FBI frees two suspects in Oklahoma inquiry

FROM RUPERT CORNWELL

in Washington

The search for "John Doe No 2", the mysterious second suspect in the Oklahoma City explosion, is back to square one following the unconditional release yesterday of Gary Land and Robert Jacks, arrested on Tuesday morning at a cheap motel in south-western Missouri.

Land and Jacks, it emerged after 18 hours of FBI questioning, were no more than a pair of drifters with petty criminal records and a fondness for drink - but whose movements over the past few weeks from Arizona to Oklahoma and finally to Missouri happened to have virtually mirrored those of Timothy McVeigh, the ex-serviceman being held as the main suspect.

However, despite some physical similarities on the part of Mr Land, neither was John Doe No 2, the figure described by the FBI as ''stocky, tanned and muscular'', said to have rented with Mr McVeigh the truck used in the blast.

Both said they had never known Mr McVeigh and had passed lie detector tests "with flying colours". "We didn't do it. We're clean," Mr Jacks said.

Thus, despite some 13,000 tips and leads, the investigation reverts to where it was 10 days ago, with Mr McVeigh in a maximum security prison cell refusing to answer questions and the two Nichols brothers, Terry and James, in custody charged with conspiracy to detonate bombs in Michigan, but thus far are no more than "material witnesses" to what happened on 19 April.

Yesterday, a fortnight after the blast, rubble removing machines moved into the wreckage of the Alfred P Murrah federal building, where almost 150 people are known to have died, with dozens more still missing.

In Washington, President Bill Clinton asked Congress for $142m in special funds to cope with the bombing's aftermath. The request is part of a package of anti-terrorism proposals Mr Clinton is sending to Capitol Hill, including 1,000 specially trained agents, a new single anti-terrorism centre under the aegis of the FBI, and mandatory tracing markers for explosives sold in the US.

Louis Freeh, the FBI Director, told a House sub-committee yesterday that the administration accepts that the bureau has the right to infiltrate any organisation - including private militias - that advocate illegal violence and seem to have the means of carrying it out.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Belong: Volunteer Mentor for Offenders

This is a volunteer role with paid expenses : Belong: Seeking volunteers who c...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Apprentice Telesales & Marketing Opportunities

£10400 - £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests