The Terrorist Motel
The I-40 connection between Zacarias Moussaoui and Mohamed Atta
by Jim Crogan
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE NONDESCRIPT ROADSIDE motel outside Oklahoma City was just a fleeting encounter during the twisted cross-country odyssey of the terrorists who would carry out the September 11 attacks. Mohamed Atta, alleged leader of the plot, and two companions wanted to rent a room, but couldn't get the deal they wanted, so they left.
It was an incident of no particular importance, except for one thing. The owner of the motel remembers Atta being in the company of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker," who was arrested prior to September 11 and now faces conspiracy charges in connection with the terror assaults.
If this recollection is correct, the entire incident, and its absence from the public record, raises new questions about the FBI investigation of Moussaoui and even the 1995 destruction of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Already the FBI has endured a withering political and media critique for failing to aggressively investigate Moussaoui and his contacts during his four weeks in custody prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Some FBI officials have responded by characterizing Moussaoui as only a minor player. But the report from the motel owner, if proven, could change that. And it also could force the FBI to reopen its investigation of Middle Eastern connections to the 1995 Oklahoma City blast, because convicted bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols reportedly stayed at the same motel, interacting with a group of Iraqis during the weeks before the bombing.
AT PRESS TIME, THE ERRATIC MOUSSAOUI, WHO IS representing himself, was attempting to plead guilty and bring his trial to a close. The 34-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent had previously filed some 94 hand-scrawled, rambling motions attacking the government's case and its right to prosecute him.
But that circus obscures a conundrum of a different sort. The government's case, as outlined in its new six-count conspiracy indictment, is largely circumstantial, lacking any definitive link between Moussaoui and the 19 hijackers identified by federal authorities. All of which makes the apparent shelving of the Moussaoui-Atta sighting all the stranger. In fact, even though multiple sources contend that the FBI interviewed the motel owner, there's no indication that prosecutors were told. It's possible that the FBI found the motel owner's identifications wrong or his story unreliable. But it's still odd that, in interviews with the Weekly, Justice Department prosecutors seemed to know nothing about the motel encounter, especially because agents reportedly told the motel owner they would pass the information on to Moussaoui's defense team.
The motel co-owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the incident occurred around August 1, 2001, just six weeks before 9/11.
"They came in around 10 or 11 a.m. and started talking to my desk clerk," he said. Even though he was working about 10 feet away from the trio, the owner didn't really pay any attention at first. "They were asking my clerk, who no longer works here, about a weekly rate for our rooms." (The former clerk could not be reached for comment.)
The motel, explained the owner, sets aside some rooms with small kitchenettes to rent on a weekly basis. "But they were all taken." He said the clerk explained the situation, but the visitors were persistent. "Finally, my clerk asked me to talk to them."
The motel owner said that Moussaoui and a man who appeared to be Marwan al-Shehhi -- who helped crash a jetliner into the south tower of the World Trade Center -- were friendly and said a few things, but Atta was clearly the leader. "He did most of the talking and seemed very serious," said the owner, adding, "I was standing face to face, about two feet away from Atta, and talked to the three of them for about 10 minutes. Atta asked if he could rent one of the other rooms at a weekly rate, and I told him no.
"I asked him what they were doing here in the area. And Atta told me they were going to flight school. I thought he meant [Federal Aviation Administration] training in Oklahoma City. But Atta told me no, they were taking flight training in Norman.
"I said I didn't understand why they wanted to rent one of my rooms, since we were about 28 miles from Norman and there are a lot of reasonably priced motels a lot closer. But he said they had heard good things about my place
and wanted to stay there. I told them I was sorry, but we couldn't accommodate them. Atta finally said okay. Then they all thanked me for my time and left."
After the attacks, said the motel owner, he recognized his visitors in photos from television reports. "I was really stunned," he said. Then he decided to call the FBI hot line. The motel owner said he didn't hear right back from the FBI. In the interim, he also spoke to a former law-enforcement officer who was investigating reported sightings of Mujahid Abdulquaadir Menepta at the same motel during the mid-1990s. Menepta, reportedly a friend of Moussaoui's, was arrested 30 years ago in Colorado for aggravated robbery and served more than three years in prison.
After September 11, Menepta publicly defended Moussaoui, calling him a "scapegoat." The FBI arrested him as a material witness and subsequently charged Menepta with a federal gun violation. He pleaded guilty and in April 2002 was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. He was never charged with any terrorism-related crime. But during the preliminary hearing on the gun charge, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agent Jeffrey Whitney testified that a confidential source placed Menepta at a meeting of a radical Islamic group in St. Louis where he allegedly threatened to shoot any police officer who entered the mosque. Menepta's attorney challenged the credibility of this report in court.
A former desk clerk at the motel -- a different clerk from the one who purportedly dealt with Atta and Moussaoui -- told the Weekly that he remembered Menepta because in 1994 and 1995 -- prior to the Oklahoma City attack -- Menepta frequently visited the motel office. There, he bought coffee and talked for hours to this clerk.
The clerk and his wife, who both formerly worked at the motel, said they picked Menepta's picture out of a photo lineup prepared by a law-enforcement officer who had interviewed the motel owner.
This officer, who also spoke to the Weekly on condition of anonymity, said that after the motel owner told him about the Moussaoui sighting, he contacted a member of Oklahoma's Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the FBI.
The FBI finally acted on the tip. The motel owner said that on December 19, 2001, he went to FBI offices in
Oklahoma City for a formal interview, where he was debriefed by an FBI agent and by Oklahoma City Police Sergeant Jerry Flowers. "We talked for several hours, and I told them everything I knew." The motel owner said he would have taken a polygraph exam but was not asked to do so. The Weekly's law-enforcement source corroborates the December 19
The motel owner never heard from prosecutors in Moussaoui's case but got one more call from the FBI several weeks later. "The agent told me they had passed on a copy of my statement to Moussaoui's defense team, and I might be getting a call from them. But I was under no obligation to talk to them. However, I don't know if that was the truth. Since then, I have never heard from anyone connected to Moussaoui's case."
ONE REASON FOR THE FBI'S APPARent lack of interest might be this motel's alleged connection to Timothy McVeigh and a group of Iraqis who worked in Oklahoma City. According to the motel owner and other witnesses and investigators interviewed by the Weekly, McVeigh and several of these Iraqis were motel guests in the months preceding the 1995 bombing. Witnesses also claimed they saw several of the Iraqis moving barrels of material around on the bed of a truck. The motel owner said the material smelled of diesel fuel and he had to clean up a spill. Diesel fuel was a key component of the truck bomb that blew up the Federal Building.
The motel owner said he and his staff reported this information to the FBI in 1995. "We did have an ATF agent come out and collect the originals of the room registrations for that period, but we never heard back from them. And I never could get the registrations returned." He added that his previous experience with the FBI made him reluctant to contact them about Moussaoui. "But I decided it was my duty to tell them what had happened. So I did."
Former Oklahoma City TV reporter Jayna Davis also interviewed motel staff and former guests. In the process, she collected signed affidavits about their contacts with McVeigh and the Iraqis. She tried twice to give the Bureau this information, but the FBI refused to accept her materials. (The Weekly first reported on her investigation in an article published in September 2001.)
The Weekly's law-enforcement source said he has reviewed Davis' material and considers it credible. "Last December I personally took the documents to the Joint Terrorism Task Force," he said. "I told them they should do their own investigation." The response was not encouraging. He said he was later informed that the Bureau brought in an analyst, "but I was told it would probably go nowhere. They were afraid the whole Oklahoma City bombing can of worms would be opened up and the FBI would have to explain why they didn't investigate this material before."
The Weekly contacted numerous local and federal investigators and agencies, including the Oklahoma task force, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Justice Department. All declined to comment. Prosecutors on the Moussaoui case also declined official comment, but their reactions suggested they knew nothing of the motel encounter.
After being told about the motel owner's interview and allegations, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Spencer responded with a one-word question about the sighting: "When?" Spencer then declined further comment. Another Moussaoui prosecutor, David Novak, also declined comment. But Novak wanted to know the name of the motel owner.
Other substantial connections already tie the Sooner state to Moussaoui and, separately, several 9/11 hijackers.
According to the Moussaoui indictment, on September 29, 2000, Moussaoui made
e-mail contact with Airman Flight School in Norman. Then, on February 23, 2001, he flew from London to Chicago and then to Oklahoma City. What he did in the next few days is unknown or at least not accounted for in the indictment. But on February 26, Moussaoui opened a bank account in Norman, depositing $32,000. From February 26 to May 29, he attended flight school in Norman. Then he suddenly quit the school. Between July 29 and August 4, Moussaoui made calls from public pay phones in Norman to Germany. On August 1 and 3, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh wired Moussaoui a total of about $14,000 from two train stops in Germany to somewhere in Oklahoma. This wire transfer does imply a connection to terrorist plotters because al-Shibh, an alleged al Qaeda member, wired money to other hijackers. On August 3, Moussaoui purchased two knives in Oklahoma City. And on August 10 or 11, an acquaintance drove Moussaoui from Oklahoma to Minnesota for enrollment in a new flight school. Authorities arrested Moussaoui in Minnesota on August 17 on an immigration violation. As has been widely reported, Moussaoui attracted attention because he said he was interested in flying a plane but not learning how to take off or land. He was in federal custody when the 9/11 attacks occurred.
As for the terrorists who took part in 9/11, Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi visited the Airman Flight School in Norman in July 2000, according to the Moussaoui indictment. (The motel owner identifies al-Shehhi as the third person with Atta and Moussaoui when they allegedly inquired about a room.) And on April 1, 2001, Nawaf al-Hazmi, who helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, was stopped for speeding in Oklahoma and given two tickets. The Oklahoma state trooper found no outstanding warrants and turned al-Hazmi loose. The media has since reported that the CIA had been tracking al-Hazmi, but never told the immigration service or the FBI that he was a suspected terrorist during his 21-month U.S. stay. Authorities have never publicly accounted for Atta and al-Shehhi's whereabouts during the time of the alleged motel encounter.
The Moussaoui indictment lays out a tantalizing possible association between Atta and Moussaoui, but never puts the two in the same place at the same time. The link could exist, however, along a dusty Oklahoma roadside, off Interstate 40, at a small motel that is indistinguishable from hundreds of others, except for its possible connection to terrorists.
An Oklahoma Mystery
New hints of links between Timothy McVeigh and Middle Eastern terrorists
by Jim Crogan
Representative Bill McCollum
Republican Representative Porter Goss
EITHER CONVICTED OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBERS Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were part of a conspiracy, possibly involving Middle Eastern and Filipino connections, or they were not. Seven years later, the authorities have still not fully examined this question.
But taking on this issue would seem to fit the mission of the House and Senate Intelligence committees, which are jointly investigating intelligence failures by the FBI and CIA before 9/11. Chaired by two Floridians -- Republican Representative Porter Goss and Democratic Senator Bob Graham -- the Committees' began their closed-door work by focusing on two areas: U.S. investigations of terrorism since the CIA established a counterterrorism unit in 1986 and Osama bin Laden's role in sponsoring international terrorism since the mid-1990s.
Back in 1995, several Congressional Committees did search for international ties to the Oklahoma City attack, but came up empty, explained former Representative Bill McCollum in an interview. Still, the reports issued by the House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, which McCollum chaired until 1995, were quite prescient.
"The task force was on the mark when it came to their warnings about the emerging threat of Middle Eastern terrorism," McCollum said. "I can tell you that we were very concerned about the possibility of a Middle East connection to Oklahoma City. But we never found any evidence there was one."
McCollum, however, said he never heard of the reporting done by TV journalist Jayna Davis, which connected McVeigh and Nichols with Middle Eastern figures in Oklahoma City and the Philippines. Nor did he know of Davis' ongoing communications with Yossef Bodansky, executive director of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. "Seffy [Bodansky] never told me anything about that," he said. "This is all news to me."
After the bombing, Bodansky marshaled his intelligence sources and began an investigation. He found some of the same Middle Eastern connections uncovered by reporter Davis. "The stories you are telling fit very closely with the stories I have," he told Davis, in a taped conversation on April 24, 1996.
In the tape, Davis asks if the names are tied to the bombing. And Bodansky responds, "I didn't get them because I am trying to run a private, one-man census of the Oklahoma City area."
The government also turned up experts who believed they found possible evidence of a Middle Eastern signature on the bombing. In 1997, Stephen Jones, lead attorney for McVeigh, filed a motion claiming the defense team had acquired a one-page summary of a government report by two unnamed Israeli experts who examined the Murrah Building. "Their conclusion was the Oklahoma City bombing bore the indisputable earmark of Middle Eastern terrorists," said Jones in an interview.
The men were eventually identified as Dorom Bergerbest-Eliom, chief of security for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Yakov (or Yaskov) Yerushalmi, a civil engineer and Israeli government consultant. Attorney Jones filed a court motion complaining to federal Judge Richard Matsch that the government had wrongly denied the document to McVeigh's defense team.
"We never did get the full report," Jones continued. "Judge Matsch reminded the prosecutors they had a legal obligation to turn over any exculpatory material to the defense. However, the judge left it to the Justice Department to decide what was exculpatory."
DAVIS, THE FORMER TV REPORTER FOR KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, began investigating the bombing the day after the attack. In seven years, she's accumulated 26 affidavits and more than 100 hours of taped interviews. In particular, she zeroed in on a group of Iraqis who worked for Samir Khalil, a Palestinian-born businessman and owner of a property-management company in Oklahoma City. Davis also did pieces on John Doe No. 2, the mysterious figure identified in initial police bulletins as having been seen fleeing the federal building after the bombing. The FBI later announced that John Doe No. 2 never existed.
One of the Iraqis, Hussain Alhussaini, later came forward and identified himself as the person being fingered in Davis' television reports as John Doe No. 2. He sued the reporter for defamation. A federal judge dismissed the suit; Alhussaini has appealed. (See: Heartland Conspiracy, published in the L.A. Weekly, Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2001.)
The TV reporter, who has since quit the station, also interviewed Lana Padilla, Nichols' first wife. She told Davis that McVeigh had given her ex-husband thousands of dollars and paid for his first trip to the Philippines. Nichols, who is now awaiting trial in Oklahoma City on state murder charges, traveled extensively to the islands and eventually married a Filipino woman. Padilla has now been subpoenaed as a prosecution witness in Nichols' state case.
Davis also turned up material that appeared to connect Nichols to Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad. Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is now serving a life sentence in federal prison. He also had hatched unrealized plans to blow up 12 airliners and to assassinate Pope John Paul II.
Murad, a confederate of Yousef, is also in federal custody. He told Philippine police about a plot to hijack an airliner and crash it into CIA headquarters. Murad also claimed in 1996 that a large number of Middle Eastern men were being trained at U.S. flight schools in connection with these plots. This information was passed on to the FBI. What the agency did with it is unknown.
Court documents, related to this alleged Filipino connection, were attached to a motion filed by McVeigh's defense team in 1996. One is an FBI memo detailing a conversation between Murad and a U.S. prison guard after the Oklahoma City bombing. Murad told his jailer that the Filipino Liberation Army was responsible for that attack. The memo also cites a note Murad gave his guard, reiterating this claim.
Another exhibit from the defense motion is an affidavit filed by Edwin Angeles, a founder of Abu Sayyaf, a Filipino terrorist group. Angeles, who was assassinated by former comrades, wrote in 1996 that he was at a 1991 meeting in Davao City, attended by Yousef, Murad and Nichols, at which, they discussed "bombing activities, providing firearms and ammo" to terrorists and "training in bomb making and handling" of explosives. Nichols, he claimed, was introduced to him as "the farmer."
In February 1995 -- months before the Oklahoma City blast -- the House Task Force on Terrorism issued a warning that Middle Eastern Islamists, under the leadership of Iran, were preparing a series of terrorist attacks against the U.S. An update, issued in March 1995 -- just a month before the bombing -- stated the target list had shifted from Washington, D.C., to government installations and buildings in America's heartland. The task force distributed these alerts to federal intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. In 1996, terrorism-task-force director Bodansky gave a copy of the original warning and update to Davis. Reportedly Bodansky, recently passed on Davis' affidavits and taped interviews to the U.S. House Government Reform Committee, about which he refuses to comment. "I work for the government, and I can't talk about Oklahoma City," he said.
IN THE NINE MONTHS SINCE THE Weekly first published details of Davis' story, new information has emerged that raises more questions about the FBI's investigation into the bombing:
On April 19, 1995 -- immediately after the bombing -- the FBI sent an urgent request to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency requesting 10 Arabic linguists to help in its Oklahoma City bombing investigation. Linguists, serving on a 30-day loan, would not be permitted to monitor electronic surveillance.
After McVeigh's arrest, the FBI was contacted by the Defense Department to see if they still needed the linguists. According to an April 22, 1995 memo from the Department of the Army, an FBI agent said the linguists were being used to "monitor wiretaps of radical fundamentalist Islamists to protect the President from possible attack" during his upcoming appearance at an Oklahoma City memorial service.
On August 2, 1995, Federal Protective Services special agent Thomas Williams sent a memo to his branch chief, John Crowe, detailing his communication with terrorism task-force director Yossef Bodansky. In it, he states Bodansky told him that a lot of names that came up in NBC reports (by TV journalist Jayna Davis) overlapped with the names of suspects Bodansky had compiled.
In a taped conversation between Bodansky and Davis on May 18, 1996, Bodansky tells the reporter that by mid-April, intelligence information suggested that government buildings had been specifically targeted. He said the intelligence had been accumulated over 18 months. He also said he had gotten another warning from Israeli intelligence, a week before the bombing, that an attack would be launched in America's heartland.
Also on May 18, Bodansky faxed two notes to Davis in which he provides more details about the task force's intelligence analysis. Bodansky writes that after the bombing, it was determined that Oklahoma City had been "on the list of potential targets." The second note states that "The initial forensic investigation of the explosion in Oklahoma suggested strong similarities to bombing techniques used by Iran-sponsored Islamist terrorists, including the car bomb that destroyed [a] building in Buenos Aires on 18 July 1994."
An undated intelligence report by Bodansky discusses alleged terrorist training inside the U.S. that included some "Lilly Whites," people whose background would not tie them to terrorism. Bodansky states the training was ordered by Iran and conducted by Hamas operatives. His intelligence sources told him that the training occurred at a camp near Chicago. The first camp was allegedly held in 1990 and included about 25 trainees, who used code names. One group, he states, was reportedly given instructions on building car bombs from available materials. The second training occurred in 1993. It was specifically for Lilly Whites. They also used code names and were given state-of-the-art car-bomb training. Bodansky's sources also report that at least two of the 1993 participants came from Oklahoma City.
During a legal dispute with her former employer Bodansky wrote Davis a letter of support stating, "Having studied the material provided by Ms. Davis very closely, I consider it most sensitive, reliable and important evidence for the Task Force investigation." Bodansky also wrote, "Having carefully studied these tapes, as well as other work of Ms. Davis, I'm convinced that the witnesses she had interviewed provide credible testimony."
During a civil suit for defamation against Davis and KFOR-TV, Hussain Alhussaini, a former Iraqi soldier, submitted psychiatric reports from 1997, in which he states that he worked for a while at Boston's Logan Airport (where two of the planes were hijacked on September 11). Alhussaini first told his psychiatrist that he quit his airport job because "If anything happens there, I will be a suspect." Then he later contradicts himself, saying that he wants to look for another job "because he feels unsafe in the environment he works in, in the airport, given the recent events involving his being previously suspected of involvement in the Oklahoma bombing." In a 1998 deposition, Alhussaini states he is still working at the airport and has fears of losing his job. Alhussaini's specific job was never identified. Alhussaini still appears to be living in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan's operations, declined comment on Alhussaini's current work status or his airport duties.
News: Dodge City by Jim Crogan
THE MAINSTREAM PRESS FINALLY HAS STARTED paying attention to a story the L.A. Weekly broke 10 months ago about warnings that Middle Eastern terrorists were plotting an attack against the U.S. around the same time as the Oklahoma City bombing.
... Crogan News Dodge City Unanswered questions about the Oklahoma bombing THE MAINSTREAM PRESS...
Published July 4th, 2002 http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/33/news-crogan.php
News: The Terror Watch by Jim Crogan
... Crogan News The Terror Watch A chronology of events leading up to 9/11 FOR THE FIRST TIME...
Published May 23rd, 2002 http://www.laweekly.com/search.php?searchfor=Jim+Crogan+&go.x=19&go.y=11
News: McVeigh et al. by Jim Crogan
... Crogan News McVeigh et al. Congressional hearing to examine possible Middle East link to...
Published April 4th, 2002 http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/20/news-crogan.php
New World Disorder
The Oil War
UNOCALs once-grand plan for Afghan pipelines
by Jim Crogan
Illustration by Spain
A victory by the U.S.-led coalition and its Northern Alliance supporters would not only boost Americas power and influence in this strategic Caspian region, but it would reopen the door to a potential energy windfall for the West.
Afghanistans oil, gas and coal reserves are waiting to be exploited. And neighboring Turkmenistan, the former Soviet Republic, is loaded with resources, waiting to go to market. But landlocked by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan on the north and east, Afghanistan and Iran on the south, and bordered by the Caspian Sea to its west, Turkmenistan has struggled to find a viable supply route.
A 1995 proposal by UNOCAL, the Southern California oil giant, shows what might be in store and gives a hint of influence the oil-friendly Bush administration could have in charting the future of the strategic region. UNOCAL proposed building twin oil and gas pipelines from Turkmenistan, south through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to a shipping terminal on the Arabian Sea, with a possible pipeline extension into India. To date, the roadblocks have been twofold: Afghanistans ongoing civil war and the lack of international recognition for the Taliban government. UNOCAL says it has pulled out of the project.
see more... http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/02/new-crogan.php
9-11: New World Disorder
Unanswered questions about Timothy McVeighs and Terry Nichols possible links to the Middle East
by Jim Crogan
It is obvious material for conspiracy buffs: Did Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols really act alone, or was some larger terrorist outfit behind the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building?
In Oklahoma City, an investigative reporter began asking the question long before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Jayna Davis, in a series that aired on KFOR-TV in 1995, examined the possible existence of John Doe No. 2, a man witnesses saw with McVeigh outside the federal building moments before the bomb went off, killing 168 people. Her reports also raised questions about the purpose of several trips Nichols made to the Philippines, into areas in which terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden were known to hide out. Davis herself no longer freely talks about her work. She has been sued by a subject of her reports and advised by her attorneys not to grant interviews. Earlier this year, however, she appeared on Fox Network's The O'Reilly Factor and spoke at length about her investigation: "And what we discovered, an intelligence source at one of the highest levels in the federal government later confirmed, was a Middle Eastern terrorist cell living and operating in the heart of Oklahoma City . . . We have (22) sworn witness affidavits that tie seven to eight Arab men to various stages of the bombing plot . . . It really is a foreign conspiracy masterminded and funded by Osama bin Laden, according to my intelligence sources."
McVeigh went to his grave denying any foreign involvement in the bombing. His accomplice, Terry Nichols, swore they acted alone, and no proof of a wider plot ever surfaced.
The arrests of McVeigh and Nichols came quickly and closed the case for many. Less than two hours after the bombing, a state trooper stopped McVeigh's 1977 Mercury Marquis 80 miles from Oklahoma City because it was missing a license plate. Two days later, Nichols, who was at his Kansas farm on the day of the bombing, surrendered to police.
Minutes after the bombing, however, police radios carried a description of a brown Chevrolet pickup with "two Middle Eastern men" inside seen speeding away from the federal complex. A short time later and without explanation, police withdrew the all-points bulletin. The mystery over the truck became the starting point for Davis' investigation.
Davis found people in Oklahoma City who said they remembered seeing McVeigh meet with several men they describe as Middle Eastern in the months before the bombing. She also uncovered confidential warnings that a congressional task force issued about a possible Islamic-fundamentalist terror attack on "America's heartland" one month before the Oklahoma bombing.
Davis, in her early reports, makes it clear she is not certain of a connection between McVeigh and any terrorist group. And certainly witnesses were primed to view anyone who looked suspicious as "Middle Eastern" in the hours right after the bombing. What Davis wants, she said, is a full federal inquiry into the matter. One big-name lawyer trying to get such an investigation rolling is David Schippers, former chief counsel to the House of Representatives managers who conducted Bill Clinton's impeachment trial. "I've been practicing law for 40 years, and I know what bullshit is," said Schippers. "Jayna gave me a stack of affidavits, signed by credible witnesses, connecting McVeigh to Middle Easterners living in Oklahoma City. She also gave me a ton of supporting documents. I've reviewed this material, and I'm convinced there are solid leads here that need to be investigated."
Schippers said he is trying to get the material to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. "I made some calls, but no one would give me the time of day," he said. "I tried like hell to get to Ashcroft, but I just couldn't break through." He said he has not given up, but would not disclose his plans to get a full airing for Davis' findings.
The reports, which aired on KFOR in the months after the Oklahoma City bombing, are based on witness statements, court records, government documents and unnamed sources. A federal court order dismissing a lawsuit filed against Davis mentioned several of her findings, which include:
A brown Chevrolet truck similar to one seen leaving the federal building had been parked a few weeks earlier -- twice, in fact -- at Samara Properties, according to two employees at the Oklahoma City property-management company owned by Dr. Samir Khalil. In 1991, Khalil pleaded guilty to insurance fraud and spent eight months in federal prison. According to court documents, Khalil denied FBI allegations that linked him to the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Six months before the bombing, Khalil had hired a group of Iraqis for painting and construction work. On the day of the bombing, a former co-worker told Davis they reacted to the news with unrestrained joy. "They even praised Saddam Hussein, vowing to die in his service," a source stated in an affidavit. On April 27, police found a Chevrolet pickup abandoned at an apartment complex in Oklahoma City, stripped of its license plate, inspection tag and other identifying numbers. It had been painted yellow, though it was clear its original color was brown. One resident told Dallas FBI Agent Jim Ellis that the driver was "clean-shaven, with an olive complexion, dark wavy hair, and broad shoulders," in his late 20s or early 30s, and of Middle Eastern descent. The resident also identified him as a Samara employee from KFOR's pictures.
An FBI sketch of John Doe No. 2 resembled a Samara employee who described himself as a political refugee who had served in the Iraqi army. The TV station did not name him and digitized his photos to hide his identity. Later, Hussain Al-Hussaini came forward and said he was the man identified by several witnesses as possibly being John Doe No. 2, and sued the station and Davis for defamation and libel, saying he could be easily recognized from their coverage. (Al-Hussaini withdrew the state case, and a federal judge dismissed a second case; Al-Hussaini has appealed.)
In an affidavit, a waitress said McVeigh and someone resembling Al-Hussaini came into her bar on April 15. The waitress said the man she had identified from a KFOR photo lineup "asked me if I was married. He spoke with an accent . . . a Middle Eastern accent." She also said the FBI had interviewed her, and showed her photos and sketches of possible suspects. The photos were presumably taken from surveillance cameras near the Murrah Building. The FBI took possession of videos recorded by those cameras on April 19, and has refused to release them.
In an affidavit, Mike Moroz, a worker at Johnny's Tire Service, a few blocks from the Murrah Building, said that at about 8:30 a.m. on April 19, the day of the bombing, McVeigh pulled up in his Ryder truck and asked for directions. He insisted there was another man sitting in the truck cab. Moroz told Davis he had picked McVeigh out of a live FBI lineup. He also said Al-Hussaini, as shown in one of KFOR's surveillance photos, could have been the man he saw.
A patron at the Social Security office at the Murrah Building, who was wounded in the blast, told Davis she was standing 12 feet away when the Ryder truck pulled up. She said she saw McVeigh and a "foreign-looking man with an olive complexion and thick black curly hair poking out of a ball cap" get out of the truck. She also gave this information to the FBI, even describing the insignia on the cap of the person with McVeigh. She identified him as possibly being Al-Hussaini from KFOR's photos.
Employees and guests at a motel near downtown Oklahoma City reported seeing McVeigh with several Middle Eastern men in the months before the bombing. One of those men was identified from KFOR's surveillance photos of Samara Properties as possibly being Al-Hussaini. The others were identified as fellow employees of Al-Hussaini. McVeigh reportedly stayed at the motel, under the name of Bob Kling, an alias he had used before, according to the FBI. The witnesses said they had often seen several of the men moving large barrels around in the back of an old white truck that frequently broke down on the lot. The barrels smelled of diesel, they said, an ingredient in the bomb that destroyed the federal building. According to an FBI report, an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent confiscated the motel's registration records and logs.
In a hidden-camera interview, Terry Nichols' ex-wife told of his trips to the Philippines. "Tim bought Terry the first ticket for the Philippines" in 1989, she said. Nichols, who eventually married a woman from Cebu City, traveled, often without his new wife, back and forth to the Philippines, considered by some a hotbed for terrorist activity. His last visit came in November 1994. Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted of masterminding the 1993 Trade Center bombing and a plot to blow up U.S. airliners, operated out of Mindanao and Manila; Yousef received funding from Osama bin Laden; and, according to a motion filed by McVeigh's defense team, an American fitting Nichols' description met with Yousef in 1992 or 1993 in the Philippines.
Yossef Bodansky, the executive director of the U.S. House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, told Davis that terrorist organizations linked to Iran and Syria had been talking about a U.S. terror campaign since late 1994. The task force issued the first of several confidential warnings to federal agencies on February 27, 1995. It said that "Striking inside the U.S. is presently a high priority of Tehran" and went on to warn of attacks on "airports, airlines, telephone systems etc." An update, issued on March 3, 1995, said there was a "greater likelihood that the terrorists would strike at the heart of the U.S." Israeli intelligence sources warned one month before the Oklahoma City bombing that an impending terrorist attack would use "lily whites," which, Bodansky explained, are "people without any distinct background, record of any kind . . . who will never be suspected members of a terrorist group."
It is not clear how or whether all of this adds up. Davis has struggled to get the results of her investigation to the public. Twice, she has been sued for libel and defamation, in state and federal courts, by Al-Hussaini, who stepped forward on June 15, 1995, and said that he was living in fear since KFOR and Davis fingered him. He said he was at work when the bombing occurred and denied knowing McVeigh. The federal judge who dismissed his lawsuit said Al-Hussaini's claim that he was at work at the time of the bombing was false.
Nineteen months after Al-Hussaini sued in state court, he dropped his lawsuit. Davis said the legal pressure led KFOR to halt airing new material from her bombing investigation. In 1996, Palmer Communications sold the station to the New York Times Co., which was not interested in pursuing the story, Davis said. On March 3, 1997, she resigned.
In September 1997, Davis was subpoenaed by the Oklahoma County grand jury, which was looking into the possibility of conspirators in the bombing. Davis gave the jury all of her witness statements. The next day, Al-Hussaini refiled his libel suit in federal court, and two months later, it was dismissed. U.S. District Judge Tim Leonard said that Davis' reports are either true or statements of opinion. Al-Hussaini appealed, and a hearing was held this month, but no ruling has been made.
For years, the FBI has refused to comment on Davis' report. This week, the response was no different when the agency was contacted by the L.A. Weekly. Davis has tried twice, with the permission of her sources, to deliver the 22 witness affidavits to the FBI office in Oklahoma City. In 1997, agents said her lawyers needed to first contact federal prosecutors. Her attorney, Tim McCoy, said federal prosecutors rejected the offer, saying they would have to release the documents to McVeigh's and Nichols' defense teams if they accepted them. In 1999, Davis and another attorney who represented her, Dan Nelson, met with Agent Dan Vogel and got him to accept the documents. He, in turn, gave them to the FBI task force investigating the bombing. "However, I was told we gave the affidavits back to her because there was some question of ownership -- whether she or KFOR had legal rights to the material," said Vogel, who has since retired. Asked whether he thought it was odd that the FBI would reject potential leads, Vogel would only say, "That was a decision made by people above me."
Davis can't figure out why the FBI refuses to examine her material. "They had hundreds of agents on this case," Davis told Bill O'Reilly. "Why wouldn't they want to take information from a reporter who had sworn witness statements implicating . . . others in the Oklahoma City bombing?"
Recordings Confirming KOCO's Report and Later Cover-up of 9/11 Airline Ticket Purchase
See these links for downloading the sound file:
OKLAHOMA BOMBING COVER-UP
9-11 ATTACK ON AMERICA
"Proof" - Homeland Security was planned way before 9/11!
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