Are Terrorists Diverting Our Attention?

With all the recent focus on terrorism aimed squarely at New York City’s subway system, one wonders if the threat to the Big Apple is nothing more than a diversionary tactic being used by the terrorists. Are they intentionally setting a decoy in an obvious location like New York so they can successfully execute simultaneous terror events in other less logical locations throughout the country?

On October 2, 2005, an explosion outside a packed Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on the University of Oklahoma campus was first reported as an individual suicide. Later, upon further investigation by authorities, it was revealed that the suicide could have been part of a larger planned event. The explosive used by the individual, identified as 21 year-old Joel Hinrichs, contained a component called TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide), known as the ‘Mother of Satan’ by Islamist extremists. According to a report by TV station KOCO Channel Oklahoma: 

Experts say it is made by mixing common household items such as drain cleaner and bleach to create a white powder with a strong smell.

It’s so volatile that it can explode even if it’s merely dropped. It can even explode spontaneously, experts say.

There have been very few reports of TATP being used in the United States; however, there have been more documented cases overseas — including Richard Reid, who was arrested after he used TATP in his shoe and tried to light it on a flight.

More clues about Hinrichs came to light on October 4, 2005, in a report from the AP:

The Pakistani roommate of a man authorities said died when he detonated an explosive device outside a crowded football stadium was led in handcuffs from a party shortly after Saturday’s explosion, the head of an Islamic student group said.

Fazal M. Cheema, a finance major, shared a university-owned apartment with Joel Hinrichs III, 21, who died Saturday when a device attached to his body exploded as he sat on a bench outside George Lynn Cross Hall.

Cheema and three other Muslim students were led in handcuffs from a party by police after the blast, Ashraf Hussein, president of the Muslim Student Association, said Tuesday. They later were released.

Cheema is “a really, really nice guy,” Hussein said.

A day later, journalist / blogger Mark Tapscott brought this information on Hinrichs:

A Lincoln Town Car believed driven by OU Suicide Bomber Joel Henry Hinrichs III remains in the parking lot of the apartment where he lived and a U.S. Department of Justice inventory of the contents found by law enforcement officials is visible on the seat, Tapscott’s Copy Desk has learned.

Among the items listed on the inventory are “13 plastic bottles” in the trunk. The inventory did not note if there was anything in the bottles, their size or coloration.

Other items on the inventory include a title, insurance certificate, a 2003 Rand McNally Road Atlas and two other highway maps with indecipherable titles. The car’s license tag is Oklahoma VUL014, with a February 2006 expiration date. Tapscott’s Copy Desk has also learned that a tree near where Hinrichs’ bomb detonated displays a number of small round holes and some areas of a metallic substance.

Ever since then, a variety of bloggers have been following the drama (see Malkin, Tapscott, and Hoft). They have collectively found that the FBI is now rather tight-lipped about their investigation into Hinrichs and the event of October 2nd. In fact, the whole thing has had very limited play among the MSM.

Last Friday, an explosive device was found on the campus of UCLA.

Now today, news is breaking about bombs found on the campus of Georgia Tech. TV station WXIA reports that three explosive devices were found in a courtyard between two dormitories. Atlanta police have called it a terrorist act. An additional bit of evidence was found which could link today’s event with the earlier one in Oklahoma. The explosives found on the GT campus were made up of chemicals placed inside plastic bottles, similar to the ones found in the trunk of Hinrichs car.

We’re left now with lots of lingering questions about these events. Are they linked? If so, are they part of a coordinated effort by American recruits of Al-Qaeda? By assuming that New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and other large US cities are logical targets for terrorism, are we being lured into taking our eyes off of smaller, low key locations that when combined, could destroy more infrastructure and kill more Americans than those lost on 9/11?

I hope not.

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