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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Does "Suicide Message" Close OU Bomber Case?

If it does, then we can expect to see the FBI and Joint Task Force on Terrorism leaving the case and the U.S. Department of Justice asking the federal court to unseal the search warrant authorities used to begin the investigation of Joel Henry Hinrichs Oct. 1 death.

If the Task Force goes on to other work and the search warrant is unsealed, then it will be difficult not to accept the official explanation that Hinrichs was a lone, disturbed young man who killed himself and had no links to terrorist activities or organizations.

If those two actions don't quickly occurr, then critics of the official explanation will want answers to these questions raised by The Sunday Daily Oklahoman's report of a Hinrichs "suicide message:"

* Why did the FBI and Joint Task Force on Terrorism insist virtually from the outset that Hinrichs was a lone suicide, but then waited nearly two weeks before disclosing the existence of the message allegedly left by Hinrichs on his computer?

* How does the FBI know the message was typed on the computer by Hinrichs and not another individual? In the absence of convincing proof that Hinrichs was the author, the message could have been typed by anybody.

* The message was only one sentence long, according to the Oklahoman, but Hinrichs father was unable to remember the wording, which the newspaper said was read to him by the FBI. Why wasn't he shown a photo of the screen with the message?

In addition, if federal anti-terrorist investigators do not promptly withdraw from the case and the search warrant remains sealed, then critics will also want to know why:

* The standing federal policy for several years has been that all explosions are treated as terrorist acts until proven otherwise, according to former FBI Assistant Director Pat D'Amuro who is now a CNN security analyst. Why was the Hinrichs death so quickly pronounced a non-terrorist act?

* D'Amuro also said during the CNN interview "once it's determined that it is a terrorist event, the Joint Terrorism Task Force would take primary jurisdiction." Was such a determination made when the Joint Task Force became the lead agency in the investigation within 48 hours of the incident? If no such determination was made, why was the Joint Task Force brought in as the lead agency?

* D'Amuro further stated in the CNN interview that if authorities decide "it was a lone bomber, it will be turned over to Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms." At no point have authorities indicated the Joint Task Force was withdrawn and replaced by ATF. Why is the standing policy not being followed in the Hinrichs case?

* If Hinrichs was a lone suicide and not a terrorist-related case, what is in the search warrant that cannot be disclosed to the public and the media?

UPDATE: 10:38 p.m.

Jason Smith of Generation Why down in the land of the Blue Bonnetts is still asking questions, too.