Kansas house may tie FBI to OKC, TWA 800


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On Thursday afternoon, March 31, within hours of the death of Terry Schiavo, the FBI approached an entirely surprised Georgia Rucker in the forgotten little town of Herington, Kan., an hour or so southwest of Topeka.

The agents asked Rucker for the keys to a cracker box of a house she was trying to sell on South Second Street. They told her they were searching for possible explosives. Naturally, she obliged. Unconcerned by what they might find, Rucker went and had her hair done while she waited for them to finish. "I didn't think it was possible for there to be anything there," she told a reporter from the Daily Union in nearby Junction City.

Rucker was wrong. The FBI soon called in the Topeka bomb squad, evacuated the immediate neighborhood, and cordoned off a three-block area. They worked through the night and into the next day. As Rucker learned, this is the house in which Terry Nichols lived at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Although the FBI on the scene would not confirm that its agents found anything, ABC News and others were told by Oklahoma City's FBI office that explosive devices had indeed been found. The news spin, at least what little surfaced in a period of predictable news frenzy, was that the FBI was embarrassed for not having found this old material 10 years prior.

As has happened all too often in the past, however, seeming FBI incompetence provides a cover for a much more troubling story. The story, as high-level forensic economist Stephen Dresch relates it, revolves around an extraordinary figure, Gregory Scarpa Jr., a convicted mobster now serving hard time at the federal super max in Florence, Colo.

Readers may remember Scarpa from multiple Emmy-winner Peter Lance's book, "Cover-Up." As Lance relates, Scarpa cooperated with the Justice Department in the summer of 1996 by scheming to rout the calls of jailmate Ramzi Yousef through to the FBI. Unfortunately for the United States, Yousef often used two obscure languages that the FBI could not translate quickly enough, if at all.

[A letter I received two weeks ago from a purported NSA insider identified the key language as Baluchi, Yousef's native tongue. Again, reportedly, Yousef's final transmission on the subject translated as follows, "What had to be done has been done, TWA 800 (last two words unintelligible)."]

What is undeniable is that the day after TWA Flight 800 blew up off the coast of Long Island, Yousef asked for a mistrial, citing the now prejudicial environment post-explosion. He was denied. By allowing him to communicate overseas, however, the Justice Department may well have unwittingly assisted Yousef in his effort to destroy that ill-fated plane.

No one doubts that his allies were capable of it. Indeed, Yousef had bombed a plane in the Philippines, killing a passenger and almost blowing the plane out of the air. He also served as the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing and was convicted for the same. His uncle, Khalid Shiekh Muhammad, with whom he communicated from his New York jail, was the mastermind of 9-11.

Possibly to silence him, the Justice Department cut Scarpa no slack for his help with Yousef and deep-sixed him in Colorado for 40 years, a severe sentence for a non-lethal RICO charge. On March 1, 2005, Scarpa called Dresch, who was consulting with an attorney on a related case. Scarpa informed Dresch that an unnamed inmate had made him aware of a cache of explosives to be used in an act of domestic terrorism, possibly on the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, April 19.

Dresch surmised, correctly as it turned out, that the inmate was Terry Nichols, the convicted Oklahoma City bomber, and he immediately contacted the FBI by both phone and fax, as well as Massachusetts Congressman William Delahunt with whom Dresch had been working on an FBI-related matter. The FBI visited Scarpa at the prison on March 3, two days later. Having been burned once, this time Scarpa insisted on a written cooperation agreement before he talked.

The following day, an FBI polygraph expert flew in from D.C. and administered what Dresch's own expert calls an "absurdly flawed examination." The FBI expert claimed that Scarpa was lying. Scarpa immediately called Dresch's associate and insisted that she and Dresch visit him.

It should be noted that the FBI's current chief counsel, Valerie Caproni, was the Clinton Justice official who oversaw Scarpa's work with Yousef. To thicken the plot, it was also Caproni who illegally ordered the FBI to take the TWA Flight 800 investigation away from the National Transportation Safety Board and who arranged the prosecution of James and Elizabeth Sanders for James' reporting on the TWA Flight 800 investigation. The absurdly compromised Caproni has any number of reasons for keeping Scarpa out of the light.

On March 10, Dresch and his associate met with Scarpa for seven hours. He gave them a letter from Nichols that provided a highly detailed description of the cached bomb making material – nitromethane, blasting caps, kine-pak, etc. Nichols had told Scarpa that he hid this second cache 10 years ago to be used as a follow up to the Oklahoma City blast.

Nichols' apparent goal in sharing this information was to bust the man who allegedly supplied the material, a reported FBI informant named Roger Moore. Nichols also wanted to expose the FBI's role in supplying Moore the material, presumably in a sting gone awry. Nichols was certain that Moore's fingerprints would be on the material.

No longer trusting the FBI, Dresch worked through a contact, who had high-level Homeland Security connections. Together, they improvised an arrangement for Scarpa, and on March 11, Dresch laid out the offer. Scarpa relented and provided Dresch with the address of the house and detailed descriptions of the location of the cache within it.

Dresch went to Herington the following day and found the house to be vacant and for sale. His well-connected contact had not followed through, however, on retrieving the material and giving Scarpa credit where due. Only later did the contact claim that his people were surveilling the site waiting for someone to retrieve the material. It would take nearly three more weeks, the day of Schiavo's death, for the FBI to go in.

On Saturday, I called Jeff Lanza, the FBI public affairs officer on the scene, whom I have met on at least a few occasions. I left a message, asking him to confirm whether the Scarpa information led to the activity at Nichols' former home. His office paged him. Two days later he has yet to get back to me.

Lanza, however, made a point of telling the Junction City paper, as paraphrased, "that the FBI did not receive a tip leading them to search ... but rather had received the information during an investigation." But either Lanza or Gary Johnson of the FBI's Oklahoma City office is not on message. "Johnson," writes ABC News, "said the discovery was prompted by a recent tip."

In any case, when I visited the house on Saturday morning, there were neither media, nor police, anywhere to be seen. The Scarpa story is one that many people don't want told – Valerie Caproni, chief among them. And from the looks of things, they may be succeeding.

About Mega Fix


Posted: April 6, 2005
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About Mega Fix:

In this stunning, surprisingly entertaining, 90-minute DVD video documentary, Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Jack Cashill traces the roots of Sept. 11 to the perfect storm of disinformation that surrounded the Clintons' desperate drive for the White House in the years 1995-1996.

Cashill leads the viewer from Oklahoma City to Dubrovnik, where Ron Brown's plane crashed, to the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia to the destruction of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island to the Olympic Park bombing. Jack Cashill's "Mega Fix" DVD is now available.

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Special Note:

Jack Cashill and James Sanders' First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America is now available. First Strike explains how a determined corps of ordinary citizens worked to reveal the compromise and corruption that tainted the federal investigation. With an impressive array of facts, Jack Cashill and James Sanders show the relationship between events in July 1996 and September 2001 and proclaim how and why the American government has attempted to cover up the truth.

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