Richard Moore

From: Carolyn Ballard <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Am.Reporter/9-25-97/OKC Bombing

Bill Johnson
American Reporter Correspondent
Oklahoma City
September 22, 1997
grand jury

                         by Bill Johnson
                 American Reporter Correspondent

        OKLAHOMA CITY -- County grand jurors investigating the federal
building bombing heard a lot of contradictory testimony this

        Also in dispute was whether two federal agents could have plunged
five floors in an elevator in the seconds following the April 19, 1995,

        David Schickendanz, a retired agent for the federal Drug
Enforcement Administration, said he was in an elevator with another
federal agent when the bomb went off. The elevator fell from the eighth
floor to the third, he said he testified.

        His testimony was contradicted by Oscar Johnson, general manager
of Mid-Western Elevator Co., and Oscar "Dude" Goodun, an elevator
specialist for the federal General Services Administration.

        Johnson and Goodun were en route to the federal building to
conduct an annual test of the building's seven elevators at the time of
the bombing. They said they told the grand jury that none of the elevators
had fallen, and said it would have been impossible for them to have done

        Schickendanz, who was forced to retire because the bomb damaged
his hearing, was asked by reporters how he reconciled his testimony with
that of Johnson and Goodun.

        "They weren't there," Schickendanz said. He refused further
comment, saying he had been "admonished not to say anything."

        Retired Air Force Gen. Benton K. Partin told the grand jury there
was no way the federal building could have been damaged so extensively by
a single truck bomb. Partin told reporters his analysis of photographs of
the blasted building led him to believe that additional charges had to
have been planted inside the building to knock down load-bearing concrete
and steel pillars.

        Raymond Brown, a scientist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey who
also testified this week, said seismic readings did not indicate whether
there was more than one bomb. Conspiracy theorists point to two signals on
local seismographs just seconds apart to bolster their theory.

        Brown said that in geophysical terms, "there are too many possible
explanations" of what could have caused the second signal to pin it down

        The government contends Timothy McVeigh, a 29-year-old Gulf War
veteran who turned antigovernment, drove a truck bomb from Kansas to
Oklahoma City and detonated it outside the federal building. The blast
killed 168 people and left more than 500 others injured.

        It was the worst act of terrorism and the largest mass murder on
U.S. soil.

        A U.S. District Court jury in Denver convicted McVeigh on all
counts connected with the bombing and sentenced him to death. McVeigh has
since been given a new defense team for the appeals process.

        Rob Nigh, McVeigh's new lead attorney, told the 10th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals this week he needed until Dec. 24 to file his first
brief. Nigh argued in his brief that the "scope and complexity" of the
case to this point "cannot be overstated."

        The appeals court had given Nigh until Oct. 27 to file his brief.
        McVeigh, who supported himself after leaving the Army by selling
bumper stickers and other items at gun shows, was accused of mixing the
bomb of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and nitromethane racing fuel. He
allegedly loaded the bomb into a Ryder truck rented in Junction City,
Kan., and drove it to Oklahoma City.

        Shortly after the bombing, the U.S. Department of Justice
circulated composite drawings of two suspects, called John Doe 1 and John
Doe 2.

        McVeigh was arrested about 70 minutes after the bombing on
Interstate 35 in northern Oklahoma when a state trooper stopped him
because his car had no license tag. He was in jail when he was identified
as John Doe 1.

        After an international manhunt, the government said John Doe 2
turned out to be an Army enlisted man who had no connection with the

        Terry Nichols, a 42-year-old Herrington, Kan., farmer goes on
trial Sept. 29 in Denver. He is accused of helping accumulate the
fertilizer and helping McVeigh mix the bomb. The government also is
seeking the death penalty for Nichols.

        The first step in picking jurors for Nichols' trial was taken this
week when 500 Colorado residents met at the fairgrounds outside Denver to
receive questionnaires. Nichols, who asked to be present, was introduced
to the prospective jurors by U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch.

        When the last witness Friday left the county grand jury, which is
meeting at the Oklahoma County Jail for security, the panel recessed until
Oct. 6. Officials said the grand jurors are expected to meet for 13 days
next month. Conspiracy advocates have disputed the government's view of
the bombing almost from the time the dust settled. They are convinced
there was a much larger conspiracy, maybe including the involvement of a
foreign power, and that no serious attempt was made to find John Doe 2.

        They also contend that the federal government had advance
knowledge of the bombing and that federal agents who normally would have
been in the building at the time of the 9:02 a.m. explosion -- especially
those from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms -- had been
notified not to come to work that day.

        The government has denied any foreknowledge and ATF officials
pointed out that two agents were seriously injured.
        Alex McCauley, an ATF supervisor, was the other federal agent who
said he was in the elevator with Schickendanz.

        Bruce Shaw and his supervisor, Tony Brasier, have told the grand
jury they rushed to the federal building as soon as they heard the blast
to check on Shaw's wife, who worked there. Brasier said they met an ATF
agent outside the building who told them he and other agents were notified
not to come to work that morning.

        So far, no one has been able to identify that ATF agent.
        State Rep. Charles Key, an Oklahoma City Republican, was the
guiding force in circulating the petitions calling for the grand jury to
delve into these questions. He went before the grand jury on its opening
day to give jurors a list of witnesses he would like them to call.

        Key asked this week to be allowed to appear again, saying he had
new evidence.

        Several witness during the week told grand jurors they saw McVeigh
with a second man -- possibly John Doe 2 -- before the bombing. These
sightings occurred in Kansas and Oklahoma City, and while some agreed on
what the second man looked like, others did not.

        One of these witness was Debbie Nakanashi, a postal clerk who was
working at the downtown Post Office the day of the blast. Nakanashi, who
testified earlier before the grand jury, said a man she identified as
McVeigh and another man came in several days before the bombing and asked
for directions to the federal building, saying they were looking for a
federal job.

        The grand jury also heard from Jayna Davis, a former reporter for
KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. She aired reports in the weeks after the bombing
that suggested an Iraqi refugee living in Oklahoma City could have been
the mysterious John Doe 2.

        Although the man's name was never used and his face was
electronically blurred on TV, Al-Hussaini Hussain said he had been
identified by "innuendo." He said he had been harassed, spit on and feared
for his life after the reports were aired.

        Hussain filed, and later dropped, a lawsuit accusing KFOR of
falsely reporting that Hussain was with McVeigh days before the bombing,
that Hussain drove a brown pickup speeding away from the scene of the
bombing and that the 30-year-old ex-restaurant worker was "the notorious
bombing suspect John Doe No. 2."

        Although the FBI has never commented publicly on the broadcasts,
an FBI agent told a convention of newspaper publishers in 1995 that the
KFOR report was untrue.

        Brown refused to talk with reporters after being before the grand
jury some six hours over two days, but said through her attorney, Tim
McCoy, that she disavowed some of the reported conspiracy theories.

        Brown also said through her attorney that some of her sources,
whom she did not identify to the grand jury, had been threatened.

        "She also wants to make it perfectly clear that after her two-year
exhaustive investigation, she has turned up no credible evidence that
supports the theory that the federal government had sufficient prior
warnings to prevent the bombings," McCoy added.


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Posted by Richard K. Moore - •••@••.••• - PO Box 26   Wexford, Ireland
         http://www.iol.ie/~rkmoore/cyberjournal            (USA Citizen)
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