Debunking the WSJ/CBS Debunking of the Oklahoma Bombing
Was Joel Henry Hinrichs III a terrorist? Until the investigation is complete, we cannot know that for a fact. So, how can The Wall Street Journal know that he was not?Yesterday the WSJ did an incredibly pathetic job of debunking the Joel Henry Hinrichs suicide-bombing story yesterday. Ryan Chittum and Joe Hagan's argument that Hinrichs was not a failed terrorist--whether acting alone or as part of a larger conspiracy--is a pathetic resort to authority. No new facts are cited to dispute reasonable questions that Hinrichs was a terrorist--and they are just that, questions. 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. When an act of war is committed--which a suicide bombing is--in a time of war--which we are in now--on a field of battle--which the terrorists have made the American homeland--then it seems reasonable to assume that the act was part of the larger war. The act may eventually turn out to be unrelated, but that says nothing of the larger point of whether or not Hinrichs' suicide-bombing should have been a major news story and whether it was reasonable to ask questions about his death? Since the WSJ, and the later CBS coverage of the debunking, fails to mention The Jawa Report as a chief culprate in spreading unsubstantiated rumors and innuendo, our editorial board feels duty bound to respond to the non-allegation that we have done shoddy reporting. The original WSJ article is bad enough, but the CBS News coverage of the WSJ article is worse. Here is how they quote the WSJ:
“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.…All of the above are undisputed facts. Notice, however, the .... after the end of the paragraph? CBS connects the known facts with uncorroborated reports. It goes on.
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 way these paragraphs are put together, the reader is under the impression that things such as Hinrichs buying ammonium nitrate were also untrue. But that Hinrichs was under investigation by local police is not in dispute. CBS misleads its readers by stringing these paragraphs together. But the original WSJ reports is equally shoddy. They unequivically state that "none of these claims are true." So, which claims are untrue and how do they know that. 1) Claim: "Mr. Hinrichs was a Muslim and visited the mosque frequently."
Source of refutation: Hinrichs' father-- "Joel wasn't a Muslim and wasn't under anyone's sway, Mr. Hinrichs says" 2) Claim: "Hinrichs tried to enter the stadium twice but was rebuffed"
Source of refutation: not cited. However, we reported here that security tapes did not show Hinrichs trying to enter the statium. 3) Claim: "he had a one-way airplane ticket to Algeria"
Source of refutation: not cited. However, notice this from the same article "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. 4) Claim: "there were nails in the bomb
Source of refutation: not cited. So, what we have are a series of unsubstantiated allegation. Are any of these allegations true? I've no idea. But how do we know that "none of these allegations are true" as the WSJ claims? Because David Boren and Hinrichs' father claim they are not true. As we said in our first report on this story on October 4th that since the Northeast Intelligence Network was the source of some of the information (such as the report that a ticket to Algeria was found in his room) much of this needs to be taken with a fair amount of skepticism. But to claim that what we and other blogs have been asking "is just smoke...It's bilge" as the WSJ quotes Hinrichs' father as saying is beyond the pale. It is true that some bloggers have jumped to the conclusion that this definitely was part of a larger plot, but for the most part this site and sites like Little Green Footballs, Michelle Malkin, Powerline, Generation Why, Mark Tapscott, and others have simply wondered why this was not getting coverage and how David Boren and others were so sure this was not terrorism when the investigation was incomplete? If it is irresponsible to ask whether a suicide-bomber might have been a terrorist, then count us guilty. If it is irresponsible to ask why the mainstream media has not given coverage to what is normally considered an act of war in a time of in America's heartland, then count us guilty. If we are to err, let us err on the side of caution--and that side is quite different after 9/11 than before it. While many of the alleged 'facts' about Hinrichs will certainly be disproven in the coming days, refutations by David Boren are not enough to convince us that there is nothing more to see here. This and all other posts related to Joel Henry Hinrichs III are archived here. UPDATE: By Vinnie, Hannity and Colmes will have an Oklahoma congressman on "who is determined to get to the bottom" of this case. Should be interesting...I'm sure more updates will follow.
Posted by: osamabinhiding at October 14, 2005 04:10 PM
So, Osama, get with the controvery so Howie can get his brain into high gear. Please.
Posted by: jesusland joe at October 14, 2005 04:25 PM
I am personally still waiting on revelations regarding the more notorious of the Oklahoma bombings and I have been fooled twice into thinking you were referring to that one.
Posted by: anomdebus at October 14, 2005 04:34 PM
Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at October 14, 2005 06:24 PM
Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at October 14, 2005 06:42 PM
As for the ocmment re: CBS. Wasn't it on their blog and not on CBS News per se?
And yes, I believe that Hinrichs died a virgin. Maybe thats the reason he "strapped one on."
And I still think that Johnny Taliban should have been executed.
Posted by: StormWarning at October 14, 2005 07:17 PM
Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at October 14, 2005 07:23 PM
I think there is the same old reason for US officials to downplay probably domestic terrorist acts (lately, the Hinrichs suicide in OK, and now the San Diego Muslim with the chem lab in his tub), and a new reason, too.
Officials have always tried to reassure the public that they have everything under control that's humanly possible to control, and they hate
TV for exposing their failures. They tried to downplay Katrina even, but that backfired on them.
The Mideast gambit and theory of introducing democracy to reduce terrorism is undermined whenever there is a terrorist attack or an
arrest right here in Western democracies. Therefore, terror attacks in the West must just be hate-crimes, or suicides (e.g., Hinrichs), or
gang turf wars, or criminals looking for money to get their fix, etc. Thus, in the case of the Copt murders, it was not released whether the ex-felons
who slit the throats of the Copts were ever involved with Prislam or Islam gangs in prison, or had terror connections.
I googled this up but didn't read it, but it looks like it might support my theory:
Democracy is not a panacea for terrorism
by Dan Darling at October 11, 2005 06:42 AM
Posted by: Mark James at October 14, 2005 07:32 PM
Quite correct. We should be prepared to find out that he wasn't part of a larger plot. But saying, definitevely, that he was not (as the WSJ did) based on statements from Boren and the silence of the FBI is not a basis for that claim.
Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at October 14, 2005 07:49 PM
haha! Aren't you assuming its an act of war on a battlefield? Man you guys are good. And right after you said the WSJ. the WSJ! had messed up.
Posted by: actus at October 14, 2005 08:26 PM
Posted by: Robert Crawford at October 14, 2005 09:00 PM
I haven't had too much to say about this guy because, frankly, the entire episode is a puzzlement to me. The authorities in this case, particularly Boren, have been quick to pass this off as a probable suicide and have shut the door on any information they may have. I think there is more to this than just a nut commiting suicide.
I lived in Norman for two years, and was aware of the large numbers of Muslims and the Norman mosque. I have been around Muslims all my life, but this group was more aggressive than any I had been around. I had a business at Sooner Fashion Mall and large numbers of these Muslims would hang out at the mall. I had to tell them to leave my store more than once, mainly because I had two pretty students working for me and these guys were constantly in my store keeping these employees from waiting on paying customers, and just generally making a nuisance of themselves. Finally, I told them not to come back in my store, and they became very agitated. I had to call the police, and I felt unsafe without my pistol after that.
I told you this because I wanted you to know how I felt about the general atmosphere at the university. I have no doubt that something is going on here, but you must remember that Boren is the Boss Hog of Norman, and I believe that he will quash any news that might be negative about OU.
I don't know exactly what is going on, but Rusty, I smell a rat, a big rat. And Boren is the big cheese.
Posted by: jesusland joe at October 14, 2005 09:12 PM
One more item about my time in Norman, and I'll quit. I had and still do have several rifles that I shot weekly at a firing range just outside Oklahoma City. As you well know, when firing weapons on a regular basis you use a lot of ammunition. I was always on the hunt for cheap ammo, but it had to be of a high standard to keep from harming my rifles.
In any event, I was approached on the firing range by a guy who was shooting an AR-15. As I was shooting the same weapon and caliber, we had this in common, and he proceeded to strike up an aquaintance with me.
After a few weeks of Sunday afternoon shooting, he made me an offer I thought too good to be true on .223cal ammo. He offered 5000 rounds for $100. After much thought, I refused the offer but later found out someone else took up the offer and was arrested for possession of stolen military property. This guy was a BATF agent, and was going to the shooting range to, in my opinion, entrap people. I left the state of Oklahoma soon thereafter and have never returned.
Posted by: jesusland joe at October 14, 2005 09:38 PM
Posted by: Stormwarning at October 14, 2005 09:45 PM
Didn't matter that the guy was being used by dirty muslims or that he tried to buy big time boom boom...
why are they so afraid of offending the dirty muslim?
Posted by: Filthy Allah at October 14, 2005 10:46 PM
No news here, move along, nothing to see here folks, etc. etc.
Posted by: Vinnie at October 14, 2005 11:23 PM
His "Head and Shoulders" was laying four foot from him on the bench.
Posted by: dave at October 15, 2005 02:26 AM
JJ, who's this "Randy" you address?
StormWarning: I could be wrong, but I don't think Rusty was alluding to you being the one to cite Boren. I think he was talking about the WSJ citing him.
Robert Crawford: No. actus rarely has questions. Only accusations. If he can't find that one statement to attack, he's strangely silent.
Posted by: Oyster at October 15, 2005 08:50 AM
Questions are different than assumptions.
Of course if we assume this is an act of war on the battlefield we're going to conclude its an act of war.
Posted by: actus at October 15, 2005 10:35 AM
It's called stupidity. I continue to call Rusty Randy. There is a reason for it, but it's lame and uninteresting.
Take my word for it, and thanks for correcting me. My wife has that job in the real world, and it don't pay very well, kind of like here.
Posted by: jesusland joe at October 15, 2005 12:56 PM
Why is the MSM throwing hystrionics about bird flu and completely apathetic about this stuff?
According to that student, the guy was turned back twice because he wouldn't show his backpack. Does that mean Homeland Security is working?
Posted by: matoko-chan at October 15, 2005 01:20 PM
Was the explosive TATP?
His father was quoted as having seen him for thirty minutes, in six(?)/twelve(?) month period, and now he says his son wasn't a practitioner of the Islam faith, how could he be so sure?
Does the wiring signatures match any terrorist diagrams, or known bomb makers pattern?
Why have they not reported anything to do with recovered materials from his apartment, car or the bomb itself? If there are no more suspects, these details should be available.
Posted by: dave at October 15, 2005 02:25 PM
I hate to say anything good about Sean Hannity, but he tried to point out that there were a lot of unanswered questions, that the investigation wasn't done and it could have been more than just a suicide.
Someone who has Hannity's e-mail address needs to brief him fully on all the unanswered questions.
Posted by: Jack Allen at October 15, 2005 06:14 PM
Posted by: sara at October 15, 2005 06:41 PM
Twisted hollywood publicity stunt? hmmmmm....
Posted by: Lisa at October 15, 2005 06:44 PM
... left a message on his computer that he was going to quit living, his father said.
The FBI read the message to the father of Joel Henry Hinrichs III on Friday, after Joel Henry Hinrichs Jr. came to Oklahoma to clear out his son's university-owned apartment.
..."It was a single line of text on his computer," his father told The Oklahoman. "The cursor was still blinking at the end."
The elder Hinrichs, of Colorado Springs, said he could not recall the exact wording but said his son used profanity in the message and was obviously very angry.
"He wrote he was dissatisfied with the situation and was going to quit living," the father said...
...FBI officials also have said the investigation has not found any links between the student and terrorist organizations...
I think that the bell is about to ring on this "conspiracy theory."
Posted by: StormWarning at October 16, 2005 01:51 PM
I'm not impressed. For all we know someone else keyed that up on the PC. The cursor is going to be "still blinking" where ever it sits in on the screen any case.
Also are we supposed to believe that this PC sat powered on but untouched in any way for days? We'd have to trust the FBI about this. . . OK, trust but verify.
Posted by: Ruth at October 16, 2005 08:57 PM
Posted by: The Liberal Avenger at October 16, 2005 09:30 PM
Funny thing is that I'm pretty damn conservative these days (even though some of the far right won't accept me into their club). But I don't quite understand the reasons why so many people are looking for this to be an act of Islamic terrorism. Frankly, I don't think that people will be able to come up with a good answer to your question.
I'd bet the Michelle won't be able to answer that question either. "Nothing to see here, move along" is what she's been writing, as though the media (known now as the mainstream media as opposed to the blogsphere that fancies itself to be the "new media") isn't telling the truth. All of this also seems to draw from a distrust of the FBI...OK, fine, they've never really overcome their J.E.H. heritage (sometimes), but so what?
Posted by: StormWarning at October 16, 2005 10:20 PM
Did it occur to you that the computer note was found as soon as the FBI searched Joel Hinrich's room, but that it was not disclosed until the father went to Norman Ok? I'm still a bit perplexed as to the reasons why there is such distrust of the FBI (is it Ruby Ridge? What is it?).
Posted by: StormWarning at October 17, 2005 05:41 AM
Weeks after the event we get word that not only was there an (electronic only) suicide note, but that the cursor was still blinking at the end of the line. Did Joel have some 1980's dumb-terminal, or was he in the habit of leaving notepad, or Word open all the time?
It seems a bit strange unless you accept that everything we hear from the MSM is accurate. He would have had to intended to go boom that afternoon to leave a document open. By training, engineers don't leave many loose ends, and it seems strange that he'd leave documents open otherwise.
Stormwarning, a big part of the distrust is the immediate, absolute denial of anything other than what we see on the surface. It's too soon to be sure of anything, no real investigation has been done. I would have accepted a statement that 'Nothing we have discovered to date indicates any involvement in terrorism, however the investigation continues', but the MSM line of - Move along, nothing to see here - just tells me that I'm being BS'd.
Posted by: NavyspyII at October 17, 2005 06:32 AM
It's too soon to be sure of anything, no real investigation has been done. I would have accepted a statement that 'Nothing we have discovered to date indicates any involvement in terrorism, however the investigation continues', but the MSM line of - Move along, nothing to see here - just tells me that I'm being BS'd.
If you're concerned about it being too early to be sure of anything," then why is it that the large part of the blog world along with Michelle Malkin seem to have concluded directly after the event that it was an act of Isalmic terrorism...a suicide bombing? As for the "move along..." line, I am so tired of reading it. Is Malkin some sort of "blog queen" whose word is taken carte blanche? Does fact checking count? She was speculating as much as anyone else.
I've got real work to do now...later.
Posted by: StormWarning at October 17, 2005 08:19 AM
People commit suicide with explosives every day in the world, what's so odd about this one? sure it doesn't happen very often in America, and mostly it occurs in relation to terrorism but come on? don't ask questions, just accept it blindingly.
When you ask questions in regards to a suicide bombers motive, and the investigation behind it - You = Conspiracy Tinfoil freak.
When a Democrat asks a questions about the WTC being blown up with explosives by the U.S Government, they're a f*cking Patriot!
Posted by: dave at October 17, 2005 09:12 AM
Posted by: Leonidas at October 17, 2005 09:27 AM
The blogger behind Jawa Report is a pedophile?
Hey, these are just questions, I'm not actually stating any facts. I mean, you can't prove you're not a pedophile, right? So it's possible that it's true!
See how ridiculous that sounds? You probably don't (but I'm sure you're about to send off a comment in return about how disgusting I am to imply that you're a pedophile -- very predictable).
Posted by: Terrence at October 17, 2005 02:44 PM
Posted by: March Hare at October 17, 2005 02:54 PM
Let's see here; they are known to manufacture evidence, and as you mentioned, there is the who Ruby Ridge shooting of a mother holding her baby thing, which some would call murder, (I would), and they either sat on, disregarded, or quashed evidence in numerous cases where terrorists could have been caught, but weren't, and who later went on to commit further acts of terrorism. The FBI is somewhere between the Keystone Kops and the Gestapo, and I wouldn't trust them to catch Osama if he walked in and applied for a job and used his real name. FBI agents spend more time in classes learning to be sensitive to muslims than they do trying to crack terrorist organizations. I have no faith in any branch of our government but the IRS and the military. The IRS is definitely not on our side, and the military is only effective in the least capacity because of politics and bureaucratic BS. There will be war in the streets of America, and it will be sooner and more vicious than anyone expects.
Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at October 17, 2005 03:47 PM
In your scenario, your questions are not based on any supporting evidence, or really any line of reasoning.
In a police investigation, when someone is shot in the head four times they don't look for a suicide note, however you're saying it's not OK to question what motivates someone that is killed :
1.) With a homemade explosive.
2.) Is reported to have been attempting a much more powerful explosive component than required to kill himself.
3.) Very near to a packet stadium of people.
I am sure however if he had exploded outside an abortion clinic, after trying to buy ammonia nitrate and in his picture he was sporting a crucifix you would be using the same line of thinking right. Lone suicide, depressed teenager
Posted by: dave at October 17, 2005 04:51 PM
The FBI needs to make it's records open for me to trust them. I think the govt has a vested interest in keeping a good clean record of no domestic terrorism has occured, since the patriot act has passed.
Posted by: jd at October 17, 2005 10:58 PM
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