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Saturday, December 23, 2006
Full Text: The Oklahoma City Bombing: Was There A Foreign Connection?
By J.M. Berger
An investigation into possible foreign involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing has uncovered new information about links between Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef, as well as possible links to domestic white supremacist groups. The report of the investigation is scheduled for release next week. A copy was obtained by INTELWIRE and is presented in its entirety below. Click here for analysis.
Update: The text below is a draft, first reported by INTELWIRE. Click here for the final report (the two versions are substantially alike).
According to a disclaimer posted on the Web page of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, who led the investigation, "this report reflects the views of (the subcommittee chairman) and its investigators, and has not been approved by a vote of the subcommittee or the full International Relations Committee."
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the
House International Relations Committee
Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R - CA)
Staff Investigator: Phaedra Dugan
Press Contact: Tara Setmayer
On Wednesday, April 19, 1995, at approximately 9:02 AM, a bomb exploded in front of the
Within our jurisdictional, legal and resource limits, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee has conducted an intensive investigation into whether there was a foreign connection to the
First, we attempted to determine whether McVeigh or Nichols received any help from Middle Easterners, and, second, whether a German national living at an extremist compound in eastern
At the outset, members of Congress were met with a startling development. On March 31, 2005, the FBI was alerted that a second stash of explosives was missed by the FBI in their first search of Terry Nichols' house after the
PART I: Possible Middle Eastern Connections
There is serious, yet in some cases circumstantial, evidence that suggests a possible Middle Eastern connection to the
For example, of all the cities in the world, convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef and Terry Nichols were in
The actual proven link, however, is elusive. One indication came directly from Abdul Hakim Murad, Yousef's roommate, childhood friend, and fellow convicted terrorist. On the day of the
Another possibility of Islamic terrorist involvement in the
Note: at the outset of the subcommittee's investigation, former
This mindset, described by Governor Keating, may or may not have influenced the original
Terry Nichols in the
Terry Nichols began traveling to the
Marife met Terry Nichols on his first trip to the
Terry Nichols' Activities in the Philippines
On his first trip to
Terry Nichols' behavior prior to his last trip to the
Nichols' skill as a terrorist seems to have grown while in the
Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef
Lisa and Marife Torres had a Filipina friend and fellow "tour guide" in
NOTE: The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee was unable to confirm the identity of Vilma's "Khan" because, even with the help of the Philippine National Police and the American Embassy in
In addition to a "Khan" being with Marife's group in Cebu, a prominent member of the Philippine terrorist organization, Abu Sayyaf, made statements to investigators and police in the aftermath of the
Angeles' credibility is another matter. Members of the Philippine National Police insisted to Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee staff that Angeles was unreliable. The authorities asserted that Angeles was a drug user, a likely double agent, and had made several conflicting statements. He was released from a Philippine jail in 1997 and was promptly murdered in broad daylight on a public street. His statements about an alleged terrorist meeting that included Nichols and Yousef should not be ignored, but cannot be relied upon without verification. The subcommittee was unable to find such verification.
There is no doubt, however, that Nichols and Yousef were both in
Yousef decided to do a test-run of his airline-bombing plot in December 1994. He took a Philippine Airline flight from
In the December 1994 and January 1995 time period when Yousef and Nichols were in Cebu City, it is not known where Yousef stayed; however, items found one month later by the Philippine National Police in his Manila apartment suggest that he had either stayed at or visited the Sundowner Hotel, where Marife and Terry had met years before and where Tom Shelton ran his "tour guide" business. The opportunity for a Yousef-Nichols link-up during this time is clear. The proof, however, has not been established.
Note: Nichols hastily departed the
Phone Records Possibly Linking Yousef to Nichols
Ramzi Yousef was in the
The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee interviewed Ernesto and Adora Malaluan, who said they knew nothing about Ramzi Yousef or any of the aliases he used while in the
As Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee in October 2005, I provided the FBI with the evidence showing Yousef's phone calls to the close friends and neighbors of Terry Nichols' in-laws in
As one would expect of someone willing to plot the death of fellow Americans, Nichols' own veracity is far from clear. His initial interview with police was replete with lies and half-truths. To this day, he repeatedly promises to disclose more information about the case, only to blame it on Roger Moore, or hint of a sinister government conspiracy. At the same time, he has convinced his friends and family that he was a virtual patsy. Contrary to this passive image, McVeigh told his defense team that Nichols had actually threatened to kill him if he caught McVeigh sleeping with his wife. Furthermore, Nichols was on his own in PI where he obviously believed his life was in danger.
Nichols has gotten something of a pass for his role in perpetrating this horrific act of violence. His complicated attempts to manipulate those investigating OKBOMB, including the Subcommittee, suggest capabilities that belie his image as subservient to McVeigh. To this day, Nichols does not fully acknowledge his complicity in this monstrous crime, seeking instead to draw attention to others, some of whom he self-servingly hints have yet to be exposed.
John Doe Two
Timothy McVeigh visited Elliot's Body Shop in
An employee at a tire store in
Jeff Davis delivered Chinese food to McVeigh's room at the Dreamland Motel in
On June 14, 1995, the FBI called off the hunt for John Doe Two. The FBI based its decisions on the belief that Michael Hertig and Todd Bunting, two US Army soldiers, had rented a truck at Elliot's Body Shop on April 18, the day after McVeigh transacted his business. Hertig and Bunting, we are told, resembled John Doe One and Two. According to the FBI, Elliot's Body Shop employee Tom Kessinger had confused the days on which the customers appeared. The FBI's insistence, that these and other witnesses who saw McVeigh with someone else, reflects a curious mindset to discredit or ignore any such report. In this instance, queried on the issue, the owner of the Junction City Ryder truck rental remains adamant that a second man accompanied McVeigh. Eldon Elliot emphatically states that there was a second man with McVeigh, and that the FBI has aggressively pressured him to change his story. He, too, is a credible witness.
Within minutes of the
More alarming is the discovery of a published list of un-indicted coconspirators from the first
To this day, federal law enforcement cannot explain what, if anything was done to examine these possible links or scrutinize Khalil's activity related to terrorism in his hometown. Justice officials should at least show some curiosity about the subcommittee's request as to whether there is circumstantial evidence linking two major domestic terrorist attacks. As a result, our investigation into this matter is incomplete.
PART II: A Possible Link to a German National in
The subcommittee staff investigated whether there was a connection between a German, Andreas Strassmeir, and Timothy McVeigh. There is reason for suspicion.
Timothy McVeigh met Strassmeir at a gun show in
Although officially having only met Strassmeir once before, McVeigh attempted to call Strassmeir on April 5, 1995, in the time leading up to the Murrah bombing. He called from the Imperial Motel in
Timothy McVeigh and Andreas Strassmeir
Andreas Strassmeir is a German national who arrived in the
Approximately two weeks before the bombing, Michael Fortier and Terry Nichols expressed a lack of interest in further participation. On April 5, 1995, at 3:48 p.m., McVeigh called
There is speculation that a second phone call from McVeigh to Strassmeir on April 17 occurred, but the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee could find no evidence confirming this.
Some time after the bombing, Strassmeir was asked to leave
Additionally, Kathy Sanders, the grandmother of two young
Carol Howe came from a prominent
Howe dated Strassmeir in 1994 and January 1995. Howe asserted that Strassmeir trained
Howe also talked to the ATF regarding Dennis Mahon, an occasional inhabitant of
Note: Carol Howe was unresponsive to numerous attempts to reach her.
Midwest Bank Robbers
It is widely speculated that a group of white supremacist bank robbers, known as the Midwest Bank Robbers or the Aryan Republican Army, helped finance McVeigh's activities. The radical bank robbers included Michael Brescia (who was Andreas Strassmeir's roommate for a time at
The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee interviewed Michael Brescia, Pete Langan, and Scott Stedeford. Richard Guthrie is deceased and Kevin McCarthy could not be found. Of the bank robbers we interviewed, all denied knowing Timothy McVeigh or having any part of the
Mark Thomas has denied his own involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing; however, in a February 5, 2004 article, the Associated Press reported that his girlfriend, Donna Marazoff, told the FBI that in the Spring of 1995 Thomas said that "we are" going to bomb a federal building. The same AP report states that Thomas told agents he had no memory of saying that to his girlfriend. In his FBI file, according to the story, there is an article which claims that Thomas eluded that one of his fellow robbers was involved in the bombing.
Richard Guthrie had claimed that he would soon be revealing information that would blow the lid off the
The subcommittee's unsuccessful yet repeated attempts to reach Kevin McCarthy created more unanswered questions. Law enforcement officials told subcommittee staff that, after serving 5 years in federal prison for his role in the robberies, McCarthy was released on probation and returned to his native
To further attempt to locate McCarthy, the subcommittee chairman contacted the head of the Department of Justice's federal witness protection program. The official confirmed that McCarthy had, in the past, been in the system but that he no longer was. The subcommittee also discovered, through a private source, that McCarthy is no longer attached to the Social Security Number he had at the time of entry into the federal prison system. These facts raise questions about whether McCarthy is, in fact, still under some sort of federal protection as well as why the Department of Justice was unable or unwilling to help find him.
Midwest Bank Robber Pete Langan has alluded at times to the group's participation in the
There is limited and indirect evidence of McVeigh's relationship with the bank robbers. Jennifer McVeigh, in a sworn FBI affidavit dated May 2, 1995, claimed that her brother, Timothy McVeigh, produced a stack of $100 dollar bills from a "bank robbery" that she laundered for him. However, Timothy McVeigh told his defense team he believed that his sister had confused a "bank robbery" with the robbery he ordered of Roger Moore, an
Note: Jennifer McVeigh was unresponsive to numerous attempts to reach her.
In retrospect, it is not clear if federal law enforcement expended an adequate amount of time or effort exploring the links between the Aryan bank robbers, Andreas Strassmeir and Timothy McVeigh. For nearly a year after the bombing, the FBI did not interview Strassmeir. Only when he had fled the country was he queried briefly on the phone by the FBI. The agents apparently accepted his denial of any relationship with McVeigh, and there is no evidence of any further investigation into this possible link.
Federal law enforcement has been accused of an institutional mind-set that congressional oversight is a nuisance to be avoided or blocked. That mind-set was painfully obvious during this Subcommittee's inquiry into the
Nevertheless, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee's efforts uncovered significant new and relevant information not previously discovered or disclosed; however, unanswered questions and unresolved mysteries remain.
1 In 2005, ten years after the bombing, Terry Nichols' second stash of explosives was found after a tip to the FBI and Congress. It had been inexcusably missed during the FBI's original searches of the Nichols home.
2 Terry Nichols brought a book entitled The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives with him to the
3 Terry Nichols was responsible for the robbery of
4 Ramzi Yousef called Mila Densing's apartment on multiple occasions in the period leading up to the
5 Although there are indications that McVeigh may have been involved with the bank robbers along with Strassmeir, three of the bank robbers that the committee was able to contact, Langan, Stedeford and
6 McVeigh conceded to his legal team the OKBOMB conspiracy did begin September 13, 1994 with the passage of the assault weapons ban.
1 While McVeigh affirmed that the OKBOMB conspiracy began in September 1994, there remains question if there was a meeting with Elohim radicals, including Strassmeir, on or after that date. What has been verified is that McVeigh was checked into a hotel that day near
2 Did McVeigh receive funding from the Midwest Bank Robbers for the bombing? If not, why did Jennifer McVeigh state that her brother asked her to launder money from a bank robbery?
3 Did Kevin McCarthy ever see Strassmeir with McVeigh or did he know of a friendship between them? For a time, McCarthy, was Strassmeir's roommate in
4 Why has the Department of Justice been unable or unwilling to help the subcommittee locate Kevin McCarthy?
5 Where was Hussain Al-Hussaini the morning of April 19, 1995?
6 Are the several reliable witnesses who claimed to have seen Hussaini with McVeigh wrong?
7 Why was Terry Nichols concerned for his personal safety when he traveled to the
8 Why did Terry Nichols leave $20,000 in a package at his ex-wife Lana Padilla's house before departing for the
9 How did Terry Nichols, a man with no steady job or source of income, finance his five trips to the
10 Why was an unaccounted-for leg found in the debris after the bombing?
11 Did Terry Nichols play a bigger role than he has admitted or has been thus far proven?
12 Why was there so little investigatory focus on Strassmeir and Hussaini?
13 Why the rush to rule out the existence of John Doe Two?
1) The FBI was not justified in calling off any further investigation into John Doe Two.
2) The FBI did not thoroughly investigate the potential involvement of Andreas Strassmeir and Hussain al-Hussaini, et. al. despite evidence showing they may have played a role.
3) Authorities erred in allowing Timothy McVeigh to move forward the time of his execution while major questions remained about whether others were involved in the crime.
4) The DoJ has not seriously examined new information uncovered by this subcommittee. Specifically: phone records from Ramzi Yousef to a friend of Nichols' in-laws as well as the name Samir Khalil appearing on an unindicted coconspirators
5) Whether or not there was a foreign connection to the bombing is inconclusive. Questions remain unanswered and mysteries remain unresolved.
The original date of the 2001 execution of Timothy McVeigh was postponed by 30 days, following the belated discovery of more than 3000 documents. The files related primarily to the question of John Doe Two and eyewitness sightings. These documents did not raise significant doubt about McVeigh's guilt. Their disappearance, nevertheless, demonstrated that, despite multiple admonitions from the presiding judge and reassurances from law enforcement, the authorities missed key files in what was then the most prominent case in
A close look at the findings of this subcommittee suggests that it is reasonable to question if all leads were thoroughly pursued, all evidence gathered and properly analyzed. While most of the victims' families' desire for swift justice is understandable, with the benefit of hindsight, the McVeigh execution should have been further delayed until there was greater consensus on the subject of John Doe Two. As is clear by their documents (which the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee has had access to for the first time), his own defense team had significant internal doubts about McVeigh's candor with them on this subject. His only failure on a polygraph test involved his response to a question on whether he had additional help with the bombing.
The question persists, and the only person who might have shed light on it is gone. Further, it was McVeigh's decision to end his appeals that expedited his execution. His time from the end of trial to execution was only four years; the average condemned inmate spends well over a decade on death row. Given the significance of this case and the lingering questions, the execution date appears hasty in retrospect. Perhaps McVeigh would have continued to adamantly deny anyone else's involvement but simply keeping him alive closer to the typical death row stay would have allowed more opportunity for determining the truth.
We have found no conclusive evidence of a foreign connection, but there remain questions that need to be answered before this final chapter can justifiably be closed. Tis investigation determined that many pieces of so-called evidence backing various theories of a foreign involvement were not based in fact. In some instances, our own research is inconclusive. Specifically, Hussaini and Strassmeir, as well as the Yousef phone calls, needed more investigatory attention. The Subcommittee is dismayed that there remains a lack of willingness to examine legitimate issues. The overall assessment is inconclusive on the varied theories.
Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.
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