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Does Nichols' house hold key to OKC secrets?
Posted By Jack Cashill On 04/19/2005 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
Editor’s note: In his extraordinary new DVD documentary, “Mega Fix,” Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Jack Cashill traces the roots of Sept. 11 to the political exploitation of terror investigations by the Clinton White House in the desperate 1995-1996 election cycle. To arrange a showing in your city, contact Jack Cashill.
On April 14, in an article headlined “FBI Waited to Check Out Tip on Nichols,” the Associated Press finally confirmed a story that we released at WND two weeks earlier. Yes, Gregory Scarpa Jr. did give the critical tip that led the FBI to a cache of explosives hidden at Terry Nichols’ former residence, a cracker box of a house in Herington, Kan.
The question the AP raises is why did it take the FBI so long to follow up. The Bureau was first alerted to the Scarpa info by forensic economist Stephen Dresch, a respected investigator, on March 1 – 30 days before its agents went to Herington.
As Dresch told me, he made numerous attempts to alert the appropriate agencies in the weeks leading up to this discovery. On March 22, both the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged receipt of the information Dresch had received from Scarpa, a jail mate of Terry Nichols’ at the Florence, Colo. Super Max.
On March 24, Dresch notified Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Although Dresch is not entirely certain what finally prompted action, the death of Terry Schiavo on the morning of March 31 may have inspired the FBI to make its move that afternoon when one could be sure the media would not be paying much attention. All of this happened, in fact, without any help from the major media, which Dresch had attempted to contact, starting March 20.
Indeed, even after the story broke, the major media – the Associated Press nobly excepted – have chosen not to listen to Dresch or to follow up. As one well-known investigative reporter stated, Dresch had to first “prove” that it was the Scarpa intelligence that led to the bust. This same reporter then demanded Dresch name his contacts in the national security apparatus. Another reporter had to “sell” the story to his higher-ups and was not confident he could do so.
But the story does not end with the removal of the Herington explosives. Emilio “Tito” Bravo – a fellow Florence inmate who has worked with Scarpa on the Nichols’ information – has since alerted Dresch that he and Scarpa have obtained disturbing new intelligence about a “continuing imminent threat.” This second threat involves Nichols’ connection with Abu Sayaff, the Philippine wing of al-Qaida, whose master bomber is the now incarcerated Ramzi Yousef.
One is tempted to write off Dresch’s prison correspondents as unreliable – the media have certainly wanted to – but after they provided entirely accurate information about the explosive cache hidden in Herington, Kan. that is no longer possible.
Besides, there is excellent reason to believe that Nichols did, in fact, receive bomb training through his Abu Sayaff connections in the Philippines. For starters, as former ABC correspondent Peter Lance documents in his best-seller, “1000 Years For Revenge,” Yousef’s cronies took responsibility for the blast. More curious still are Terry Nichols’ multiple trips to the Philippines, including a 1994 sojourn in which he and Yousef were both staying in Cebu City, a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, at the same time.
What’s more, during a police interrogation in 1996, former Abu Sayyaf leader Edwin Angeles swore he had met a man named Terry Nichols, who was introduced to Angeles as “a farmer.” Angeles drew a dead-on description of him as well. Lance quotes McVeigh’s lawyer Stephen Jones as saying, “The Philippines connection is the most credible, most consistent and frankly most complete explanation of how they built the bomb.”
There is considerable other evidence as well, including the furious phone calls back and forth to the Philippines in the months leading up to the April 19, 1995, blast. Oklahoma City TV reporter Jayna Davis nicely documents the eyewitness evidence of Islamic accomplices in Oklahoma before and after the blast in her persuasive book, “The Third Terrorist.” The FBI cited these eyewitness accounts during its detention hearing for McVeigh. These accounts led the Bureau on the most intense manhunt in its history for McVeigh’s short, swarthy partner in crime, “John Doe No. 2″ – a manhunt that was inexplicably dropped without a peep from the major media.
Indeed, even former intelligence czar Richard Clarke, has speculated openly about Nichols’ likely training in bomb making with Ramzi Yousef and other Abu Sayaff members in late 1994 when he and Yousef were both in the Philippines. “We do know that Nichols’ bombs did not work before his Philippine stay,” writes Clarke in “Against All Enemies,” “and were deadly when he returned.”
According to Kathy Sanders, author of the new book “After Oklahoma City” and grandmother of two children killed in the blast, Nichols is prepared to tell her what he knows of the events leading up to April 19, 1995. Prison officials, however, have denied her request to speak to Nichols because she “could pose a risk to the internal security of the institution.”
Peter Lance received a comparable rejection when he attempted to interview Scarpa at the same prison. “The Bureau of Prisons makes every effort to accommodate media personnel,” wrote Warden Richard Hood, “as long as the request does not negatively affect the security and operation of our institutions.” The federal prisons, it should be noted, are also run by the Department Of Justice.
There is one very good reason why at least some within the Justice Department may want to keep Scarpa inaccessible. In the summer of 1996 the FBI put a mob informant in the cell next to Ramzi Yousef, then being tried for the Bojinka plot. The informant told Yousef that he could use his mob connections to place Yousef’s calls to the Middle East and elsewhere. Yousef took him up on the offer. In fact, though, the calls were being routed through the FBI. Alas, the FBI could not translate Baluchi, Yousef’s native tongue. Worse, some of the calls went to Yousef’s uncle, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the 9-11 mastermind. After TWA Flight 800 went down, the Justice Department had to wonder what role it played in facilitating the plane’s destruction. In any case, there was to be no reward for the informant. Justice buried him for a hard 40 in the Florence, Colo. Super Max on a non-lethal anti-racketeering charge. The informant’s name was Gregory Scarpa Jr.
When the AP “broke” the story confirming Scarpa’s role in the Herington raid, the AP’s Mark Sherman noted, “The FBI refused to comment on the delay.” The general counsel for the FBI is Valerie Caproni. As a New York U.S. Attorney in the late 1990s, she managed the FBI’s eavesdropping on Yousef, then prosecuted Scarpa, illegally pulled the National Transportation Safety Board off the TWA 800 investigation, and oversaw the prosecution of Jim and Elizabeth Sanders for Jim’s reporting on her corruption of that investigation.
Scarpa and Bravo now fear for their lives at the hands of skinheads and neo-Nazis who see Nichols as an heroic figure. They can expect little help from Ms. Caproni.
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To arrange a showing in your city, please send an e-mail to Jack Cashill.
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