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The OU bomber papers: no closure

By Michelle Malkin  •  November 29, 2005 03:58 PM

On Nov. 18, U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie K. Couch released previously sealed records related to the FBI/Joint Terrorism Task Force search of Oklahoma University bomber Joel Hinrichs’ apartment, his e-mail account and nine OU computers.

I obtained the nearly 350 pages of unsealed court documents just before Thanksgiving last week and reviewed them over the weekend (a big thank you to Cheryl in Judge Couch’s office and TaraLeigh Teupker of Business Courier Service of Oklahoma City for their prompt responses and assistance). It would have been nice if an MSM outlet with boundless time, resources, and manpower–say, CBS News–had made the unsealed documents available to the public. But they didn’t. So I spent several hours scanning and uploading as many of the records as I could (thanks to my web guy Mark Jaquith for technical help).

You can view the first 94 pages of the docs here. (Just a warning: It’s a large PDF file that may take a few minutes to download. Best to right-click and save. I will try and scan and upload the rest when I have more free time–a lot of the attachments are redundant–but this is a good representative sample.)

The documents feature the list of items the FBI searched for in Hinrichs’ apartment (see page 6), as well as items seized on Oct. 3 (pg. 9), including:


The affidavit of FBI special agent Jennifer Baker provides additional details of the bombing scene (pp. 16-28), including the recovery of a “white sock containing pieces of plastic” and at least “two wires protruding from the sock,” as well as “a screwdriver with a hollow handle and white sock stuffed partially inside the handle,” a “blue opaque ballpoint pen” with a “small razor consistent with an Exacto knife attached to the opposite end from the pen” and a “bullet casing of unknown caliber” attached to it (p. 18). Odd possessions for a depressed loner just trying to end his own singular life.

The documents also confirm local Oklahoma media reports on the presence of TATP, “called the ‘Mother of Satan’ by Islamist extremists,” in Hinrichs’ apartment (p. 90), as well as Hinrichs’ suicide message.

Beyond this, unfortunately, there’s not much more of interest in the documents. None of the hundreds of e-mails in Hinrichs’ Yahoo.com account accessed by the FBI/JTTF are included in the release. Nor are the names or URLs of any of the websites he visited from his home computer or any of the nine campus computers searched by the FBI/JTTF. The last line of Hinrichs’ suicide message is reported, but not the rest of the text document. So, was he simply a troubled soul, a freelance Islamist bent on mass murder at the OU football stadium, or something else? The unsealed papers neither prove nor disprove any of these theories.

Yet, on Nov. 23, Vaughn Ververs of CBS News criticized bloggers who theorized about the OU bomber for being “strangely silent” about the unsealed documents and advised us to “correct the record” based on his reading of one news article. Ververs does not say whether he or anyone else at his hallowed news network actually obtained or read the court records. If he hasn’t done so, isn’t his uninformed push for bloggers to “correct” themselves, well, strange?

Meantime, the medical examiner’s office released its report stating the obvious. The FBI/Joint Terrorism Task Force have yet to complete their investigation, though an FBI spokesman told me it’s nearing an end. The OU Daily reports that the FBI says it “may never know if Hinrichs tried try to enter the stadium or purchase a ticket for the game, even though surveillance tape was taken from the stadium.” Local TV reports of Hinrichs’ attempt to buy ammonium nitrate fertilizer before the bombing incident still stand, and News 9 stands by its reporting on Hinrichs’ alleged visits to a nearby mosque.

News 9 is a CBS affiliate. Might be worth following up with them instead of baselessly slamming bloggers–ya think, Mr. Ververs?

Case not closed.


OU Bomber: Still more questions than answers
The OU Bomber and bias against blogs
The OU Bomber’s suicide note

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