Tuesday, October 11, 2005

OU bombing update

CNSNews tells us today that the FBI is denying reports circulating around the internet that OU bomber Joel Henry Hinrichs III may have had terrorist ties:

The head of the FBI investigation of a suicide bombing at an Oklahoma University football game said the investigation has yielded no information tying the bomber to terrorist activities, in spite of Internet reports to the contrary.

Oklahoma University police requested FBI assistance in the investigation due to the nature of the Oct. 1 bombing outside Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, which killed the bomber, student Joel Henry Hinrichs III, but apparently injured no one else.

In the week since the bombing, Internet reports have suggested that Hinrichs, a 21-year old engineering major, had ties to terrorism, including visiting the same Norman, Okla., mosque that Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., attended. Moussaoui never boarded the planes. Instead, he was arrested, pleaded guilty to conspiring with the 19 terrorist hijackers and could eventually face the death penalty.

The Internet-based Northeast Intelligence Network (NIN) reports that "confidential sources" have reported that more bomb-making materials and "jihad materials" were found in Hinrichs' university apartment and that there is a "money trail" between Hinrichs and a radical Islamist terror cell in Norman.

Norman Police have confirmed that Hinrichs was briefly investigated days before the bombing when he tried to purchase ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate is the same chemical used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and killed 168 people.

NIN Director Douglas Hagmann declined to comment on the identity of his sources, but told Cybercast News Service that he knows "who the confidential sources are and we have faith in them because of their proximity to the investigation."

He added that his group has "verified many of their statements through other channels." Hagmann said the sources approached his group but are less willing to talk after internal pressure has threatened those who leak information to the press.

News reports have said the material used in Hinrichs' bomb is known as triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and is the same material used in the July train bombings in London. It is also the same chemical used by Richard Reid in his foiled shoe-bombing attempt in 2001. Jihadists refer to the volatile chemical as "Mother of Satan."

Most of the above information is not new to those following this story. But this gets a little more interesting as we hear more from the head FBI agent:

FBI agent Gary Johnson, who is heading the investigation from the bureau's Oklahoma City office, declined to confirm or deny that TATP was used in the bombing or was found in the subsequent search of Hinrichs' apartment.

The search lasted at least 24 hours but no information has been released concerning what investigators actually discovered -- Hagmann's confidential sources report finding TATP and "jihad materials" on his computer - because the search warrant was sealed by the Department of Justice.

When asked if NIN's reports are consistent with the FBI investigation, Johnson said, "No," then added, Well okay the stuff that's found in his apartment, I can't comment on [be]cause it's part of a search warrant that's sealed.

That's a pretty revealing "no-comment" as it seems to suggest that something of interest was found in Hinrichs' apartment. What they actually discovered might not all jibe with what NIN is reporting but at the same time we can be pretty certain that whatever they carried out of there was interesting enough for the FBI to have the warrant sealed.

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