Oklahoma Bombing, Update III


This is a continuation of the Oklahoma Bombing timeline I have updated on since it occurred on Oct 1st. Check out the earlier posts here:

OCT 1ST, 1920HRS – OCT 4TH, 359HRS

OCT 5TH, 0444HRS – OCT 5TH, 1935HRS

OCT 5TH, 2004HRS – OCT 8TH, 1104HRS

10/9 1122HRS PST

NORMAN – University of Oklahoma officials, the Muslim community, students and others are waiting for the FBI to connect the dots in last week’s public suicide of an OU student.

Joel Henry Hinrichs III, 21, was killed Oct. 1 in an explosion that officials say he caused not far from a packed Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

But the dots cannot be connected, at least at this point, said Stephen Sloan, a former University of Oklahoma professor who is alarmed that far-right extremist groups have taken to the Internet with conspiracy theories attempting to link the actions of Hinrichs to the Muslim community of Norman and to the Middle East.

The FBI has provided little information about its investigation but said last week that there is no known link between Hinrichs and terrorist or extremist organizations. But questions linger as to Hinrichs’ intent before he died in an explosion while sitting on a park bench in front of the George Lynn Cross microbiology building about 100 yards west of the stadium.

“No doubt there are a lot of questions to be answered,” Sloan said. “But it is unfortunately logical to think that he was trying to get into the stadium.”

The terrorism expert said the size of the explosion indicates that it was designed to hit more than Hinrichs. He said it seems more than coincidence that this occurred on the Saturday night of a football game.

A student, Adam Smith, related last week that he learned from a ticket taker at Gate 6 on the north side of the football field that a young man had tried to gain entrance. The ticket taker wanted to examine the man’s backpack, which prompted the man to sprint away, Smith said he was told.

The FBI reportedly has confirmed that its review of surveillance cameras in the stadium did not reveal that Hinrichs tried to gain entrance. However, OU President David Boren declined at midweek to say whether cameras are mounted at all entrances.

The FBI has kept mum about the explosive that Hinrichs used and declined to comment on reports that large amounts of explosives were in his apartment.

The explosion that killed Hinrichs also burned a large area around the bench. If the explosion had occurred inside the stadium, it could have killed fans, prompting the question of whether that was Hinrichs’ intent all along.

A suicide note apparently has not been found. Hinrichs’ father, who had conversations with the FBI, told The Associated Press that his son did not leave a suicide note.

Joel Hinrichs Jr. told the Tulsa World that he knew his son was troubled, but he had no idea he wanted to die.

“I would have been there within whatever the speed limit would allow me to be if I had any inclination that he was this unhappy,” the father said from his family’s home in Colorado Springs the day after the explosion.

It remains unanswered as to whether Hinrichs could have concocted the explosive device on his own, although there are no indications he acted with others.

Those who knew of him — from his high school teacher in Colorado Springs to fellow engineering students at OU — said he was typically a loner who sat by himself in the classroom. He was among the National Merit Scholars whom Boren has attracted to the OU campus.

His father told the Colorado Springs Gazette that at an early age, Hinrichs was fascinated with science. At the time of his death, he was a third-year engineering student at OU.

Boren has said it appears this is an “individual suicide,” noting that Hinrichs waited until people were inside the stadium before he took his life.

University officials say they have no record of Hinrichs having a season ticket or purchasing one for the OU-Kansas State game.

OU Vice President of Communications Catherine Bishop added, however, that the university has no way of knowing whether Hinrichs could have purchased a ticket from someone outside the stadium, where many people typ ically sell tickets on game day.

Sloan said the public should note the fact that if Hinrichs did try to get into the stadium, he was stopped.

“If Hinrichs was turned away, that is a positive mark in terms of security awareness,” he said.

While Hinrichs’ individual actions are still being probed, the Islamic community of Norman is on edge, fearful that this troubling event is somehow linked to Muslims.

“Haven’t we learned from the bombing of the Murrah Building (in 1995) in Oklahoma City, when the first reports tried to tie the bombing to a foreigner from the Middle East?” Sloan said. “But that proved to be false.

“It is much too early to render a full judgment,” said Sloan, who regrets that some people already are convinced this is a conspiracy.

Hinrichs lived at Parkview Apartments, just a few blocks from the mosque of the Islamic Society of Norman. Also fueling the link to some kind of Middle East terrorism is the fact that Hinrichs’ roommate, Fazil Cheema, is from Pakistan. Acquaintances of Cheema’s say he is not a practicing Muslim and never attends services at the mosque.

Muslims who attend the mosque also say they are not aware that Hinrichs ever set foot in the mosque.

The quest for the truth, however, has been hindered by the fact that Cheema himself has not made himself available to the media since the incident occurred. He has left the apartment where he lived with Hinrichs, although he is still believed to be in Norman.

Acquaintances say that Hinrichs and his roommate have in common the fact that both could be called loners, and possibly ended up as roommates at Parkview because neither of them had other friends, so they were assigned to live together.

Tariq Alzoubi, a Muslim who has been part of the Islamic community in Norman for several years, said when he found out that the individual who died was white and not Middle Eastern, “I was not happy, but I was relieved. Then the issue came up that his roommate might be Pakistani.”

Originally from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Alzoubi said Muslims have been on edge when something like this happens ever since Sept. 11, 2001.

“Before 9-11, I knew 30 Saudi students at OU; all but two of them left,” he said.

“My only concern in all of this is that we stay away from collective punishment for something bad that happened here,” he said.

Oct 10th, 1638HRS PST

Speaking of his car, federal investigators gave it the once-over but then left it in the parking lot of the apartment complex where Hinrichs lived with three or four Muslim students. By the way, the Muslim Students Association office is across the street from the apartment complex, as is the mosque attended by alleged 9/11 ?20th hijacker? Zacarias Moussaoui while he was attending a local flight school.

just returned from campus.

If his car was an old beat-up blue Lincoln Town Car, then it is still in the parking lot. It has one of the roofs that was not metal on the outside but kind of a leather like material — I cannot think what they are called.

As for video cameras, I found what looks to be a new one installed at the SE corner of the end zone where students enter and also a new one in the parking garage as you leave — at least they look new as they are black and around here black turns into grayish looking with the dirt blowing around. Could not find any at Gate 1; Gate 2 had one but it was pointed at the back of the ticket office not the gate; Gate 3 and 7 — couldn’t find any but will go back tomorrow to see if walking around I can see more. Very few people around campus this afternoon and frankly didn’t want to stand out.

Looks to me like the video surveillance in the stadium was for ticket offices where they would have money and tickets not for the gates. The student gate definitely has one today — all nice and new looking.

Can confirm a lot of ME students in Parkview Apartments that love to stare. Parking lot is pretty full at the Islamic Center.

End of my report from OU!

Oct 10th, 1515HRS PST

Has there been more happening at the University of Oklahoma than hazing and all-nighters? The blogosphere, led by Michelle Malkin, has been chronicling the suspicious explosion at the University of Oklahoma just over a week ago, and wondering why the big media doesn?t appear interested.

According to most reports, Joel Hinrichs III was a young man with a history of depression who used a homemade explosive device to commit suicide just 100 yards or so from the school?s football stadium, which was filled with over 80,000 people at the time. Officials were quick to call the incident a suicide, but rumors and reports of Hinrichs? attempts to buy large quantities of ammonium nitrate and ties to the Muslim community have raised a lot of questions and the answers thus far are not forthcoming.

The Oklahoma Daily, OU?s independent campus paper, lays blame on the FBI today for the confusion:

Remember, the FBI has commandeered this investigation. In doing so and by not telling anyone anything, they are only allowing the events of Oct. 2 to be misinterpreted over and over by people who are firm in believing something that is false and terribly dangerous.

For example, unsubstantiated claims that Hinrichs had been frequenting the Norman mosque have managed to seep onto television news broadcasts even though everyone we have contacted at the mosque says Hinrichs was never seen there.

So who is lying? Inherently, people should perceive the unfounded news broadcasts as the liars, but that doesn?t always happen. And even if only one person sees and believes such a report there or online, word of mouth can transmit that ?truth? to hundreds or thousands within a matter of days.

Which is why it is undeniably the duty of the FBI to break its unctuous vow of silence and talk to somebody. The longer the feds delay in doing so, the more they become equally responsible for misinformed social reactions as the hacks who started these rumors in the first place.

Many, Malkin included, have wondered where the MSM is on this story. As the Oklahoma Daily editorial notes, local television has covered it and a quick Google search turns up (sometimes conflicting) reports in local and regional newspapers but no major media outlets appear to have picked up the story yet. We asked CBS News national editor Bill Felling, who told us the network is looking into the story. Let?s hope so, it?s one worth airing, whatever the facts are.

Oct 10th, 1847HRS PST

There is a new camera already installed at Gate 10 (I thought it was Gate 9 but checked today when I was on campus for something else). Anyone familiar with OK knows we have a lot of wind that blows around dirt and anything black and shiny doesn’t stay that way for long that is why I assume this is a new camera at Gate 10. I did see video cameras focused on the back of the ticket books but at Gate 1 — absolutely nothing and I mean nothing. I could not find any cameras on the gates except for Gate 10 which looked to be new along with the one now in the parking garage as you leave.

I did see a white truck working around Gate 7 and 8 when I drove by today — the kind that installs satellite dishes, etc.

I could be wrong but I had someone with me today and they observed the same thing so we could both be wrong.

Oct 11th, 0645HRS PST

Ten days have passed since a 21-year-old University of Oklahoma engineering student was killed when a bomb he was carrying exploded 100 yards from the stadium where Oklahoma and Kansas State were playing football before a crowd of 84,000 ? and there are still more questions than answers to exactly What? and Why?

As The Oklahoman said in its October 9 edition, the explosion ?left Oklahomans wondering whether it was an individual suicide or if it was intended to be an act of terrorism targeting football fans October 1.?

There is evidence the student, Joel Hinrichs III of Colorado, was a loner with a history of depression. However, it is still a mystery why officials were so quick to call it a suicide — before a thorough investigation could be initiated.

The explosion occurred about 7:30 p.m., during the second quarter of the KSU-OU game. During the fourth quarter OU President David Boren informed the media that a student had apparently committed suicide by blowing himself up near the stadium. He asked fans at the stadium to remain calm and said no one was in danger.

How could he have been so sure? The FBI was just then starting interviews with some of Hinrichs? neighbors and acquaintances. And the FBI?s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is said to be in charge, would not have had time to arrive in Norman.

It?s also a mystery why the mainstream media outside Oklahoma has pretty much ignored the incident.

Days later the news media was obsessed with the story of a possible terror threat in New York City; and cable news outlets spent far too much time on a bomb threat that briefly closed the Washington Monument. But there was almost nothing about an actual bombing ? just 100 yards outside a college stadium full of people ? that could have been a terrorism incident gone awry. Did newspaper editors and TV news producers ? usually inquiring minds ? buy into Boren?s quick dismissal of the event as just a troubled youth?s suicide and ensuing FBI statements that investigators had found no evidence to prove it was something other than a suicide?

My inquiring mind wonders if Boren, a former U. S. Senator with great political skills, sought to cool media interest and keep reporters and cameras out of Norman. Remember: His announcement came barely 90 minutes after the incident.

I first heard about the incident late Saturday, October 1, when it was a ?breaking news? item on FOX News.

The report said a bomb exploded near OU?s stadium during a football game. There was a brief video showing police cars with lights flashing and an area cordoned off by yellow police tape.

I later checked the Omaha World-Herald?s online edition and found no mention of the incident. If over the next few days it was listed in the index for online OWH stories I missed it; it was not listed as a ?headline? story.

FOX never mentioned it again. I forgot about it until October 4, when a Washington D.C. website reported the FBI was investigating the bombing.

The website questioned why Boren was passing it off as a suicide.

The next day a second Washington website reported the bombing after being e-mailed reports from Oklahoma media. It felt a lot of information was contradictory and wondered why the eastern media wasn?t on to the story. That was when I started to prepare the story that ran October 7 here in StatePaper.com [To access that column, click here.]

Let?s go back to the beginning.

A longtime, good friend of mine and his wife, who reside in Oklahoma, were at the OU-KSU game. Their seats are in the northwest corner of the stadium, just ten rows up from the field. During the second quarter there was what my friend, Jim, called a ?loud boom?. He said it ?seemed like everyone in the stadium turned and looked in the direction of that noise. He said people seated near them all assumed it was thunder since early evening showers had been forecast.

Jim said police officers were moving toward the exits, but that fans didn?t pay any attention since officers often move around as they deal with unruly fans or medical emergencies.

As the second half began and people returned from concession stands and restrooms, word spread that police had sealed off exits on the stadium?s west side, although they opened at the end of the game.

There was apparently no public address announcement. Jim said he learned about the explosion during the fourth quarter while listening to play-by-play on his radio headsets, and Boren?s statement was reported.

It?s assumed word spread through the stadium as fans with radios informed people sitting around them. Jim said an area on the west side of the stadium was still cordoned off when they walked to their car after the game. There was little news about the explosion that night.

There have been conflicting reports about the explosion. One, which I repeated in my October 7 article, said the bomb was made of TATP, supposedly the same material used in the London subway bombings. I don?t know what TATP is, but The Oklahoman has since quoted the youth?s father, Joel Hinrichs Jr., of Colorado Springs, as saying the FBI told him the bomb was made of hydrogen peroxide. Some reports, upon which I based my story, quoted witnesses as saying Hinrichs was carrying a large backpack. Still another report said the explosives were strapped to his body. We won?t know for sure until the FBI or local coroner releases more information.

A bus driver told authorities, according to media reports, that shortly before the explosion he saw a young man fitting Hiurichs? description stretched out on a bus stop bench staring into space.

Oklahoma media quoted witnesses who claimed they saw Hinrichs attempt to enter the stadium and run from the area when security guards tried to check his backpack, a report I included in my October 7 story.

OU now says the FBI reviewed security camera tapes from the stadium gates and ?found nothing to indicate Hinrichs tried to enter?. Although no one said it did, the university has also said it did not sell an OU-KSU game ticket to Hinrichs.

The university also said it ?had heard nothing to indicate? Hinrichs attempted to buy a ticket from scalpers outside the stadium. None of that, of course, means Hinrichs did not have a ticket to the game.

According to The Oklahoman, Norman Police confirmed that on September 26 Hinrichs attempted to buy aluminum nitrate from a Norman feed store. Aluminum nitrate was used in the bombs at the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 and the World Trade Center in 1993. Hinrichs? comments to the store?s manager raised the suspicions of an off-duty police officer who was in the store and overheard the conversation. He wrote down the license plate number on Hinrichs? car. Hinrichs died before a formal investigation could be made.

So far, the FBI has not identified the type of explosives found in Hinrichs? apartment.

FBI agents questioned Hinrichs? neighbors shortly after the October 1 explosion and searched his apartment on October 2, removing the cache of explosives and what The Oklahoman called ?other material?. Hinrichs? building and three neighboring buildings in the university-owned apartment complex were cordoned off by police until the explosives were removed.

An Internet news magazine is reporting that the search warrant used to search Hinrichs? apartment has been sealed by a federal court at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice. If true, that raises serious questions.

The magazine quotes a Bob Troester, identified as an assistant U.S. attorney in Oklahoma City, as saying to a reporter: ?You can draw whatever you like. We don?t comment on any sealed indictment.? The magazine wonders what he meant. Did he simply misspeak, meaning to say ?warrant?? If he did mean there?s a ?sealed indictment? that would mean that living people are about to be charged with a crime.

Speculation is running wild in Oklahoma (and at some Internet websites) that Hinrichs was involved with Muslim students from foreign countries, that he probably did intend to blow himself up inside the stadium but was deterred by the presence of security guards, that after leaving the stadium he either detonated the bomb to kill himself or it went off accidentally.

Hinrichs? roommate, first reported to be a Pakistani, which I included in my October 7 story, has also been identified as a Palestinian. He and three other Muslim students were taken into custody shortly after the explosion. They were questioned and released.

I also wrote October 7 that an Oklahoma City television station reported that Hinrichs had been attending the same Norman mosque attended by convicted 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. However, a number of Muslim students and an Arab professor have since denied ever seeing Hinrichs at the mosque.

The day after the explosion, the FBI said it ?has no information that suggests that there is any additional threat posed by others related to this incident.?

The FBI said on October 4 that it ?had found no known link between Hinrichs and any terrorist or extremist organization or activities.? On October 6 OU President Boren said authorities ?have so far found no evidence of a conspiracy? and cautioned the university community against ?any rush to judgment based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.?

Joel Hinrichs Jr. said his son had been treated previously for severe depression and dropped out of OU in 2003-2004. Classmates said the young man was a loner, dressed strangely and seemed concerned recently about his grades.

The dead student?s father added that his son had a fascination with explosives; that at the age of 13 or 14 made a bomb out of match heads and a tube. He also used to buy artillery shells on ebay.

However, Hinrichs Jr. also told The Oklahoman he had not observed any suicidal tendencies in his son. In fact, he added, in the last e-mail he received from his son on September 14, the young man anticipated getting a Subaru the elder Hinrichs was offering to him.

We may never know for sure what happened. Or why.

Suicide usually occurs in private, but Oklahoma mental health professionals are now wondering if Hinrichs was motivated to bring attention to his death.

I have a theory ? well, actually a question in my mind.

If Hinrichs was a convert to Islam and associated with militant Muslim extremists in a terrorist attack at a Midwest university, it would not take the FBI very long to put the pieces together. Because of his roommate, Hinrichs was likely acquainted with Muslim students, some of whom could have had ties to a terrorist group. I wonder if they knew about his interest ? and apparent expertise — in explosives; and if they learned he was depressed and suicidal, whether they might have befriended the troubled youth, who had trouble making friends, and manipulated him into committing suicide in a big way ? inside a crowded football stadium. I wonder if, as he approached the stadium, his conscience caused him to have second thoughts, he turned away, stretched out on the bus bench to think it over, and either killed himself or died when the bomb detonated accidentally.

The FBI left itself a lot of wiggle room by simply saying it has ?not found anything? or ?has no evidence? that it might have been more than a suicide.

Even Boren has backed off from his initial insistence that it was an ?individual suicide? and, because Oklahoma law allows only a coroner to make that determination, later clarified his statement to ?individual death?. And, as noted above, Boren has urged the university community to remain calm and not rush to judgment, as he recognizes the investigation has not been completed.

Meanwhile, the university announced that security will be increased at its football stadium.

Oct 11th, 1203HRS PST

Just heard on 930AM out of OKC that MSM are now here in the local area looking to do stories on this as they are even finding the silence defeaning.

Oct 12th, 0635HRS PST

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said Tuesday that the FBI told him there is no indication anyone else was involved in the apparent suicide bombing that took the life of University of Oklahoma student Joel Henry Hinrichs III earlier this month.

Citing a point of frustration expressed by law enforcement, the Oklahoma Republican said, the agent who briefed him on the investigation questioned why no one with knowledge of Hinrichs’ lengthy interest in explosives had ever contacted the bureau or some other agency.

“That is illegal activity,” Cole said. “It is not like having a firearm and being a hunter.”

No situation involving the making of a bomb even for private use is legal, he said, adding the agent clearly thought public awareness should be increased on that issue.

A two-term member of Congress whose district includes OU, Cole said he asked for an FBI briefing on the case that has generated an unusual amount of attention from those inside and outside the university community.

“No. 1, we don’t have any reason to believe this was anything other than an individual suicide,” Cole said, again quoting the FBI agent.

“We feel pretty good that there is not terrorist activity.”

Cole said the FBI, while still careful about ruling certain things in or out in the ongoing investigation, said law enforcement has looked at the 21-year-old student’s phone records, e-mails and personal records.

“They checked out every acquaintance they could find,” he said, including his roommate.

“He didn’t have a lot of friends.”

No evidence such as jihadist material has been found linking Hinrichs to others, Cole said.

“There is no indication he was acting in concert with anybody,” he said.

Asked if Hinrichs had left a suicide note, Cole said the FBI told him “there was no note.”

One of the questions that continues to generate speculation involved the timing and location of the bombing, which occurred close to a packed Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Cole said the FBI has not come up with a reason why Hinrichs picked that location and time for the bombing, adding, however, that that area is the first place that offers a place to sit down near the stadium.

As to the ongoing speculation that Hinrichs had attempted to enter the stadium only to be turned away by security, Cole said the FBI briefer conceded “honestly, we don’t know,” but added no confirmation of those reports has been found.

He said the FBI also cannot confirm the path Hinrichs took right before the bombing.

The FBI, the congressman said, praised the reaction of the local community, including those in the Islamic community, law enforcement and OU President David Boren.

Cole said he was told members of the Islamic community “went above and beyond” to cooperate with the investigation and no connection to the local mosque has been found.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., received an FBI briefing on the incident last week.

Danny Finnerty, special assistant to Inhofe, said the senator also received assurances that Hinrichs was acting alone when he killed himself.

Finnerty said the FBI also told Inhofe it could not confirm reports Hinrichs had attempted to enter the stadium.

Oct 12th, 0945HRS PST

Now, many of my readers wonder why the MSM won’t touch the strange and troubling story of the University of Oklahoma bomber, Joel Henry Hinrichs III. On Oct. 1, Hinrichs died on a park bench outside the school’s packed football stadium when a homemade bomb in his possession exploded. The Justice Department has sealed a search warrant in the case. The university’s president, David Boren, is pooh-poohing local media and Internet blog reports of possible jihadist influences on Hinrichs. The dead bomber was, we are being told, simply a depressed and troubled young man with “no known ties” to terrorism.

Never mind that, according to local news reporters, the bomb-making material found in Hinrichs’ apartment was triacetone triperoxide — the explosive chemical of choice of shoe bomber Richard Reid and the London 7/7 subway bombers.

Never mind the local police department’s confirmation that Hinrichs had attempted to buy ammonium nitrate a few days before his death.

Never mind the concerns of Oklahoma University student journalist Rachael Kahne, who told me this week in a call for the media’s help:

“I’ve been working on this story since the night it happened, and have been stonewalled at every turn. . . . Minutes after the explosion, police busted into a student’s apartment and arrested four Muslim students who were there for a small gathering (the president of the Muslim Student Association assures me this was in no way a “party”). Among those arrested [and later released] was Fazal Cheema, Joel Henry Hinrichs’ Pakistani roommate. I was baffled when I heard this. I didn’t know how police would be able to identify who Hinrichs was, where he lived, who his roommate was, and then find where his roommate was in a matter of minutes. Something isn’t adding up, and I’ve been wracking my brain for the past week trying to figure out what happened here. OU isn’t saying anything more than the typical PR spin, and the FBI won’t talk.”

Nothing to see here. Move along. Islam is a peaceful religion. Stop asking so many damned questions.

Oct 12th, 1200HRS PST

Imagine a man with a bomb strapped to his body making his way into a packed football stadium, reaching his seat and blowing himself up. There would be a heavy death toll in what would be the first successful terrorist act on U.S. soil since 9-11.

Jolting us back to memories of the Oklahoma City bombing, this would obviously be a massive headline in our ongoing war on terror. One would think attention would be heightened even further if such a story were to occur again in Oklahoma.

Well, there’s reason to believe it nearly happened, and it was indeed in Oklahoma, making the paltry coverage of the story unfathomable.

On Oct. 1, as the Oklahoma Sooners hosted Kansas State in front of 84,000 fans, University of Oklahoma student Joel Hinrichs III blew himself up outside the stadium.

There is evidence that he sought to enter the game and was turned away by security after refusing to allow his backpack to be searched. Some minutes later, that backpack, containing the chosen explosive of shoe bomber Richard Reid and the London subway bombers, exploded, killing Mr. Hinrichs as he sat on a bench.

There have been some dutiful print and broadcast accounts of this event, all leaning heavily on the favored establishment take ? that this was a troubled young man who sought only to kill himself, simply doing so in an offbeat way.

Oh, really?

Well, what if the young man had a Pakistani roommate? What if he had been spending time at the Islamic Center of Norman, Okla., once frequented by “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui? What if the warrant used in the search of the bomber’s apartment had been sealed by federal authorities?

What if explosives had been found in that apartment? What if the young man had tried to purchase ammonium nitrate, the chosen explosive of Tim McVeigh, at a Norman feed store days earlier?

That’s a lot of what ifs, and they range from the confirmed to the unconfirmed. But the parts we do know ? the Pakistani roommate, the attempted fertilizer purchase, the veil of secrecy around the investigation ? should be enough to cast doubt on the simplistic “troubled young man” theory favored by, among others, OU’s nervous president, David Boren.

Mr. Hinrichs’ father told me his son was not the type to join radical causes and would not want to hurt anyone. But his son’s chosen method ? blowing himself up in a public place ? would seem to cast doubt on his concern for his fellow man.

As for the terrorist angle, Mr. Hinrichs is now the subject of understandably intense scrutiny, virtually none of it from the mainstream media. You might think the story fizzled because there was, in fact, no death beyond the bomber. True enough, but I’d suggest that if a raid revealed some radical plan to bomb an abortion clinic anywhere in America, the suspects would be household names by nightfall without a single fuse lit.

Something about the nature of this event has swallowed almost whole the normal curiosity one would expect from the usual sources.

Is it political, because acknowledging a terror threat on our soil might bolster President Bush’s war logic? Is it economic, out of fear of scaring people away from football games? Is it geographic snobbery because it didn’t happen on either coast? Or is it a PC fear of seeming to lunge toward a jihadist angle?

Whatever the reason, hunting for details of this shocking story puts you in some offbeat company.

Jayna Davis is a writer who has spent years documenting what she asserts is an Islamic connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. She has a fan in Douglas Hagmann, director of an outfit called the Northeastern Intelligence Network, whose Web site (homelandsecurityus.com) has a conspiracy geek vibe that might spark scoffing.

But the fact of the matter is that these people are breaking fresh news on this story that only later winds up in more conventional news outlets.

I’m not calling for a leap to the conclusion that Mr. Hinrichs was another in a series of Caucasians pressed into service by terror cells for their undercover value. But it seems equally unwise to shrug dismissively at the possibility.

Oct 12th, 1539HRS PST

I do believe this Cheema character is involved up to his ears. I also believe that Cheemas’s statements he is an athiest is BS and a smoke screen.

Just thought I’d clarify a bit about the atheist statment. This was stated by a man by the name of Tariq Alzoubi… He also stated that Cheema “MIGHT” be Pakistani. That raised questions in my mind whether Tariq really knew Cheema well at all… I too think it’s a smoke screen and Tariq apparently has some motives to keeping this quiet as well…

I found some interesting stuff out about Tariq Alzoubi in a google search last night.

1.) He is a semi-weekly columnist for the OU paper.
2.) He was the “co-composer” of a student website at OU about the middle east situation (mostly gulf war) – a “joke?” on the page mentions another “co-composer” of the pages at the site is listed as “Mohamed Jihad”.
3.) He wrote an opinion piece re: Al-Jazeera that has been re-published on the “Friends of Al-Jazeera” website.
4.) He also wrote a recent (9/13/05) Letter to the Editor of the Arab Times in which he talks about the “West” “pushing us around”.

All of these things raises questions in my mind over whether he indeed knew Cheema well enough to really speak to his religious feelings, or whether he is a self-appointed spokesperson and is attempting to create a smokescreen as Americanexpat pointed out. I personally believe he may be the author of the most recent editorial published by OU which contained heavy spin, accused journalists of being hack and lying, etc… See this FR Thread: The FBI Needs to Start Talking (OU Spin Alert)

You can see links to all of these things in the Comprehensive Summary at my blog. The section on Tariq is the second to last section on the page which is very long. Better to scroll all the way down and go up to see it.

Tariq was interviewed by several papers and has given his statements about this situation to the media. IMHO he is not someone they should be talking to seeing the apparent views he holds…

Oct 13th, 1004HRS PST

When a junior at the University of Oklahoma blew himself up 100 yards away from a packed football stadium on Oct. 1, the 85,000 fans inside remained calm despite the loud explosion.

But the calm has given way to anxiety, as the college town of Norman, Okla., has struggled to separate fact from fiction in the apparent suicide of Joel Henry Hinrichs III.

Several bloggers have jumped to try to connect the dots in the case and speculate that the 21-year-old Mr. Hinrichs was a suicide bomber under the influence of Islam. The blog reports, in turn, have influenced local news coverage of the young man’s violent death.

From the start, the case was prime territory for bloggers. The conservative blog Little Green Footballs titled one post “Jihad at the University of Oklahoma?” and wrote, “The story of the suicide bomber at the University of Oklahoma football stadium, determinedly ignored by mainstream media, is beginning to get interesting….”

Several facts about the case fed the speculation: Suicides committed with bombs are rare, as are those committed in public near a crowded event. Mr. Hinrichs (pronounced HIN-ricks) had a Pakistani roommate. They shared an apartment one block away from the only mosque in Norman — the same mosque attended in 2001 by Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to helping plan the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In some photographs, Mr. Hinrichs can be seen with a scraggly beard.

Adding to community concern was the revelation that two days before he blew himself up, Mr. Hinrichs visited a feed store and inquired about buying ammonium nitrate — the same chemical Timothy McVeigh put in the bomb he used in 1995 to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, 20 miles to the north. An off-duty Norman police officer, overhearing Mr. Hinrichs’s conversation in the store, ran a check on his license plate and found no cause for alarm.

To that unsettling set of facts, blogs and local Oklahoma TV stations added several apparent inaccuracies, including: that Mr. Hinrichs was a Muslim and visited the mosque frequently; that he tried to enter the stadium twice but was rebuffed; that he had a one-way airplane ticket to Algeria; that there were nails in the bomb and that Islamic extremist literature was found in his apartment.

None of these claims are true: Mr. Hinrichs’s family, university officials and the Federal Bureau of Investigation say Mr. Hinrichs suffered from depression, and the explosion was an isolated event.

The FBI’s investigation is nearly complete. On Oct. 4, the FBI issued a statement saying, “At this time, there is no known link between Hinrichs and any terrorist or extremist organization(s) or activities.”

In an interview, David L. Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma and the former senator who was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that while most news reports have been responsible, there has been a “feeding frenzy of false rumors” on blogs and in some local TV stations. On Friday, he said in a letter to students and staff that investigators had found “no evidence of a conspiracy involving others which creates an ongoing threat to our OU community.”

Joe Hinrichs, Joel’s father, has appeared on TV and radio talk shows in an effort to clear his son’s name. In an interview, he said he is disgusted by what the bloggers and talk shows are saying. “They’re sensationalists by trade,” he said. “This blog stuff is just smoke. It’s bilge.”

Mr. Hinrichs said he was aware that Joel, an engineering student from Colorado Springs, Colo., had sought counseling for depression. He said he didn’t know whether his son was taking any medication.

Joel wasn’t a Muslim and wasn’t under anyone’s sway, Mr. Hinrichs says. Raised by a Lutheran father and a mother who is a Jehovah’s Witness, Joel had no interest in either denomination, his father said. “He was very curious,” Mr. Hinrichs said. “But he was very skeptical and about as impressionable as a tree stump.”

As for the beard, his father, who also is bearded, said, “He’s looked like Abe Lincoln since high school.”

Bloggers haven’t been put off by any disputing of their claims. Among the bloggers who have weighed in on the event are Michelle Malkin, a conservative syndicated newspaper columnist and author of a book “In Defense of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on Terror”; Power Line, the blog known for discrediting documents that CBS News relied on for a report questioning President Bush’s military record, and the blog Tapscott’s Copy Desk, written by Mark Tapscott, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Media and Public Policy.

Mr. Tapscott maintains that Mr. Hinrichs’s death was more than a simple suicide. In an interview, he said, “To me, the more likely scenario, given the crucial pieces of evidence, is that he did indeed have some kind of link to some kind of terrorism deal.”

Ms. Malkin said blogs were doing the work that the mainstream media failed to do. “People are gathering information that they can’t find out from their local or national newspapers and bringing it to readers,” she said in an interview. “The mainstream media does us all a disservice when it bends over backward to whitewash radical Islam out of the news.”

Many of the bloggers who have commented on the case said they were made suspicious by the involvement of the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the investigation, as well as by the authorities’ swift dismissal of a terrorist connection. “It leads me to believe that there’s some sort of concerted effort to keep this quiet as long as possible,” says Jason Smith, a legal consultant outside Houston who blogs as Texas Rainmaker.

Conflicting official statements in the aftermath of the blast heightened anxiety in the shaken university town. Hours after the explosion, OU’s Mr. Boren issued a statement saying the university was “apparently dealing with an individual suicide.”

That same statement also said a second device had been found at the scene, but the university later rescinded that assertion. In fact, authorities did find, in Mr. Hinrichs’s bedroom, additional explosive material. They detonated them at the police firing range the next day, jolting the city again.

Local television news shows also were helping spread the bloggers’ theories. In one three-minute segment called “Blog Spot,” on the local CBS affiliate, News 9 KWTV, an anchor read several theories. “The blogs are also watching our coverage and asking questions about it,” the anchor said.

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, KWTV correspondent Tamara Pratt reported that Mr. Hinrichs had spent “much of his time at the Norman mosque,” and that investigators had seized an airline ticket to Algeria in Hinrichs’s apartment.

Mr. Boren said that Mr. Hinrichs isn’t known ever to have visited the Norman mosque. And while investigators did find an airplane ticket to Algeria, it wasn’t in Mr. Hinrichs’s apartment, but rather in one belonging to an international student, Mr. Boren said.

Brian Eckert, News 9’s managing editor, said the channel doesn’t use blogs as sources in reporting and stands by Ms. Pratt’s report.

Oct 13th, 1545HRS PST

NORMAN – A University of Oklahoma instructor from Egypt said he and others of foreign descent were handcuffed at gunpoint and questioned after the OU bomb blast Oct. 1, but added he is not bitter.

“Not at all. I understand. They explained. But if they keep coming back — that’s something else,” Hossam Barakat said. “Because I’m not guilty in any way.”

Barakat, 37, blames unfortunate timing.

The roommate of the student killed by the explosion just happened to wander into an apartment where he and four or five others were visiting.

Also arrested was Pakistani student Fazal M. Cheema, the roommate of the student who apparently killed himself with a bomb, Joel “Joe” Henry Hinrichs III. Cheema took a polygraph test and later was released, The Oklahoman has learned.

The others do not wish to be identified or interviewed, Barakat said. He described them as either born abroad or Americans of Middle Eastern descent but said he does not believe they were targeted because of nationality or religion.

“It wasn’t toward the Muslim community. It was just because of Cheema,” Barakat said. “I can understand. He’s the roommate.”

Roommate visited

The others came under suspicion because Cheema had stopped by an apartment where they were talking around midnight Oct. 1, Barakat said.

“Cheema always come to this apartment. That night, he just walk in,” Barakat said.

In addition, one of the men in the apartment was a visiting professor from Algeria who had his suitcases packed and was ready to leave the country on an airplane the following day, Barakat said.

“I understand, absolutely, that something had happened and we needed to cooperate. If this had happened in any other country, they would have done it the same way.”

Hinrichs, an engineering student, has tentatively been identified as the student who died Oct. 1 in an explosion on a campus bench about 100 yards from OU’s packed football stadium. Investigators believe he blew himself up.

Investigators found identification on the body, but the state medical examiner is awaiting DNA test results for a positive identification.

Salvador Hernandez, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oklahoma City office, told a congressman Tuesday the investigation into the explosion is continuing, but so far it appears to be “an individual act.”

Barakat, who lives in the same university apartment complex as Hinrichs, said that hours after the bomb blast, he went to another apartment in the complex to say goodbye to the Algerian friend who was scheduled to fly out of the United States the next day. Later, Cheema dropped in unexpectedly, staying only a few minutes.

When Cheema left, the commotion began.

Outside, guests heard yelling, Barakat said.

“We heard someone said, ‘Put your hands up! Put your hands up!’ And someone looked from the window and seen that Cheema got arrested,” he said.

Because Cheema has a hearing impairment, he did not respond immediately to the police order to stop.

“That’s why they got mad and started to yell and flashed in his eyes and got guns,” Barakat said.

Barakat said he started to leave his friend’s apartment to go home about 15 minutes later, but an officer pulled a gun and ordered him back inside.

“We knew that they are investigating this thing but I didn’t know that we are under house arrest. That didn’t come to our mind,” Barakat said.

Hours passed as the group waited in the apartment.

“We are terrified. We were sitting waiting for them to come at any time,” Barakat said.

About 4:05 a.m., police telephoned the apartment and told the group to come out the front door, one at a time, hands up, he said.

As they arrived outside, they were ordered to kneel and put their hands behind their heads so they could be handcuffed. Barakat said they were separated at that point and questioned individually.

“They asked if I knew Joel,” Barakat said. “I said, ‘No.’ They kept asking over and over, ‘Do you have bombs, guns or knives?'”

Barakat said he did not.

About 5:30 a.m. Sunday, all were released to go home except Cheema, who was put up in a motel overnight because FBI agents wanted him to take a polygraph the next day, Barakat said.

The apartment where they had been was among those evacuated so officers could remove explosive material from Hinrichs’ home, so the group went to Barakat’s apartment, which was outside the evacuation area. Exhausted, they fell asleep, some on the floor, he said.

An FBI agent called again about 8:45 a.m. Oct. 2, saying agents wanted to talk to them some more, Barakat said.

Later that morning, the agents arrived but instead of questioning them at Barakat’s apartment as expected, they took them to an FBI office in Oklahoma City, where they spent the day watching football on television with an equal number of FBI agents.

The agents brought in chicken for lunch and pizza for dinner and joked with the men. But they also accompanied them to the rest room, Barakat said.

Eventually, an immigration officer arrived and questioned each person individually to make sure they were in the country legally, he said.

“He make a copy of everything I have in my wallet — everything except the cash,” he said.

Later, FBI agents separated the group again and asked more questions: Where have you been? What have you been doing? Do you know any radical person in the Islamic community? Did you ever see anyone taking anything out of Hinrichs’ apartment in a garbage bag?

Barakat said he answered “no” to the last two questions.

About 10:30 p.m., an FBI agent finally told them it was all over and thanked them for their assistance. Barakat said the FBI agents were polite and professional throughout the investigation, but he also said Norman police were “very aggressive, very mean.”

Oct 15, 0030HRS PST

This article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal sets out to debunk speculation about whether Joel Hinrichs, the University of Oklahoma student who blew himself up outside the Oklahoma football stadium, may have intended a terrorist attack. It fails. The Journal cites a number of blogs, including us, who have talked about the OU incident. (We discussed it here, here, and here.) The reporters interviewed several bloggers for their story, but didn’t make any attempt to contact us.

The Journal’s article acknowledges the features of the story that have led many to wonder whether there was more going on here than a tragic case of suicide by a depressed college student:

Several facts about the case fed the speculation: Suicides committed with bombs are rare, as are those committed in public near a crowded event. Mr. Hinrichs … had a Pakistani roommate. They shared an apartment one block away from the only mosque in Norman — the same mosque attended in 2001 by Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to helping plan the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ***

Adding to community concern was the revelation that two days before he blew himself up, Mr. Hinrichs visited a feed store and inquired about buying ammonium nitrate — the same chemical Timothy McVeigh put in the bomb he used in 1995 to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, 20 miles to the north.

But the Journal goes on to dismiss these troublesome facts, and to assure its readers that there is nothing to the Hinrichs story:

To that unsettling set of facts, blogs and local Oklahoma TV stations added several apparent inaccuracies, including: that Mr. Hinrichs was a Muslim and visited the mosque frequently; that he tried to enter the stadium twice but was rebuffed; that he had a one-way airplane ticket to Algeria; that there were nails in the bomb and that Islamic extremist literature was found in his apartment.

None of these claims are true: Mr. Hinrichs’s family, university officials and the Federal Bureau of Investigation say Mr. Hinrichs suffered from depression, and the explosion was an isolated event.

The FBI’s investigation is nearly complete. On Oct. 4, the FBI issued a statement saying, “At this time, there is no known link between Hinrichs and any terrorist or extremist organization(s) or activities.”

The Journal seems to be making a logical leap here. It is very likely true that Hinrichs had no connection to any terrorist or extremist organization; I wrote here that:

I assume that Hinrichs was, at most, a “free-lance Islamic terrorist,” like the D.C. snipers of three years ago, not an al Qaeda operative.

But the question whether Hinrichs was part of a terrorist cell is entirely different from the question whether he intended mass murder. There are two intractable facts that suggest that there was more going on here than an “individual suicide.” The Journal acknowledges both facts, but fails to deal with them. The first fact is that additional explosives were found in Hinrichs’ apartment:

In fact, authorities did find, in Mr. Hinrichs’s bedroom, additional explosive material. They detonated them at the police firing range the next day, jolting the city again.

Given that Hinrichs had enough explosives left in his apartment to “jolt the city,” isn’t it reasonable to wonder whether more was going on here than an “individual suicide”?

The second problematic, and undisputed, fact is that two days before his death, Hinrichs tried to buy a load of fertilizer at a feed store–the same material that Timothy McVeigh used to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City. I suppose it is possible that someone could commit suicide by detonating a truckful of fertilizer, but I’ve never heard of it, and it certainly would be a roundabout way to do away with oneself. It is, on the other hand, a common method of committing a terrorist bombing.

So the Journal’s assurance that there is no story here is profoundly unconvincing. Especially so, in view of the fact that the paper gives no explanation of how it knows that “none of these claims are true.” In particular, it has been reported that Hinrichs, or someone like him, tried to enter the stadium but fled when a gate worker wanted to search his backpack. We have no idea whether these reports are accurate. I assume the FBI has investigated them. But the quote cited by the Journal for the proposition that “none of these claims are true” sheds no light at all on these important facts. The FBI simply said, on October 4, “At this time, there is no known link between Hinrichs and any terrorist or extremist organization(s) or activities.”

As we have said before, we have no independent knowledge of Joel Hinrichs. We don’t know whether he was a free-lance terrorist, part of an extremist group, or just a depressed student. But it simply won’t do to cite bland, “no known link” statements by the FBI as an excuse to sweep all questions under the rug. It is important to know whether Hinrichs intended a spectacular terrorist attack at an Oklahoma football game. If he did, it is important to know whether he was inspired by extremist ideology, and it is important to know whether he was part of an extremist group that is still operating. The answers to these questions may be No, No and No. But at this point, we have no reason to believe that the authorities actually know the answers. And the Journal’s effort to stifle discussion of the subject is unworthy of that newspaper.

Speaking for myself, I’m still waiting for an explanation of why Hinrichs wanted that load of fertilizer.

Oct 15th, 0253HRS PST

Republican Congressman Tom Cole speaking on Hannity & Colmes on Fox News about OU Bomber [oubombing, normanbombing]

Following is a transcript from OCT 14 2005 9:18 ET

Lead-In, Alan Colmes: ?An OK students suicide has set off a fire storm of debate whether this incident was part of a larger terror plot, we?ll talk to a congressman whose determined to get answers.? [Photo of Hinrich Head to waist with beard, Green shirt, blue jeans and what appears to be a cloth with blk criss cross patter w/White squares over a rock].

OCT 14 2005 9:22 ET

Lead-In, Sean Hannity: ?A University of OK student blew himself up near a packed football stadium. Now was this a simple suicide or was it an attempted terrorist attack. Why isn?t it getting more media attention? We?re going to ask a congressman whose determined to get answers tonight.?

OCT 14 2005 9:31 ET

Colmes: ?…but first University of Oklahoma [OK] student, Joel Hinrich[s] blew himself up just 100 yards away from the school?s packed football stadium on October first. Since then there have been a series of allegations about his motives and his crime.

Was he part of a larger terror plot, was it just an isolated incident?

Joining us now, OK Congressman who is demanding answers, Representative Tom Cole.
Thank you sir for being with us tonight.

Are we jumping to conclusions…?

Tom Cole: ?Good to be with you.? [American flag on lapel]

Colmes: ?…based on the fact that he had a Pakistani roommate and that he may have gone to buy some kind of explosion [verify if he said explosive]. Is there a little bit of paranoia or racism in jumping in to believe that this person might have other motives other than a lone suicide??

Tom Cole: ?Well I, I think its wise to be cautious. You know we did have [Zacarias] Moussaoui in OK, the so called 20th hi-jacker, Nicholas Berg, the individual who was brutally murdered the past year, and, of course, had the largest incident of domestic terrorism with the OK city bombing, so I think there?s probably a heightened sensitivity…?

[Fox Facts: FBI is Conducting Probe into University of Oklahoma Bombing]

?…but, frankly I think the law enforcement officials here have done an excellent job and, uh, I got a great briefing by the special agent in charge; Hernandez and everything so far appears to indicate this was indeed an isolated incident, a very lonely and troubled young man who, uh had had a a rather disturbed adolescence and early childhood, and frankly resulted in a suicide, we don?t find any evidence of all, of a terrorist activity or any any plots. [??] for the Islamic community?

[Fox Facts: 10/1: Student Died After Bomb Exploded at Football Stadium. Video footage of what appears to be a trooper? directing traffic past Yellow taped off area]

Colmes: I know you spoke with the F.B.I. He had a Pakistani roommate. He did suffer from depression as we found out. Also University of OK Instructor from Egypt was hand-cuffed at gunpoint and the roommate, the Pakistani roommate detained.

Again is this just being cautious and careful in a world of terrorism or are we too quick to make that connection because anyone connected with someone of foreign descent of certain countries and the possibility of terrorism.?

[Fox facts: Joel Hinrichs III was an Engineering Student]

Cole: ?Well I think you ought to be careful. But I think actually the law enforcement people have been cautious and careful and there?s been no allegation of of inappropriate activity uh uh from um people that were detained. And frankly they deserve high marks. They were enormously cooperative. People here have been very helpful. The law enforcement I think responded quickly and professionally both locally and the federal officials as well.

And their on top of it. They?ve looked at it. Everyday that goes by, they?re more and more certain that this was indeed an isolated incident and uh, is being treated as such, so I frankly I think by and large people deserve high marks for the manner in which it?s being handled.?

[Fox facts: FBI: Found No Indication That Hinrichs had Links to Terrorists. Bomb Went Off About 100 Yards from the Football Stadium. Bomb Went Off During Second Quarter of Football Game. 85,000 Fans were Attending Oklahoma-Kansas State Game]

Hannity: ?Hey Congressman, I want to talk specifically about conflicting reports that he [Hinrich] and his roommate [Fazal] Cheema, that they did attend this particular Mosque which was one block away from their house [apartment]. There was a local TV station and correspondent that said he [Hinrich] spent much of his time there, but that is being disputed by other people.

Do we know the answer to it, cause this is the one according to the Wall Street Journal said the Mosque that was attended by [Zacarias] Moussaoui that would be an an important pertinent fact in some peoples mind, and would it be in your mind, and what do you know about it??

[Fox facts: Officials removed Explosive Materials from Hinrich?s Apt. FBI Questioned Hinrichs? Pakistani-National Roommate]

Cole: ?Well again I I could understand people being concerned and cautious but the reality is we don?t have any indication that he ever attended the Mosque, quite the opposite, there?s just, there?s no ?Jahidist? material uh in the apartment. The fact that he had a Pakistani roommate does indeed seem to be coincidental.

Just simply ah people looking for a way to cut their housing costs together. They weren?t close. They weren?t friends. Uh, we have no note that was left to indicate that, and there?s just simply no indication this was anything other than a suicide.?

?Again I could understand why people try and look at this an jump to conclusions quickly. But a…?

[Fox facts: Hinrichs? Apt is Near Mosque Attended by Z. Moussaoui]

Hannity: ?Well, Congressman, but he blew himself up a hundred, he blew himself up a hundred yards away from a football stadium packed with 85 thousand people, it is beyond rare the person that commits suicide with a bomb, uh,?

[Fox facts: Hinrichs Purchased Same Explosive Used by McVeigh and Richard Reid]

Cole: ?Oh extrodinarily rare.?

Hannity: ?Should it not raise suspicion and concern? I mean that seems logical to me??

Cole: ?Well I think concern, yes, and uh, this is an individual frankly that had a history of dealing with explosives back to the time he was a teenager, throughout his adolescence and I think that is worth noting and the F.B.I. actually made that point to me that it?s unfortunate, that?s an illegal activity that people don?t report it. They were a little bit amazed that this individual, troubled young man, had been handling explosives…?

Hannity: ?Yeah?

Cole: ?…for literally years and nobody had bothered to bring it to the attention of the authorities. Again no evidence of conspiracy. No evidence of, of any kind of involvement and frankly I?d point out normally when you have a terrorist incident, people are racing to claim credit for it as a terrorist incident.?

Colmes: ?Congressman we…?

Cole: ?Again we had a great cooperation from our Islamic community here. I don?t think there is any reason for concern.?

Colmes: ?…we thank you very much for being here. Thank you for your time.?

Cole: ?You bet.?
End 9:36 PM

Oct 15th, 0750HRS PST

Mark Tapscott’s appearance on CNN definitely raises some interesting points that relate directly on to how the Hinrichs investigation is proceeding and how various officials are portraying the situation.

Which brings us to what may be a significant development coming out of the CNN segment. Pat DeMuro (SP?), the former FBI agent who was in the New York studio with Aaron Brown tonight, described an agreement when the FBI was reorganized a few years back that all explosions would be presumed to be terrorist acts until proven otherwise.

But in this case the presumption virtually from the outset has been that it was not a terrorist act, so Boren, who was Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee when he retired from politics in 1994, needs to come clean about why the FBI’s policy of presuming a terrorist link was junked so quickly in the Hinrichs investigation.

Also significant: At the end, DeMuro made it clear that he “is not saying this wasn’t a terrorist act.” So far, his former colleagues in the FBI in Oklahoma are insisting they have no evidence that it was a terrorist act, but others in the law enforcement community are beginning to strain at having to toe such an obviously flawed official line.

It would seem that the folks down in Georgia were on the same page as the ‘official line,’ which is to treat all incidents involving explosives be presumed terrorist acts until proven otherwise. That protocol does not appear to be followed in the Hinrichs’ case, despite the fact that there are unanswered questions about motive, methods, and background.

It would seem that the OU President Boren has jumped to a conclusion despite the lack of evidence to support or deny the assertion. He’s stated that this was not a terrorist act, but rather the act of a depressed student. Do we really know enough about Hinrichs’ background to make that statement?

The one thing I don’t quite get is the lack of a suicide note. Did investigators find one? What did it say? Or, was it a martyr’s letter – similar to ones found after the scores of suicide bombings around the world.

We simply don’t know.

And Mark is joined by Powerline and Rusty of the Jawa Report in taking apart the WSJ article about Hinrichs. Rusty notes:

They simply cite the University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s assurances that it was not terrorism–statements he began to make before the investigation had even begun–the protests of Hinrichs’ father that his son was not a Muslim, and a single FBI statement in an ongoing investigation.

There are simply too many questions about Hinrichs to make blanket assertions so early on in the investigation as Boren did.

Asking questions about media reports isn’t making conspriacy theories. It’s called getting to the bottom of the situation. It’s about getting the facts straight on a story. It’s about pushing the media to cover a story with major significance if the facts do corroborate a working theory that Hinrichs was a suicide bomber looking to kill football fans during or after the OU football game or to confirm that Hinrichs was in fact a loner and depressed when he took his life using the unique method of high explosives.

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The terrorism expert said the size of the explosion indicates that it was designed to hit more than Hinrichs. He said it seems more than coincidence that this occurred on the Saturday night of a football game.

The explosion that killed Hinrichs also burned a large area around the bench. If the explosion had occurred inside the stadium, it could have killed fans, prompting the question of whether that was Hinrichs’ intent all along.

From the pictures I’ve seen, very little damage was done to the area, and there aren’t any consistent reports as to the size/type of device. Where is Sloan getting his information?