1995 explosion at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building killed 168 people, including 19 children, and injured another 684
A congressional hearing into an alleged foreign connection to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing has been delayed for a second time – and may not happen at all – but the lawmaker in charge says an investigation with the potential of breaking open the case continues, and, at the very least, a final report will be issued.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R- Calif., told WND he and two members of his research team took a trip to the Philippines to follow leads suggesting a tie between convicted Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols and al-Qaida operatives, including 1993 World Trade Center-bombing conspirator Ramzi Yousef.
As WND reported, a hearing had been set for September by Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House International Relations Committee. The date then was moved to November, but now Rohrabacher says if the hearing happens at all, it will be in the final days of the 109th Congress, the first week of December.
“It all depends on availability of witnesses and whether certain things can be tied together,” said Rohrabacher, chairman of the International Relations’ Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which would host the hearing.
Significantly, the congressman is proceeding with his probe without the direct help of investigative reporter Jayna Davis, author of “The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing.”
Rohrabacher credits Davis’ book as a major catalyst for his investigation. The author asserts 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, third from left, in committee hearing (VOA photo)
But Davis, who previously criticized Rohrabacher’s investigation as a “sham,” wrote a letter in July to Rohrabacher’s Oversight and Investigations panel, declaring she would not participate in the hearing for a number of reasons. Her concerns 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.
Davis said in her letter, however, she would be willing to assist in a federal grand jury investigation in the event Rohrabacher determines the evidence presented in her book warrants appointment of a special prosecutor.
The congressman said his six-month investigation is ongoing, but its future is uncertain.
“There are six or seven action items, and, frankly, any one of them could very well open up a whole new set of information that could blow the case wide open,” he said. “But then again, maybe not.”
Noting a possible Democratic party takeover of Congress Nov. 7, he cautioned that while his efforts continue, “we’re coming to the end of the session, and I may or may not be chair next time around.”
“At the very least, we’ll issue a report, and if I happen to be chair next time, we’ll probably keep the investigation open,” he said.
Regardless of its final outcome, the investigation has been worthwhile, the congressman insisted.
“If we don’t get anything more, any more dots than have been tied already, I will still believe this investigation is worth it,” he said. “There are insights people need to know, that need to be part of the discussion.”
Rohrabacher said one of the biggest changes in his perception of the case is that he no longer sees McVeigh and Nichols as a team, “as Starsky and Hutch.”
“If anything, my investigation has suggested that Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh were separate players,” he said. “They were not part of a team that was all together and did projects. They were operating separately.”
Rohrabacher said it’s conceivable that “if there were foreign players involved, some may have been working with Nichols and some with McVeigh.”
“But right now, I don’t feel comfortable enough to issue a statement that there was any foreign connection,” he said.
Attorney David Schippers, however, who has worked closely with Davis, says the evidence shows “there’s no question there was a foreign connection to the bombing.”
A former federal prosecutor who served as chief counsel for the 1998 impeachment trial of President Clinton, Schippers conducted videotaped interviews with 14 confidential witnesses Davis used in writing her book.
Schippers believes Rohrabacher is conducting an earnest investigation, but he told WND he’s perplexed by the congressman’s declared agnosticism about a foreign connection.
“Frankly, I don’t see how he can say that,” Schippers said.
The attorney explained that Davis has been reluctant to have the witnesses testify in Washington without assurances their identity will be protected, and because she has been rebuffed by lawmakers dismissing her as a fringe conspiracist.
“We’ve had so many occasions where Jayna’s gone out there, I’ve gone out,” he said. “Nothing ever happens, but somebody starts attacking us.”
On one trip, more than a year ago, Schippers said Davis went “in good faith” to present her evidence to Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. But the senator immediately proceeded to “bury” her case, writing off the witnesses as not credible.
Schippers legally represents the witnesses.
“I know when somebody is lying. These people are as straight as six o’clock,” he said. “I can prove everything in that book beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Schippers believes staying on the case is important not only for the sake of justice and accountability, but because of its relevance to the nation’s security now.
“The terror cell that was in Oklahoma City is a prototype of the terror cells all over the country that are going to attack us again,” he said. “A real investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing would have showed us how they operate.
It may be too late, he said.
“When they decide they are going to act, they are going to act, and we’re going to get it again.”
Tracing Nichols’ steps in the Philippines
Rohrabacher said that on his trip to the Philippines, he spoke with national police and intelligence officers to follow up a claim by an al-Qaida-linked terrorist leader that Nichols met with Ramzi Yousef, 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.
Rohrabacher said he and his staffers “checked into that to see it if could be verified,” but the congressman would not disclose more information.
“I don’t want to go into any detail about where that might lead,” he said.
The claim of a meeting between Nichols and al-Qaida operatives was made by Edwin Angeles, co-founder of the Osama bin Laden-financed Philippines terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. Angeles, in a signed affidavit, said 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.”
Yousef was arrested in Pakistan in 1995 and extradited to the U.S. where he was sentenced to life in prison without parole in the airliner plot, dubbed “Operation Bojinka.” Yousef’s uncle is the senior al-Qaida leader and 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
As WorldNetDaily reported, in June 2005, Rohrabacher visited Nichols in prison and discussed with him the Arab-terrorist theory.
Rohrabacher also acknowledged he is following the leads of witnesses who claim they saw McVeigh with Arabs, including alleged Iraqi agent Hussain Hashem Al-Hussaini, who matched descriptions of the FBI’s “John Doe No. 2.”
The congressman said his team has been unable to find Hussaini.
“We are still trying to track him down at this time,” Rohrabacher said.
The California Republican said if this “action item” or any others come through, “there’s going to be a hearing, and it’s going to be a stemwinder.”
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