Probe of Islamic ties 'obstructed' by feds
Sat Dec 23, 2006 16:39

Probe of Islamic ties 'obstructed' by feds
Congressman who chaired panel says public
'would be outraged if they knew the extent'
Posted: December 23, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Art Moore

Federal officials were "outrageously obstructive" during a congressional probe examining possible Islamic terrorist and foreign ties to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, according to a congressman who disclosed to WND some of the highlights of a subcommittee report scheduled for release next week.

"The public would be outraged if they knew the extent of obstruction, or lack of cooperation, that has been given to this investigation," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who led the probe as chairman of the International Relations' Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

One example was the Justice Department's handling of a lead Rohrabacher received from an independent investigator concerning a Muslim figure with suspected ties to the Oklahoma City bombing whose name curiously shows up on the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center attack. The New York City bombing was attributed to Muslim terrorists connected to al-Qaida.

The report will document a series of correspondence between the subcommittee team and Justice officials that concluded with a refusal to turn over information about the suspect – for no apparently legitimate reason, according to Rohrabacher.

"This may well reflect the way the Justice Department deals with legislative branch investigations in general, which is very disappointing," Rohrabacher told WND. "In this case, however, we're talking about the investigation of the mass murder of 168 Americans and how that relates to the threat we face today from al-Qaida, and we find that to be rather alarming."

(Story continues below)

As WND reported, International Relations Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Hyde, R, Ill., scheduled a hearing to look into a possible "foreign connection" to the bombing, but it was canceled, Rohrabacher said, due to an inability to secure witnesses. Rohrabacher initiated the probe after examining evidence gathered by independent investigators such as Jayna Davis, author of "The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing." Davis asserts Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh were not the lone conspirators but part of a greater scheme involving Islamic terrorists and at least one provable link to Iraq. The explosion April 19, 1995, at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building killed 168 people, including 19 children, and injured another 684.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

But Davis, who previously criticized Rohrabacher's investigation as a "sham," wrote a letter in July to the subcommittee panel, declaring she would not participate in the hearing for a number of reasons, including concern that he gave equal credence to a "debunked" theory involving neo-Nazis.

Rohrabacher, who noted the limited resources available, said the probe pushed the understanding of the issue forward but could not conclusively prove a foreign connection.

"We have laid to rest a number of issues and a number of theories while at the same time we have concluded that all the questions have not been answered," he said. "There are serious issues to be resolved before this book is closed."

Rohrabacher concludes it was not good judgment on the part of the federal government to execute McVeigh – the primary witness – while questions remained and rumors of other conspirators persisted.

"We call into question the thoroughness of the FBI investigation," he said.

Rohrabacher said federal officials were unreasonably uncooperative. For example, armed with new evidence, he wanted to interview Nichols in prison in Colorado but was denied.

"We were told he didn't want to see us," Rohrabacher said. "I don't know if that's true, but what difference does it make if he wanted to see us or not? Does a person serving time for the mass murder of Americans get to decide which investigator he will or will not see?"

1995 explosion at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building killed 168 people, including 19 children, and injured another 684

Rohrabacher said he also was denied access to others with suspected ties to the Oklahoma City bombing, including al Qaida-linked terrorists Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Hakim Murad, who reportedly has said Yousef was responsible for the Oklahoma City attack.

Yousef, incarcerated in Colorado's super-max prison with Nichols, was a co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and convicted plotter in a plan to blow up a dozen airliners over the Pacific. His uncle is the senior al-Qaida leader and 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

"Federal authorities were outrageously obstructive in our attempts to see these prisoners," Rohrabacher said.

But the congressman said he could not assess motives.

"This may just be a case of bureaucratic arrogance that carries over into all such investigations," he said, but added it's "completely unacceptable" in investigating a crime of the magnitude of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

'Blood and mayhem on his mind'

Rohrabacher's probe took him and two staff members to the Philippines to follow leads suggesting a tie between Nichols and al-Qaida operatives.

The report, according to Rohrabacher, will provide new evidence that during Nichols entire time in the Philippines he was trying to learn how to make a bomb.

Nichols claims his numerous trips to the Southeast Asian nation – home to the al-Qaida-connected Abu Sayyaf terrorist group – were related to his mail-order bride, Marife Nichols.

But Rohrabacher says that on at least one trip, Nichols even took a book with him on bomb-making.

"There is ample evidence to prove that Terry Nichols went to the Philippines with more on his mind than sex," Rohrabacher said. "The sex thing is certainly a good cover. He may well have had sex on his mind when he went, but he also had blood and mayhem on his mind."

The congressman said his team has pinpointed Nichols and Ramzi Yousef in Cebu City at the same time and found a connection between where Nichols and his wife hung out and the location of a suspected sidekick of Yousef's.

Terry Nichols

"We put a lot of facts in a row that would lead to a reasonable conclusion, but there are several missing links in every chain," he said.

Rohrabacher noted Abu Sayyaf co-founder Edwin Angeles signed an affidavit claiming he met in Davao City on the Philippine island of Mindanao in 1991 with Nichols, Yousef and other co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The meeting, he said, included discussion of "bombing activities; providing firearms and ammo; training in bomb making and handling."

Angeles was murdered shortly after giving that testimony, however.

"There are no names we have been able to discover to verify what [Angeles] said," Rohrabacher said. "Because he was an unscrupulous character, we have concluded what he said was significant but inconclusive."

Rohrabacher said he talked to relatives of Marife Nichols about what happened when her husband visited.

White supremacists

Rohrabacher also followed the leads of investigators who believe McVeigh was connected to a German national in the U.S. illegally in 1995, Andreas Carl Strassmeier, and domestic white supremacists at a compound in Oklahoma called Elohim City.

Nichols, in fact, claimed last month he had information about the complicity of white supremacists, issuing an affidavit from his cell at the Colorado prison. In the 10-page handwritten document, he boasts of "substantial evidence and information that clearly reveals" the involvement of others beside himself and McVeigh and of a "federal government cover-up."

Rohrabacher believes it's plausible American white supremacists collaborated with Muslim jihadists because of common goals and sentiments, including a shared hatred of Jews and the U.S. government.

Rohrabacher lamented he was hampered by a tiny staff – two workers on his subcommittee who also were involved in other investigations – and limited resources.

"I obviously had to fight in order to have a very limited investigation and got very limited cooperation from the executive branch," he said.

Rohrabacher said he experienced the "bureaucratic complacency" that contributed to the country's vulnerability to the 9-11 attacks.

"There's no reason to think that the same type of lackadaisical attitude isn't also coming into play," he said, "in finding we weren't able to know the details of the Oklahoma City bombing and the possible connection to al-Qaida and the serious threat we face today."

Related special offer:

"The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing"


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