'Congressmen pick up pace of 
OKC bombing probe'

October 12, 2002 by James Patterson

Indiana congressman Dan Burton, as chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, continues to push for an explanation of allegations that foreigners were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

During the past week, the congressional probe Burton initiated has spread on two fronts:

Burton sent a subpoena to the Secretary of the Navy seeking video and still camera shots of the Oklahoma City federal building on the day of the bombing. He has reason to suspect that the Office of Naval Intelligence or the Defense Intelligence Agency may have in their archives a photograph of John Doe 2 and convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh getting out of the Ryder truck before it blew up outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., complained to FBI Director Robert Mueller that the FBI and Justice Department were ignoring requests from Specter's staff to answer questions about allegations that Iraqi nationals may have been involved in the April 19, 1995, blast.

"The more, the merrier," said Burton when told of Specter's letter. "I think there ought to be senators as well as House members looking at this. We're checking everything out. We have sent a letter to the Navy to get a copy of that video that was supposedly seen by the policeman in Oklahoma City that showed John Doe No. 2 getting out of the truck."

Claims that there was a John Doe 2 continue to linger over the Oklahoma City attack seven years later, and for good reason. The FBI issued an all-points bulletin immediately after the 9:02 a.m. bombing for "Middle Eastern-male subject or subjects" seen fleeing the scene in a brown Chevy pickup with tinted windows and a bug shield. Less than six hours later, the APB was canceled without explanation.

The day after the bombing, FBI released sketches of John Doe 1, who turned out to be McVeigh, and John Doe 2, prompting more than 10,000 tips. After McVeigh's arrest, the FBI abruptly dropped the pursuit of Middle Easterners saying the witnesses who saw them with McVeigh were confused.

The Government Reform Committee's Oct. 2, 2002, subpoena to the Office of Naval Intelligence was prompted by the committee's interview of a former police officer who was in on the initial law enforcement briefing involving the FBI. The Star has obtained a copy of that subpoena. It asks for, among other things:

All records relating to video or still photographic surveillance cameras in or around the Murrah Building on April 19, 1995, including, but not limited to, copies of any videos or photographs taken from such cameras.

All other records relating to any involvement of the U.S. Navy in investigating the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.

A list of all meetings held at the Washington Navy Yard in April, May or June 1995 for the purpose of reviewing evidence related to the bombing of the Murrah Building.

A list of the names and current contact information for any individuals who attended any such meetings.

For his part, Sen. Specter wrote to Director Mueller on Oct. 4: "As you are probably aware, these allegations, as well as allegations concerning the potential involvement of al-Qaida terrorists in the 1995 bombing and a possible Iraqi connection to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, have been receiving greater attention in the national media.

"It is my understanding that my staff has contacted both the FBI and Justice Department requesting a briefing on the issues raised by these allegations and these requests have been rebuffed. It is also my understanding that such a briefing was offered to former CIA Director Robert J. Woolsey, Jr., but that he declined the FBI's offer."

Perhaps Woolsey shunned the FBI because he already knows the official line, and he's skeptical. In the Sept. 5, 2002, Wall Street Journal article "The Iraq Connection," Woolsey called Jayna Davis, the Oklahoma City reporter who has dogged the Iraqi connection, "brave," and said when her story is finally told, the nation would owe her "a debt of gratitude."

Congress deserves the administration's fullest cooperation as this investigation proceeds.

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