Alleged Suspect In Oklahoma Bombing Denies Involvement
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ A U.S. citizen who claims he has been linked to the Oklahoma City bombing denies any involvement and is threatening a hunger strike if extradited to the United States on unrelated charges.
Daniel Spiegelman was speaking in a telephone interview scheduled for broadcast Thursday night on the Dutch current affairs program ``Deadline.″
Asked if he had anything to do with the April 19 blast that killed 169 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Building, Spiegelman replied: ``Absolutely not. I was involved in it as much as I was involved with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.″
Speaking from a Rotterdam prison, Spiegelman also denied knowing Timothy McVeigh or Terry Nichols, the two suspects in custody in the bombing.
U.S. officials have repeatedly denied Spiegelman is a suspect in the Oklahoma bombing. But both Spiegelman and his lawyer claim a legal attache at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, Joseph Smith, said he was a suspect.
The contention that Spiegelman is a suspect could be used to block his extradition on charges he traded in rare manuscripts stolen from Columbia University: The Netherlands doesn’t extradite suspects in capital crimes, such as the bombing.
Smith was out of town Thursday, and nobody at the legal affairs office at the Brussels embassy would comment on Spiegelman’s claim.
U.S. authorities have assured the Dutch Justice Ministry that Spiegelman is not wanted in connection with the Oklahoma bombing, ministry spokesman Lars Poppes said Thursday.
Spiegelman, an emigre from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, was arrested in the Netherlands over the summer in connection with the stolen manuscripts.
U.S. authorities have requested Spiegelman’s extradition from the Netherlands on charges of trading in stolen documents. That request was granted last month and is being appealed.
The United States has sent a second extradition request relating to falsified documents and weapons smuggling, according to Spiegelman’s Dutch lawyer, Abraham Moszkowicz.
That request is also unrelated to the Oklahoma case, U.S. law enforcement officials say.
If extradited, ``I will go on a hunger strike until I am dead,″ he said.
Spiegelman said the U.S. Embassy official in Brussels told his former lawyer that a list confiscated from his safe deposit box contained names of suspects in the Oklahoma case.
``None of the names can possibly belong to any living person because they were all collected from newspaper obituaries,″ Spiegelman said. He allegedly used the names for false identity papers.
``Even if a name appears to match, the match is only coincidental.″
Also found in the safe deposit box were receipts for the purchase of six handguns bought under a false name in Arizona. McVeigh reportedly frequented western Arizona before the bombing.