Interim special

U.S. federal agents investigating two recent bombings against an abortion clinic and a gay club in Atlanta have concluded that both were done by the same person or persons, and some evidence suggests the attacks may be connected to last year’s bombing at Centennial Olympic Park, law enforcement officials say.

Sources familiar with the investigation being conducted by the FBI and the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms say the agencies believe they are matching wits with a serial bomber, who they fear will strike again.

For weeks, law enforcement officials have said they suspected that the abortion clinic and gay lounge attacks were related. But they acknowledged that those assessments were based on cursory examinations, not extensive laboratory analysis. Now, senior investigators say, weeks of intensive scientific analysis and investigative work have led them to conclude that the attacks are the work of the same person or persons.

Laboratory technicians have produced a list of what officials say are definitive similarities between the abortion clinic and nightclub bombings. The design of the bombs was almost identical, and investigators have matched key components and tool markings from bomb fragments recovered at both sites, the officials said. In both incidents, dynamite was used and the bomber or bombers left secondary bombs to maim or kill incoming rescue and police personnel.

Olympic bombing link?

Investigators trying to determine whether the two bombings are linked to the Centennial Park attack last July are focussing on iron shrapnel found in all three attacks. Officials say the shrapnel apparently came from the same smelter or foundry, adding that all three attacks involved explosive devices designed to spray shrapnel in a single direction. The Olympic bombing killed one person and injured 111 others.

The recent bombings resulted in no deaths.

At 9 a.m. on January 16, a powerful bomb exploded outside a women’s clinic in suburban Georgia. About 45 minutes later, a second device placed a short distance away detonated, injuring seven persons. A car parked near the device shielded police and rescue personnel who had responded to the bombing.

About a month later, a bomb went off at a popular club frequented by gays. Four more persons were injured. Once again, the bomber left a second explosive device that blew the hand off a robot trying to disarm it.

Federal agents investigating the two bombings have determined that a letter sent by someone claiming credit for the two most recent attacks contained specific details about the bombings that were not generally known. The handwritten letter, penned under the name “Army of God,” suggests the bomber or bombers are right-wing extremists who hate the federal government, abortion providers, gays and minorities. The Army of God is the name used by a loose-knit collection of militants who advocate attacking abortion clinics.

The letter writer made it clear that the secondary bomb at the abortion clinic facility “was aimed at the agents of the so-called federal government, i.e. ATF, FBI marshals, etc. We declared and will wage total war.” Like the Unabomber terrorist, the letter writer gave a serial number authorities could use to identify his work in later attacks.

In recent days, Justice Department officials have discussed how much, if any, of the forensic information they should reveal to the public in an effort to develop leads to the identity of the bomber or bombers. In the Unabomber investigation, the FBI released a lengthy manifesto, and The Washington Post and New York Times published it jointly. That led a family member to identify Theodore J. Kaczynski as the Unabomber. Kaczynski has not yet been on trial for a string of bombings over 18 years attributed to the Unabomber.

Justice Department officials believe the public could play a major role in the Atlanta bombing investigations but they want to be certain they do not provide details that will aid the bomber in eluding them or produce copycat bombers. As of June 4, officials said, the Justice Department had made no final decision on whether to hold a news conference to discuss details of the Atlanta bombings.

-Washington Post via Pro Life E News Canada