Jewish World Review June 28, 2002 / 18 Tamuz, 5762

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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Muslim link in Oklahoma City bombing revisited


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Mounting evidence of Muslim involvement in the April, 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City suggests why it is important - and may be imperative - that the United States create a new intelligence agency.

In the month before the bombing of the Murrah building, U.S. intelligence agencies received considerable "chatter" that Muslim extremists were planning to attack federal buildings in the United States, intelligence officials told the joint House-Senate committee investigating the intelligence failure on Sept. 11, the Associated Press reported.

On April 19, the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, a source in Saudi Arabia's intelligence service told Vince Canastraro, then the chief of counter-terrorism for the CIA, that an Iraqi hit squad was scouting targets to attack in Oklahoma City, Houston and Los Angeles, said Mike Johnston, an attorney who represents relatives of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing. Johnston said he got his information from official documents through discovery in a lawsuit his clients have filed against Iraq.

Timothy McVeigh was executed, and Terry Nichols sentenced to life in prison, for their roles in the Oklahoma City bombing. McVeigh insisted, and the government maintains, that these neo-Nazis acted alone. There is considerable evidence to the contrary.

When McVeigh was captured, he had on his person telephone numbers in Iraq.

Nichols is a man who held only minimum wage jobs, and not many of them. Yet between 1990 and 1994, Nichols spent between $80,000 and $100,000 on trips to the Philippines. On his last trip, Nichols was on Basilan island at the same time as Ramzi Youssef, an Iraqi intelligence operative currently serving a life sentence in a federal penitentiary in Colorado for masterminding the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Edwin Angeles, a former leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, said Nichols met with Youssef, a statement confirmed separately by Angeles' wife.

Youssef was arrested after a plot he was hatching to hijack American airliners in the Pacific was uncovered by Philippine police. A confederate, Abdul Hakim Murrad, told authorities that Youssef had also masterminded the Oklahoma City attack, Johnston said.

Jayna Davis, an investigative reporter for the NBC TV affiliate in Oklahoma City, obtained affidavits from several witnesses claiming to have seen McVeigh in the company of a "Middle Eastern-looking person" who resembled the sketch of John Doe Number Two. Davis did not identify the individual, an employee of a man suspected by the FBI of involvement with the PLO, in her broadcasts. But Hussein al-Husseini, a former Iraqi soldier, sued her for libel. A federal judge threw out the suit, on the grounds that the facts in Davis' broadcasts were true.

The Oklahoma City bomb was identical to the 1993 World Trade Center bomb. Michael Fortier testified about how McVeigh and Nichols, in October of 1994, had been unable to blow up a metal milk jug with a small ammonium nitrate device. Their bomb-making expertise underwent a quantum leap after Nichols' last trip to the Philippines.

These are a lot of dots. The FBI says they don't connect. But as the investigation into Sept. 11 has shown, connecting the dots is not an FBI forte.

An alliance between Muslim terrorists and domestic neo-Nazis makes perfect sense. Both hate Jews and the U.S. government. The neo-Nazis need money and expertise. The Muslim terrorists need U.S. citizens who can "blend in" to disguise attacks.

The CIA followed two terrorists who became 9/11 hijackers from an al Qaeda summit in Malaysia to San Diego, where their trail was dropped, because the law forbids the CIA from operating in the United States. We need an intelligence service that can connect dots, whether they are gathered at home or abroad. It need not - ought not - to have powers of arrest.

But it must be freed of the legal constraints, the bureaucratic rivalries, and the lack of imagination which plague the FBI and the CIA.

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© 2002, Jack Kelly