Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. (pbs.org)
In an interview with WorldNetDaily, Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher rebutted sharp criticism of the integrity of an upcoming congressional hearing on an alleged foreign connection to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, insisting evidence of involvement by Muslim terrorists posed by author Jayna Davis will be taken seriously.
The California congressman was responding to Davis’ contention that the hearings will be nothing more than a “sham” designed to bury a potentially explosive political issue that could expose officials who ignored signals that might have prevented the bombing and possibly even the 9-11 attacks.
“Jayna Davis doesn’t seem to know the way Washington works,” Rohrabacher said by telephone from his House office. “There is a lack of knowledge and a little instability in her remarks about the way I am handling my position.”
The congressman argued that until now, the issue has been only a matter of personal inquiry. With a hearing set for September by Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Rohrabacher says he will pursue many of the relevant leads presented by Davis’ book “The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing” and other sources.
In her book, Davis asserts Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols 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.
As WorldNetDaily reported, in June 2005, Rohrabacher visited Nichols in prison and discussed with him the Arab-terrorist theory.
“Timothy McVeigh on a number of occasions, had talked about Middle Easterners,” Rohrabacher told Davis after the visit. “Terry didn’t say anything that would dispel the theory, the central theory of your research, which is these [witnesses featured in 'The Third Terrorist'] actually saw Tim McVeigh and he was with Arabs, and these are the people that you tracked down.”
But Davis, who said Rohrabacher has not communicated with her since last July, told WND she has a number of reasons for believing the congressman is not taking the investigation seriously. Those include giving equal credence to a “debunked” theory involving neo-Nazis, ignoring all but two of 22 witnesses of an Arab accomplice of McVeigh, not submitting crucial unanswered questions to the FBI and refusing to initiate declassification of an anti-terror alert issued months before the bombing.
Jayna Davis interviewed by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly
“I’m not going to play this charade about getting to the bottom of things,” Davis told WND. “This is the largest criminal cover-up of the 20th century.”
Davis, who began her investigation while covering the bombing as a local TV reporter, is particularly unhappy that Rohrabacher’s probe into foreign involvement gives equal credence to a theory involving a German national who was in the U.S. illegally in 1995, Andreas Carl Strassmeier, and domestic neo-Nazis at a white supremacist compound in Oklahoma called Elohim City.
As WorldNetDaily reported, in a memo written to Hyde, Rohrabacher said an investigation should focus on the fact that “Timothy McVeigh appear[ed] to have had contact with Arab, Muslim or Middle Eastern terrorist elements prior to and during the implementation of the bomb plot,” and, “just as significant, there is evidence of a personal relationship between Timothy McVeigh and Andreas Carl Strassmeier.”
But Davis maintains there is “no tangible evidence that implicates” Strassmeier, who has a provable alibi.
“FBI agents have testified the neo-Nazi, Elohim City connection is nothing more than a dry hole,” she said. “There’s not one motel log, one phone log, one fingerprint or eyewitness account that can tie any of these Nazi conspirators or Strassmeier to overt commission of a crime.”
Rohrabacher replied that Davis’ “insistence that only her theories be taken seriously in the investigation takes away from her own credibility.”
“I have had serious doubts about the Oklahoma City bombing all these years, and reading Jayna Davis’ book certainly encouraged me to move forward on this,” Rohrabacher said. “That should be good enough for her, but she seems to be insisting that she’s the only person to be taken seriously.”
Regarding Davis’ questions for the FBI, Rohrabacher said he believes some of them have been pursued, but, he emphasized, now that it’s no longer a personal inquiry, “I will certainly put questions that are valid before the FBI.”
Rohrabacher said he spoke with a few of the 22 witnesses Davis has on tape claiming to have seen an Arab-looking person with McVeigh at the site of the bombing, a suspect designated by the FBI as “John Doe No. 2.”
“I found them to be very credible and was very impressed by them,” Rohrabacher said of the witnesses. “One of the reasons I decided to move forward was their credibility.”
Addressing Davis’ concern, the congressman said, “I don’t need to talk to all 22. Some of them were confirming others, that they had seen Timothy McVeigh with an Arab person.”
Rohrabacher said he indicated in his memo to Hyde he wanted some of those witnesses to testify.
In May, attorney David Schippers, a former federal prosecutor who served as chief counsel for the 1998 impeachment trial of President Clinton, conducted videotaped interviews with 14 confidential witnesses Davis used in writing her book. Though Schippers has expressed confidence in the veracity of the testimonies, Davis says she believes Rohrabacher has little interest in them since he has not paid to have her flown to Washington to present the videotapes.
Rohrabacher said this is an illustration of Davis’ misunderstanding of how Washington works, arguing he had no budget to fly her to the capital.
Davis insists she could save taxpayers a lot of money by presenting the tapes of witnesses who won’t testify unless their anonymity can be ensured.
The congressman dismissed Davis’ contention that it’s within his power to initiate a process to declassify spring 1995 alerts in the possession of a panel on which he formerly sat, the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.
Davis contends an alert warned weeks before the bombing that Iran-sponsored Islamist terrorists had recruited ‘two lily whites’ – i.e., McVeigh and Nichols – to carry out the bombing of an American federal building.
Davis said the task force also was made aware in 1998 that John Doe No. 2 purportedly had foreknowledge of 9-11 – specifically a connection to Boston Logan Airport, from which two of the hijacked airplanes embarked. The suspect had a nervous breakdown, Davis said, because of his apprehension something dire would happen at Logan.
“What is she complaining about?” Rohrabacher asked. “We may well follow through on those particular items. We’ve got a number of things we are going through. Which ones we will proceed with, right now, I cannot tell you, because we have not made determinations.”
Davis responded: “That’s Washingtonese for saying, ‘I am not going to declassify these warnings.’ And until he declassifies them, it shows he’s not serious about getting to the bottom of the Middle East connection. That is a vital piece of intelligence that independently corroborates my book.”
Evidence ‘holds up’
Attorney Schippers, who wrote the forward to Davis’ book and contends her evidence would hold up in court, told WND he believes Rohrabacher wants to have a serious investigation.
“It is not a sham,” he said. “Dana Rohrabacher has been trying to get a hearing going for a long time.”
Schippers has high praise for Davis’ work, calling her one of the bravest and most competent investigators he’s seen.
“I’ve worked with federal agents all my career,” said Schippers, “and she was ten times better than the best.”
Schippers, who successfully investigated the mob for former Attorney General Robert Kennedy, said that to his “great disappointment,” the Arab connection has gone nowhere with the executive branch, and it will take the cooperation of Congress to get to the bottom of it.
Referring to Davis’ criticism, Rohrabacher said “irrational outbursts” of this kind almost scuttled his proposal for hearings, suggesting to some that maybe it’s only “fanatics and fringies out there pushing for this.”
“The only reason I got this approval is people trust me to do a professional job,” he said. “I’m not grandstanding, I don’t plan to run for Senate. I think it’s really important we give a second look to various theories of what happened and who was involved and to see which theories have the most merit.
Rohrabacher said the various schools of thought on who is responsible for the bombing have been “fighting each other and heaping dung on each other for so long they’ve lost sight of what honest consideration means.”
“Because you look at [a theory] doesn’t mean you agree with it,” he emphasized.
Rohrabacher said he’s beginning to do serious research in preparation for the September hearing.
“We are moving forward now, and there is some solid information that Jayna has provided us, from first-hand witnesses and her personal investigation of Iraqi immigrants in Oklahoma City.”
Rohrabacher said he’s likely to get only one day to conduct the hearing and will be happy if he gets two.
But if “we can prove some significant things, if people are willing to tell us some things under oath, I would expect I could expand the hearing,” he said.
Davis contends only a special prosecutor and grand jury could adequately address the case.
The congressman said the hearing could very well lead to that development.
“At this moment, I cannot say that it will, but if some of the areas we’re looking into do bear fruit, then yes, I think there would be ample room for that because it would mean, frankly, somebody’s been lying to the American people.”
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