Friday, October 07, 2005

More questions than answers

WorldNetDaily details a report by Oklahoma City's KWTV-News 9 which claims that the student who blew himself up outside a football stadium on Saturday night had attempted earlier to purchase ammonium nitrate and that he had also attended a mosque located near his apartment:

The student who blew himself up outside a packed Oklahoma University football stadium Saturday night tried to buy large quantities of ammonium nitrate – a key ingredient in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing – the week before, according to a new report.

Also, Joel "Joe" Henry Hinrichs III attended a Norman, Okla., mosque near his university-owned apartment – the same one attended by Zacharias Moussaoui, the only person charged in connection with the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a report by KWTV-News 9 in Oklahoma City.

Furthermore, Hinrichs was a roommate of a Pakistani student, who was not identified in the News 9 report. Though there were few additional details about that relationship, analysts examining all the evidence say it indicates at least a tenuous connection between the suicide bomber and Middle East Muslims.

In an interview with NewsOK.com Dustin Ellison, general manager of Ellison Feed and Seed detailed his strange encounter with Hinrichs on Sept. 28 when the student came in seeking ammonium nitrate:

“I told him I didn’t have that,” said Ellison, 25.

Ellison said he became suspicious when the young man couldn’t answer the most simple questions, such as how much he wanted or what he planned to do with it.

“I asked if he was trying to green up his yard, and he said, ‘Something like that,’” Ellison said.

Hinrichs was wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt and a light green vest with a number of pockets on each side when he visited the store, Ellison said.

“All the pockets were full,” Ellison said, adding that he saw what appeared to be a wire with headphones attached protruding from one pocket.

“I don’t have any reason to believe it was anything other than that,” he said.

Ellison said Hinrichs was alone and calm throughout his visit.

Hinrichs drove off in a blue Lincoln Towncar, Ellison said.

Ellison said FBI agents came by his store Sunday and he identified Hinrichs from photos.

A few more details have come to light that are at the very least, a curiosity. One is an interesting statement made by Oklahoma University president David Boren:

"We believe that we should not judge others ... on the basis of color, race, gender, economic status or freely exercised religious beliefs," the statement read. "To rush to judge others or make assumptions about them on that basis is nothing short of prejudice."

I'm not sure what would prompt him to say something like this as no prejudice is evident here. Since nobody has been talking about Hinrichs' color, race, gender or economic status we can only conclude that Boren is referring here to the student's religious beliefs. Is the OU president betraying an inside knowledge in this area or was this simply a blanket admonishment in the name of political correctness? If it was the latter then it doesn't seem to have been warranted by anything that has occurred to date.

The second oddity comes from yet another WorldNetDaily report having to do with the search warrant used to collect evidence from Hinrichs' apartment:

The warrant used to execute a search of Oklahoma University bomber Joel "Henry" Hinrichs III's apartment, where an undetermined amount of explosives were found, has been sealed by a federal court at the request of the Justice Department.

Hinrichs blew himself up yards from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium Saturday night while tens of thousands of fans watched an OU-Kansas State football game.

Bob Troester, first assistance U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City, said the department requested the warrant be sealed, but declined to elaborate when asked why it was necessary to do so given previous media reports that a depressed Hinrichs acted alone and on a whim.

"You can draw whatever assumption you like," he said. "We don't comment on any sealed indictments."

I am assuming that the word "indictments" was a misspeak on Troester's part. In any event, there is no good reason in my mind for the DoJ to have a warrant sealed unless there is something in the wording that would reveal their own suspicions regarding the case. Of course, it could be that the FBI assumed terrorism at the beginning and concluded later that it was nothing more than a dramatically staged suicide. But putting this development in the context of other facts that have surfaced... let's just say things are not adding up at this point.

Technorati Tags: , , ,