Wes Vernon
January 8, 2007
Saddam's attack on America? Part 2: the cover-up
By Wes Vernon

The cover-up of the trail linking Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime and/or other terrorists to the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995 (last week Part 1: The Evidence) is pervasive, bipartisan, and spans two administrations.

It figures that the Clinton administration would put the lid on this scandal. That the Bush administration would also block the pursuit of any lead in the case goes to circumstances that are more complicated and mysterious.

Timothy McVeigh was executed and Terry Nichols was put away in a supermax prison in Colorado. They richly deserve their punishment as the Oklahoma City bombers. But federal gumshoes have focused on ignoring evidence that these two men had help from individuals with connections to the Butcher of Baghdad.

Investigators for the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee found that one of the unindicted co-conspirators in the first World Trade Center bombing (Feb. 1993) bears the same name as an ex-con and Palestinian landlord in Oklahoma City who had hired a former soldier in Saddam's army to do odd jobs. The landlord's name is Samir Khahil.

So the feds are on the case NOT

Is it not logical that the top law enforcement cabinet office in the nation would want to know if the two were one and the same? The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is not interested.

What? Repeat not interested. When Subcommittee Chairman Dana Rohrabacher requested an investigation of this possible linkage between the first World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings, the answer from DOJ was that the project was too "burdensome."

A curious lack of curiosity

That in itself is shocking. But then the Keystone cops at DOJ never investigated the ex-Saddam soldier either. Nor did any federal law enforcement agency interview the man, Hussain Al-Hussaini, who bears a striking resemblance to John Doe Two. You may remember the sketch of the Middle Eastern-looking man whom DOJ was desperate to find in the early hours after the bombing. Then suddenly, he was a non-person didn't exist. Was the task of finding him also "too burdensome?" Taxpayers who shell out money for the paychecks of DOJ officials may want to relieve them of the "burdensome" task of going to work every day.

Committee urged to end its probe

No sooner did the House subcommittee begin its probe than Congressman Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, was personally approached by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, also a Republican, who personally requested that the investigation be called off. (An aside: Keating indicates he may run for president in 2008. If he does, Republican voters may want to keep this in mind.)

During the conversation, according to Rohrabacher, Keating mentioned that Democrat President Clinton's first reaction after the bombing was "God, I hope there's no Middle Eastern connection to this."

That comment set the tone for the ensuing bipartisan cover-up. To watch national television's post-bombing coverage, you would have thought national reporters had personally hogtied Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh as the culprits who caused the bombing by spreading "hate [From the Portside Dictionary Hate: Anything that deviates from liberal orthodoxy]."

G-men blind as bats

The FBI has publicly cleared dozens of men who were sought out and questioned because they bore a slight resemblance to the early post-bombing sketch of John Doe Two. However (as mentioned above) in typical Mr. McGoo fashion, the agents did not interview Al-Hussaini the most obvious suspect.

And here is added irony: At the same time, the FBI has refused to exonerate Al-Hussaini, despite his publicly broadcast requests to clear him as a suspect in the worst mass slaughter on the soil of the continental United States prior to 9/11. FBI officials will not clear him, but they won't interview him either.

You can take the "look the other way" stance of the FBI outlined in the two immediately preceding paragraphs as a tacit admission from Bureau officials that they are actively carrying out not an investigation but a cover-up. Either that or issues of competence and simple intelligence would come into play. And bear in mind: Since the bombing, the FBI has been serving two administrations one Democrat, the other Republican.

Do the feds want to know?

One gets the impression if Al-Hussaini were to knock on the door of FBI headquarters and confess, the Bureau would tell him to get lost. He surely has not avoided the limelight. He sued Oklahoma City TV Station KFOR whose indefatigable investigative reporter Jayna Davis has done the detective work on this case that we pay the FBI to do. For that, she has successfully fought off libel suits. As outlined here last week, the arguments pursued by the ex-soldier in Saddam's army were totally discredited in both state and federal courts. Still, the feds are not interested in Al-Hussaini.

No credible alibi

Neither the courts nor the Rohrabacher report have accorded credibility to Al-Hussaini's alibi as to his whereabouts on the day of the bombing. Davis all but flat-out nails him in her book The Third Terrorist. Still the feds are not interested. The FBI won't say why.

The FBI has not surrendered to Congress the original motel registration logs which would corroborate the testimony of witnesses who claim Tim McVeigh rented a room in the company of an Iraqi associate of Hussain Al-Hussaini on the eve of the bombing.

The FBI took custody of a brown Chevrolet pickup that witnesses claim carried Middle Eastern suspects to the bomb site. The Oklahoma City police found fingerprints inside the truck, which was subsequently repainted an ugly yellow and changed in other ways so as to hide its identity, as if it were a "hot car" used as the getaway in a serious crime, or something like that. However, those fingerprints were not compared to immigration files on the three Middle Eastern nationals spotted by witnesses in that vehicle before and after the bombing.

Document dumping, inmate boasting

FBI Agent Dan Vogel emphatically told Jayna Davis that he took sworn witness affidavits that she had delivered to him. Later those documents went "missing."

Abdul Hakim Murad convicted terrorist and former roommate of 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef boasted from his jail cell in New York that the Murrah building explosion was the work of the "Liberation Army" with which he claimed an affinity. This is another one of the many dots not connected by investigators.

Mysterious phone calls

The congressman's report provided evidence that Ramzi Yousef had made phone calls to close friends and neighbors of Terry Nichols' in-laws in Queens, New York. Chairman Rohrabacher asked the FBI for information on these calls, especially to one Mila Densing, who phone records show talked to Yousef for about 30 minutes. The House panel wanted to know if her name had popped up in the FBI's own investigation of Yousef, now serving a life sentence. The FBI did not respond to the request for its assessment.

To cite Davis in her best-seller The Third Terrorist, Danny Coulsen, "the redoubtable commander of the FBI's Hostage Rescuer Team," told PBS he had "grave concerns" about the FBI's handling of critical leads, especially Janet Reno's decision suddenly to remove the Bureau's "most experienced crisis managers" during the early stages of the case.

Case not closed

In May of 2005, Chicago lawyer David Schippers best known as Investigative Counsel in the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton conducted interviews (gathering affidavits and videotapes) with the principal witnesses named in Davis's book. Schippers then shared his findings with several congressmen, vouched for the credibility of the witnesses and said that with the evidence, one could deliver an indictment of Al-Hussaini with "just one day of testimony." Why Congress never carried through on this (beyond Rohrabacher's one report) raises questions about the pervasiveness of the cover-up.

Washington "scared"?

During Davis's investigation, David Schippers had received a call arranged by a friend from a top assistant to Attorney General John Ashcroft who told him, "Mr. Schippers, we're not in the habit of beginning our investigations at the top."

To which the Chicago lawyer replied, "Well, you know what? You damn well better begin this investigation at the top because if you don't, you're going to have real problems." Too "burdensome?" Possibly so, because Schippers never heard another word from DOJ.

Jayna Davis stirred something of a hornet's nest when she appeared on Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show. At that time, Schippers was besieged with calls from congressional offices, including from a top assistant to then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert. When Schippers outlined the cover-up that had occurred, the Speaker's man said, "Ok, we'll get right back to you." After all these years, Schippers is still waiting, but not holding his breath.

Why the cover-up in two administrations? I put that question to Jayna Davis and to David Schippers.

Why Clinton?

Davis cited the "repatriation" program that President Clinton carried on after it had been initiated by his predecessor, George Herbert Walker Bush (Bush 41). That arrangement permitted six thousand Iraqi ex-enemy combatants to immigrate to the U.S. following Operation Desert Storm, supposedly to escape the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. It would not be a shock if at least some of the alleged "refugees" retained loyalty to Saddam and slipped through the net, so to speak. Would Clinton, whose poll ratings were rock bottom at the time, have suffered a political death knell had the public known that taxpayers had bankrolled an Iraqi soldier to build a new life in the U.S?

Schippers believes that had Clinton cited the evidence, he could have overcome the phony "refugee" issue and rallied the country as Bush 43 would later do after 9/11.

Besides, Clinton openly boasted to reporters after his 1996 re-election that the liberal media scenario for the Oklahoma City bombing (that it was all the work of angry white "right-wingers" goaded by talk radio) turned the tide for him. In fact, I remember liberal media people I talked to at the time who were rubbing their hands with glee at that perceived political angle in all this.

My own take on Clinton is that he worried about nothing but his poll numbers, and if he could let the good times roll and just kick this messy can down the road for another president to worry about, so much the better. His reaction to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (treating it as a criminal matter instead of an attack on this nation) and the Khobar bombing ("How are we going to play this for the media?") clearly showed he was not ready to face the responsibility of dealing with the fact that we had enemies out there. Note his comment to Governor Keating cited above. His "war room" dealt only with real threats, such as Republicans and women who would "kiss and tell." To him, terrorists were irrelevant.

Why Bush?

Davis believes that "to unearth such a scandal for the sake of initiating what was already a hotly contested preemptive strike against Saddam Hussein would have whipped up a political firestorm."

"Moreover," she adds in an e-mail to this column, "if the full story were told, several Republicans could have suffered repercussions at the ballot box in 2002 and 2004." The crack investigative reporter adds, "Such prior knowledge, viewed through the lens of September 11, constitutes a recipe for scandal and finger-pointing on both sides of the aisle." How would that go over with the 9/11 families?

Are the feds waiting for the trail to get cold?

"Well, if the president ever needed a reason to go to war with Iraq, this is it."

Those were the words of James Woolsey, after he had served as Clinton's first CIA Director. Woolsey had just examined evidence gathered by Davis and Schippers.

Meanwhile, this column understands that Hussain Al-Hussaini, within recent weeks, has disappeared. The longer we wait to bring this scandal to the light of day, the harder it will be to expose it. Davis has a file so thick as to put one in danger of getting a hernia from carrying it. But trails get cold after time, which is just fine with politicians in both parties.

Politics, it seems, trumps security. Which is why so many Americans hate politics.

© Wes Vernon

 

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