WASHINGTON – Jayna Davis has tried to tell anyone who will listen about a theory that links the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing to Islamic terrorists. The former investigative journalist for KFOR-TV has seen her reporting rejected over and over again.
Those refusing to take her case into consideration include major news organizations,U.S. government officials,an Oklahoma City grand jury and a member of the 9-11 commission. But now Davis' book,“The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing,” has opened her story to wider public debate,and she said law enforcement officials have privately supported her findings.
Davis and some of her supporters appeared at a news conference here last week to promote the book.
“Had those investigators taken their duties seriously and followed up on the investigation of that information,it is entirely likely that the Twin Towers would still the standing,” said David P. Schippers,former investigative counsel of the House Judiciary Committee. Shippers wrote the forward for Davis' book.
For the past nine years Davis has been on a quest to tell the “untold story” behind the 1995 bombing that killed 168 people and wounded more than 500. She said she has 2,000 pages of evidence that confirms that the Oklahoma City bombing was the “precursor” to the Sept. 11,2001,terrorist attacks.
Davis was one of the first reporters at the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building. In the hours after the blast,law enforcement officials considered Middle Eastern involvement. The arrest of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nicols in two days “halted” the hunt for foreign involvement,said Jim Woolsey,CIA director during the Reagan administration. Woolsey is a partner at Shea & Gardener,a law firm,in Washington.
Frank J. Gaffney,assistant secretary of defense and international security policy during the Reagan administration,said he admires Davis' determination. Gaffney is the president and founder of the Center for Security Policy in Washington,a non-profit educational organization that analyzes foreign and defense policy.
“She pursued a story that … most people told her frequently was will-o'-the-wisp fantasy or worse,” Gaffney said at the news conference.
He said people who read her book would likely come away with a conviction that the government's story is “wildly misleading.”
Davis said she has found 22 credible witnesses supporting the Middle Eastern theory. Their testimony does not contradict the proven timeline in the government's case against McVeigh and Nichols,she said.
Eyewitnesses identified eight Middle Eastern men,former Iraqi soldiers who immigrated to the United States after the Gulf War,as aides to both McVeigh and Nichols during different stages of the bombing plot,said Davis.
Nichols received a life sentence after he was convicted of the bombing in federal court and was convicted Wednesday in an Oklahoma court of 161 counts of murder in the bombing. Before McVeigh was convicted and executed in 2001,he told two journalists that he and Nichols acted by themselves.
The day after the bombing,the FBI released a sketch of “John Doe 2,” who was described as having a dark completion,wearing a baseball cap and with a tattoo on his left arm.
Davis aired a story in 1995 introducing John Doe No. 2 as an unidentified Iraqi refugee who worked in Oklahoma City. Seven people swore in affidavits that they saw a man with McVeigh who resembled the John Doe sketch. Eyewitnesses identified an Iraqi soldier drinking beer with McVeigh and sitting in an explosive-laden truck on the day of the bombing. Davis reported that the FBI put out an “all-points bulletin” looking for a brown van transporting two Middle Eastern men.
The FBI later announced that it had abandoned the international hunt for John Doe 2. The Iraqi suspect,named Hussain Al-Hussaini,filed a libel suit against the station and Davis,which he lost. Davis asserts in her book that Al-Hussaini is the “third terrorist” and she wants him questioned by the FBI.
Neither the FBI nor the general manager of KFOR responded to several messages asking for comment about Davis's book. Johnathan Stull,communications assistant for the 9-11 commission,declined to comment.
Because of the libel suit,Davis was allowed to view Al-Hussaini's immigration file,which gave her an exclusive peek into his past. Both Davis and Patrick Lang,the former chief of human intelligence for the Defense Intelligence Agency,evaluated those files.
Davis concluded that Al-Hussaini likely served in Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard and was promoted to the Iraq Intelligence Service.
“When I first met Jayna,I was a skeptic … I thought she was crazy,” said Shippers who spoke via speakerphone at the news conference. “But after I looked at the corroborative evidence,I am thoroughly convinced there is sufficient evidence to convict Hussain al-Hussaini of the bombing without a reasonable doubt.”
Constantine Menges,President Reagan's national security affairs adviser from 1983 to 1986,said Davis' work is a “warning.” Menges is a residential scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.
“If we are going to prevent future killings and attacks on ourselves,we are going to have to be realistic,open minded,and look at the facts,” Menges said.