Jon E. Dougherty is a Missouri-based political science major, author, writer and columnist. Follow him on Twitter.
The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit filed against a former Oklahoma City television reporter after finding that “defendants did not recklessly disregard the truth” in reporting on an Iraqi soldier’s alleged involvement in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
In short, says former KFOR reporter Jayna Davis, the appeals court “affirmed U.S. District Judge Timothy Leonard’s November 17, 1999, ruling, which upheld as ‘undisputed’ all 50 statements of fact and opinion which set forth on the court record implicating former Iraqi soldier Hussain al-Hussaini in the 1995 bombing. …”
According to court documents, al-Hussaini alleged that the defendants – KFOR-TV, Jayna Davis, Brad Edwards and Melissa Klinzing – defamed him, invaded his privacy and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him through news reports in June of 1995 accusing him of “complicity” in the April 19 attack on the Murrah building. But the appeals court disagreed.
“The news reports contained various comments about the potential bombers and displayed a photograph of an Iraqi man, who had been living in Oklahoma City since November of 1994, who might be the John Doe #2 sought by authorities in relation to the bombing,” said the U.S. District Judge Tom Stagg, in writing for the appeals court last week. “The name of the man was never revealed by KFOR, and the face of the man was digitally concealed in all of the news reports. The reports generally related information gathered by KFOR’s reporters tending to connect the unidentified man to the bombing.”
“The plaintiff was unquestionably the unidentified man discussed in KFOR’s news reports,” the ruling continued. “Following KFOR’s first four broadcasts, Hussain contacted other media outlets, voluntarily allowing his name and face to be broadcast on two other television stations and then also voluntarily identifying himself as the person in KFOR’s news reports. Ultimately, it was determined that no John Doe No. 2 existed.”
Davis said al-Husseini also admitted in court depositions filed with his lawsuit that he did serve in the Iraqi army. She has said she believes al-Husseini could be the mysterious John Doe No. 2 once sought by the FBI in connection with the Murrah attack that left 167 people – including 15 children – dead.
“After eight years of oppressive litigation, the courts have vindicated my work ethic as a dedicated journalist,” Davis told WorldNetDaily. “The lawsuit was obviously designed to silence a legitimate investigation into Middle Eastern complicity in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.”
Davis continued, “In light of [the Justice Department's] recent disclosure of so-called Islamic charities posing as fronts to fund terrorist organizations, I would sincerely like to know who bankrolled this frivolous, but costly lawsuit against me and my former employer.”
U.S. government officials have said they have discovered links between at least nine such charities and al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden since the 9-11 attacks.
“After two separate lawsuits, both state and federal, this man was unable to produce even one witness affidavit establishing his whereabouts for the critical hours of April 19, 1995,” Davis said. “The testimonies of several eyewitnesses who place him in the company of executed bomber Timothy McVeigh and fleeing the scene of the worst act of terrorism in 20th century America stand undisputed.”
Two men were convicted of murder and conspiracy charges in the bombing – Timothy McVeigh, who was executed in June 2001, and Terry Nichols, who is serving a life sentence for his federal conviction on eight involuntary manslaughter counts and conspiracy.
The Washington, D.C.-based public-interest law firm Judicial Watch filed suit against Iraq in March 2002, alleging that Baghdad “masterminded” the OKC attack “in whole or in part.” That suit is still pending.
The group, known as the Aryan Republican Army, which included McVeigh and possibly Nichols, robbed banks in the Midwest in the years leading up to the bombing, to finance “terrorist acts” against the federal government, Cash says.
The Associated Press reported in February that a pair of federal agencies – the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms – had information suggesting white supremacists living in a compound called Elohim City near OKC were considering attacking government buildings. But, the report said, neither agency passed on that information to federal officials in Oklahoma, documents and interviews showed.
The BATF even had an informant – Carol Howe – inside the Elohim City compound, who told her handlers before the bombing that extremists inside the camp were “preparing for a war with the U.S. government.”
On July 16, 1996, one day before the airliner went down off the Long Island coast, a communiqu? was issued by the Islamic Change Movement – the name apparently used by Iraqi intelligence to take credit for terrorist acts, says Iraq scholar Laurie Mylroie.
It read in part: “The mujahedin [holy warriors] will deliver the ultimate response to the threats of the foolish American president. Everyone will be amazed at the size of that response.”
The message warned, “Their time is at the morning-dawn,” which corresponded to dusk in New York, the moment of TWA Flight 800′s demise. On July 18, the Islamic Change Movement released another communiqu? through well-established Islamist terrorist channels in Beirut that read: “We carried out our promise with the plane attack of yesterday.”
Davis said she was pleased with the verdict.
“[Al-Husseini] doesn’t have a provable alibi,” she told WorldNetDaily. “That’s the broader statement, the broader ramification, of this ruling. And the evidence we put into the record – the two witnesses who identified him in a bar drinking beer with McVeigh [before the attack] and the one who identified him in a brown Chevy pickup speeding away from the site immediately after the attack – was unrefuted.”