ISIS: STATE OF TERROR
LINKSBlogs of War
Making Sense of Jihad
Views from the Occident
American Al Qaeda Members
News, documents and analysis on violent extremism
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Latest OKC Bombing Probe Finds New Ramzi Yousef Leads, But No Smoking Gun
A new Congressional report outlines additional -- but still circumstantial -- links between
Update 1/05/07: 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." End update.
The report was provided to INTELWIRE by attorney Jesse Trentadue, who has been pursuing new information on the case through Freedom of Information Act requests and other means (link). Trentadue said he seriously questioned the report's focus on possible connections to Islamic extremists, but said it clearly illustrates the Justice Department's unwillingness to cooperate with investigations of the
Trentadue's investigation has focused on connections between Timothy McVeigh, Nichols and domestic extremists, including a German national tied to McVeigh by phone records. The report broke little new ground on this front, and neglected some existing reports based on court records, but it did identify several areas in which the FBI's investigation was found to be lacking.
The report yielded a number of new fragments of information, many of which are suggestive of a broader conspiracy in the April 19, 1995 bombing of the
According to the report, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating told investigators that President Bill Clinton's first comment to him after the bombing was, "God, I hope there's no Middle Eastern connection to this."
The report focused on three main issues:
The report did find significant new clues that suggest a link between Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef, including material gleaned from a review of Yousef's phone records. But it stopped short of saying a connection can be proven.
YOUSEF AND NICHOLS
It has long been known that Terry Nichols and Ramzi Yousef were both in the Philippines in late 1994 and early 1995. Nichols married a Filipina in 1991. They were in the same town, Cebu City, on at least one occasion and visited some of the same locations.
INTELWIRE previously reported that Nichols was scheduled to fly back to the United States on the same day that Yousef planned to bomb a dozen U.S.-bound airliners. An examination of court records and eyewitness accounts strongly suggests that Nichols would have been traveling on one of the same air routes Yousef had targeted.
The Rohrabacher investigation did not address these points, but did uncover some new information about where and when the travels of Yousef and Nichols appear to have overlapped, as well as more specific information regarding previous reports.
For instance, although previous reports had indicated that Nichols brought a book on explosives to the
What the report does not mention is that handwritten notes taken from Ramzi Yousef's apartment in the
A spiral notebook found in Yousef's apartment in January 1995 contained notes in Arabic concerning the melting temperature of chemicals used in improvised explosives.
During Yousef's 1995 trial for a plot to bomb
The Subcommittee report also found that Ramzi Yousef called the number of an apartment in
According to the report:
The report further stated:
What the report omits is that Nichols made several phone calls to the Malaluan boarding house after he returned to the
Court records indicated that Terry and Marife Nichols had stayed in an apartment connected to a Cebu lumberyard during Terry Nichols' final visit to the
Phone records indicate that Nichols made numerous calls to both the lumberyard and the boarding house after returning to the
The report adds a new possible connection. According to the report, Yousef may have stayed at the Sundowner Hotel in Cebu between December 1994 and January 1995, a period during which Nichols was also in
The Sundowner Hotel was the same location where Nichols met his wife years earlier, according to the report. The hotel was the location of Shelton Paradise Tours (also known as Paradise Shelton Tours), a "mail order bride" company used by Nichols to meet his wife.
JOHN DOE #2
The report reviews previously published information about a never-apprehended suspect in the bombing known as John Doe No. 2, from the designation on an FBI composite sketch. The FBI subsequently ruled that the suspect had never existed.
Without offering specific new details, the report says the FBI failed to investigate eyewitness accounts of the John Doe 2 sightings, including accounts claimed by reporter Jayna Davis and reports specifically pertaining to an Iraqi national, Hussain Al-Hussaini, identified by
The report said the link between Hussaini and John Doe #2 was inconclusive (as was virtually all the information cited in the report), but it stated that the FBI had not sufficiently investigated the situation. According to the report:
ANDREAS STRASSMEIR AND DOMESTIC LINKS
The report looked into a possible link between Timothy McVeigh and Andreas Strassmeir, a German national with ties to white supremacist organizations around the country. This portion of the report largely reiterated previously published material (link)
A few new details emerged, however. "Nichols suggested that McVeigh often talked of his good friend 'Andy the German,'" the report said, without further elaboration. The report glossed over court records concerning ATF informant Carol Howe (link) who told her handler before the Oklahoma City bombing that Strassmeir was planning to bomb federal buildings.
The report also contained errors regarding Strassmeir. For instance, the report cited the German's membership in the Texas Light Infantry Brigade, which it referred to as "a Civil War reenactment group." In fact, FBI documents (link) reveal the group was a white supremacist militia organization with a number of possible connections to other suspected
The report did offer a possible new verification of the association between McVeigh and Strassmeir:
The report concluded that the investigation of Strassmeir was insufficient.
The report also addressed previously published information which suggests McVeigh was connected to a group of white supremacist bank robbers known as the Midwest Bank Robbers or the Aryan Republican Army.
According to the report, all surviving members of the group who could be found for interviews "denied knowing Timothy McVeigh or having any part of the
Richard Guthrie, an ARA member, committed suicide in prison shortly after his arrest, even as he claimed that he would reveal information about the
Kenneth Trentadue was the brother of Jesse Trentadue. For more on that case, click here.
One surviving member of the ARA could not be located, the report said. Investigators found that Kevin McCarthy was a participant in the witness protection program.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FAILINGS
The most definitive conclusion of the Subcommittee investigation was that the FBI and Justice Department seemed unwilling or unable to cooperate with investigators.
The report cited specific failings in the initial investigation as well:
The report concluded:
The full text of the report follows:
Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.
Tweets referencing this post:
"...smart, granular analysis..."ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post
More on ISIS: The State of Terror
"...a timely warning..."Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
"At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times
More on Jihad Joe
Full Text: The Oklahoma City Bombing: Was There A ...
Omar Abdel Rahman May Be Near Death
Two New OKC Documents In Trentadue Lawsuit
Still Images From Video of Jose Padilla During Ene...
No 'Dirty Bomb' Questions During Padilla Interroga...
New Document: 1996 CIA Report on Terrorist Abuse o...
Terry Nichols Claims New Evidence in Oklahoma City...
Saudi Caller Claimed Responsibility for Oklahoma C...
Complete List of al Qaeda Members Named By UN 1267...
INTELWIRE Sourcebooks: Ali Mohamed, Benevolence In...
New York Pipe Bomb Suspect Linked to Revolution Muslim
The Utility of Lone Wolves
Interview with Online Jihadist Abu Suleiman Al Nasser
A Way Forward for CVE: The Five Ds
How Terrorists Use The Internet: Just Like You
PATCON: The FBI's Secret War on the Militia Movement
Interview About Jihad With Controversial Cleric Bilal Philips
Forgeries on the Jihadist Forums
U.S. Gave Millions To Charity Linked To Al Qaeda, Anwar Awlaki
State Department Secretly Met With Followers of Blind Sheikh
State Department Put 'Political Pressure' On FBI To Deport Brother-in-Law Of Osama Bin Laden In 1995
FBI Records Reveal Details Of Nixon-Era Racial Profiling Program Targeting Arabs
Gaza Flotilla Official Was Foreign Fighter in Bosnia War
U.S. Had 'High Confidence' Of UBL Attack In June 2001
Behind the Handshake: The Rumsfeld-Saddam Meeting