb the Murrah Federal Building by white separatists associated with the Elohim City compound in Oklahoma.

J.D. Cash of the Gazette reveals the contents of a manuscript written by a federal death row inmate named David Paul Hammer, who had contact with McVeigh before his death. The MS provides copious dates and names associated with the alleged plot, outlining an extremely complicated plan to execute the bombings and fund revolutionary activities through a series of bank robberies. The MS also claims that Nichols had relatively little culpability in the bombing plot.

A "first blush" analyis by INTELWIRE found no immediate conflict with any indisputably proven movements by McVeigh during the crucial dates identified in the MS. In fact, the MS appeared to closely match even relatively obscure details of McVeigh's movements. However, the account of the bomb's construction and delivery, as detailed in the MS, appears to conflict somewhat with well documented incidents in which McVeigh and Nichols purchased and stored chemicals and supplies used in the bombing.

The MS also largely exonerates Nichols for his alleged role in the bombing, which conflicts with the fairly conclusive documentary evidence closely linking Nichols and McVeigh, as well as statements, testimony and evidence that seem to definitively implicate Nichols as a significant partner of McVeigh's (regardless of any other individuals possibly involved in the plot).

McVeigh was known for distortions and even outright lies on the rare occasions that he discussed the bombing with anyone after his arrest, as well as in more informal conversations in the years preceding the bombing. The date and name correspondences in the MS, while not necessarily validating the entire account, do raise the significant possibility that some of the claims are accurate, or at least that McVeigh intimately knew the people named. Much of the information in the MS corresponds to previous reporting by Cash and reports by AP investigative bureau chief John Solomon, who has worked with Cash on various related stories.

Taken in whole, it would appear that the MS offers new (but still circumstantial) support for an alleged connection to Elohim City. However, signficant elements of the document, especially in relation to events preceding the bombing during early 1995, are sufficiently inconsistent with the evidence to suggest that several specific claims should be examined with a skeptical eye.

-- JM Berger

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Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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