A former Oklahoma City investigative reporter is standing by her assertion that Iraq had a hand in the OKC bombing seven years ago, despite recent criticism by a former investigator who assisted in the appeal of bomber Timothy McVeigh’s conviction.
McVeigh investigator Cate McCauley, in a published report Wednesday, dismissed claims made by Jayna Davis that members of the Iraqi military were involved in the attack with McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
“This is perhaps the worst case of misinformation and pandering I have ever seen,” McCauley told online news service CNSNews.com. “Davis’ theories were dismissed long ago for very good reasons.”
But in a rebuttal interview with WorldNetDaily this week, Davis defended her allegation with conviction, saying a mountain of evidence she has gathered thus far led to her conclusions that Baghdad had a hand in the April 19, 1995, attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
Also, Davis – who worked for KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City at the time of the bombing – repeated an earlier claim that the FBI refused to take custody of evidence she said came from hundreds of pages of “public court records, police reports and statements from intelligence and law-enforcement sources” on the eve of OKC bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols’ trial in September 1997.
Included in that evidence were 22 witness statements, she told WND last year.
McCauley, in her interview, said the FBI refused to sign a notarized receipt for the evidence because after consulting department lawyers, it was decided the materials may not belong to her.
“When Ms. Davis walked off her job at KFOR in March 1997, she took her materials. The station sued her in order to retrieve what they considered their property,” she said.
By then, however, Davis said her ownership of the evidence had already been established by a court of law.
“I didn’t go running into the night with a bunch of tapes,” she said. “I won that case. The judge ruled I was protecting my sources.”
And, in an Oct. 29 letter to Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. – who has recently pledged to examine the charge that Iraq may be implicated in the bombing – Davis said she “interviewed the witnesses and drafted the summary reports on my own time with my personal resources and computer equipment. … Ownership of the documents the FBI refused to receive from me in 1997 was never in dispute before the court.”
“I compiled the dossier after leaving the station,” Davis wrote.
McCauley, a licensed private investigator who was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado to assist with McVeigh’s appeal, also charged that some of Davis’ witnesses were bogus.
“There are witnesses who I’m aware of on that list who changed their testimony over time or, in the case of [a particular witness], were terribly traumatized and confused by the bombing,” said McCauley. “If you go through the list of these witnesses, you will find things that have changed, or you will find people that are saying they had seen McVeigh when [he] was hundreds of miles away.”
Davis said “at no time in the past seven years have my witnesses changed one word of their testimonies.”
In fact, she said, some witnesses claim the FBI falsified some of their statements.
“I have in my possession several FBI interview statements formally known as ‘302s’ that the witnesses contend contain falsified information that radically altered their positive identifications of Middle Eastern men in the commission of the terrorist strike on America’s heartland,” she said.
That’s a pattern of behavior repeating itself among authorities and in some media. In the recent Washington-area sniper case, officials downplayed early reports that the suspects were “dark-skinned.” And, writes Ann Coulter in her Wednesday column, the “mainstream media” is more focused on sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad’s past as a Gulf War veteran than his radical Islam connections.
“Nearly all the Oklahoma residents who signed sworn affidavits never testified during the federal trials or before the Oklahoma County Grand Jury,” Davis said. “The names of the majority of my witnesses have remained undisclosed to the public and the defense teams of the convicted bombers, debunking the notion that Ms. McCauley is remotely qualified to comment on the veracity of their stories.”
Further, she said, “none of my evidence has ever been dismissed.”
“The FBI has never gone in and done a legitimate investigation or called any of those witnesses,” she said. One witness even had an appointment with the FBI, but agents “never came out to talk to him,” Davis told WND.
“A prosecutor for Terry Nichols’ federal trial told my attorney the Department of Justice did not want any more ‘documents for discovery’ that would have to be turned over to the defense teams,” said Davis.
McCauley also says that a potential Iraqi suspect identified by Davis, Hussein Al-Hussaini, was actually identified later as Todd Bunting, an Army private who was at the Ryder rental office almost exactly 24 hours after McVeigh rented the truck used in the bombing.
But Davis countered that at no time did KFOR-TV uncover any evidence that placed Al-Hussaini with Timothy McVeigh at the Junction City, Kan., Ryder rental business, where the bomb truck was leased.
“Therefore,” Davis said, “there was no opportunity for him to be erroneously identified as Todd Bunting.”
McCauley criticized Davis but refused to question Davis’ motives.
“She’s like a lot of people who got attached to a very small package of information and has convinced herself that this is right and this is just,” McCauley told CNSNews.com “But they simply don’t have all the information or, it seems, the discipline necessary to go through investigative material.
“You can’t cling to things you want and ignore the things you don’t like,” said McCauley.
Davis was unfazed.
“Twenty-two witness affidavits supported by 2,500 pages of corroborative evidence is hardly a ‘very small package of information,'” she said.
“McCauley is wholly unqualified to criticize the complexities of the investigative dossier because she has never reviewed it.”
Specter also buys into Davis’ theories.
In an Oct. 4 letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller III and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, the senior Pennsylvania senator asked why the Justice Department had yet to address allegations that Iraq may have had a hand in the OKC bombing as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
“It is my understanding that my staff has contacted both the FBI and Justice Department requesting a briefing on the issues raised by these allegations, and these requests have been rebuffed,” wrote Specter. “It is also my understanding that such a briefing was offered to former CIA Director Robert J. Woolsey Jr., but that he declined the FBI’s offer.”
“I would appreciate your comments on whether these allegations warrant further investigation,” he said.
As of last week, Specter’s office had yet to receive a response. Calls to his office yesterday were not returned.