"No Stone Unturned"
"We will leave no stone unturned in our effort to get
to the truth."
— Attorney General Janet Reno
"McVeigh and Nichols are going to hell regardless.
I'm just looking forward to sending them there a little sooner."
— U.S. Attorney Joseph Hartzler
Almost from the beginning, the Justice Department and the mainstream press focused their attention on Timothy McVeigh, painting him as a spurned ex-soldier who was angry for failing to make the Special Forces; an extremist Right-wing "Patriot" who hated the government with a passion for their atrocities at Waco. McVeigh, the angry misguided loner, it is alleged, conspired with anti-government tax protester Terry Nichols to teach the Federal Government a lesson in Oklahoma.
Like the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, the "capture" of Timothy McVeigh was an incredible stroke of timing and luck. Like Oswald, who was arrested for walking into a movie theater without paying, McVeigh would be arrested for speeding down the highway with a conspicuously missing license plate.
In both cases, the FBI was quickly notified that their "suspect" was in custody. With their extraordinary run of good luck, the FBI was able to instantly trace the serial number found on the bomb truck to Ford, then to Ryder, then to Elliott's rental agency, then to a "Bob Kling," and finally to "McVeigh."
Like Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcanno rifle, which the FBI traced from its entrance into the U.S., to an importer, to Klein's Sporting Goods, to a sale to an "A.J. Hidell," then to Oswald — all without computers and over a weekend — the FBI would quickly trace the Ryder truck to the lone bomber.
Finally, like "lone nut" Lee Harvey Oswald, "lone nut" Timothy James McVeigh would be transferred from the Noble County jail, paraded in front of onlookers and the press as the mass murderer. While there was no Jack Ruby to intervene this time, McVeigh would be led away in a bright orange jumpsuit, without a bullet-proof vest, which he had specifically requested.
Ironically, his departing words were, "…I might be Lee Harvey Oswald, Jr.… You remember what happened with Jack Ruby."
As in the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, the circumstances surrounding the arrest of McVeigh and Nichols would prove highly questionable. The media widely reported that McVeigh was stopped by Highway Patrolman Charles Hanger 78 minutes after the blast(s), heading north on I-35, near Perry. McVeigh was driving without a license plate. As Trooper Hanger's affivadit states:
"…That I stopped the vehicle and the defendant was the driver and only occupant of the vehicle.… That as the defendant was getting his billfold from his right rear pocket I noticed a bulge under the left side of his jacket and I thought it could be a weapon.… That I then told the defendant to pull his jacket back and before he did he said, 'I have a gun under my jacket.…' That I then grabbed a hold of the left side of his jacket and drew my own weapon and pointed it at the back of his head and instructed him to keep his hands up and I walked him over to the trunk of his car and had him put his hands on the trunk.…"
Yet accounts vary. Some acticles stated that McVeigh was speeding at 81 miles per hour. Yet Hanger only cited him for no license plate, no insurance, and possession of a concealed weapon. Were these accounts meant to suggest that McVeigh was trying to make a fast get-away? If so, why would a man who had just committed such a heinous crime wish to draw attention to himself?
McVeigh supposedly just blew up a building and killed 169 innocent people — men, women, and children — including a number of federal agents. It is 78 minutes later, and he is being pulled over by a state trooper. He has no tags, no insurance, and is carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. He is most likely going to jail, where his name, Social Security number, and description will be uplinked to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) at the FBI — an FBI that is now on full alert.
McVeigh is carrying a large combat knife, and a Glock model 21 automatic pistol loaded with deadly hollow-point bullets. McVeigh is a trained soldier, a top marskman, and a hardened combat veteran.
The cop is exiting his vehicle and walking over to McVeigh's car. McVeigh's life outside the electric chair is very likely about to come to an end. What does McVeigh — this hardened combat veteran, this brutal killer of 169 innocent people — do? He casually informs the cop that he has a concealed weapon, and meekly hands himself over for arrest.
Of course the mainstream press wouldn't make any attempt to analyze this bizarre inconsistency in McVeigh's behavior, only reporting that he was "uncommunicative," (Time), "calls himself a 'prisoner of war,'" (New York Times), and is refusing to cooperate with investigators and prosecutors…" (U.S. News & World Report) — a story which would be repeated by numerous other papers.
Yet as McVeigh stated to Newsweek, "I never called myself a prisoner of war." McVeigh's account is backed up by the Los Angeles Times, which obtained McVeigh's arrest records. As the Times' Richard Serrano notes:
….They reveal a McVeigh sharply different from the one sources had earlier portrayed. He was not the silent soldier who gave jailers only his name, rank and serial number. Rather, he was often polite. And smooth.
With only the serial number of a truck differential and a sketch to work with, the FBI fanned out through Junction City. Upon examining the rental receipt at Elliott's Body Shop, the FBI discovered all the information on it was false. As Agent Henry Gibbon's affidavit states:
The person who signed the rental agreement identified himself as Bob Kling, SSAN 962-42-9694, South Dakota driver's license number YF942A6, and provided a home address of 428 Maple Drive, Omaha, Nebraska, telephone 913-238-2425. The person listed the destination as 428 Maple Drive, Redfield, South Dakota. b. Subsequent investigation conducted by the FBI determined all that information to be false.
Yet employees of Elliott's Body Shop did recognize the sketch of Unsub #1 as the man who rented the truck used in the bombing. The FBI then took the sketch of Unsub #1 to the Dreamland Motel, where they found that Unsub #1 had rented a room from April 14 through the April 18. As the FBI affidavit states:
An employee of the Dreamland Motel in Junction City, Kansas, identified Timothy McVeigh as a guest at the motel from April 14, 1995, through April 18, 1995. This employee, when shown a photo lineup identified Timothy McVeigh's picture as the individual who registered at the motel under the name of Tim McVeigh, listed his automobile as a Mercury bearing an Arizona license plate, and provided a Michigan address, on North Van Dyke in Decker Michigan.
On April 21, only hours before McVeigh was due to be released from the Perry County Jail, "District Attorney John Maddox received a call from the FBI telling him to hang onto the prisoner.
As the New York Times reported, "…a routine check of his Social Security number matched one flagged by the FBI as belonging to a suspect in the bombing." This subsumes that the FBI had obtained McVeigh's Social Security number from the accurate registration information at the Dreamland, not the false information at Elliott's.
Why would Tim McVeigh — who was bent on committing such a terrible crime — use a fake name and address at the Ryder rental agency, yet use his real name and address at a motel right down the street? Perhaps because, as will be explained below, McVeigh never visited the rental agency.
While in custody, McVeigh listed James Nichols as a reference. Why would McVeigh list the brother of his so-called accomplice as his only reference?
On April 21, Terry Nichols was busy with chores around his new home in Herrington. Unbeknownst to him, a team of 11 FBI agents had already staked out his house.
Later that afternoon, Nichols heard his name being broadcast as a possible suspect. At 2:42 p.m. he and Marife got into their blue pick-up, and drove to the Herrington police station, with the FBI on his tail. According to Marife, Terry was frightened, and anxious to know why his name was being broadcast. Inside, Nichols asked why his name was being mentioned on the radio in connection with the bombing. The cops replied that they didn't know, but they had some questions for him. "Good," Nichols said, "because I have some questions for you."
Strangely, FBI agents then read Nichols his Miranda rights, something not normally done unless someone is under arrest, and told him three times he was free to go.
In fact, Nichols wasn't free to go. An arrest warrant had been issued five hours earlier, but Nichols wouldn't be informed of this until almost midnight. In the interim, he and Marife were questioned by the FBI for over nine hours.
Back at his house, a SWAT team had already arrived, and agents were sealing it with crime tape, and checking it for booby traps. It was there that agents would claim to discover 55-gallon barrels, rolls of primadet detonator cord, non-electric blasting caps, and a receipt for 40 50-pound bags of ammonium nitrate with McVeigh's thumbprint.
If Terry Nichols was an accomplice in the bombing, why would he leave such incriminating items in his house? Wouldn't he have attempted to hide the items before driving over to the police station?
Moreover, if Nichols was a co-conspirator in the largest domestic terrorist attack in the history of the country, why would he casually stroll into the police station asking why his name was being broadcast on TV? This makes about as much sense as Timothy McVeigh casually pulling over for Officer Hanger and meekly handing himself over for arrest.
Several days after McVeigh's arrest, Hanger claimed to have recovered a crumpled business card from behind the front passenger seat of his patrol car, where McVeigh had been sitting. The card for Paulsen's Military Supply of Antigo, Wisconsin, contained a handwritten note: "Dave. TNT at $5 a stick. 708-288-0128. Need more. Call after 1 of May, see if I can get some more."
Had McVeigh actually left such a note in the cruiser? When McVeigh defense team investigator Marty Reed attempted to interview Hanger, he was told by OHP chief legal counsel John Lindsey, "The FBI has requested that no one interview Trooper Charlie Hanger."
And as in the Kennedy case, the evidence collected by the FBI in their case, code-named "OKBOMB," would prove just as specious. The FBI quickly claimed that they had traced the Ryder truck from a serial number — 6 4 PVA26077 — found on its rear differential, which had flown 575 feet through the air "like a boomerang" and landed on a Ford Fiesta. (For those confused about the FBI finding the serial number on the "axle," it was actually on the axle housing.)
Curiously, while Deputy Sheriff Melvin Sumter told me he had found the axle, an Oklahoma City Policeman, Mike McPherson, claimed that he had in fact discovered it, as did an FBI agent. These three accounts were contradicted by Governor Frank Keating, who claimed that he had actually found the axle.
The Ryder truck belonging to the axle, rented under the alias of "Bob Kling," the FBI claimed, was the instrument of the deadly destruction in Oklahoma City.
But had it actually been rented by Timothy McVeigh?
The "McVeigh" Eldon Elliott described to the grand jury was 5' 10" to 5' 11", with medium build, weighing between 180-185 pounds. Elliott's mechanic Tom Kessinger stated that the man had a "rough" complexion with "acne," and employee Vicki Beemer said he had a deformed chin.
Not only is McVeigh clear-skinned, he is a lanky 6', 2", and weighs only 160 pounds. He does not have a deformed chin.
Readers will also recall that ATF informant Carol Howe, who had penetrated the Elohim City enclave, told ATF and FBI agents that the sketch of John Doe 1 who rented the truck appeared to be Elohim City resident and close Strassmeir friend Peter Ward.
According to J.D. Cash, so did Dennis Mahon. Mahon told the reporter that Ward was "known at Elohim City as 'Andy's shadow'... Ward went everywhere Strassmeir did and is dumb as dirt." Mahon also added, "…you know his brother, Tony, has a pocked complexion..."
Yet authorities insist that it was McVeigh who rented the truck on April 17. They introduced surveillance footage from a Junction City McDonalds, slightly over a mile from Elliott's, showing McVeigh walking towards the cashier at approximately 3:55 p.m. Yet McVeigh was not wearing military attire as was "Kling." Nevertheless, the prosecution contends that McVeigh left the restaurant, walked the 1.3 miles to Elliott's during a light drizzle, then showed up nice and dry, wearing completely different clothes.
Eldon Elliott would play along for the prosecution. In spite of his previous grand jury testimony, and the FBI 302 statements of his employees, Elliott testified at McVeigh's trial that Timothy McVeigh was the man who rented the truck.
Interesting that he could make such an assertion, when the FBI hadn't brought him before a line-up eventhough they had questioned him just 48 hours after the bombing. In fact, the FBI didn't show Elliott a photo line-up until 48 days later. During McVeigh's trial, Elliott attempted to compensate for the discrepancy in McVeigh's height by stating that McVeigh had "leaned" on the counter while filling out the reservation form.
Had Elliott been coached by the prosecution?
"From his body language, the way he acted nervous, avoided my questions, I could tell he was under some sort of pressure," said former Federal Grand Juror Hoppy Heidelberg.
When defense team investigator Richard Reyna went to interview Elliott, he was told the FBI had instructed him not to talk to anyone about the case because "they didn't want to get things distorted." He then handed Reyna the card of FBI Special Agent Scott Crabtree.
When Marty Reed and co-investigator Wilma Sparks approached Elliott a week later, he referred them to a man named Joseph Pole. Pole stated that he was "working for Ryder… indirectly." He refused to speak with the investigators and excused himself, saying he had to make a phone call. When Sparks and Reed went outside, they noticed a government car with the license number G-10 03822, parked in front of the shop.
When they returned the next day, they were again met by the mysterious "Ryder employee" who didn't produce a business card. When they asked the body shop's employees why the government car was there, they were told it was being worked on. But the investigators saw no signs of damage. Upon returning the following day, the car was parked between two campers, ostensibly in an attempt to conceal it.
Was the FBI attempting to influence a key witness? A reporter who worked the case later told me, "They were very hooked in with the FBI… the Ryder security was obtained through the FBI… and they're in constant touch with the FBI for briefings, or they were. And I got that from the PR guy who's the Vice President of Ryder in Miami… A Newsweek reporter that I work with got Elliott on the phone, and somebody clicked down the phone as he was talking to her. Elliott was saying 'let me just finish, let me just finish,' and all of the sudden, the phone went dead."
Such a symbiotic relationship between the FBI and Ryder shouldn't be surprising. According to one bombing researcher, Ryder's CEO, Anthony Mitchell, is a member of the Trilateral Commission — the New World Order folks. She also uncovered the fact that both the FBI and the ATF have leasing contracts with the company.
To rent his Ryder truck, "McVeigh" allegedly used his pre-paid phone card, obtained in November of 1993 through the Spotlight under the name "Daryl Bridges," to call Elliott's and make the reservation. Vicki Beemer told the FBI she recalled speaking to a man named "Kling." Records supposedly indicate the call was made on April 14, from a Junction City, Kansas bus station.
Yet the FBI had no way of proving that the call placed to the Ryder agency under the name "Kling" was actually made by McVeigh, or even that the Spotlight card was used for the call. OPUS Telecom, which runs the system used for the pre-paid card, maintains no records indicating exactly who placed a specific call.
As an example of the uncertainties promulgated by the FBI, they originally asserted the call was made at 8:44 a.m. from a pay phone at Fort Riley. They later decided it was made at 9:53 a.m. from a pay phone in Junction City. However, Beemer, who took the call, said it came at 10:30 a.m.
At the time the FBI alleged McVeigh made the 9:53 a.m. call, he was at a phone booth down the street from a Firestone store, where he had been negotiating a deal on a 1977 Mercury. The store manager who sold McVeigh the car, Thomas Manning, testified that his customer excused himself, then came back 10 or 15 minutes later. The FBI contends that McVeigh used this period to make two calls, one to Terry Nichols' house, and one to Elliott's. Yet, as the Rocky Mountain News noted:
An early version of the FBI reconstruction showed two calls within two minutes from phones 25 miles apart, which implied involvement by someone other than McVeigh and Nichols, since neither was then in the second location.
But the location of that call later was reassigned to a place fitting the government's case.
Moreover, as the defense pointed out, Manning hadn't bothered to mention the fact that McVeigh left the Firestone store for over a year-and-a-half, despite being interviewed by defense attorneys and FBI agents 11 different times.
Additionally, while rental receipts and employee testimony indicates "Kling" rented his truck on the 17th, a Ryder truck was seen days earlier by James Sargeant and other eyewitnesses. Sargeant reported seeing several unidentified men crawling in and out of the cargo area for three days, backed up to the lake so that no one ashore could see inside. "I really began to wonder about why someone would be wasting their money on a rental truck out there... no one was ever fishing, either."
Barbara Whittenberg, owner of the Sante Fe Trail Diner in Herrington, recalled seeing a Ryder truck, along with McVeigh, Nichols, and John Doe 2, on Saturday, April 15. The men had stopped by the restaurant for breakfast at 6:00 a.m., and Whittenberg reported seeing a large Ryder truck at Geary State Fishing Lake later that afternoon.
Lea McGown, owner of the Dreamland Motel in Junction City, and her son Eric, both recall seeing McVeigh pull into the motel with his truck on the afternoon of Easter Sunday, April 16, as did residents Renda Truong, Connie Hood, David King, and King's mother, Hetta. The truck appeared to be an older, privately owned Ryder truck. McGown had just returned from Manhattan, Kansas, where he and his mother were having lunch. The time was approximately 4:00 p.m. Truong testified she had seen it after Easter Sunday dinner, which would have been around dusk.
Yet under examination by the prosecution during McVeigh's trial, Eric McGown would not testify as to the exact date he saw the truck. Yet his FBI 302 said: "He thinks the man came there with a truck on April 16, 1995, and that the Ryder truck sat at the motel all day on April 17, 1995."
His mother, like both Hood and Truong, was certain it was the 16th. As she stated in her FBI 302:
She is certain that the Ryder truck she saw parked at the DREAMLAND MOTEL and in which she observed TIM MCVEIGH sitting on one occasion was driven into the motel grounds on Sunday, April 16, 1995.
She recalls that the Ryder truck that was parked at the DREAMLAND MOTEL on April 16, 1995, through April 18, 1995, did not have the word Ryder on the back doors as do other Ryder trucks she has seen. She recalls the back doors of the Ryder truck in which she saw TIM MCVEIGH were a plain faded yellow color, with no printing visible on them.
Hetta King was also sure it was Sunday the 16th. "There's no question in my mind — it was Easter Sunday," King testified.
The reader will recall that this is the exact same day that Phyliss Kingsley and Linda Kuhlman saw the convoy, including "McVeigh," John Doe 2 and 3, and the Ryder truck at the Hi Way Grill just south of Oklahoma City. It was approximately 6:00 p.m.
The two locations are hundreds of miles apart — too far apart to drive in two hours.
This is also the same day the FBI alleged Nichols drove from Kansas to Oklahoma City to pick up McVeigh, who had left his Mercury Marquis near the YMCA as the "get-away" vehicle. Yet a witness at the Dreamland recalled seeing McVeigh's yellow Mercury at the motel the next day.
Interesting that "McVeigh" and his car could be in two places at once.
Real estate agent Georgia Rucker and her son also saw a Ryder truck at Geary Lake days before "Kling" rented his. Then on Tuesday morning, as Rucker again drove by lake, she not only saw a Ryder truck, but two other vehicles as well. She thought this was "very suspicious."
On Monday, April 17, Connie Hood saw the Ryder truck again. This time, there were several men "fiddling with the back of the truck." Hood thinks one of those men was Michael Fortier; she recalls he had scraggly hair and a beard. Those who recall the photo of Fortier taken after the bombing may recall that Fortier had just shaved off his beard, leaving a clearly visible demarcation line.
While these are all blatant discrepancies in the FBI's official timeline, the Bureau was apparently interested in McGown's testimony because the Dreamland is the only place where McVeigh, or someone purporting to be McVeigh, signed his real name.
What is curious is that the FBI has consistently promoted the idea that there was only one Ryder truck involved. Yet the statements of McGown, Bricktown warehouse worker David Snider, and others indicate that there were two Ryder trucks involved. When a Newsweek reporter spoke to the security guard at Elliott's, he said "Think about two trucks."
This fact was reiterated by grand juror Hoppy Heidelberg. "A small number of people testified during the grand jury hearings about two trucks," said Heidelberg. "McVeigh picked his truck up on Monday. John Doe 2 had his truck the weekend before. The fact that there were two trucks I'm very comfortable with."
If McVeigh had rented his truck on April 17, as the FBI contends, why did witnesses report seeing a Ryder truck at Geary State Fishing Lake as early as April 10? It was at this lake, on April 18, the FBI originally asserted, that the two suspects built their magic ANFO bomb. FBI agents reported finding diesel fuel and strands of detonator cord on the ground.
Yet at the time witnesses first saw the truck at the lake, neither McVeigh or Nichols were in Kansas. As the Denver Post reported:
Nichols was returning from a gun show in Michigan, and McVeigh was holed up in a residence hotel in Kingman, Arizona. The government's key witness, Michael Fortier, also was not in Kansas.
Interestingly, shortly before the start of McVeigh's trial, the prosecution dropped its contention that the bomb was built at Geary Lake. It's possible they did so because had the defense brought up the witness sightings on the 10th, it would have conflicted, not only with the prosecution's carefully constructed timeline, but the fact that there were additional suspects.
As will be seen, this is not the first time the government excluded witnesses who's testimony didn't fit with their carefully crafted version of events.
Nevertheless, it was this truck, rented by "Kling" on April 17, authorities insisted, that was loaded with ammonium nitrate and guided by the lone bomber to its final and fateful destination at the Alfred P. Murrah Building.
To build their magic ANFO bomb, the FBI reports McVeigh and Nichols began searching for racing fuel and detonator cord in September of '94. Using the calling card McVeigh and Nichols had obtained under the pseudonym of "Daryl Bridges," ostensibly inspired by the film "Blown Away" staring Jeff Bridges, McVeigh allegedly made over 22 calls to various companies who supply chemicals, racing fuel, and even one of the country's largest explosives manufacturers.
His first call was to Paulsen's Military Supply, just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, looking for detonators. According to authorities, McVeigh left Paulsen's business card in the patrol car upon his arrest, that read, "Dave" (presumably David Paulsen, Ed Paulsen's son, who McVeigh had met at a gun show), with the notation, "More five pound sticks of TNT by May 1."
A salesman at Fatigues and Things, a military store in Junction City, said McVeigh and another man bought a book entitled Improvised Munitions two weeks before the bombing. The other man was not Terry Nichols.
Prosecutors also called an old friend of McVeigh's, David Darlak, who allegedly received a call from him in an attempt to obtain racing fuel.
Another friend was Greg Pfaff, whom McVeigh had met at gun shows. Pfaff testified that McVeigh had called him seeking to buy det cord. McVeigh was so eager to obtain the cord, Pfaff said, that he offered to drive to Virginia.
Another of the calls reflected on the mens' calling card was to Mid-American Chemical. Linda Juhl, an employee of the company, remembered receiving a call in the Fall of 1994 from a fellow in Kansas who wanted to purchase Anhydrous Hydrazine, a rocket fuel which can be used to boost the power of an ANFO bomb.
The FBI also reported that two individuals, one named "Terry Tuttle," visited Thumb Hobbies, Etc. in Mariette, Michigan in mid-December, 1993, looking to buy 100 percent nitromethane model airplane fuel. According to Sanilac County Sheriff Virgil Stickler, the store clerk inquired about ordering it, then told the customers several weeks later that he could not or would not do so. The clerk said that "Tuttle" replied that it was okay, that they had found another source.
Another incident not made public until the County Grand Jury investigation was the recollection of Gary Antene, who saw McVeigh and John Doe 2 at Danny's Hobby Shop in Oklahoma City the Saturday before the bombing. The two men asked him if Danny's carried 100 percent nitromethane fuel.
"I explained that no one in the RC (remote-controlled) airplane hobby used 100 percent nitromethane as a fuel, that at most we generally used nothing over 20 percent," said Antene.
Antene reported the incident to the FBI a couple of times, but was not called to testify at McVeigh's trial, probably because his account didn't fit into the FBI's "official" timeline.
On October 20, the FBI alleged that McVeigh checked into a motel in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. The next day, he drove 170 miles to the Chief Auto Parts Nationals drag race in Ennis, Texas. Timothy Chambers, an employee of VP Racing Fuels, testified at McVeigh's trial that he and co-worker Brad Horton sold a man resembling McVeigh three 54 gallon drums of Nitromethane racing fuel for $2,775. The man said the fuel was for him and his friends who race Harleys once a year in Oklahoma City. Chambers testified it didn't make sense for a few motorcycle racers to buy that much fuel, and had never seen anyone pay cash for that large a purchase.
Interestingly, the FBI didn't announce this new lead until one month before the start of McVeigh's trial, as other evidence, including that from the FBI's crime lab, began falling apart. The Rocky Mountain News reported that Glynn Tipton had alerted the ATF to the strange purchase as far back as October of 1994.
Yet this "new" evidence would coalesce perfectly with the government's emerging case, now that many Americans were convinced that a simple ANFO bomb hadn't destroyed the Murrah Building. A bomb built with volatile, highly-explosive racing fuel would make the prosecution's case much more convincing.
The startling discovery of McVeigh's racing fuel purchases, like the new revelations of Thomas Manning, or those of Eldon Elliott, were reminiscent of the sudden discoveries by Lockerbie investigators of Libyan terrorists. The 1988 bombing had originally been attributed to Iran, contracted through former Syrian army officer Ahmed Jibril of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), in retaliation for the American downing of an Iranian passenger liner a year and-a-half earlier. Now that George Bush needed the cooperation of the Syrians for his Gulf War coalition, the blame needed to be shifted to someone else.
Then, ten months after the bombing, Lockerbie investigators discovered new evidence. The owner of a clothing store on Malta suddenly remembered to whom he had sold some baby clothes that had been found in the bomb suitcase onboard the plane. In fact, not only had he recalled the customer, he remembered the precise date of the purchase, and recalled the man clearly enough for artists to render a sketch. He was Abu Talb, a PFLP-GC member who was known to have visited Malta shortly before the bombing.
At least that's what the FBI wanted the public to believe. In fact, owner Tony Gauci and his brother Paul made 18 different statements to authorities, most of which were vague and contradictory. They then signed statements eventhough they couldn't read English. Nevertheless, investigators quickly placed 24-hour guards around the shopkeepers bearing this valuable "new evidence," just as the FBI had done with Eldon Elliott.
Yet records show that the calls to chemical companies continued in October of '94 from Kingman, around the same time that the suspects allegedly drove there to hide stolen explosives, and around the same time they allegedly began purchasing ammonium nitrate. The indictment states that Nichols allegedly stole Dynamite and an explosive called Tovex from the Martin Marietta quarry in Marion, Kansas, not far from where Nichols had been working as a ranch hand.
Bud Radeke, a blaster and driller for Martin Marietta, testified at McVeigh's trial that 299 dynamite sticks, 544 blasting caps, detonator cord, and Tovex was stolen over the long Labor Day weekend. FBI agents discovered a drill bit in Nichols' home that they claim matched the hole drilled in one of the magazine's locks. The suspects had allegedly made the mistake of leaving one of the five locks they had drilled into behind.
Yet could the FBI actually tell from a hole drilled in a lock which particular bit had made the impression? The FBI hadn't discovered the bit in Nichols' tool kit until six months after the robbery. No doubt it had been used since, as Nichols, a handyman, had recently moved into his new house. The signature of the drill bit would undoubtedly have been altered.
How could the FBI be so sure it was the bit which had drilled the locks at the quarry?
Ed Hueske, a firearm and tool examiner at Weckerling Scientific Laboratory near Dallas said a drill bit can "leave marks that are characteristic of the nose of the bit," especially "if the bit is worn or damaged." A former forensic specialist with the Tulsa Police Department, Hueske added that such a test is "not routine," but is "theoretically possible."
Yet if the bit was used afterwards on metal, or if it had been sharpened, it would change the striations of the markings. If it still contained bits of metal shavings from the lock, however, then a match could be made. But agents testified that no shavings were found.
Then how did the FBI match the bit? Frank Shiller, a firearm and tool examiner at Forensic Consultant Services in Fort Worth, offered his opinion: "Some of that type of work has been done, but it's not a very frequent thing. I don't think it would be very productive."
Shiller, who has 36 years experience in forensic science, has never even been asked to conduct such a test, nor has his boss, Max Courtney, with 27 years experience.
"It would be extremely difficult to match a drill," said Shiller, "because of the random motion of the drill moving through its… moving up and down the hole. So it would be hard to track any imperfections or microscopic markings that might be present. That would be a pretty tough task."
Even Hueske, who admitted the theoretical possibility of such a test, said that the two or three drill bit tests he's conducted over the years produced no results.
The quarry also had pre-mixed professional grade ANFO in stock. Why didn't Nichols steal that too, since, as the government alleges, it was the prime ingredient in the bomb? This certainly would have been easier and more discreet than buying large quantities of ammonium nitrate, diesel, and racing fuel, then attempting to mix it into a gigantic bomb. But for some reason, our prime suspects decided to leave the professional grade ANFO behind, and go to the trouble and expense of making their own.
The two men then allegedly drove to Kingman on October 4, where McVeigh rented a storage locker to hide the goods. It was in Kingman that McVeigh allegedly showed his dangerous booty to his friends, Michael and Lori Fortier. Lori testified at trial that McVeigh asked her to wrap up the blasting caps as Christmas presents for the long ride back to Michigan.
A friend of Nichols and McVeigh, Kevin Nicholas, testified that he helped McVeigh unload his car upon returning to Decker. "I was just grabbing stuff and just throwing it in the back of my truck; and Tim said, "Don't handle them. I'll take care of them two Christmas-wrapped packages there."
Phone records also show that McVeigh called military surplus dealer Dave Paulsen on December 17 from Kingman, and Nicholas testified that McVeigh drove to Chicago to see Paulsen in late December to sell him the blasting caps.
On September 30, 1994, according to the FBI, McVeigh and Nichols, who used the alias "Mike Havens," purchased forty 50-pound bags of ammonium nitrate at the Mid-Kansas Co-Op in Manhattan, Kansas. Then, on October 17, after renting a room in Salina under the name "Havens," Nichols rented storage locker No. 40 at Boots U-Store-It in Council Grove, under the alias "Joe Kyle." On October 18, the dynamic duo was back again at the Mid-Kansas Co-Op, stocking up on more fertilizer, buying another forty 50-pound bags to be stored at the locker in Council Grove.
Nichols attorney, Michael Tigar, attempted to explain his client's use of aliases by stating that Nichols wanted to hide his assets from Chase Manhattan bank, which had won a large credit card lawsuit against him. This explanation does not explain why Nichols used the alias while purchasing fertilizer.
Finally, there would be the ordinance found at Nichols' home and the farm of his brother James. The Decker, Michigan farm contained 28 fifty-pound bags of ammonium nitrate, non-electric blasting caps, a 55-gallon drum containing fuel-oil, and large fuel tanks which appeared to contain diesel fuel. As previously mentioned, neighbors Daniel Stomber and Paul Isydorak told authorities that the Nichols brothers and McVeigh would experiment with the items to make small homemade bombs.
A search of Terry Nichols' home by the ATF and FBI allegedly turned up 33 firearms, an anti-tank launcher (which was inert), five 60-foot Primadet detonator cords, non-electric blasting caps, ammonium nitrate, a fuel meter (which was inoperable — a fact that was never mentioned), and four 55-gallon blue plastic drums. (Nichols' son Josh, who frequently played at his dad's house, believed the barrels were white with blue tops.)
While some accounts indicate that the drums were of the type used in the bombing, the New York Times wrote on April 30, "…it is not clear that they match blue plastic fragments found at the blast site." In fact, the FBI never stated that the fragments removed from bombing victims matched those from Nichols' home. Certainly the FBI, with the most sophisticated crime lab in the world, would have been able to determine whether the fragments were of the same type. Moreover, most of the fragments, if they had come from Nichols' home, would have been white, not blue.
Nichols' attorney, Michael Tigar, raised this issue while cross-examining an FBI agent during a pre-trial hearing. According to Tigar, the FBI's inventory list described the barrels simply as white without blue lids. The agent replied that the FBI doesn't list the lids separately. When Tigar asked the agent why they had inventoried a collection of 5-gallon buckets with the lids listed separately, he had no response.
Those blue fragments may very likely have been from the 80 or so blue trash barrels distributed throughout the building for the purposes of trash collection. As Richard Williams, a 51 year-old GSA manager testified at McVeigh's trial, "They were placed throughout the building for pickup during the week."
One month later, Nichols would write his cryptic letter to McVeigh, instructing him to extend the lease on unit number 37, which allegedly contained stolen coins and guns, and "liquidate 40," in case Nichols failed to return from his last trip to the Philippines. It was this letter that contained the infamous phrase, "You're on your own. Go for it!"
Was this a message inspiring McVeigh to bomb a federal building, or a note encouraging him to make a success of himself in the military surplus business? According to James Nichols, it was the later. Nichols claims his brother was about to make a large cash loan to McVeigh for this purpose, and the note was simply in case of his death. Terry, he said, was a very meticulous and thorough man who always made certain his affairs were in order.
Nichols family friend Bob Papovich also claims the pair was selling fertilizer at gun shows as plant food, along with an odd assortment of other items sold at gun shows, repackaging it in smaller bags to increase their profit margin.
Yet two tons of fertilizer is an awful lot to sell at gun shows. Had McVeigh and Nichols actually purchased that much fertilizer? What is interesting is that employees of Mid-Kansas Co-op were never able to positively identify McVeigh or Nichols during the purported fertilizer buying trips. Although employee Frederick Schendler thought one of the men may have been Terry Nichols, he said during a pre-trial hearing that the second man wasn't McVeigh. He was driving a truck that didn't appear to be Nichols', with a red trailer attached. Papovich told me that Nichols owns no such truck.
Federal prosecutors were also counting on a receipt found in Nichols' home for the purchase of a ton of ammonium nitrate, allegedly containing McVeigh's thumbprint. Had Nichols foolishly kept a receipt for bombing materials that could be traced back to him? Was he as stupid as Mohammed Salemeh, the World Trade Center bomber who returned to the Ryder agency after the bombing in an attempt to retrieve his rental deposit? Or was McVeigh's fingerprint actually on the receipt after all?
FBI agent Louis Hupp testified at trial that he hadn't found McVeigh's fingerprints at Elliott's, in motel rooms where McVeigh stayed, or in the storage lockers where McVeigh allegedly stored the bomb-making materials.
Ramsey: Agent Hupp, you identified — or handled many documents with regard to fingerprints, didn't you, with regard to this case?
Hupp: Yes, ma'am.
Ramsey: Did you also test the Ryder rental truck reservation form?
Hupp: Yes, I did.
Ramsey: And did you find Timothy McVeigh's fingerprints on that?
Hupp: No, ma'am.
Ramsey: Did you find Timothy McVeigh's fingerprints on the Ryder rental truck form where he actually — where it was actually rented?
Hupp: No, ma'am.…
Ramsey: Did you check the counter at Elliott's Body Shop for fingerprints? I don't recall if I asked you that or not.
Hupp: The countertop was removed by me and transported back to headquarters and was in fact processed for latent prints.
Ramsey: And did you find any fingerprints of Timothy McVeigh?
Hupp: No, ma'am.
Ramsey: And did you also check to see if there were any fingerprints on any of the storage units that have been discussed in this case?
Hupp: Yes, ma'am.
Ramsey: And did you find any fingerprints of Timothy McVeigh?
Hupp: No, ma'am.
Hupp also testified that he had not found McVeigh's prints on the rental paperwork, or the key belonging to the Ryder truck, found in a nearby alley. Yet Hupp explained, "There are many times a person doesn't leave prints. It's a chance impression."
What if the FBI had claimed it had discovered prints?
On November 22, 1963, after JFK's murder, the FBI took Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcanno rifle to their Washington, D.C. crime lab. The technicians concluded that Oswald's prints were not on the weapon. The FBI then returned the rifle to the Dallas Police Department. Shortly thereafter, the DPD excitedly announced that they had "discovered" Oswald's palm print.
This "new evidence" forced even the Warren Commission's chief counsel, J. Lee Rankin, to conclude, "Because of the circumstances which now exist there is a serious question in the minds of the Commission as to whether the palm impression that has been obtained from the Dallas Police Department is a legitimate palm impression removed from the rifle barrel or whether it was obtained from some other source…."
In 1984, FBI Agent Vincent Drain, who handled the weapon, was questioned by JFK researcher Henry Hurt. Drain concluded that there never was such a print. "All I can figure is that [Oswald's print] was some kind of cushion because they were getting a lot of heat by Sunday night. You could take that print off Oswald's card and put it on the rife. Something like that happened."
In spite of this, the Warren Commission made no effort to resolve the issue, and presented Oswald's so-called palm print as fact.
Yet the fertilizer receipt containing McVeigh's thumbprint wasn't the only ammunition in the FBI's arsenal of specious evidence. Prosecutors would rely heavily on an explosive component called PETN, allegedly found on McVeigh's clothing. A pair of earplugs found on McVeigh also reportedly tested positive for EGDN, a chemical found in dynamite. Finally, there was a piece of plywood from the Ryder truck which contained glazed ammonium nitrate crystals.
Yet once again, this evidence was highly questionable. It seemed the crystals had disappeared before independent experts for either the prosecution or defense could confirm its existence.
Interestingly, affidavits of Frederick Whitehurst, a Special Agent in the FBI's lab division, announced to an incredulous public in September of 1995 that the Bureau had been mishandling evidence and slanting results to favor prosecutors for years.
As one FBI lab technician told the New York Times, "You get an inadvertent bonding of like-minded individuals supporting each other's false conclusions."
After federal agents searched the residence of Richard Jewell, a private security guard who was an early suspect in a bombing at the Atlanta Olympics… FBI scientists and other specialists warned that "you've got the wrong guy," an FBI laboratory official said. But their cautionary remarks, based on the absence of even trace amounts of explosive materials, went unheeded for months.
In March of 1997, the Los Angeles Times reported the findings of the Justice Department Inspector General's office, which concluded that the lab made "scientifically unsound" conclusions that were "biased in favor of the prosecution" in the Oklahoma City bombing case.
The still-secret draft report, obtained by the paper, also concludes that supervisors approved lab reports that they "cannot support" and that FBI lab officials may have erred about the size of the blast, the amount of explosives involved and the type of explosives used in the bombing.
According to the Times, the draft report shows that FBI examiners could not identify the triggering device for the truck bomb or how it was detonated. It also indicates that a poorly maintained lab environment could have led to contamination of critical pieces of evidence, the Times said.
Whitehurst also told the Inspector General that the agents who conducted the tests in Oklahoma City, including Tom Thurman, Chief of the Explosives Unit, and Roger Martz, Chief of the Chemistry and Toxicology Unit, were not even qualified to do so.
During the 1993 World Trade Center bombing investigation, Whitehurst decided to secretly test efficiency and procedures at the lab. He mixed human urine with fertilizer and added it to some of the bomb material being tested. Martz subsequently excitedly identified the urine-fertilizer mixture as an explosive.
Whitehurst also contended that Martz's examining room was contaminated, making it impossible to accurately test for explosives and other substances, including the PETN allegedly found on McVeigh's clothes.
During the prosecution's closing argument, Martz made an interesting Freudian Slip: "The evidence shows that Mr. McVeigh's clothing was contaminated with… excuse me, Mr. McVeigh's clothing was filled with bomb residue."
Whitehurst also claimed that Martz had perjured his testimony in prior cases. Whitehurst himself was even asked to alter his reports. Materials-analysis-unit chief Corby "had me come into his room one day and told me they — I don't know who 'they' were — wanted me to take statements out of my report.... Whitehurst refused.*
During the 1991 trial of Walter Leroy Moody, convicted of killing Federal Judge Robert Vance with a letter-bomb, both Thurman and Martz "circumvented established procedures and protocols… [and] testified in areas of expertise that [they] had no qualifications in, therefore fabricating evidence in [their] testimony," Whitehurst wrote in a memorandum to the Bureau's Scientific Analysis Chief James Kearny.
Both Martz and Thurman were fully aware of the fact that they were in violation of procedures and protocols of the FBI Laboratory and did knowingly and purposely commit perjury and obstruction of justice in this matter.
Interestingly, the chief prosecutor in the case was none other than Louis Freeh, who was an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the time. According to Whitehurst, Freeh did not have a single piece of evidence tying Moody to the crime. Thurman got around this little inconvenience by sending the evidence to his friend Roger Martz, who, like Thurman, was not qualified to perform the examination. Both Thurman and Martz were recently removed from their positions due to allegations of falsification of evidence and perjury.
Thurman's original claim to fame was the Pan Am 103 case. He had concluded that a tiny fragment of microchip, amazingly discovered two years after the bombing, was part of a batch of timers sold to the Libyans by the Swiss firm MEBO. This "new evidence" allowed the U.S. government to point the finger of blame at Libya, conveniently letting Syria — originally implicated in the bombing — off the hook.
After the assassination of JFK, nitrate tests conducted on Lee Harvey Oswald concluded that he had not fired a rifle on November 22. Yet this fact, like the false palm print, was kept secret for 10 months, then buried deep inside the Warren Commission Report.
In the Moody case, Freeh possessed copies of reports that disproved the prosecution's allegations, but did not even make them available, or known, to the jury. Freeh also failed to inform the jury that his chief witness, Ted Banks, failed a lie-detector test regarding his association with Moody. In 1995, Banks testified at an appeal hearing that Freeh had threatened and coerced him into testifying against the defendant.
In the World Trade Center case, Whitehurst testified that he was told not to provide any information or evidence, such as alternate explanations to the urea-nitrate theory, that could be used by the defense to challenge the prosecutors' hypothesis of guilt.
In Oklahoma, Whitehurst conducted a test on McVeigh's clothes, but found nothing.
While the FBI claimed it found traces of PETN in McVeigh's pants pocket, on his shirts, and on a set of earplugs, Agent Burmeister acknowledged on cross-examination that no PETN or ammonium nitrate was found at the blast scene.
Nor was ammonium nitrate found in McVeigh's car, his personal effects, hotel rooms he had stayed at, the various storage sheds the suspects allegedly used to store the bomb-making components, or in Nichols' Herington, Kansas home. The Bureau also found no evidence of explosives residue in samples of McVeigh's hair, or scrapings from his fingernails.
Burmeister also testified that crystals of ammonium nitrate, which he found on a piece of wood paneling from the Ryder truck, later vanished.
"That piece has gone through a lot of hands since the time that I've seen it," Burmeister testified, "and I can't speak to how they could have disappeared."
As Canadian County Sheriff Deputy Clint Boehler said, "The FBI disturbed and removed evidence. They don't tell anybody else; they don't work with anybody else.… How did they know it was the truck? They never looked at so many obvious things."
Yet, as in the Kennedy case, Federal Prosecutors went to trial armed with deliberate lies and other distortions that favored their somewhat questionable version of events.
While the FBI's evidence procedures would be called into question, prosecutors would seek to impress the jury with evidence of the suspects' militant Right-wing leanings. Prosecutors began with letters McVeigh sent to his sister Jennifer, expressing his rage over the events at Ruby Ridge and Waco, at the same time millions of Americans were expressing the very same anger.
"The Federal Government was absolutely out of control," said Sarah Bain, the San Antonio school teacher who served as forewoman of the jury that acquitted the [Davidian] sect members of most of the serious crimes they were charged with. "The wrong people were on trial," Bain complained. "It should have been the ones that planned the raid and orchestrated it."
But it was other evidence — more incriminating and disturbing — that would provide the critical elements needed to convince the jury of McVeigh's malicious intent. In November of '94, McVeigh visited his family in Lockport, New York, where he confided to his sister Jennifer that he had been driving around with 1,000 pounds of explosives.
In a letter sent to her in March, a month before the bombing, McVeigh wrote, "Something big is going to happen in the month of the bull."
Finally, to prove McVeigh's malevolent intentions, prosecutors introduced a letter stored on Jennifer's computer. The letter, addressed to the ATF, warned, "ATF, all you tyrannical motherfuckers will swing in the wind one day, for your treasonous actions against the Constitution and the United States. Remember the Nuremberg War Trials. But... but... but... I was only following orders!...... Die, you spineless, cowardice bastards!"
McVeigh also supposedly left a letter to a "girlfriend" (which media psychojournalists claimed he didn't have) in the glove compartment of his car, outlining plans to bomb additional targets.
Had McVeigh actually left such a letter in his vehicle, and dropped Paulsen's business card in the patrol car? While it is possible, such scenes are reminiscent of the doctored photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald holding a rifle and Communist newspaper, or Earth First! activist Judi Bari holding a machine gun, which was loaned to her for the photo by an FBI informant — a photo which he took.
In Oklahoma City, as in all criminal conspiracies, the old adage, "follow the money" would apply. Certainly a pair of lone nuts with a fertilizer/fuel bomb wouldn't need much — a couple of thousand dollars at most — considering they didn't have to pay off a web of co-conspirators.
A November '94 robbery in Arkansas would prove to be just the crime investigators needed to put the final piece of the puzzle in place. When the indictments were returned, the grand jury concluded the bombing was financed by the robbery of gun dealer Roger Moore (AKA: Bob Anderson), who had known McVeigh and let him stay at his home.
Yet what is interesting is that the FBI had already come to the conclusion that the bomb components were already purchased or stolen by the date of the robbery.
The indictment was also incongruously worded: "McVeigh and Nichols "caused" the robbery of $60,000 worth of guns, coins and precious metals. Exactly how had they "caused" the robbery? The prosecution first presented the testimony of McVeigh's friend Kevin Nicholas:
Nicholas: He said that he screwed him some way out of some money or something.
Mackey: Who is "he"?
Nicholas: That Bob did for when Tim worked for him.
Mackey: And as a result?
Nicholas: He said he — that he'd be an easy guy to rob because he lived way back in the sticks and, you know, there was woods around his house and stuff.
Yet McVeigh had a solid alibi. He was at a gun show in Kent, Ohio on November 5.
Still, the government attempted to have Michael Fortier implicate his friends at trial by testifying that McVeigh called him and said, "Nichols got Bob!" This largely hearsay testimony would not be backed up by further evidence.
Authorities never proved that McVeigh or Nichols actually robbed Moore, but did prove that on November 7, 1994, Nichols rented a storage locker — number 37 — in Council Grove, under the alias "Ted Parker" to store some of the stolen items.
In his "confession" to authorities, Fortier said that McVeigh met him in Kingman on the 15th, whereupon they drove to Kansas. On the way, Fortier testified, McVeigh pointed out the Murrah Building as the target of the upcoming attack. When they reached the storage locker, they loaded 25 guns into Fortier's rented car.
Back in Kingman, Fortier pawned the weapons, or sold them to friends, including his neighbor, James Rosencrans.
On November 16, Nichols rented locker Q-106 at AAAABCO Storage in Las Vegas, where ex-wife Lana Padilla discovered gold and silver bars, jade, along with wigs, masks, and pantyhose. A safety deposit box key belonging to Moore was found at Nichols' home.
The 60-year-old Moore claimed he was surprised one morning shortly after 9:00 a.m., when two masked men accosted him outside his kitchen door. The men, wearing woodland-style camouflage fatigues, bound him and ransacked his house, taking guns, coins, jewels, and personal effects.
What is strange is that the thieves left a number of expensive handguns and large-capacity magazines, both highly desirable items. The private gun dealer, who had enough weapons to supply a platoon, did not have an insurance rider for the guns, and most of the serial numbers weren't registered.
Moore told the author he didn't have a rider because he was afraid some insurance company secretary would see his large collection and tell her boyfriend, who would then come and rob him. A curious explanation for failing to insure a highly valuable collection. Moore claims he only got a limited settlement — approximately $10,000.
Interestingly, one well-connected source I spoke to asserted that "the [Moore] robbery was staged.… that's the truth.… He (Moore) used a lot of aliases, he had eight different social security numbers, eight different dates of birth, and that's only the ones that I know about.…"
This source also claimed, long before defense attorney Michael Tigar's allegations were made public, that the motive of the "robbery" was insurance fraud, staged with the help of Nichols and McVeigh. "Nichols had simply bought weapons [from Moore]…. Moore approached Nichols about the fraud originally.… Moore took payment of some odd items that winds up in Terry Nichols' [storage locker]."
This assertion was reinforced at Nichols' trial, when Tigar questioned Moore's girlfriend, Karen Anderson, about why she had included on her list — a list she claimed had been drawn up in late 1992 or early 1993 — a gun that hadn't been purchased until late 1994!
When I spoke to Moore's friend and neighbor, Nora Waye, she told me Moore had complained to her that the local Sheriff who investigated the robbery, "blew [Moore's] cover."
Could a phony robbery set-up explain the wigs, masks, and pantyhose in Terry Nichol's storage locker? Given the relationship between McVeigh and Moore, it is possible the two men made some sort of deal.
Former grand juror Hoppy Heidelberg is another person who had doubts about Moore: "Something wasn't right about him," said Heidelberg. "It wasn't that his testimony wasn't believable. He was just cocky. He had a strange attitude for a man testifying before a grand jury. He was so casual about it, that was strange. He testified like a man who had done it many times before.… It wasn't anything he said, it was his attitude. You'll see the same attitude in an FBI agent whose testifying."
"Moore's being protected," said my source. "No matter how this thing's going to get played out. He'll talk to you all day long and won't tell you a thing. He knows how to talk."
John Doe Who?
"We have no information showing anyone other than Mr. McVeigh and Mr. Nichols are the masterminds" - U.S. Attorney Beth Wilkinson
On the day of the deadly attack, Attorney General Janet Reno announced, "The FBI and the law enforcement community will pursue every lead and use every possible resource to bring these people responsible to justice.… It is very important that we pursue each lead… it is going to be very important that we leave no stone unturned…"
In fact, numerous stones were left unturned.
While the Justice Department (DoJ) focused its efforts on McVeigh and Nichols, scant attention was focused on other suspects — John Doe 2, the mysterious entity who was seen with McVeigh, and had accompanied him the morning of the bombing. Witnesses also saw him with McVeigh in the Murrah Building, in stores, at restaurants, at a bar, and at the truck rental shop before the bombing. Still others claim to have seen him speeding away from the scene. All in all, there are almost two-dozen witnesses who reported seeing John Doe 2.
The FBI made a big show of tracking down this illusive, menacing-looking suspect. "The FBI has conducted over 9,000 witness interviews and has followed every possible lead in an intensive effort to identify and bring to justice anyone who was involved in this disaster," stated U.S. Attorney Patrick Ryan in a letter to the victims' families.
The search for John Doe 2 quickly became the biggest man-hunt in FBI history. What authorities weren't saying however, was that not only was there a John Doe 2, there were least four John Does! Yet the issue was quickly and quietly narrowed down to just one John Doe 2.
On April 23, four days after the bombing, The Washington Post quoted a senior law enforcement official who said "at least four" men were involved in the terrorist act last week and "there very well could be more."
The FBI then requalified its position on May 15: "Wherever we look, it's Terry and Timmy, Terry and Timmy — and nobody else," quipped an unnamed FBI official in Time magazine.
Yet on June 11, another FBI official was quoted in the Post as saying, "I think when this is over we'll have at least six or eight guys indicted and in custody. It's just too big for two guys to pull off."
Then on June 15, the FBI backtracked again. "Periodically you just get something in an investigation that goes nowhere. John Doe 2 goes nowhere. It doesn't show up in associations, it doesn't show up in phone calls. It doesn't show up among the Army buddies of McVeigh…"
The previous day, the FBI put out a story that John Doe 2 may have actually been Todd Bunting, a soldier at Fort Riley, Kansas who had rented a truck at the same dealer McVeigh had. The FBI stated that Bunting wore clothing similar to that ascribed to John Doe 2, that he had a tattoo in the same place, and that he wore a hat similar to John Doe 2's.
Yet Elliott's employees dismissed Bunting as the person who was seen with McVeigh, and Bunting held a press conference stating that he had in fact rented a truck at Elliott's — 24 hours after McVeigh allegedly rented his.
The Bunting story was officially dropped.
Then, on January 28, 1996, the prosecution switched tracks again, officially resurrecting the Todd Bunting story. In a long brief, the government disclosed that Elliott's employee Tom Kessinger was the only one who could recall John Doe 2 well enough to describe him.
Now, after a November interview with a prosecutor and two FBI agents, Kessinger was "confident that he had Todd Bunting in mind when he provided the description for the John Doe 2 composite." Kessinger, the brief continued, is "now unsure" whether anyone accompanied McVeigh. But his two co-workers "continue to believe that two men came in to rent the truck."
In that brief, the prosecution speculated that the defense might use "Kessinger's admitted confusion" to challenge his identification of McVeigh.
It seemed it was less "Kessinger's admitted confusion" than a deliberate fabrication by prosecutors and the FBI to cover up the existence of John Doe 2. As Kessinger told bombing victim Glenn Wilburn, who conducted his own investigation, "I don't know how they came up with that one."
Kessinger later changed his story at the urging of federal prosecutors Patrick Ryan and Joseph Hartzler. During a pretrial conference, Jones challenged Kessinger:
"How can you be so wrong 60 hours after the event and so right a year and a half later?" Jones asked him. "Could you be changing your mind because the government wants you to?"
"No," Kessinger replied.
Yet on March 25 and April 5, Hartzler had written Jones that "The existence and identity of this John Doe 2, whom we are confident is not Mr. Bunting, is the subject of a continuing investigation."
And in a May 1, 1996 letter written by Hartzler, the government prosecutor informed Jones that Kessinger and Beemer had been shown a picture of the cap Bunting wore when he picked up a truck on April 18. "They both stated that the cap was not the same one they saw on John Doe II," Hartzler wrote, "and they reaffirmed that this second individual accompanied 'Kling' when he rented the truck."
Yet at a hearing on April 9, federal prosecutor Beth Wilkinson stated that the government "has no information showing anyone but Mr. Nichols and Mr. McVeigh were the masterminds of this bombing."
"They keep telling us they're looking for John Doe No. 2, but then they turn around and give statements indicating that they don't believe there is a John Doe No. 2," said a woman whose husband was killed in the bombing.
Other victims, like naive children, blindly placed their faith in the government's dubious assurances. Hartzler held one meeting with bombing victims in which he "discussed and disposed of some of the more bizarre theories."
"I just got a better feeling about what's going on," said Bud Welch, whose daughter, Julie, died in the attack. "The prosecution assured us that there was no evidence that was suppressed. We really didn't know that," added Welch.
"We know what's going on now and that they're there for us," Pamela Weber-Fore said of the prosecutors.
Other victims weren't as easily fooled. "I don't think that there's any question about the fact that they're covering up who was involved in the bombing," said V.Z. Lawton, a HUD worker who was injured in the blast. "I've talked to five witnesses myself who saw McVeigh with John Doe number two in Oklahoma City that morning, within fifteen minutes of the blast... tells me that there is something wrong."
As Nichols' attorney Michael Tigar said, "It's strange that the official version has focused on Nichols and McVeigh, and that the government is now busily engaged in denying all possibility that there could be anybody else."
Grand Jury Bypass
"The FBI has thoroughly investigated all leads and I am confident in the investigation." - lead prosecutor Joseph Hartzler
Naturally, while many eyewitnesses stepped forward to tell the FBI they had seen additional suspects, not one was ever called before the grand jury.
Yet federal prosecutors still had one hurdle to overcome before they could make their case. They had to deal with Hoppy Heidelberg. Heidelberg, who often quoted from the grand juror's handbook, was aware that the grand jury was charged with the task of determining the relevance of the evidence, and asking those questions pertinent to the case. So far, all the evidence centered around Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Heidelberg wanted to know why prosecutors had not subpoenaed the many witnesses who had seen John Doe 2.
"No one who saw McVeigh with other suspects, was ever allowed to testify before the federal grand jury," said Heidelberg. The obvious inference being that those who saw McVeigh would have also seen John Doe 2.
But Patrick Ryan seemed to be controlling the jury. He did not like Heidelberg's tendency to go against the flow. In a letter to the victims' families, Ryan states:
The United States has never maintained or even suggested, that no other person or persons were involved with McVeigh and Nichols in the commission of these crimes. As stated earlier, the question of involvement of others is the subject of intensive investigation by federal investigators and prosecutors who are totally devoted and committed to identifying and prosecuting all persons involved in the planning or commission of these crimes.
Yet, as in the Kennedy assassination, federal prosecutors simply paraded before the grand jury those witnesses favorable to their preordained view of the case, ignoring leads and witnesses that conflicted with their highly dubious version of events.
Although Heidelberg attempted to question grand jury witnesses, he was repeatedly stonewalled by prosecutors. In an interview with journalist Jon Rappaport, Heidelberg stated, "They said I'd have to get the prosecuting attorney's okay for each question I wanted to ask. But you know, in dialog one question leads to another right away, so you can't cross-examine that way.
"They kept promising and promising to answer all my questions, but ultimately they stalled me. I was had."
In an interview on CBS This Morning, Stephen Jones said, "…what is troubling here is that the prosecutors, in effect, according to this grand juror's allegation, took away from the grand jury their duty to go after the full story, not just concentrating on the two people that had already been arrested."
Not buying the government's story of a couple of pissed-off whackos with a fertilizer bomb, Heidelberg also asked that bomb experts be called in to identify the type of bomb used. "Let's get the answer… Let's get the architects and engineers who built the building in there and question them," Heidelberg told Rappaport.
"Did you request that?" asked Rappaport.
"Of course! I demanded bomb experts all along. And engineers and geologists. They said — do you want to know what they said? They didn't have the money! I said I'd go down to the University of Oklahoma and bring some geologists back myself for free. They wouldn't let me.
"The bomb is the key to the whole case."
In order to satisfy the grand jury that an ANFO bomb blew up the building, prosecutors called in one bomb expert — Robert Hopler. Hopler, it turns out, recently retired from Dyno-Nobel, an explosives manufacturer in Salt Lake City. Dyno-Nobel used to be Hercules Powder Company — a reputed CIA front.
"I knew he was CIA," said Heidelberg. "It was pretty obvious to me and most of the jury."
Judge David Russell eventually dismissed Heidelberg from the grand jury for having the audacity to question the government's case. In a letter to Heidelberg dated October 24, 1995, Russell states:
Effectively immediately, you are dismissed from the grand jury. Your obligation of secrecy continues. Any disclosure of matters that occurred before the grand jury constitutes a contempt of court. Each violation of the obligation of secrecy may be punished cumulatively.
The government's excuse for dismissing Heidelberg was an anonymous interview he supposedly gave to Lawrence Myers of Media Bypass magazine. As previously noted, Heidelberg never consented to be interviewed by Myers, and in fact, Myers had surreptitiously obtained the content of an interview conducted by the investigator for Heidelberg's attorney, John DeCamp.
But Heidelberg claims the real reason was a letter he wrote to Judge Russell dated October 5th, in which Heidelberg states:
The families of the victims deserve to know who was involved in the bombing, and there appears to be an attempt to protect the identity of certain suspects, namely John Doe 2….
"I think they (the government) knows who John Doe 2 is, and they are protecting him," said Heidelberg in an interview in Jubilee Magazine. "This is because John Doe 2 is either a government agent or informant and they can't afford for that to get out."
Eventually, the FBI dropped the John Doe 2 lead altogether. John Doe 2 had been a red herring, a false lead, the Justice Department claimed. John Doe 2 had never really existed.
Dozens of credible witnesses think otherwise.
Catina Lawson, who was friends with McVeigh, remembered John Doe 2 from the Summer of '92, when she and her friends would hold parties and invite soldiers from nearby Fort Riley. McVeigh showed up with Andy Strassmeir, Mike Fortier, and Michael Brescia. In fact, Lawson's roommate, Lindsay Johnson, dated the handsome, well-built Brescia.
Two days after the bombing, Lawson called the FBI and told them that Brescia closely resembled the sketch of John Doe 2.
Yet in spite of overturning 21,000 stones, the FBI never even bothered to follow up on her story.
Robert Gohn, who lived across the road from McVeigh in Kingman, recalled seeing one of the mysterious John Does around the early Summer of '94. According to Gohn, one day a short, stocky man who looked "like a weight lifter" arrived at McVeigh's trailer with Terry Nichols.
On April 7, Dr. Paul Heath was working in his office at the Murrah Building when "McVeigh" and two of his companions stopped by for a chat. Heath recalled one of the men as "American-Indian looking" and "handsome."
As the Associated Press reported on April 27, 1995:
… [U.S. Attorney Randy] Rathburn said neighbors of Nichols'… reported that Nichols spent April 12-14 with McVeigh and several unidentified men. One of the men resembled sketches of John Doe 2.…
On Saturday, April 15, Barbara Whittenberg served breakfast to three men at the Sante Fe Trail Diner in Herrington, Kansas. One of the men was dark-skinned and handsome. When he told her they were on their way to Oklahoma City, McVeigh shot him a hard look that said "keep quiet."
Early the next day, around 1:00 a.m., Melba was working the deli counter at Albertson's Supermarket on South May in Oklahoma City, when "McVeigh" and John Doe 2 stopped by for sandwiches.
"McVeigh," it seems, was still in town when Phyliss Kingsley and Linda Kuhlman saw three vehicles pull into the Hi-Way Grill, just south of Oklahoma City, around 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. McVeigh came in and ordered hamburgers and fries to go, and was accompanied by a short, stocky, handsome man, of either Mexican or American Indian descent. The man closely resembled the FBI sketch of John Doe 2.
That same day, back at the Dreamland Motel in Junction City, Connie Hood was returning to her room around 12:45 a.m. when a man in room 23 quickly opened the door as if expecting a visitor, then quickly closed it when he saw Hood. The man, who startled her, was in his early 20s, about 5'8" tall, 180 lbs., with dark hair brushed straight back and an olive complexion. Hood recalls he closely resembled the sketch of John Doe 2, but with slightly fuller features. She described him as a "foreigner."
The following day, Hood and her husband Donald returned to the Dreamland to visit their friend David King in room 22. A Ryder truck pulled up at the same time they did, the driver strongly resembling the man Hood saw the previous day.
Shane Boyd, a helicopter mechanic who was also staying at the Dreamland, later told reporters and investigators that he saw a bushy-haired man resembling the John Doe 2 sketch in the parking lot near room 25 — Timothy McVeigh's room.
One exit away from the Dreamland Motel sits the Great Western Inn. According to the manager, a Middle Eastern man stayed at the motel on the 17th. "He spoke broken English," said the manager. "[He] gave a foreign name and was driving a Ryder truck." The man closely resembled the FBI's sketch of John Doe 2.
"Sometime on Monday," recalled Connie Hood, "those two — McVeigh and the foreigner — loaded up together, in a Ryder truck, and pulled out of the Dreamland parking lot together… that was the last I saw of them."
Later that day, janitors Katherine Woodly and Martin Johnson were working the 5-9 p.m. shift in the Murrah Building when they saw "McVeigh" and John Doe 2. McVeigh spoke to Martin about a job, and John Doe 2 nodded to Woodly.
At 3:00 p.m. on Monday, or possibly Tuesday, Jerri-Lynn Backhous and Dorinda Hermes were working at the Easy-Mart in Newkirk, 100 miles north of Oklahoma City, when a convoy pulled in. One of the vehicles — a light blue pick-up with a camper top — was being driven by Terry Nichols. Backhous recalled Nichols' passenger as average height, dark-skinned, with black hair and a muscular build. "He looked just like the John Doe 2 sketch," she said.
Debbie Nakanashi was working at the Post Office across the street from the Murrah Building around on Monday or Tuesday when "McVeigh" and John Doe 2 stopped in and asked where they might find federal job applications. Nakanashi helped provide the description for the well-known profile sketch of John Doe 2 in the baseball cap.
Guy Rubsamen, a security guard at the Murrah Building saw a large Ryder truck pull up to the curb in front of the building around 4:00 p.m. on Monday, the 17th. Rubsamen later concluded it was a dress rehearsal.
"There was either two or three men, but one jumped out the driver's side, and one or two out the passenger side," Rubsamen told the Rocky Mountain News. "The first thing that struck me was how quickly they jumped out. Those guys were in a hurry."
The Ryder truck would make its appearance the following evening at the Cattle Baron's Steakhouse in Perry, Oklahoma. Jeff Meyers and another customer recalled seeing McVeigh and a companion, who stopped by for a few beers. The man was approximately six feet tall and weighed 260 pounds — a description not befitting the John Doe 2s described by other witnesses.
Richard Sinnett, the assistant manager of the Save-A-Trip convenience store in Kingman, Kansas, sold fuel to McVeigh and three other men at approximately 1:30 a.m. on April 19. Sinnett saw three vehicles in all, including a Ryder truck, an older brown pick-up (possibly belonging to Steven Colbern?), and a light colored car.
Sinnett described John Doe 2 as muscular, 170 to 180 pounds, with short light brown hair and a light complexion. He recalled the Ryder truck was towing a trailer that contained a large, round tank filled with clear liquid. The store is about 175 miles north of Oklahoma City.
Fred Skrdla, a cashier at a 24-hour truck stop near Billings, told the FBI he sold fuel to McVeigh between 1 and 3 a.m. on April 19. The station is about 80 miles north of Oklahoma City.
As the sun rose, McVeigh and a friend sat down for coffee at Jackie's Farmers Store in Mulhall, Oklahoma. Mulhall Postmaster Mary Hunnicutt stood right next to McVeigh as he ordered his coffee. She was "advised" not to discuss what she had seen, lest she be summoned before the Federal Grand Jury. She wasn't.
Ten minutes before the blast, Leroy Brooks was sitting in his car at the Sooner Post Office across from the Murrah Building, when a Ryder truck pulled up across the street, trailed by a yellow Mercury. The drivers of both vehicles got out and walked to the back of the truck, where they spoke for a few seconds, and exchanged a small package. After Brooks came out of the Post Office, he saw that the Ryder truck, which contained a passenger, had moved in front of the Murrah Building. "McVeigh" was walking briskly across 5th Street towards the Journal Record building.
Danny Wilkerson sold "McVeigh" a pack of cigarettes (McVeigh doesn't smoke) and two soft drinks at a deli inside the Regency Towers apartments a block from the Murrah Building. Wilkerson recalled a passenger sitting in the cab of the Ryder truck, which had a cab overhang, and was shorter than the 24-foot model the FBI claimed McVeigh had rented.
Federal authorities had still more witnesses to call on had they wanted to. Mike Moroz, who was at work at Johnny's Tire Store on 10th and Hudson, on April 19, looked up to see a Ryder truck pull in at 8:40 a.m. The occupants were looking for directions to the Murrah Building. Moroz caught a glimpse of the passenger — a stocky man with dark curly hair wearing a ball cap, and a tattoo on his upper left arm.
Several minutes earlier, David Snider was waiting for a delivery in Bricktown, about 25 blocks away, when a Ryder truck passed slowly by, as if looking for an address. However, this time the driver was a dark-skinned man with long, straight black hair, wearing a thin mustache and tear-drop sunglasses. The passenger was "McVeigh." Since Snider's account of the occupants differed remarkably from the previous accounts, could this have been the second Ryder truck described by witnesses? If so, did this mean there were two "McVeighs" and two John Doe 2s?
At approximately the same time as Snider saw the Ryder truck, Tulsa banker Kyle Hunt came upon the truck at Main and Broadway, trailed by a yellow Mercury. Hunt said the Mercury driver was Timothy McVeigh. "He gave me that icy, go-to-hell look," said Hunt. "It kind of unnerved me." While Hunt didn't see the occupants of the truck, he did recall two passengers in the car. One of them, he said, had long hair, similar to the man Phyliss Kingsley saw on Sunday at the Hi-Way Grill. None of the men was Terry Nichols, who was in Herrington that morning.
Just outside the Murrah Building, Dennis "Rodney" Johnson was driving his catering truck, when he suddenly had to brake to avoid hitting two men who were running towards the parking lot across the street.
The men, who were in "a fast lockstep" with each other, appeared to be Timothy McVeigh and John Doe 2. Johnson described McVeigh's companion as "Mexican or American-Indian." He was "dark-skinned… probably about 5-8 and maybe 160 pounds," Johnson said. "He was wearing blue jogger pants with a stripe across the side. He had slicked-black hair."
Then there was Gary Lewis. A pressman for the Journal Record, Lewis stepped outside to smoke his pipe just minutes before the blast. As stood in the alley across from the Murrah Building, a yellow Mercury peeled away from its spot and bore down on him. The driver, whom he made brief eye-contact with, appeared to be Timothy McVeigh. And his passenger resembled the sketch of John Doe 2. The car had an Oklahoma tag (not an Arizona tag as authorities claimed) dangling by one bolt.
Even FBI Agent John Hersley had testified before the Federal Grand Jury that "…several witnesses spotted a yellow car carrying McVeigh and another man speeding away from the parking lot near the… [building] before the blast."
Finally there was Daina Bradley. A young mother, Bradley was standing by the window of the Social Security office seconds before the blast, when she saw a man get out of the passenger side of the Ryder truck. Moments later, Bradley's world turned to blackness, smoke and dust as she was showered by falling concrete. Bradley, who lost her leg, her mother, and her two children in the bombing, still clearly recalls the man who got out of the truck. He looked like John Doe 2.
Of course, federal "investigators" would show as little interest in these and other discrepancies as they would in the numerous John Does. Some of these witnesses were never even contacted by the FBI, eventhough all of them had repeatedly tried to alert the Bureau. Only after federal prosecutors had coerced Daina Bradley into changing her story, did she testify at McVeigh's trial. None of the others were ever called.
"I know I wasn't called because I would have to testify that I did see John Doe 2. I know I saw John Doe 2," said Rodney Johnson.
Then in March of 1997, after changing it's mind half a dozen times about the existence of John Doe 2, it was "leaked" to the press that the FBI was searching for a John Doe. His name was Robert Jaques.
This "new" John Doe 2 had appeared at the office of real estate broker William Maloney, of Cassville, Missouri, in November of '94, along with Terry Nichols and a man who looked like McVeigh. They were there to discuss purchasing a remote piece of land. Joe Lee Davidson, a salesman in Maloney's office, recalled the encounter with Jaques: "The day he was here, he seemed to be the one that was in control and in charge of what was going on," said Davidson. "Nichols never said a whole lot and McVeigh never did come in…."
Maloney described Jaques as muscular, with a broad, dark face, similar to, but not quite identical as, the original FBI sketch of John Doe 2.
Is it possible the sudden announcement of Jaques was a diversion, to satisfy a public increasingly savvy about the existence of John Doe 2?
Nevertheless, a month after this new lead was announced, the government went ahead with the trial of McVeigh, making no attempt to introduce any additional suspects.
They also dropped the lead on Steven Colbern, in spite of the fact that his pick-up was seen stopped ahead of McVeigh 90 minutes after the bombing.
The Middle-Eastern lead was also dropped. The FBI denied putting out the APB on the brown pick-up containing the three Middle Eastern males seen speeding away from the bombing. And while the FBI knew about Sam Khalid, they did nothing but ask him some questions.
An affidavit submitted by FBI Agent John Hersley stated: "A witness to the bombing saw two, possibly three persons in a brown Chevrolet pickup — fleeing the area of the crime — just prior to the blast." Although agents interviewed the witness who saw Hussain al-Hussaini driving the brown pick-up, she was never brought before a line-up, and never called to testify before the Federal Grand Jury. Hussaini's friend Abraham Ahmed was turned loose as well.
As in the Kennedy assassination, the FBI sent thousands of agents hither and yonder to scour the country, searching out even the most obscure leads. Agents swarmed through Kingman, conducting warrantless searches, arresting innocent people, and wrecking havoc. Dozens more swooped down on Terry Nichols 12-year-old son Josh, whom they thought may have been John Doe 2. Agents were sent to the Philippines to investigate Nichols' activities there, and thousands more had detained and questioned anyone even remotely suspicious.
Yet, as in the Kennedy case, few agents actually knew just why they were following up on any given lead. Very few ever were ever allowed to compare notes, or catch a glimpse of the "big picture."
More importantly, those individuals who should have been prime suspects for questioning were never even detained. No agents were sent to Elohim city to interview Andreas Strassmeir or Michael Brescia, or Peter and Sonny Ward. Likewise, none of the Middle Eastern suspects previously mentioned were arrested.
Had any FBI agents actually attempted to follow up on any of these leads, like their predecessors in Dallas, they would have been quickly reassigned to other cases by Washington.
The same held true for local law-enforcement. FBI SAC Bob Ricks — who doled out a mendacious dose of propaganda during the Waco massacre — was appointed Public Safety Director after the bombing, putting him in charge of the OHP.
The OSBI were made coffee boys and drivers for the FBI. District Attorney Bob Macy, along with local police, were "advised" to stay out of the case.
Six days before the start of McVeigh's trial, Steven Jones filed a defense motion citing law-enforcement and defense interviews with a Filipino terrorist who admitted meeting with bombing defendant Terry Nichols.
Lead prosecutor Joseph Hartzler called Jones' carefully investigated and researched information "pulp fiction."
Yet a Washington-based terrorist expert who investigated the World Trade Center bombing and is familiar with some the suspects in Jones' brief said, "The whole idea that no one but Timothy McVeigh — that there's nothing wider than this — no one would believe it if the government weren't saying it. It's so implausible a story.
"The government has the nerve to call it pulp fiction," added the highly-respected source. Their story is 'pulp fiction.'"
Apparently, the government was concerned enough about Jones' revelations to order all the witness statements sealed.
In the end, the FBI propounded its disingenuous theory that McVeigh and Nichols were the "lone bombers" just as quickly as they had decided that Lee Harvey Oswald was the "Lone assassin" twenty-eight years ago.
"Stated simply, neither the ATF nor any other federal agency had any advance knowledge of the deadly bomb that McVeigh delivered to the Murrah Building.… The prosecution is not withholding anything that even remotely would support such an outrageous charge." - Department of Justice
"I can assure you that there has been no government misconduct and the men and women of the FBI that we're working with are beyond reproach."
- U.S. Attorney Joseph Hartzler
"Our government, unfortunately, has shown remarkable ability to lie."
- Stephen Jones
One example of the Justice Department's refusal to admit the possibility of any suspects other than McVeigh and Nichols was its stubborn insistence on hoarding discovery documents that it should have been rightfully turned over to the defense under the federal Brady requirements. In a motion filed six days before the start of McVeigh's trial, Jones alleged that the prosecution not only lied about the available evidence, they deliberately obsfucated and distorted certain ATF and FBI reports on Elohim City, deliberately misspelling the names Carol Howe, Robert Millar, Andreas Strassmeir, Dennis Mahon and others so that the defense would be unable to retrieve any documents regarding these suspects during their computer searches. As Jones wrote in his brief:
Defense counsel is convinced that the government has engaged in a willful and knowing cover-up of information supplied to it by its informant. The defense was unable to locate this insert using a computer because all major search terms contained in the insert were misspelled. Elohim City was misspelled or misidentified (Elohm City), as was Mahon (Mehaun), Strassmeir (Strassmeyer), the Rev. Robert Millar (Bob Lamar) and in addition, Carol Howe was not identified in the insert at all.
Thus the defense was unable to locate important information that Carol Howe, a ATF informant, had provided critical warnings that the Murrah Building was about to be bombed. As Jones wrote:
Our patience is exhausted… We are no longer convinced the documents drafted and furnished to us, after the fact, by bureaucracies whose very existence and credibility is challenged, can be relied upon.…
The government has told the district court that it had 'no information" of a possible foreign involvement when it did. The government has told the district court that "Andreas Strassmeir was never the subject of the investigation," when he was.…
Statements to the court by the prosecution that it cannot connect Strassmeir and Mahon to the bombing are hardly surprising. They did not try very hard to connect them because had they been connected, and Carol Howe's previous warning disclosed, the resulting furor would have been unimaginable.…
The repeated practice of the government and prosecution in this case when the shoe gets binding is to make a partial disclosure, assure the District Court it understands its Brady obligations, and hold its breath, hoping the court does not order further disclosure, or will rely on the prosecution's "good faith".…
This is a solemn criminal case, not Alice in Wonderland where definitions mean only what "the Queen thinks" and what she thinks is not known to anyone else.
Lying about additional suspects wasn't the only crime the "Justice" Department was guilty of. Manipulating and confiscating evidence also seemed to be a major tool in their arsenal of deceit.
Richard Bieder, the attorney representing a group bombing victims in their negligence lawsuit against the government, told the London Telegraph that he had seen internal ATF documents which supported many of the claims made by Carol Howe. But the reports for December 1994, probably the most critical ones, have vanished from the files.
On April 14, 1995, the FBI placed a call to Assistant Chief Charles Gaines at the Oklahoma City Fire Department to warn him of a potential terrorist threat within the next few days. Yet like the FBI's warnings of the threat against the life of President Kennedy, or Nixon's infamous Watergate tapes, the audio logs of the Fire Department's incoming calls were mysteriously "erased."
When asked to explain this "accidental" erasure, Assistant Chief Jon Hansen intelligently replied, "We made a boo-boo." Hansen then admitted to reporter J.D. Cash that the tapes had been erased after the national media had requested them.
On April 28th the tape of James Nichols' hearing was released by court order, and it was blank. Nothing whatsoever could be heard on the tape. It was the only record of the proceedings.
On April 19, the seismic data monitor at the Omniplex Museum, four miles from the Murrah Building, had recorded the shock waves of the explosion. The seismograph readings, including one from the University of Oklahoma 16 miles away in Norman, presented startling evidence — evidence that the explosion that ripped through the Alfred P. Murrah building may in fact have been several distinct blasts. The implications of this are ominous.
At a meeting of the Oklahoma Geophysical Society on November 20th, Seismologists Ray Brown of the Oklahoma Geological Survey and Tom Holzer of the U.S. Geological Survey gathered to discuss the findings. Pat Briley, a seismic programmer, who has independently investigated the bombing, attended the meeting, as did U.S. Attorney Patrick Ryan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerome A. Holmes.
Although the two scientists disagreed on findings regarding the number of bombs, less than a third of the way through the presentation, Ryan got up, walked to the back of the room, and began giving a private press conference:
"I was certainly satisfied that these scientists could not say that there was anything other than one bomb that caused the seismology reading," said Ryan, a statement obviously inconsistent with the discussion occurring at the time.
"Ryan lied very heavily," said Briley. "This guy really lied."
After the meeting, Briley politely asked Ryan to give him the original seismogram in the FBI's possession. Ryan got up, angrily accused Briley of working for the defense team, then stammered out of the room.
Surveillance cameras located in the parking lot across from the Murrah building, and on neighboring buildings, would have recorded the entire fateful event that terrible morning. The tapes would have also shown the building collapsing. They would have conclusively proven whether the structure was destroyed by cutting charges, or by a truck-bomb. But like Abraham Zapruder's famous footage of the Kennedy assassination, the tapes were quickly confiscated by the FBI.
In an interview with Jon Rappaport, Hoppy Heidelberg said, "The various surveillance videotapes of the bombing, tapes from, say, Southwestern Bell and the Journal Record Building across the street, we don't know that they showed all the details of the bombing, including the perpetrators, but it's possible. None of this material was shown to us in the grand jury."
Certain segments of the footage was presented by the prosecution at trial. One cut included a shot of a blue GMC pick-up with a white camper top (the kind owned by Terry Nichols) driving slowly past the Regency Towers apartments near the Murrah Building on April 16 — the day Nichols allegedly drove to Oklahoma to pick up McVeigh.
The prosecution also displayed a still frame of a Ryder truck driving by the Regency Towers on the morning of the blast. The time was 8:59 a.m. They then showed a still of the truck blowing up, stamped 9:02 a.m. Curiously, the government was careful not to show the jury any footage which showed any suspects getting out of the truck.
Surveillance footage taken by Trooper Charles Hanger upon his arrest of McVeigh had caught a brown pick-up stopped just ahead — thought to belong to Steven Colbern. When researcher Ken Armstrong questioned the OHP about the tape, he was told it had been "seized" by the FBI. The OHP would not comment further.
On June 1st, KFOR reporter Brad Edwards sent the Justice Department a Freedom of Information request concerning the various surveillance footage. In their reply, the FBI stated:
A search of our indices to the Central Records System, as maintained in the Oklahoma City Office, located material responsive request (sic) to your request. This material is being withheld in its entirety pursuant to the following subsection of Title 5, United States Code, Section 552: (b) (7) (A)
When Jones finally filed a motion for disclosure after prosecutors refused to hand over the tapes, he was given 400 hours of footage. According to defense attorney Amber McGlaughlin, the tapes did not reveal the presence of Timothy McVeigh.
Of course, who knows what the FBI actually turned over to the defense. In the Kennedy case, the most revealing evidence was the Zapruder film — homemade footage showing Presidents Kennedy's head being blasted towards the right-rear — indicating the fatal shot came from the Grassy Knoll, not the Book Depository as the government claimed. Yet the FBI confiscated Zapruder's film and altered the sequence of the incriminating frames, reversing them to give the impression that Kennedy's head had lurched forward. It was only later that experts revealed the tampering.
The FBI said it was a "mistake."
The Zapruder film was finally released in 1968, the result of District Attorney Jim Garrison's courageous efforts to reveal the truth. The question is, when will the American public get to see the video footage of the Oklahoma City bombing?
While the FBI did their best to keep key evidence from the grand jury, as in the Kennedy case, they even went so far as to convince several witnesses that their former statements were false, and to retract them in lieu of statements more favorable to the prosecution. A primary example is Michael Fortier, who originally told investigators, "I do not believe that Tim [McVeigh] blew up any building in Oklahoma. There's nothing for me to look back upon and say, yeah, that might have been, I should have seen it back then — there's nothing like that.… I know my friend. Tim McVeigh is not the face of terror as reported on Time magazine…"
But after the FBI raided his home, Fortier reversed his statement, saying that he and McVeigh has "cased" the federal building, in response to an offer of a plea bargain. Fortier was then transferred to the Federal Medical Facility at Fort Worth, Texas. It is not known why.
According to Heidelberg, the FBI brought 24-hour-a-day pressure on Fortier for months before he was arrested. Consequently, Fortier did not retain a lawyer, didn't know he needed one, and was subsequently bullied by the Bureau. By the time he managed to retain a lawyer, Fortier had already been broken.
Lori Fortier testified that McVeigh tried to solicit Nichols' help in building the bomb, but that Nichols wanted out. He then allegedly tried to solicit her husband. According to her testimony, McVeigh got down on the floor of their trailer and, using soup cans to represent 55-gallon drums, demonstrated how to make a bomb.
Were the Fortiers relaying accurate testimony? Like the testimony of Eldon Elliott about McVeigh's height, or that of Thomas Manning regarding McVeigh's phone call to Elliott's, none of this information was contained in prior statements made by the Fortiers to the FBI.
As will be seen with prior incidents of government witness tampering and fabricated testimony, their testimony is highly circumspect.
The Fortiers' testimony is also somewhat questionable due to their drug use. According to co-worker Deborah Brown, who testified at McVeigh's trial, Lori Fortier used crystal methamphetamine almost daily. Methamphetamine is widely known for its ability to induce delusional or even psychotic states over time.
Fortier eventually confessed to transporting and selling stolen firearms, drug possession, foreknowledge of the bombing plot, and failing to inform federal authorities.
Said grand juror Hoppy Heidelberg, "The FBI relied on a man, Fortier, who really couldn't provide anything important to them. You need to remember that. That's important."
Lori Fortier also testified that "I still believed he (McVeigh) couldn't really do it." Jones then asked her, "Ms. Fortier, you said you thought McVeigh really wouldn't carry out his plans, then you said you, 'wanted out.' How can you 'want out' if there was nothing to 'be in'"?
Jones would take this one step further. On cross-examination, he assiduously questioned Fortier's motivations:
Jones: Now, in addition, in your conversation you had with your brother on April the 25th, 1995 — that's your brother John?
Fortier: Yes, sir.
Jones: Did you make the following statement: "I've been thinking about trying to do those talk-show circuits for a long time, come up with some asinine story and get my friends to go in on it"?
Fortier: Yes, sir, I made that statement.
Jones: And in the same conversation, did your brother say to you: "Whether the story is true or not, if you want to sit here and listen to a fable, that's all it was at the time is a fable"? And then did you say: "I found my career, 'cause I can tell a fable"? And then did you burst out laughing and say, "I could tell stories all day"?
Fortier: Yes, sir.
Jones: Then do you know an individual named Glynn?
Jones: And his last name, sir?
Fortier: I think you're referring to Glynn Bringle.
Jones: Did you have a conversation with him by telephone on April the 30th?
Jones: And did you say, "I want to wait till after the trial and do book and movie rights. I can just make up something juicy"? And then did you laugh?
Fortier: I'm not sure if I laughed or not, but I did make that statement.
Jones: "Something that's worth The Enquirer, you know." You made those statements.
Fortier: Yes, sir.
The obvious inference was that the "Justice" Department had a hand in generating the Fortiers' testimony. As Jones pointed out during his closing argument, the terms of Fortier's plea agreement provided that any leniency would be contingent upon his performance in court.
Not true, according to the FBI, which spent over 175 hours soliciting statements from the Fortiers; and Joseph Hartzler, who met with his "star witness" between 7 and 10 times to "make sure he told the truth."
In fact, during McVeigh's trial, Lori Fortier testified on cross-examination that she had arrived in Denver five days before she was scheduled for trial. She testified that she spent the better part of Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday practicing for her testimony with federal prosecutors.
Philadelphia prosecutors spent a lot of time with Veronica Jones to "make sure she told the truth" too — convincing her to implicate journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, accused of shooting police officer Daniel Faulkner. Jones, who was facing unrelated felony charges at the time, originally told police she saw two other men flee the scene. After threats and promises from police, she changed her story, testifying to the government's version of events. Her felony charges were subsequently dropped.
Fortier, whose speech and appearance were magically transformed for his day in court, reportedly received a reduced sentence of three years in exchange for his testimony. His wife Lori was granted complete immunity from prosecution for her's.
Jones also accused the FBI of harassing Jennifer McVeigh and her friends in the days after the bombing, hoping to obtain derogatory information about her brother. He said the FBI scared people "beyond belief with threats of prosecution" if they didn't talk.
On the fifth day of Jennifer McVeigh's interrogation, the FBI ushered her into a room with huge blown up pictures of her and her brother (taken off her refrigerator door), and babies who died in the bombing. Interspersed between the photos were statutes from the U.S. Code pertaining to treason, with phrases such as "Treason is punishable by death," and "The penalty for treason is DEATH." (government's emphasis)
Under cross-examination, Jennifer was asked if she was aware that treason is only punishable in times of war. Stunned by this revelation, she answered, "No."
The FBI also tricked Jennifer into testifying by promising her immunity from prosecution if she cooperated. During a break in the trial, a reporter asked prosecutor Vicky Behenna why Jennifer needed immunity. "She didn't," Behenna replied," but she wouldn't testify without it, so we gave it to her."
The FBI also tricked Marife Nichols into signing a consent form before they searched her house. When she was asked if the agents advised her of her right to retain a lawyer or refuse to answer questions, the 23-year-old Filipino answered, "I don't remember. I don't think so." Marife said that when she asked whether she did need a lawyer, prosecutors and FBI agents discouraged her. "They told me, 'You're okay as long as you are telling the truth. You don't need a lawyer."
James Nichols discovered they were raiding his house after he heard it on the news. "I heard on the radio they were raiding a house in Decker, Michigan. I said, 'Wow, that's awful close to home.' Well, within an hour I found out… Mine!"
Nichols believes the ATF, which raided his house, set him up to be murdered, either as an act of revenge or to prevent him from testifying at trial. He told Dateline's Chris Hansen that after the agents entered his home, they asked him to retrieve a gun he kept in his bedroom. Nichols responded, "No, I won't go get it. I told you, send an agent or two in there to go do it." 'Aw, go ahead. Go and do it,' the agent responded, and they all turned their backs, real nonchalantly. I said, 'Whoa, wait a minute…' They'd 'a shot me, because they would have just said 'He pulled a gun on us.' The fate of Terry and Tim would have been signed, sealed and delivered… Dead people don't testify."
For his part, Terry Nichols believed that he was not in custody after he walked into the Herrington, Kansas police station on April 21 to see why his name was being broadcast on television. Apparently, the agents were hoping they could get more out of Nichols by leading him to believe they had no intention of arresting him.
"Mr. Nichols was coerced, deceived, and subjected to psychological ploys designed to overcome his will and make him confess," his attorney stated in a legal brief. Defense attorneys also contend Nichols was falsely promised he could review agents' notes on his statements for accuracy, and was falsely told he or his wife could be present at searches.
Prosecutors countered that federal agents acted "with remarkable diligence and in a manner that honored the Constitution."
Frank Keating: Damage Control Inc.
"We are going to impose our agenda on the coverage by dealing with the issues and subjects we choose to deal with." - Richard M. Cohan, Senior Producer of CBS News
"The business of the New York journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his race and his country for his daily bread." - John Swinton, CEO, New York Times, New York Press Club, April 12, 1953.
"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media." - William Colby, former CIA Director
Eight months after the bombing, Oklahoma State Representative Charles Key, dissatisfied with the "official" investigation, attempted to form a state oversight committee. House Speaker Glen Johnson ridiculed Key's efforts, stating his satisfaction with the Justice Department's official fantasy tale. Anyone who subsequently attempted to challenge the government's official line was publicly discredited by Governor Keating, sneered at by Attorney General Drew Edmondson, and laughed at by the mainstream press.
The local media provided a convenient platform for Governor Keating to dismiss critics of the government's handling of the case, including Edye Smith, Hoppy Heidelberg and Representative Key. In an attempt to discredit Heidelberg, Keating headed a carefully orchestrated chorus of media pundits, stating that Heidelberg was "off the reservation."
Keating also joined KWTV in attacking KFOR's coverage of the Middle Eastern connection, stating they lacked integrity.
He labeled Jim Levine, an attorney who represented several victims pro bono in an attempt to release money from the Governor and Mayor's Victims Relief Funds a "bottom-feeding" lawyer.*
For his courageous efforts in uncovering the truth, Keating said Representative Key was "baying at the moon."†
Along with bombing victim Glenn Wilburn, Key attempted to impanel a County Grand Jury. Such a jury, operating outside the scope of the federal investigation, would not only have the power to investigate facts ignored by the federal grand jury, but have the power to level criminal obstruction of justice charges against anybody whom they believed might have impeded the investigation.
Given the allegations of wrongdoing in the federal investigation, such charges could conceivably be leveled against everybody from the ATF to the Justice Department.
In an interview in the McCurtain Gazette, Key explained, "Indisputable proof exists now that the federal grand jury was purposely shielded from witnesses who saw Timothy McVeigh with other suspects, both prior to and immediately after the bombing assault…. They may have a good motive for this, but thus far it escapes me — and, I might add, several members of the federal grand jury who witnessed this farce."
Keating's response, quoted in the Daily Oklahoman was: "I don't think a legislative committee would contribute one whit of intelligence to this process."
The Daily Oklahoman and the Tulsa World, the state's two largest dailies, which should have led the pack in ferreting out the truth of this terrible tragedy, instead led the local media chorus with editorials such as this one in the Daily Oklahoman, entitled, "Drop It, Mr. Key."
The Daily Oklahoman has opposed Key's mission from the beginning.… State Rep. Charles Key's quest to prove that a government conspiracy played some role in the Murrah Building bombing is a weird and misguided exercise.… Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy is correct in appealing a court ruling that allows Key a free hand to seek a county grand jury probe of his conspiracy theories.…
The Tulsa World chimed in with editorials such as "Making Tragedy Pay," which labeled Key as a "dedicated hustler" peddling "goofy theories" to rightwing-crank audiences." They also accused the representative of profit-making from the sale of his bombing videos, which barely paid for themselves. The fact that Key had recently lost his insurance business due to his tireless efforts investigating the bombing, and was living on his $33,000-a-year salary to support a wife and three children in a small, ramshackle house, was not mentioned by the yellow journalists of the Tulsa World.
The "truth seekers" of the local media weren't finished either. They eagerly focused on the efforts of Drew Edmondson, who accused Key of proposing a "wasteful witch hunt" and of engaging in "the worst kind of paranoid conspiracy pandering." (See Appendix)
One article reported how Edmondson had convinced the State District Attorney's Council to oppose Key's investigative funding bill.
"This is unprecedented, as far as I know, for the Attorney General to go to such lengths with the District Attorneys Council and to use such intemperate language," the soft-spoken Key told The New American.
In fact, local radio polls revealed that an overwhelming majority of Oklahomans supported Key's efforts. While the Tulsa World and the Daily Oklahoman went to extremes to label Key as a "conspiracy nut," they never bothered mentioning that little fact.*
Naturally, the CIA-connected Washington Post would have their say, comparing the "myth" of John Doe 2 to the Loch Ness Monster.
Lead prosecutor Joseph Hartzler added his voice to the ensemble, calling the leads "whacky theories."
Key's grand jury petition was quashed on November 6th, 1995 by District Judge Daniel Owens on the grounds that it would be "re-inventing the wheel."
Key appealed. As his attorney, Mark Sanford stated, "Legally [Owens] didn't have the right to quash the petition. But because he's a judge he has the power, whether it's legal or not."
Beverly Palmer from Bob Macy's office argued at the appeals hearing in defense of Owens, claiming that the petition was "insufficient on its face," and the request was duplicitous of the federal grand jury's efforts.
Yet, as Appeals Judge Ronald Stubblefield pointed out, nowhere did Judge Owens state why the petition was insufficient. In fact Stubblefield was highly skeptical that Owens had any facts to advise him properly in his decision. "I question whether Judge Owens has the discretion" said Stubblefield. "He's just operating on what he knows about the bombing. Do you think it's right to make a judgment based on what he reads in the newspaper?"
The same could be said about DA Bob Macy. At the time I interviewed him, he was collecting information on the case by reading Morris Dees' Gathering Storm, and The Turner Diaries. This was a year and-a-half after the bombing — a bombing that occurred right outside his window. He didn't know about John Doe 2. He had no idea about the Middle Eastern connection. He had done absolutely no investigation.
"I have not seen these things you are talking about right now," Macy told me. "When I see the evidence… I haven't been presented with the evidence." Macy subsequently claimed he wanted me to work with his so-called "task force" that was "investigating" the bombing, then never called me back.
His attitude was adequately reflected by his Assistant DA, Beverly Palmer. Visibly nervous, Palmer grasped at straws during the appeals hearing, arguing that the grand jury shouldn't be convened because of the need for "judicial economy," and that it contravened "public policy concerns."
"What policy concerns?" Judge Daniel Boudreau asked.
In spite of the efforts of a group of good ole' boy politicians to sabotage justice, Judge Stubblefield remained firm: "The people have the right to circulate a petition if the people find that things aren't going the way they ought to be," he said. "Is it not the right, by the sanctified right of the grand jury in Oklahoma, to inquire whether a crime is committed? Don't they have the right to investigate people who they think are involved? This is a highly protected right."
The Appeals Court upheld Key's right to petition for a County Grand Jury by a unanimous vote.
Just two months before the hearing Macy claimed to this author that he intended to prosecute McVeigh and Nichols in a state trial on 161 counts of First Degree Murder. "I don't like taking a second seat to the [federal] prosecution," Macy stated. "The bombing killed 10 of my friends."
In a May 24, 1995 letter to Senator Orrin Hatch, one of the original drafters of the Anti-Terrorism Bill, Macy wrote:
First, immediately following the trial or trials in Federal Court, I shall, working in conjunction with the United Sates Department of Justice and the federal law-enforcement agencies investigating the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building, prosecute the cowards responsible for murdering innocent people in the area surrounding the Federal Building.…
The State of Oklahoma has an overwhelming, compelling interest to seek and obtain the maximum penalty allowable by law for the senseless and cowardly killings. Not only is it in the interest of the State, it is my sworn duty to seek those sanctions, and I intend to fully carry out my responsibilities.…
Every day of delay represents a victory for these cowardly cold-blooded killers and another day of defeat and suffering for the victims and all other Americans who cry out for justice.
Macy also impressed upon the author his interest in getting at the truth: "I'm prepared to do what ever it takes to get to the truth," Macy exclaimed. "My sole intent is in learning the truth!"
Yet when asked if he intended to conduct an investigation independent of the Feds', he said, "Well… I don't want to be a party to anything that will interfere with the Feds' prosecution. I Don't want to open up a new can of worms." 
After Macy lost the appeals hearing, he met with Wilburn and Key, explaining that he actually wished to cooperate with their investigation. Three days later, the two men discovered that Macy had decided to contest the Appeals Court's decision.
When a furious Key confronted Macy, all that the courageous, truth-seeking DA told him was, "They won't let me." When Key demanded to know who "they" were, Macy just lowered his eyes to the floor and repeated, "They won't let me."
Key later learned from a source at ABC News that Macy had received a conference call from Janet Reno's deputy Jamie Gorlick, and the government's lead prosecutor, Joseph Hartzler, along with Governor Keating, Oklahoma City Fire Chief Gary Marrs, and Judge Daniel Owens.
When the grand jury was finally impaneled, federal prosecutors quickly attempted to block the testimony of federal employees.
Key also accused [Chief Assistant DA Pat] Morgan and others in Oklahoma
County District Attorney Bob Macy's office of influencing and intimidating
witnesses. "I am very upset about it," Key said. "Everyone should be outraged
because of this."
Interestingly, during a debate with Representative Key, Keating stated, "Nobody could get away with a cover-up; it would not be tolerated by civilized Oklahoma City.… Nobody's afraid of the truth."
KFOR's Jayna Davis shed some light on the "truth-seeking" efforts of Bob Macy and the good ole' boy network of politicos from which he descends. Two years earlier, after an 8-year-old boy was raped, both Davis and the Public Defender demanded to know why Macy hadn't done anything. When Macy thought the camera was off, he whipped around and sternly admonished the reporter: "Lady, I don't know who you are or where you came from, but this isn't how we do business in Oklahoma!"
Representative Key eventually took the case to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In his opposing brief, Macy again argued that it would be "a waste of the taxpayers' time and money to convene an Oklahoma County Grand Jury when one was already in session or when a Federal Grand Jury had already heard all available evidence."
The Supreme Court did not agree with Macy. They unanimously upheld Key's right to impanel the grand jury, which was seated in June of '97, and is hearing evidence as of this writing.
Naturally, the Ministers of Truth at The Daily Oklahoman wasted little time, pumping out more bland editorial drivel to muddy the waters. The following piece, entitled "Conspiracy Theories," focuses on the fact that the County Grand Jury is only exacerbating the "agony" of some victims, who are apparently more concerned with some fairy tale notion of "closure" then in learning the truth:
Whatever the cause, the delay adds to the agony of those bombing victims who believe the investigation is a waste of time.
The Oklahoman shares that belief, but we are optimistic the probe may satisfy many who are suspicious about events before the bombing. Yet, we wonder if the more conspiratorial-minded will ever be satisfied.…
Conflicting conspiracy theories and an olio of circumstantial evidence abound here. Jurors in Denver sorted through testimony and found McVeigh guilty. Frustrating as it may be to some, there is little more to this crime than meets the eye. The rest is the stuff of fiction.
By the Daily Oklahoman's account, the numerous credible witnesses who saw Timothy McVeigh with other suspects on the morning of the crime adds up to little more than "circumstantial evidence," while what prosecutors presented at trial — McVeigh's phone calls to chemical companies, his political views, and the completely irrelevant emotional tales from bombing victims — are not.*
Given the local media's connections to the political good 'ole boy network via the Washington-connected Frank Keating, their position is hardly surprising. Famed Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein put some perspective on the matter when he revealed in a 1977 Rolling Stone article that over 400 U.S. journalists were employed by the CIA.
These ranged from freelancers who were paid for regular debriefings, to actual CIA officers who worked under deep cover. Nearly every major U.S. news organization has had spooks on the payroll, usually with the cooperation of top management.
The three most valuable assets the CIA could count on were William Paley's CBS, Arthur Sulzberger's New York Times and Henry Luce's Time/Life empire. All three bent over backwards promoting the picture of Oswald as a lone nut in the JFK assassination.
The political good 'ole boy network wasn't finished trying to stop the courageous efforts of Representative Key. On May 7, 1997, Edmondson subpoenaed Key before a multi-county grand jury, alleging that he violated procedures in raising money for the bombing investigation. The Daily Oklahoman proudly proclaimed how it had played a critical role in bringing about the investigation of Key:
The Attorney General's action is a result of an inquiry by The Oklahoman about Key's seven-page solicitation letter on the Internet. The letter asks for money to "secure copies of the voluminous (federal) government documents and to pay independent investigators" and other expenses for the county grand jury investigation....
Bill Graves, an attorney who represented Key at the grand jury inquest, stated: "The law is pretty clear that you are not required to register before you hit the ten thousand dollar threshold, and Charles [Key] had not hit that limit so was not required to register. Edmondson knows that. They're just trying to slow Charles down or stop him through harassment."
"This is all about stopping us and making us shut up, said Key. "If I would just quit the grand jury deal, this would all go away."
Says V.Z Lawton, a HUD worker who survived the bombing, "You don't have to be that bright or look that hard to see the fraud and hypocrisy in these charges. For over a year and a half, they've been doing everything imaginable and employing the most absurd arguments to prevent Charles from impaneling a grand jury to investigate one of the worst crimes in our country's history. Now, after he's overcome all of their legal challenges in the courts and is close to getting a county grand jury investigation going, they drag him before a multi-county grand jury for what amounts to jaywalking, while the bombing and other genuine, serious crimes go uninvestigated."
Lawton also brought to the attention of bombing investigators a February 5th, fax transmission to federal employees on the official letterhead of Attorney General Drew Edmondson. The letter sought signatures from survivors to go with letters that were to be sent to various news organizations. The cover sheet said it came from Richard M. Wintory, Chief Deputy Attorney General of the Criminal Division.
The letter, entitled, "A Plea to the Media from Oklahoma City: Don't O.J. Us!!!" purports to be a spontaneous response from victims asking the media not to "manipulate" and "exploit" them "for no purpose other than to enhance their ratings on the air and in publications."
This obvious propaganda counteroffensive was in response to ABC 20/20's January, 1996 show about prior knowledge. It referred to the "so-called report" by ABC as "tabloid journalism" filled with "unsubstantiated and baseless claims that have been repeatedly debunked."
"We are appalled at the lack of interest in the truth and the underhanded method utilized by 20/20" stated the letter, which claimed that ABC had wrongfully implied that certain victims agreed with the "paranoid delusion" of the "ridiculous theory of government conspiracy in this crime." It added that "reporters are sometime tempted to forget the truth." Ultimately, it stated, "It is PEOPLE that matter in this life, either money nor possession nor a Pulitzer Prize."
This classic PSYOP piece launched by Edmondson (which he angrily denied in a letter to the author) was signed, "Many Survivors and Family Members, Oklahoma City Bombing."
Lawton and HUD employee Jane Graham were two survivors who angrily denounced the letter for the sham that it was. "Since the communication was loaded with lies and half truths, I certainly could not sign it," said Lawton, "and I felt like a state Attorney General could better spend his time supporting an effort to find the truth rather than this transparent effort at helping to hide it."
"I am angry," stated Graham in a typed response to the letter, "that the Attorney General's office would play on the emotions of this office at HUD under the guise of keeping us posted on how they are proceeding and planning the case, causing further emotional turmoil in this office between employees."
During a June 13, 1997 television interview, Edmondson was asked why those witnesses who saw McVeigh with other suspects were never called to testify at McVeigh's trial. Edmondson replied that prosecutors usually don't present witnesses whose testimony isn't "credible" or conflicts with other witnesses.
Rodney Johnson, who saw McVeigh with another man in front of the Murrah Building moments before it exploded, called Edmondson's statement "misguided."
"I took those comments to be rather personal," said Johnson.
Edmondson's blatant attempt at coercing the victims to pander to the official government line is similar to a letter from a group of victims suggesting passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill. The recipients were urged to call Edmondson if they were interested in participating.
Of course, while Edmondson accused ABC 20/20 of "manipulating" and "exploiting" the bombing victims, it is obvious that Edmondson himself hasn't done anything to manipulate or exploit anyone.
Interestingly, several months after the scandalous smear campaign against Representative Key, Governor Keating was accused by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission of 32 violations of using state-owned vehicles for political fund-raising, including the state's $2.9 million airplane. Conveniently forgetting his own shameful and dishonest smear attacks against Representative Key, Keating sanctimoniously whined about how the allegations were "irresponsible, silly and completely unjustified." No doubt the Ethics Commission was "off the reservation," and "baying at the moon."
In spite of his unsuccessful attempts to smear honest men like Representative Key, Keating and his crooked political cronies wasted no time in discrediting Edye Smith, calling her allegations "hysterical." Smith was the mother of two young boys who perished in the bombing — Chase and Colton. Smith immediately gained the attention of concerned citizens all across America. Hundreds of thousands of letters and checks began pouring in, and relief agencies used Chase's photo on a poster memorializing the disaster.
On May 23, the day the Federal Building was demolished, Edye Smith, in a live interview on CNN, stated, "There's a lot of questions that have been left un-answered. We're being told to keep our mouths shut, not to talk about it, don't ask those questions..."
CNN's Gary Truchmann asked Smith to describe the nature of the questions: "We, along with hundreds of thousands of other people want to know, where was the ATF the morning of April 19th? All of their employees survived. They were supposed to be the target of this explosion and where were they…? Did they have a warning sign? I mean, did they think it might be a bad day to go in the office?
"They had an option to not go to work that day," Smith continued, "and my kids didn't get that option, nobody else in the building got that option. And we're just asking questions, we're not making accusations. We just want to know why and they're telling us, 'Keep your mouth shut, don't talk about it.'"
Truchmann quickly ended the interview.
Kathy Wilburn was the Grandmother of Chase and Colton. Wilburn was among the first to arrive at the scene of the bombing, and she and Smith, who both worked at the nearby I.R.S. office, had witnessed the carnage first-hand. Now, as she watched the building come down, an eerie silence filled her soul. Later that afternoon, Kathy Wilburn walked into the empty room where the little boys had lived, picked up their stuffed animals, and began to cry.
Wilburn's husband Glenn had been a vocal opponent of the government's investigation, and their explanation of the bombing did not sit well with him. The Grandfather felt the loss of the two boys keenly. Wilburn had taken it on his own to investigate the bombing, and the facts he was coming up with did not make him happy.
On the afternoon the building was demolished, Wilburn received a call from U.S. Attorney Patrick Ryan. Ryan wanted to meet with him and speak with the family.
"They wanted to set our minds at ease our minds that there wasn't anything sinister going on," said Wilburn.
Two days later Smith and Wilburn were visited by an entourage of federal agents including Ryan, ATF Agents Chris Cuyler and Luke Franey, an IRS Criminal investigator, and a member of Louis Jolyon West's victim's assistance team.
"They all came in and sat down and said 'We want to answer your questions and make you feel good.' I said 'fine.' Then I looked them right in the eye and said, 'You guys had no indication that April 19th could be a dangerous day down there?' They both answered, 'no sir.'"
"Well, two hours later I tuned on the TV, and CNN is interviewing ATF Director John Magaw. The interview starts out, "Mr. Magaw, based on the significance of April 19th, did you take any precautions?'"
"Clearly there was an interest all over the country to do that," replied Magaw. "And I was very concerned about that. We did some things here in headquarters and in all of our field offices throughout the country to try to be more observant.…"
"Well, if there was ever a point that I was hooked into this thing, and there was nothing that was gonna' stop me," recalls Wilburn, "that was it… because by God, somebody lied that morning."
Ryan's conciliatory meeting with the family did not last long. The federal prosecutor became nervous after Wilburn casually mentioned that he had talked to a family lawyer. Ryan quickly got up and left.
While Edye Smith was quoted as saying that she was "satisfied" the agents had explained their whereabouts, she later told me, "I believe they sat their and lied to us."
Unmarked cars soon began showing up at Glenn Wilburn's house. When Wilburn went out to confront them, they sped off.
Two months later, Edye Smith and Kathy Wilburn had their Workers' Compensation checks cut off. Out of 462 federal employees affected by the blast, they were the only two employees who were mysteriously "denied."
Moreover, out of thousands of checks sent to Smith through the Red Cross, none were ever received. All the letters had been opened, the checks missing, including some sent via the Governor's and Mayor's office. "All the mail that the Red Cross delivered to my house, probably thousands of pieces of mail, every single piece was opened before I got it. And it all had my name on it," said Smith.
"We started noticing that the mail that came to the house had money in it," said Kathy Wilburn, "but the majority of the mail that came to us through the Red Cross… it was all opened and there was never a thin dime in any of it."
When Smith called the Red Cross to complain, she was told that her mail wasn't being opened, and that no money was being taken. When Wilburn confronted the head of the local Red Cross, she was told that their letters were being opened to check for "hate mail." Wilburn told her that the explanation was "ridiculous."
"A mother sent me a little card that her little boy drew." said Smith, "She said 'my little boy saved this three dollars and wanted you to have it.' And the three dollars was gone."
Keating's answer to the missing funds? Interning college students were responsible for the thefts. Perhaps former G-Man Keating was training the young lads for upcoming counter-intelligence operations. Such would not be unusual tactics for a man who worked as an FBI agent during COINTELPRO (the FBI's Counter Intelligence Program of the late-60s to mid 70s), where he personally infiltrated anti-government activists like the Weathermen, the Black Panthers, and the SDS (Students For A Democratic Society), and stated he sees little difference between them and the militias.
Keating also served as Assistant Attorney General under Edwin Meese. Meese was Attorney General during the 1985 fire-bombing of MOVE headquarters. MOVE was a group of black housing activists living in a squatted building in Philadelphia. The satchel charge, dropped from a helicopter by Philadelphia's finest (with a little help from the FBI), resulted in the deaths of over 11 people, including five children, and destroyed numerous square blocks of the city.
Instead of launching a proper investigation into the matter, Meese's response was "consider it an eviction notice."
Meese would later be implicated in the October Surprise scandal, which propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House via a secret deal to release the hostages in Iran after the defeat of Jimmy Carter. As his reward, Meese was appointed Attorney General, where he would go on to commit then cover up other crimes, the two most notorious being Iran-Contra and the Inslaw affair.
But Keating's involvement with the scions of truth and justice doesn't end there. Keating served in the Bush administration as Assistant Treasury Secretary during the Iran-Contra investigations. Gene Wheaton, a former Tulsa police officer and Army CID investigator who worked for the Christic Institute, observes that it was George Bush who personally selected Keating as Assistant Treasury Secretary in 1985, where he supervised INTERPOL, the Customs Service, The Secret Service, and the ATF.
As Wheaton writes:
The word in Tulsa is that Bush is his "political godfather;" that Keating got his job in the Treasury Department through Bush's good offices and that Bush "loves Keating." The connection appears to be an old-boy connection through the Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"In his position, Keating could control both the investigative and prosecutorial side of any scandal that came his way," adds Portland Free Press publisher Ace Hayes. "1985-88 had guns, drugs, and illegal money moving all over the globe. Was the ATF, who couldn't find it's ass with both hands, as really as incompetent as it appeared, or was Frank Keating there to make sure they did not?"
In fact, it was while Keating was serving as Assistant Treasury Secretary that IRS investigator Bill Duncan — who was investigating Iran-Contra drug-running activities at Mena — was instructed to perjure himself. As Duncan stated in a deposition before a joint Congressional/Arkansas Attorney General investigative committee:
Duncan: In late December of 1987, I was contacted by [the] Chief Counsel for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime… who told me that they were looking into the reason why no one was indicted in connection with the Mena investigations. The Internal Revenue Service assigned to me disclosure litigation attorneys, which gave me instructions which would have caused me to withhold information from Congress during my testimony and to also perjure myself.
Committee: And how did you respond to the Treasury Department?
Duncan: Well, I exhibited to them that I was going to tell the truth in my testimony. And the perjury, subornation of perjury resulted in an — resulted because of an allegation that I had received, that Attorney General Edwin Meese received a several hundred thousand dollar bribe from Barry Seal directly. And they told me to tell the Subcommittee on Crime that I had no information about that.
Arkansas State Police investigator Russell Welch, who provided the information to Duncan, was subsequently poisoned. Two months later, Keating was appointed as Associate Attorney General.
It seems that Frank Keating has served as a point-man, weaving a twisted trail through some of America's most notorious crimes, including Iran-Contra, BCCI, Iraqgate, the S&L crisis, and… Oklahoma City.
Keating has always been at the nexus bridging the agendas of good ole' boys like George Bush, with their elitist agendas, and the subsequent covert-operations sub-cultures which they spawned. In an article in the Portland Free Press entitled "Another Bush Boy," Wheaton writes:
The covert-operations "lunatic fringe" in Washington, which took over key operations at the national security level, [and] still controls them today, was Bush's 1981 agenda, and Keating is the next generation to carry it on.*
It was only three months after Keating's inauguration as Governor that the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building occurred. Given his background and grooming, Keating was in a perfect position to direct "damage control." As Wheaton notes:
Keating is an a perfect position to control the direction and scope of any state investigation which might not correspond to the official federal inquiry.
It appeares Keating did just that. As Governor, Keating was in a position to halt the hurried demolition of the Murrah building, ordered by federal authorities under the guise of "safety." Bob Ricks, the FBI PR flack who spoon-fed a daily dose of lies to the press during the Waco siege, was appointed Oklahoma Director of Public Safety by Keating after the demolition. Keating and Ricks were good friends from college.
The demolition was ordered under the pseudo-psychological premise of providing "closure" to the festering wound hanging over the city. The demolition also effectively prevented any independent forensic investigation of the bomb site.†
Said a victim whose spouse was killed in the explosion, "I was upset right from the start when there was the big rush to destroy the crime scene, to take the building down. A lot of important evidence was destroyed that could have helped solve this."
The feds' decision to destroy crucial forensic evidence has an eerie parallel to the demolition of Mt. Carmel. The destruction of the Branch Davidian church prevented independent examiners from determining that the ATF had fired into the roofs of the building during the early part of the raid, and that FBI snipers had deliberately shot people trying to escape.
The destruction of the Murrah Building is also akin to the Secret Service's hasty (or carefully planned) decision to illegally remove President Kennedy's body from Parkland Memorial Hospital. Once under control of military officials, including Generals who were undoubtedly involved in the assassination plot, Kennedy's autopsy could proceed under carefully controlled parameters. While observing the autopsy, these military officials prevented a thorough examination of the body, which would have revealed the presence of multiple entry wounds. Back in Dallas, Secret Service agents carefully washed Kennedy's limousine to remove all traces of bullet fragments, and had Governor Connolly's clothes, bullet holes and all, cleaned and pressed.
Said Jannie Coverdale, who lost her grandsons Aaron and Elijah in the bombing, "Everyone I talk to has the same questions: What happened? What is going on? We don't want this to be another John F. Kennedy deal, where 32 years later the real story is still unknown."
The Federal Bureau of Intimidation
"There is no place on earth where you will be safe from the most powerful forces of justice." - FBI director Louis Freeh.
In a motion filed by Stephen Jones, affidavits show that numerous witnesses were instructed by the FBI to "keep quiet" so the facts of the case "wouldn't get distorted." This aura of secrecy quickly turned into obstruction of justice, as FBI agents routinely instructed witnesses not to talk to defense team investigators or journalists.
When defense investigator Marty Reed attempted to interview Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Charlie Hanger (the patrolman who had arrested McVeigh), he was told by OHP chief legal counsel John Lindsey, "The FBI has requested that no one interview Trooper Charlie Hanger."
Mitchell Whitmire, who knew McVeigh when they were both in the Army, was contacted by defense investigator Neil Hartley. Whitmire told Hartley he was instructed by the FBI not to talk to anyone about the case unless he obtained permission from the FBI.
When this author tried to interview two members of the Sheriff's Bomb Squad, they became visibly nervous. They claimed no other bombs were pulled out of the building, clearly contradicting news accounts showing additional bombs that were taken away and detonated.
As discussed previously, FBI agents put up a protective perimeter around Eldon Elliott, preventing him from talking to journalists and defense investigators.
KFOR-TV, who took the lead in investigating the case, found it almost impossible to interview witnesses. "We get there and all of a sudden they've been told to shut up," said Melissa Klinzing, KFOR's former News Director.
A Tulsa fire captain told investigator Craig Roberts he saw machinegun-toting black-clad agents with no markings removing boxes of files from the Post Office ten days after the bombing. When he was subsequently interviewed by this author, he denied seeing anything.
Ann Domin, who originally told a Tulsa police officer she had seen two Middle Eastern males loitering near the front of the Murrah Building just before the blast, later denied saying that.
According to a conversation Jon Rappaport had with Daily Oklahoman reporter Ann Defrange, witness Peter Schaffer told Defrange he had seen the Murrah Building collapse in on itself, suggesting that cutting charges were used. When Rappaport questioned Schaffer, he denied seeing the building falling down at all. When Rappaport got back to Defrange, she remained adamant about what Schaffer told her. "She didn't budge at all," said Rappaport.
"The FBI must have gotten to him," said Heidelberg. "You know, the FBI has been able to get witnesses to shut up about important things they know. We've talked to some of these people. In certain instances the witnesses believe that concealing evidence is the right thing to do. They really believe it. The FBI has sold them a bill of goods about national security or something like that. In other cases the FBI has used straight-out intimidation on witnesses. They size up people. On one witness they'll use something like national security. On another, they'll go for intimidation."
Heidelberg's own brush with the government didn't end with his dismissal from the grand jury. Several minutes after agreeing to do an interview with Jayna Davis, he received a call from U.S. Attorney Joseph Hartzler telling him that a reporter was on her way and that he was not to talk to her, or he would be arrested. Obviously, Heidelberg's phone was tapped.
"They tried everything to shut me up," said Heidelberg. "They have said they were going to throw me in jail. When that didn't work, they got down on their hands and knees and begged. I mean… they have tried everything to keep me from talking to the press about this."
On July 19, FBI agents Jon Hersley and William Teater appeared at Heidelberg's home, just hours after Judge Russell called him and discovered that he had taken his grand jury notes home. Apparently Teater wasn't too pleased with Heidelberg's casual attitude. At one point, he pulled back his jacket, revealing his gun, which he had conspicuously stuck in his waist belt.
"They were trying to impress upon me the seriousness of… they were trying to give me the message that this is big time, that this is heavy weight," said Heidelberg, "and I was supposed to be frightened… Guns mean business… I was supposed to behave and be a good boy and not give them any trouble. The implication was that they were gonna' shoot me, but I knew better than that," Heidelberg said.*
Heidelberg doesn't feel he will serve any jail time for his actions. "They don't want me exonerated or indicted," said Heidelberg. "They want me twisting in the wind."
In February of '97, ABC planned a follow-up to their 20/20 "Prior Knowledge" piece, which included an interview with ATF informant Carol Howe. Hours before the piece was to air on "World News Tonight," it was killed.
According to ABC producer Roger Charles: "They were uncomfortable with it after a series of phone calls from high-level Justice Department and ATF people, saying that well, yes, the story is right, but you're going to draw the wrong conclusions unless we can explain it." According to an interview with ABC conducted by McVeigh's defense team, the conversation went something like this:
Justice Dept: "We have to admit now Strassmeir has been investigated."
ABC: "But you have denied over and over that he was ever the subject of an investigation."
Justice Dept: "Well, we're undenying that now. He has been investigated, but we could not involve him specifically in the bombing of the building.… [Regarding Howe's reports of others involved, we] "could not find anyone who bought fertilizer, could not find anyone who rented a truck, so therefore we could not charge them with anything. [Besides], we're not sure the information was credible."
ABC: "But did you or did you not send her back out?"
Justice Dept: "Yes, she was sent back out."
ABC: "Well, what in the hell does that mean?"
Justice Dept: "She did go back out, but she was unable to develop any evidence that these people had participated, [although] essentially your information is correct."
ABC then said the Justice Department press spokesman attempted to downplay the credibility of Howe by stating that the government hears these types of statements all the time from "White Supremacist compounds."
ABC: "Yeah, but there's one difference here."
Justice Dept: "What is that?"
ABC: "The God damn building blew up, that's what."
Not only would Howe's testimony have had unfortunate consequences for authorities, it would not have jived with the FBI's fantasy of the "lone nut" bomber. It seemed authorities were replaying the same scenario they had played out 28 years before. In the JFK investigation, the FBI focused on the "lone nut" scenario too. Witnesses who did not support the FBI's case against Oswald as lone participant were intimidated, debunked or misquoted in reports. Most who saw shooters other than the one on the 6th floor of the Book Depository were never subpoenaed to testify.
In 1963, Julia Ann Mercer told the FBI and the Dallas Police that she saw a man carry a rifle case up to the Grassy Knoll just before the shooting. The FBI took her statement. Later, when she was interviewed by District Attorney Jim Garrison and shown the statements she had given the Bureau, she began shaking her head. "These all have been altered, she said. "They have me saying just the opposite of what I really told them."
In the Oklahoma City case, witnesses whose statements didn't fit the government's official timeline and scenario were either ignored altogether, or intimidated into changing their stories.
Cheryl Wood, an employee at Love's convenience store, who saw McVeigh and John Doe 2 on April 17, told FBI agents their security camera had captured images of the two men. The FBI didn't take the tapes and didn't want to use Wood's story. "They tried to convince Wood that she was crazy — that she hadn't really seen them," said a Newsweek reporter who interviewed Wood. "They rattled her real good." When the store manager decided to take the video home himself, the FBI changed their minds, and confiscated the tape.
McVeigh and his friends also stopped at another convenience store about 45 minutes from Love's. As a Newsweek reporter who interviewed the employees told me, the FBI didn't use the statements of those witnesses either, because it didn't fit the FBI's "official" timeline.
Mike Moroz, the Johnny's Tire Shop employee who gave McVeigh and John Doe 2 directions to the Murrah building on the morning of the blast, was interviewed by the FBI several times. On the last interview they told him that he had seen McVeigh drive in a different direction than he had originally stated. The FBI then claimed to the press that Moroz had made a mistake and was confused.
Danny Wilkerson, the Regency Towers employee who sold McVeigh two softdrinks and a pack of cigarettes 10 minutes before the bombing, claims FBI agents tried very hard to get him to change his story. Wilkerson saw McVeigh and another man in an older, shorter Ryder truck with a cab overhang. FBI agents showed Wilkerson a catalog of different Ryder models, trying to coerce him into stating that the truck he saw was bigger and newer than the one actually seen. Wilkerson refused to change his story.
As previously discussed, Catina Lawson knew McVeigh when he was stationed in Kansas, and saw him at parties with Andreas Strassmeir and Michael Brescia. When Lawson saw the artist's sketch of John Doe 2, she said, "That's Mike [Brescia]. Lawson repeatedly called the FBI to tell them it was Brescia, but they didn't want to listen, and stopped returning her calls.
"I kept telling them that the man in the [John Doe 2] sketch was that Mike guy, a nice-looking guy, dark-skinned. But the FBI made me feel guilty, then ignorant, as if I didn't know what I was saying. Then, later, I tried to call in with more information and they wouldn't even talk to me."
Debra Burdick had seen the yellow Mercury, the brown pick-up, and the blue Chevy Cavalier at 10th and Robinson on the morning of the blast. Burdick called the FBI and the OSBI, and "they blew me off. They said they didn't have time to get over there.… they told me, 'you didn't see anything.' And that's when I thought I was going crazy.…"
Jane Graham, along with three other women, had seen a trio of suspicious-looking men in the Murrah Building's underground garage the Friday before the bombing. The men were working with wire and a small, putty-colored block which appeared to be C-4 plastic explosive.
FBI Agent Joe Schwecke made two appointments to interview Graham, but kept neither of them. "He never showed up," said Graham. "I again called and set up another appointment for the following week and that was never kept."
When Schwecke finally spoke to her, he "only wanted to know if I could identify McVeigh or Nichols. Apparently the FBI was not interested in any time other than the Monday or Tuesday — the week of the bombing!" exclaimed Graham, "…and only if the responses pointed directly to McVeigh!"
The manager of the Great Western Inn in Junction City was certain the Middle Eastern man who had stayed in room 107 on April 17 was a dead ringer for John Doe 2. Yet the FBI tried to discredit him, saying that the inquiry there had been a waste of time. If that is true, why did the FBI confiscate the hotel's register?
Barbara Whittenberg at the Sante Fe Trail Diner told Bill Jasper the FBI tried to get her to change her story.
Jeff Davis, who delivered Chinese food to a man in room 25 at the Dreamland Motel, had been interviewed numerous times by the FBI. They appeared interested in trying to get Davis to say that McVeigh was the man he saw.
During trial, prosecutor Larry Mackey attacked Davis' credibility, noting that two days after the bombing, he told FBI agents that the man was a white male, 28 or 29, about 6 feet tall, about 180 pounds with short, sandy hair, clean-cut with no mustache.
Yet Davis originally told the FBI, "The man to whom I delivered that bag of Chinese food is not Tim McVeigh."
Still, Mackey tried to shake Davis' confidence in his memory, suggesting that Davis had told a bartender and an ABC sketch artist that he saw McVeigh.
Mackey: "You deny that?"
Davis: "Yes, sir, I do,"
In fact, the person Davis saw had "unkempt" hair, a regional accent, possibly from Oklahoma, Kansas or Missouri, and an overbite. McVeigh possesses none of those characteristics.
"I was frustrated quite a bit because they just didn't seem to want to say 'Okay, there's somebody we may not have.' A lot of it seemed 'Damn! I just wish he'd say it was McVeigh so we could be done with it.'"
Davis told The Denver Post that the FBI never even bothered making a composite sketch of the man he saw. A TV network finally hired an artist to do one.
Daina Bradley had seen only one man — olive-skinned, dark-haired, wearing jeans, jacket, and baseball cap — get out of the passenger side of the Ryder truck in front of the Federal Building moments before it blew up. Yet when she testified for the defense during McVeigh's trial, she switched tracks, saying she saw two suspects.
What is interesting is that in numerous interviews with the media, prosecutors, and the defense team, Bradley adamantly maintained that she had seen only one suspect — John Doe 2. Just weeks before her testimony, Bradley again told U.S. Attorney Patrick Ryan and defense attorney Cheryl Ramsey she was certain the man she saw wasn't Timothy McVeigh.
Yet shortly after the start of McVeigh's trial — after meeting with federal prosecutors — Bradley suddenly "changed her mind."
It seemed that FBI agents were conveniently waiting at the airport to intercept some of McVeigh's defense witnesses, who would then be "persuaded" to change their testimony.
Under cross-examination by Ryan, Bradley — who had maintained a rock-solid story of John Doe 2 since the day of the bombing — now claimed she saw a second man. Yet during trial she was nervous and faltering, her testimony wavering constantly. At one point, she covered her face with her hands and quietly said, "I want to talk to my lawyer."
Ryan eventually got Bradley to say she wasn't sure whether the second suspect was McVeigh, but that there was "nothing different" between McVeigh's features and those of the second man.
In addition, Bradley told the jury she thought the truck was parked against the flow of traffic on the one-way street — a ludicrous proposition, but convenient for a government intent on convincing a jury that Bradley saw the suspect — who was not John Doe 2, but possibly McVeigh — get out of the driver's side.
Gary Lewis, the Journal Record pressman who was almost run over by McVeigh and two of his associates in the yellow Mercury shortly before the blast, suddenly denied seeing them at all! Just before he was subpoenaed to testify before the county grand jury, Lewis told reporters, "What I seen wasn't a fact, it wasn't true."
Claiming the FBI had "cleared up his confusion" more than a year ago, Lewis said the FBI showed him a photograph of McVeigh's distinctive battered yellow Mercury, and convinced him it wasn't the same car he spotted on April 19. "It was real similar to it," Lewis said. "It was real close but it wasn't it."
Lewis then claimed his eyewitness account, which had already been published in striking detail, had been exaggerated by Representative Key and Glenn Wilburn. "I don't care for [Wilburn] or Charles Key," Lewis told The Daily Oklahoman. "They kind of pushed it along for reasons I don't know why. That is about all I have got to say."
This was quite a change from the nervous witness who checked the underside of his car every morning for bombs, afraid he was targeted for assassination by either bombing suspects or the feds.
As previously mentioned, Dr. Paul Heath, the VA psychologist, had spoken to McVeigh and two of his associates at his office several weeks before the blast, when they approached him looking for "jobs."
Heath was interviewed by the FBI no less than ten times. On the last visit, "He (the FBI agent) confronted me saying he did not want me telling the story any longer. He said it was a false story, that I had made it up, that it was a figment of my imagination, and that if I pursued it, he would publicly discredit me.
"I said to him, 'that is the most despicable, uncalled for attitude that I've ever seen, and I don't know why you said that to me, but I can tell you, you're not going to change my reality with it.'"
Heath, already upset by what he witnessed the day of the bombing, is now uncertain what will happen to him.
Lea Moore, a woman who was badly injured in the blast, was contacted by a reporter from the L.A. Times. While he was enroute to interview her, she received a mysterious phone call telling her not to talk to him. Moore, a diminutive woman in her fifties, was frightened. When the reporter showed up at her door fifteen minutes later, Moore didn't answer.
Melba, the Albertson's worker who made sandwiches for McVeigh and John Doe 2, was hostile and frightened when questioned by this reporter — too scared to talk.
Connie Hood, who saw John Doe 2 at the Dreamland Motel shortly after midnight on April 16, then again the next morning, was interviewed numerous times by the FBI. They even went so far as to administer several polygraph tests. Hood told the agents exactly what she saw. On the last test, the FBI agent "turned around and got in her face," recalled her friend David Keen, "and said, 'You've never seen John Doe! He never existed!'"
The experience of Hood and Keen is reminiscent of the interrogation of JFK witnesses in Dallas on November 22, when FBI agents pointedly told them they did not see any shooters on the Grassy Knoll.
"This big old dude (FBI agent) right out told me, 'You did not see that!'" recalled Hood. "It got to the point where I was saying, 'Excuse me, excuse me, there was someone in that room next to us. I know for a fact there was someone in that room next to us. I did not imagine someone coming out of that fricking room!'"
Hood is sure of what she saw, and is furious about the games the FBI played with her. "I'm angry," said Hood. "It made my blood boil."
TWA 800 Sidebar
The experiences of these witnesses parallels those who saw a missile rise out of the water to shoot down TWA flight 800 on July 17, 1996, killing all 230 people on board. Over 154 witnesses on Long Island, who witnessed the attack, described what appeared to be a missile — a glowing object that impacted with the plane.
These accounts were backed up by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) radar records, which showed an unidentified object (a "blip" that was not "squawking" a transponder code) move rapidly towards, then merge with, the large jumbo-jet.
Yet like the seismic records, and the video surveillance footage which would have shown the Murrah Building being blown up, these radar tapes would be confiscated by the FBI.
Naturally, the government lied about the crash. The National Transportation Safety board (NTSB) claimed that the most probable cause was a "spark" in the center fuel tank due to "static electricity." This is ridiculous even to the uninitiated. Said Michael Barr, director of aviation safety programs at USC, "Airplanes don't blow up just like that. I've been following 747s since 1970 and I've never seen one blow up like that."
One witness, Lou Desyron, told ABC World News Sunday: "We saw what appeared to be a flare going straight up. As a matter of fact, we thought it was from a boat. It was a bright reddish-orange color.... Once it went into flames, I knew that wasn't a flare.
Another witness told the New York Daily News: "It looked like a big skyrocket going up, and it kept going up and up, and the next thing I knew there was an orange ball of fire."
Long Island resident Linda Kabot inadvertently snapped a picture of the missile while photographing friends at a party. The photo appeared in the July issue of Paris Match.
Eyewitnesses on the ground weren't the only ones who saw a missile. Vasilis Bakoynis, a Greek commercial airline pilot flying behind flight 800, told the FBI that he saw what appeared to be a missile rise up from the water and strike the plane. "Suddenly I saw in the fog to my left toward the ocean, a small flame rising quickly toward the sky. Before I realized it, I saw this flame become huge.…"
Private pilot Sven Faret reported a "short pin-flash of light [which] appeared on the ground, perhaps water," that rose up "like a rocket launch at a fireworks display."
Major Fred Meyer, the pilot of an Air National Guard helicopter which was in the area, said he saw "a streak of red orange" heading toward the plane. "...it arrived at a point in space where I saw a small explosion which grew to a small fireball, then a second explosion and a huge fireball," the Boston Herald quoted Meyer as telling a press briefing on July 18th.
Meyer's co-pilot, Captain Chris Baur, told Aviation Week & Space Technology on March 10, "Almost due south, there was a hard white light, like burning pyrotechnics, in level flight. I was trying to figure out what it was. It was the wrong color for flares. It struck an object coming from the right [TWA 800] and made it explode."
Ten days later, Meyer, a Vietnam veteran, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise: "I know what I saw. I saw an ordinance explosion. And whatever I saw, the explosion of the fuel was not the initiator of the event. It was one of the results. Something happened before that which was the initiator of the disaster."
Meyer and Baur's account was backed up by Air National Guard C-130 pilot Cononel William Stratemeir, Jr., who told Aviation Week & Space Technology what "appeared to be the trail of a shoulder-fired SAM ending in a flash on the 747."
Yet the government would seek to silence the hundreds of eyewitnesses who saw the missile. A team of approximately 50 FBI agents, many of the same agents who worked the Oklahoma City case, would visit these witnesses and ask, then demand, their silence.
"There was nothing I observed that gave me any indication that the streak of light I saw was caused by a missile," Meyer would later quoted as saying. "I don't know what I saw."
"We did not see smoke trails [from a missile], any ignition source from the tail of a rocket nor anything…" said Stratemeir four months later.
Medical Examiner Dr. Charles V. Wetli originally told reporters that the passengers in the forward compartment were hit hardest, indicating the major event was in the front of the plane, not the center as the government claimed. Dr. Wetli and others then backed off from their findings. An explosion had happened and killed people was as much as he could say, reported the New York Times. 
Was the government covering up evidence of a terrorist missile strike, or the negligence of the United States Navy? While the disintegration of flight 800's number three engine appears to indicate a shoulder-launched missile, the large gaping hole running from just underneath the center fuel tank through the top of the forward cabin suggests a strike by an unarmed missile "drone."
There is evidence for both theories. After denying the existence of any military operations in the area, the Pentagon eventually admitted that a C-130 military transport and two HH-60G Blackhawk helicopters of the New York Air National Guard's ANG's 106th Rescue Wing were operating in the area as part of a night-rescue exercise.
Such a "rescue exercise" doesn't explain the presence of a P-3 Orion anti-submarine warfare plane, which, contrary to claims by Navy public affairs, is capable of carrying missiles. The U.S.S. Normandy, an Aegis class guided missile cruiser (similar to the one that accidentally shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the straits of Hormuz, killing all 290 people), was also operating in the vicinity. The Normandy carries RIM-67 Standard SM-2ER semi-active radar homing air defense missiles, with a range of 93 miles and an altitude of 100,000 feet. Was the Normandy firing drones as part of a practice drill? Such maneuvers are routinely carried out off the coast of Long Island. Area W-105 was activated as a "hot zone" at the time of the disaster.
Naturally, the Navy claimed the Normandy was 180 miles from flight 800, which was in area W-106, 15 miles to the Northwest of W-105.
FBI chief investigator James Kallstrom cited claims of military culpability as "irresponsible… total unadulterated nonsense," and, echoing the psychobabble employed by the government in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation, stated that such claims are hurtful to the victims. Jim Hall, head of the NTSB investigation, backed up Kallstrom, saying the allegations "are causing incredible pain and confusion for those who lost loved ones."
"I can tell you we left no stone unturned," Kallstrom announced, as if playing a bad re-run of Janet Reno's press conference on Oklahoma City.
Then in November, Pierre Salinger, a former ABC News correspondent and press secretary for President Kennedy, told reporters in Cannes, France, he had obtained a document from French intelligence (there were numerous French citizens onboard) detailing how the Navy was indeed test firing missiles and accidentally hit Flight 800 because the plane was flying lower than expected. Salinger said the document written by someone who "was tied to the U.S. Secret Service and has important contacts in the U.S. Navy."
Backing up Salinger's report was Lt. Col. Bo Gritz, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran and Special Forces commander, who reported in June that the Army and Navy were conducting final acceptance tests of the AEGIS-CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability) system, in the wake of the tragic shootdown of an Iranian airbus by the USS Vincennes.
The military chose Area W-105, claimed Gritz, in order to provide a realistic test using a densely populated area. "W-105 had been especially selected (and activated for live fire) because of its similarity to the Persian Gulf."
The Navy Orion P-3, a member of the CEC team, was loaded with up-graded gear, allowing integration of Army and Navy Anti-Aircraft Artillery acquisition radar. The equipment was supposed to "discriminate between friend-neutral-foe electronic signatures, isolate the hostile threat and select the weapon best positioned for an assured kill to launch at the target."
The simulated boogie was a Navy BQM-74E missile drone launched from Shinnecock Bay, east of Riverhead, Long Island by an Army unit shortly after the "all clear" at 8:30 p.m.…
Through the thickening fog of replicated hostile images, a shot solution was plotted and relayed to the missile unit best positioned for the kill. The software then automatically triggered the launch of a Navy Standard IV Anti-missile missile.…
The antimissile was programmed to climb rapidly until a "mid-course" correction would be relayed to the missile's on-board computer directing the dive to impact. Final course adjustments would be made by the missile's "semi-active" radar device after "lock-on" was achieved.…
Tragically, the last radar able to see the boogie through the heavy jamming and target replication suddenly and unexpectedly went blind.… Unable to receive guidance commands to keep it on an intercept course with the target drone, the Standard IV reverted to its own programming and began seeking a target. In a heartbeat, the internal radar acquired the TWA 747 well above and to the west of the intended target.
Was the 747 destroyed by "friendly fire?" Reports that rocket fuel residue was present on seat backs and bodies of the victims, and the large entry and exit holes, tend to support these allegations.
During the 1982 Falklands War, an Argentine AM.39 Exocet anti-ship missile struck the British destroyer HMS Sheffield. Although it was a dud, "the kinetic energy of the missile, flying at supersonic speed, was able to punch through the hull and slice into fuel lines, allowing the still-burning rocket motor to ignite a deadly and explosive fire. TWA 800 may have experienced an airborne version of this same fate."
Gritz' claim that the military chose the area off of Long Island for testing jives with the well-documented fact of decades-long military testing on unsuspecting civilians in hundreds of cities across the nation — including everything from drugs and nuclear radiation, to chemical and biological weapons.
Interestingly, on August 29, six weeks after the TWA 800 crash, an American Airlines pilot reported seeing a missile pass by his 757 while flying over Wallops Island, Virginia, the site of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, which has a program for unmanned research rockets. Wallops Island is about 220 miles south of the TWA crash sight.
Finally, as Ian Goddard reported, on May 13, 1997, Long Island's Southampton Press reported that resident Dede Muma accidentally received a fax from Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical intended for the FBI's office in Calverton, Long Island (the two have similar phone numbers). The fax indicated that parts of a Navy missile target drone, a BQM-34 Firebee I manufactured by Teledyne, may have been found in the wreckage. The fax shows a diagram of what appears to be a missile, along with a breakdown of its tail section and a parts list...
The near disintegration of the plane's number three engine, however, supports the theory of a heat-seeking SAM, suggesting that the plane was destroyed by terrorists.
Recall that two major terrorist conferences were held during which it was announced that there would be increased attacks against U.S. interests: one on June 20-23 in Teheran, and the other on July 10-15 in Pakistan. Intelligence officers and terrorist leaders from Hamas, HizbAllah, and the PFLP-GC's Ahmed Jibril, who carried out the Pan Am 103 bombing, were in attendance. This was followed on June 25 by the truck-bombing of the military housing compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Also recall that immediately following the July 16th U.S. Senate resolution for sanctions against Libya and Iran, the al-Hayat newspaper received a warning from the Movement for Islamic Change:
The world will be astonished and amazed at the time and place chosen by the Mujahadeen. The Mujahadeen will deliver the harshest reply to the threats of the foolish American president. Everyone will be surprised by the volume, choice of place and timing of the Mujahadeen's answer, and invaders must prepare to depart alive or dead for their time is morning and morning is near.
The New York Post also reported that the FBI was looking into an anonymous threat received after conviction of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the spiritual leader of the World Trade Center bombing cell, convicted of plotting to blow up major New York City landmarks. The threat warned that a New York area airport or jetliner would be attacked in retaliation for the prosecution of the sheik.
A warning was also provided to the Israelis that Iran was likely to launch an attack against a U.S. aircraft. Thousands of Stinger missiles were given to the Mujahadeen by the CIA in the 1980s. According to former FAA investigator Rodney Stich, "At least a dozen were thus obtained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards from Yunis Khalis, a radical Muslim Afghani resistance leader. One of them was fired by Iranians at an American helicopter on patrol in the Persian Gulf on October 8th, 1987."
The U.S. produced nearly 64,500 of these missiles for the military and other countries since 1980, including Angola, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The Soviets are known to have sold their SAM-7 to China, North Korea, India, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Laos, Libya, Sudan and Syria, among others. Stingers provided to the Mujahadeen via the CIA in Peshawar, Pakistan, were often sold to terrorists and other groups.
"We have now spent more than a decade trying to retrieve those missiles," said Natalie Goldring, a defense analyst with the British-American Security Information Council. "Several hundred that were transferred during the Afghan war are nowhere to be found. They are very capable anti-aircraft missiles."
According to Stich, the CIA has bumbled attempts to retrieve the missiles. In a letter to Senator Arlen Specter dated October 20, 1995, Stich writes:
Recent information provided to me by one or more of my contacts in the CIA community describes the dates, places, and people involved in offering the missiles to the United States, and the rejection of this offer. These sources provided me with precise details of the negotiations to give the missiles to the United States, the agreement by Afghan rebel leader, General Rashid Dostom, and a CIA attorney.…
[One] possibility for CIA and Justice Department rejection of the Stinger missiles is that the CIA wants the missiles to fall into terrorists' hands, and actually wants an airliner to be shot down. The shoot-down of a commercial airliner could then be used to justify the continuation of CIA activities.
In fact, Israel intercepted unconfirmed reports that 50 of Stingers were smuggled into the country in 1995. A letter reportedly presented to members of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committee after the shootdown of flight 800 not only claimed credit for the attack, but provided the serial number of the missile that was used.
Naturally, government would trot out its usual stable of spokesmen to claim that the plane hadn't been downed by a missile, especially a shoulder-launched SAM, which the Pentagon claimed couldn't down a jumbo-jet flying at 13,700 feet.
"There's no American official with half a brain who ought to be speculating on anything of that nature," said White House spokesman Mike McCurry. "There's no concrete information that would lead any of us in the United States government to draw that kind of conclusion."
Yet the State Department has catalogued 25 incidents between 1978 and 1993 in which commercial airliners were shot down by SAMs, killing more than 600 people. (Israeli commercial airliners, like the President's Air Force One, are equipped with special flares capable of diverting surface-to-air missiles.) During the Vietnam War, Russian Grail missiles routinely shot down planes at altitudes of 11,000 and 12,000 feet. Some SAMs — including the Stinger, and the Swedish-built Bofors RBS 70 and 90, which military and aviation analyst Ronald Lewis, writing in Air Forces Monthly believes was used — are reportedly capable of reaching altitudes of between 15,000 and 18,000 feet.
It is for precisely this reason that the government kept changing the altitude of the plane, which they first reported at 8,500 feet, then 10,000 feet, and finally at 13,700 feet (Apparently they didn't take into account the range of the Bofors). This is strikingly similar to their altering of the size of the bomb in Oklahoma, originally stating it was 1,200 pounds, then 2,000 pounds, then 4,000 pounds, then finally 4,800 pounds, to match their magic ANFO theory.
Given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, however, the talking heads would modify their statements. "They will be looking at all three scenarios," said Former FBI Assistant Director Oliver "Buck" Revell, "and probably the least likely will be the missile, but it will be one that is very carefully examined."
Even the FBI's James Kallstrom was later forced to admit, "We do have information that there was something in the sky. A number of people have seen it." As the New York Post reported on September 22:
Law-enforcement sources said the hardest evidence gathered so far overwhelmingly suggests a surface-to-air missile — with the sophisticated ability to lock on the center of a target rather than its red-hot engines — was fired from a boat off the Long Island coast to bring down the airliner July 17.
On December 17, the Washington Times quoted a congressional aide who verified that an unnamed DIA official confirmed the missile attack: "'In his opinion, the plane was brought down by at least one shoulder-fired missile,'" said the congressional source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity."
Interestingly, the FBI focused part of its investigation on boats on Long Island that had been chartered or stolen. One report that surfaced early on reported that two Middle Eastern men had rented a boat. A boat 30 or 40 feet in length would provide a stable enough platform for a someone aiming a heat-seeking or laser guided SAM, even if the waters had not been perfectly calm.
Obviously, the government was perfectly capable of determining who, or at least what shot down TWA flight 800. Aviation Week reported that technology is available to establish, within hours, the exact composition of any explosive, even after days of submersion in sea water. Yet months after the disaster, the government was still claiming it hadn't determined the cause of the crash. At times, the explanations offered by government officials bordered on the ridiculous. On July 11, 1997, a NTSB official was heard postulating before members of Congress that the plane may have been destroyed by errant "space junk."
It is hardly surprising that the government would want to cover up the truth, especially if flight 800 had been destroyed by a Stinger missile, one given to the Mujahadeen by the Central [Stupidity] Agency. If the public learned that a commercial jet could be shot down by a hand-held missile, one of many smuggled into this country, the airline industry would suffer huge financial loses. In countries where tourism is essential to the economy, such a revelation would be devastating.
Moreover, if TWA 800 had been downed by our own military, the government would be even more desperate to cover up the truth.
At a press conference on November 8, IWW reporter Hillel Cohen asked, "Why is the Navy not a suspect?" In response, Kallstrom said, "Remove that man." As about 10 security guards swiftly removed Cohen from the room, as he shouted, "We want an independent investigation!"
Nor were journalists investigating Oklahoma City immune from harassment. Jayna Davis, the courageous KFOR reporter who tracked down Hussaini and Khalid, received a warning from the Bureau that she was getting "too close" to the truth, and should drop her investigation.
Journalists and investigators who have attempted to interview rescue workers, including firemen, police and other city officials are denied interviews. Most workers say they've been told not to talk by their superiors or the FBI. "…they're afraid of losing their jobs or being subjected to abuse if they say something," said Jane Graham.
Nurse Toni Garret was one of many people who had volunteered to help tag dead victims that terrible morning. Garret and her husband Earl had just taken a break when they noticed federal agents arriving to set up a command post. "They acted like it was just a drill, like it was no big deal, said Garret. "They were kind of joking around and all that kind of stuff."
Approximately 20 minutes later, when the Garrets re-entered the makeshift triage center, they found many of the doctors and nurses gone, and a completely different atmosphere prevailed. "There was nobody helping anymore," said Earl. "Before, there were people bringing in food and medical supplies — just everything. When we came back in, there was a cold, callous atmosphere. I found out later that the FBI had taken over.…"
But what really upset Toni Garret was the fact that the FBI and the Medical Examiner were suppressing the body count, which they had claimed as only 22 dead. Garret, who had personally tagged over 120 dead bodies that day, was shocked. "I was being interviewed by a lady from TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network). I told her that I was highly upset because the news media and the information they were being given was not accurate information. There were many more bodies than what they were saying on the news media and releasing at the time.…"
"[The FBI] didn't like that Toni was being interviewed by the media," said Earl. "An agent came [up] to me and said, 'Do you know her?' pointing to Toni. I said, 'Yes, she's my wife.' He said, "What is she?' I said, 'Well, she's been down here all day trying to get people out of this building and help people.' He turned around to his friends and said, 'Well, we need to get her out of here.' Toni then told me that the agents had told her that the FBI was taking over and all of us could get out. They told us to keep our mouths shut."
Said Toni, "When they came over to me, one of the agents was very pompous and arrogant about asking me who I was, what I was doing there, if I was a civilian, where I worked, and what my name was. I didn't feel like any of that pertained to what was going on that day or what had happened that day, and he wanted to know everything about me.…
"He said, 'Well, we're down here now, and we're taking over the building. It would be advisable and recommendable that you keep your mouth shut."
Norma Smith, who worked at the Federal Courthouse across from the Murrah building saw, along with numerous others, the Sheriff's bomb squad congregated in the parking lot at 7:30 that morning. Shortly after Smith's story appeared in a local newspaper, her house was broken into — twice. Smith, frightened, took early retirement and moved out of state. She is currently too afraid to talk to anyone.
The bomb squad, incidentally, denied being there.
New American editor William Jasper learned from an OCPD officer that during a mandatory daily security briefing at the Murrah Building, he and other assembled police/rescue/recovery personnel were told "in no uncertain terms" by one of the lead federal officials that it was necessary for "security" reasons to provide the public with "misinformation" regarding certain aspects of the case, and that this "official line" was not to be contradicted by any of those in attendance.
"There's a lot that's being covered up, for some reason," charged a federal employee who narrowly escaped death but who lost many friends in the terrorist attack.
Said a man who lost his father, "…I'm angry because I know I'm being lied to."
"Many of us are going to come forward and challenge what's going on as soon as we get some more of the pieces figured out," pledged a law enforcement officer.
This same police officer later told me he was called into the offices of OCPD Chief Sam Gonzales and U.S. Attorney Pat Ryan and told to "cease and desist."
Another officer who was told to "cease and desist" was Sergeant Terrance Yeakey. On May 8, 1996, only three days before Sergeant Yeakey was to receive the Oklahoma Police Department's Medal of Valor, he "committed suicide." The 30 year-old cop was found in a field near El Reno, not far from where El Reno Prison guard Joey Gladden "committed suicide." His wrists were slashed in numerous places, as was his neck and throat. Apparently not satisfied with this initial attempt to take his life, he got out of his car, walked a mile and-a-half over rough terrain, then pulled out his gun shot himself in the head.
The media claimed Officer Yeakey "was wracked with guilt" over his inability to help more people that fateful morning. They also claimed he led a "troubled family life," having been recently divorced from his wife Tonia, and separated from his two daughters, aged two and four, whom the Daily Oklahoman claimed he was not permitted to see due to a restraining order.
Other accounts suggest that Yeakey was reluctant to receive the Medal of Valor due to his "guilt" over being injured in the Murrah Building. "He didn't like it," said his supervisor Lt. Jo Ann Randall. "There are some people that like to be heroes and some that don't. He was not one that wanted that."
"He had a lot of guilt because he got hurt," added fellow officer Jim Ramsey.
Apparently, there was much more behind Officer Terrance Yeakey's reluctance to be honored as a hero.
"He kept telling me it wasn't what I thought it was," said his ex-wife, Tonia Rivera, "that they were only choosing officers who were not even at the site, you know — who didn't see anything — to take public rewards, recognition, that sort of stuff.
"They started pressuring them into taking [the rewards]," added Rivera. "There came a time about mid-year, where they were forcing him into going to these award ceremonies. As in, 'Yes, you could not go, but we'll make your life hell…'
The story of the reluctant hero, she added, was nothing more than a "real thin veil of truth" which covered up a "mountain of deceit."
"[T]erry wanted no part of it."
His sister, Vicki Jones, agreed. "Terry hated that stuff. 'I'm no hero,' he would say. 'Nobody that had anything to do with helping those people in that bombing are heroes."
Why would the Medal of Valor recipient make such a bizarre-sounding statement? In a letter he wrote to a bombing victim and friend Ramona McDonald, the officer tells the real reason for his reluctance to be honored as a hero:
I hope that whatever you hear now and in the future will not change your opinions about myself or others with the Oklahoma City Police Department, although some of the things I am about to tell you about is [sic] very disturbing.
I don't know if you recall everything that happened that morning or not, so I am not sure if you know what I am referring to.
The man that you and I were talking about in the pictures I have made the mistake of asking too many questions as to his role in the bombing, and was told to back off.
I was told by several officers he was an ATF agent who was overseeing the bombing plot and at the time the photos were taken he was calling in his report of what had just went down!
I think my days as a police officer are numbered because of the way my supervisors are acting and there is [sic] a lot of secrets floating around now about my mental state of mind. I think they are going to write me up because of my ex-wife and a VPO.
I told you about talking to Chaplain Poe, well the bastard wrote up in a report stating I should be relieved of my duties! I made the mistake of thinking that a person's conversation with a chaplain was private, which by the way might have cost me my job as a police officer! A friend at headquarters told me that Poe sent out letters to everyone in the department! That BITCH (Jo Ann Randall) I told you about is up to something and I think it has something to do with Poe. If she gets her way, they will tar and feather me!
I was told that Jack Poe has written up a report on every single officer that has been in to see him, including Gordon Martin and John Avery.
Knowing what I know now, and understanding fully just what went down that morning, makes me ashamed to wear a badge from Oklahoma City's Police Department. I took and oath to uphold the Law and to enforce the Law to the best of my ability. This is something I cannot honestly do and hold my head up proud any longer if I keep my silence as I am ordered to do.
There are several others out there who was [sic] what we saw and even some who played a role in what happened that day.
[Two Pages Missing]
My guess is the more time an officer has to think about the screw up the more he is going to question what happened… Can you imagine what would be coming down now if that had been our officers' who had let this happen? Because it was the feds that did this and not the locals, is the reason it's okay. You were right all along and I am truly sorry I doubted you and your motives about recording history. You should know that it is going to one-hell-of-a-fight.
Everyone was behind you until you started asking questions as I did, as to how so many federal agents arrived at the scene at the same time.
Luke Franey (a ATF agent who claimed he was in the building) was not in the building at the time of the blast, I know this for a fact, I saw him! I also saw full riot gear worn with rifles in hand, why? Don't make the mistake as I did and ask the wrong people.
I worry about you and your young family because of some of the statements that have been made towards me, a police officer! Whatever you do don't confront McPhearson with the bomb squad about what I told you. His actions and defensiveness towards the bombing would make any normal person think he was defending himself as if he drove the damn truck up to the building himself. I am not worried for myself, but for you and your group. I would not be afraid to say at this time that you and your family could be harmed if you get any closer to the truth. At this time I think for your well being it is best for you to distance yourself and others from those of us who have stirred up to many questions about the altering and falsifying of the federal investigation's reports.
I truly believe there are other officers like me out there who would not settle for anything but the truth, it is just a matter of finding them. The only true problem as I see it is, who do we turn to then?
It is vital that people like you, Edye Smith, and others keep asking questions and demanding answers for the actions of our Federal Government and law enforcement agencies that knew beforehand and participated in the cover-up.
The sad truth of the matter is that they have so many police officers convinced that by covering up the truth about the operation gone wrong, that they are actually doing our citizens a favor. What I want to know is how many other operations have they had that blew up in their faces? Makes you stop and take another look at Waco.
I would consider it to be an insult to my profession as a police officer and to the citizens of Oklahoma for ANY of the City, State or Federal agents that stood by and let this happen to be recognized as any thing other than their part in participation in letting this happen. For those who ran from the scene to change their attire to hide the fact that they were there, should be judged as cowards.
If our history books and records are ever truly corrected about that day it will show this and maybe even some lame excuse as to why it happened, but I truly don't believe it will from what I now know to be the truth.
Even if I tried to explain it to you the way it was explained to me, and the ridiculous reason for having out own police departments falsify reports to their fellow officers, to the citizens of the city and to our country, you would understand why I feel the way I do about all of this.
I believe that a lot of the problems the officers are having right now are because some of them know what really happened and can't deal with it, and others like myself made the mistake of trusting the one person we were supposed to be able to turn to (Chaplain Poe) only to be stabbed in the back.
I am sad to say that I believe my days as a police officer are numbered because of all of this….
Shortly after the bombing, Yeakey appeared at his ex-wife's. "About two weeks before his death, he'd come into my home at strange times," said Rivera, "two-thirty in the morning, four in the morning, unannounced — trying to give me life insurance policies.… He kept telling me we needed to get remarried immediately, or me and the girls would not be taken care of.
"I mean, why would a guy tell you to take a life insurance policy, knowing damn well it wouldn't pay for a suicide? He obviously knew he was in danger."
Yet Officer Terrance Yeakey was not the type of person to easily show his feelings. He didn't want to tell his family anything that might get them hurt.
"He told me enough to let me know that it was not what they were making it out to be," said Rivera, "and that he was disgusted and didn't want any part of it, but he never went into detail.… It scared me."
Within days of the bombing, according to a sympathetic government source who has spoken to Rivera, Yeakey began receiving death threats. He was at his ex-wife's apartment when the calls came. Afraid for his family, he got up and left.
"When he came to my apartment two weeks prior, trying to give me these insurance policies," said Rivera, "he sat on my living room couch and cried and told me how he had a fight with [his supervisors] Lt. Randall and Maj. Upchurch. He did not tell me what that entailed, but he was scared — he was crying so badly he was shaking.
"He wouldn't totally voice whatever it was," recalled Rivera. "It was like he'd be just about to tell me — he'd want to spill his guts — and then he stopped, and he just cried. And that's when he kept insisting that I take the insurance policy."
Although Yeakey was concerned for his family, the marriage was not without abuse. Rivera had filed a VPO (Victim's Protective Order) against him slightly over two years ago. In a fit of temper, Yeakey had once threatened to take his life and those of his wife and children.
"I think it was said in the haste of, well, he's going to kill all of us kind of thing — cop under pressure," said Rivera. But that was over a year and-a-half ago. Yeakey had spent considerable time with his wife and children since then, taking them on family outings and so forth.
Nevertheless, the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD) attempted to use the incident to claim that Yeakey was suicidal. It was on the day of his death, around 1:30 p.m., that they called Rivera, trying to get her to file a VPO Violation based on the two-year-old report. "They wanted me to come down and make some statements against him," Rivera said.
On the same afternoon, in-between messages on his answering machine from his sister, Vicki Jones and his supervisor Lt. Jo Ann Randall, Yeakey had a message from Tonia. "The message was like at 5:30 in the afternoon," recalled Rivera. "I sound like I'm whispering, and I'm apologizing for waking him up — at 5:30 in the afternoon — on Wednesday."
It seems the intent behind this cleverly-crafted deception was to convince the family and potential investigators that Rivera was an "evil person," who was sleeping with him the night before, but "went down and filed a VPO the next day."
"That tape was planted," said Rivera. "I never called his house."
It seemed the OCPD was playing an elaborate game to sow confusion and mistrust, and create the appearance that Rivera was responsible for her ex-husband's death.
"So it comes out in paper after paper how he's having problems with his ex-wife, how he's not allowed to see his children.… "They're trying to play up the story of the bitch-ass wife whose trying to get him fired.…"
Yet Rivera claimed she never filed a VPO violation. "The OCPD wanted to file one," said Rivera. "But I never signed it." Rivera claimed she had gone to the police station, but simply out of concern for her ex-husband, who had been acting strangely.
"Nobody ever said, 'Mrs. Yeakey, Terry's missing. Do you know anyplace he might have gone to? They never told me that they weren't able to locate him, that they were concerned, you know — nothing. I never knew he was missing."
If Officer Yeakey's death was anything more than a suicide, the OCPD didn't go to any great lengths to find out. While his death occurred in El Reno, the OCPD took over the crime scene, squeezing the El Reno Police Department out of the picture. The OCPD's Media Relations officer, Cpt. Ted Carlton, explained, "It was our police officer who was killed. It's not uncommon [to take over the investigation] in the case of a smaller police agency."
Although forensics are also standard procedure in the event of a violent or suspicious death, especially that of a police officer, Yeakey's car was never dusted for prints. "And the next day, they gave us the damn car!" said Mrs. Jarrahi. "It was full of blood."
When Yeakey's Brother-in-Law, Glenn Jones, inspected the dead man's car, he discovered a bloody knife stashed underneath the glove compartment. Yet according to the responding officer, Yeakey had apparently used a razor blade. Where did the knife come from? Since no forensic investigation was conducted, this remains unclear.
No autopsy was ever conducted.
"There were common sense things that were wrong about the whole thing, that makes it so weird," added Mrs. Jarrahi. "It just doesn't seem right. Why would policemen and the authorities make such common mistakes that would leave questions? It's just really weird."
If Yeakey's death was a suicide, he left no note. Although he was upset over his divorce, according to the family, he was not suicidal. It is also unlikely that he abused drugs, as he was an instructor at DARE, a program designed to keep children off drugs.
Former Canadian County Sheriff Clint Boehler, who claims to have known Yeakey, doesn't concur with this analysis. Boehler said that Yeakey showed up at his house in El Reno on the afternoon of his death, his car stopped at an angle in the middle of the road. When Boehler and his girlfriend Kate Allen, a paramedic, ran outside, they found the police officer virtually passed out.
"He couldn't tell us his name initially," said Allen. "He was ill, and he was very anxious. His heart rate was rapid; he was sweaty.… He told us he had been having concentration problems, he hadn't slept. He had all the appearances, my first guess would be, of someone who was having emotional problems. And my second guess would be, of some kind of substance abuse problem. But that's a pure guess."
Boehler added that Yeakey said he hadn't eaten, and was "throwing up, taking medication, and incoherent. "He was taking medications for his back," said Boehler. "He had four or five medications in the car."
Boehler and Allen didn't know that Yeakey had Sickle-Cell Anemia — a blood-sugar-related condition that caused seizures. It was these seizures, Rivera explained, that would occasionally cause her ex-husband to act "out-of-sorts," or even to slip into unconsciousness.
In spite of his medical condition, Rivera insisted that Terrance Yeakey was a health fanatic. The prescriptions were for his condition, she said, but he used only the minimum amounts.
According to Canadian County Sheriff Deputy Mike Ramsey (no relation to OCPD Officer Jim Ramsey), who drove Yeakey home, Yeakey was not suicidal. "He didn't give me any indications that he was out to do harm to himself," said Ramsey. "He seemed more disoriented, tired…"
There are many things about Officer Yeakey's death that remain a mystery. While Boehler described a man on drugs, the Medical Examiner claims they didn't bother to conduct a drug test because it "costs too much."
The ME's field investigator, Jeffrey Legg, also reported that Yeakey "had been drinking heavily" the day before, based on statements made by OCPD Homicide Detectives Dicus and Mullinex. Yet Terrance Yeakey didn't drink, and their own report concluded that there was no alcohol in the body at the time of death.
Canadian County Sheriffs discovered the abandoned car, filled with blood, about two and-a-half miles from the old El Reno reformatory. The OCPD was notified, and Police Chief Sam Gonazles flew out by chopper. Using dogs, they followed a trail of blood, and found the body in a ditch, about a mile and-a-half from the car. (Legg reported the body was 1/2 mile south of the car, when in fact it was 1 1/2 miles north-east of the car.)
Apparently Yeakey had tried to cut himself in the wrists, neck, and throat, then, after losing approximately two pints of blood, got out of his car (contentiously remembering to lock the doors), walked a mile and-a-half over rough terrain, crawled under a barbed-wire fence, waded through a culvert, then lay down in a ditch and shot himself in the head.
As is this weren't strange enough, Yeakey's diet-related condition would have made him too weak to walk the mile and-a-half from his car to where his body was found — especially after losing two to three pints of blood.
Nevertheless, the OCPD ruled it a suicide on the spot. Their investigation remained sealed. This reporter was unable to obtain it, and not even the family was allowed to see it.
"There were so many things that were weird," said Mrs. Jarrahi. "My daughter kept going back to the Police Department. She said, 'Well what about this… we knew he had a camcorder, we knew he had a briefcase…'
"These are things we never got back. The kid always carried camera and film. [He] never went anywhere without his camera and briefcase. He had all his important papers in there.… We got the camera back. We never got the film back. We never got the briefcase. They said they never saw it…."
In regards to Yeakey's videos, Detective Mullinex, who "investigated" the case for the OCPD, told Vicki Jones, "I really don't think you'll want to see those; they contain pornography." Jones didn't believe him and didn't care. "I want those tapes!" she demanded.
The Homicide detective finally told her she'd get them back after they had "examined the evidence."
"One minute the guy would say he had them," said Jones, "the next minute he'd say 'we don't have anything.…'"
According to Jones, Mullinex then said, "Now, we all loved Terry. I hope you understand that, but I'm not going to let you see any pictures. And I don't know anything about a briefcase, but if there's anything back there, I'll give you a call, and you can come back and get them."
"And I just sat there and looked at him, and said to myself, 'You're doing a great performance, but it's not working.…' Then he got really uptight and said, 'Well, some of us hated Terry.' [Then] he kind of grabbed his face and said 'oh shit.'"
For his part, Mullinex had "no comment either way." He then told me, "I don't remember what I said to the lady, but I certainly was not rude to her.… This comes as a big shock to me, because he was a police officer and a friend of mine. It was a hard thing and hurt me to have to work it."
Cpt. Carlton likewise feigned shock at Jones' rebuffs, and said he would have to know who the officer was who made those statements. He then asked me to have the family contact the OCPD directly (as though they hadn't already done so numerous times), and he would meet with them and discuss the case, but that Cpt. Danny Cockran, Chief of the Homicide Squad, would have to make the decision about whether or not to let the family see the files.
Yet Carlton's statements fly in the face of the experiences of not only Yeakey's mother and sister, but those of his ex-wife. In a letter to Police Chief Sam Gonzales dated September 4, 1996, Rivera writes:
Needless to say, I have many questions regarding the investigation. What type of weapon was used to inflict the gunshot wound to his head? Who located the body? How could the cause of death be determined with such confidence with the multitude of injuries to his body and how did he walk the distance indicated in People magazine with the great loss of blood from razor cuts not only to both wrists, but both his forearms as well as two razor cuts to his neck? Not only did he walk this distance, but he struggled with bobwire fencing to reach his chosen destination to die then inflicted the gunshot wound to himself? I request that a copy of the investigative report of his death be made available to me.
Gonzales didn't respond.
Police officials eventually responded to Vicki Jones' complaints by telling her she needed to see a psychiatrist. "They said, 'We're just trying to protect you.'"
Exactly what were they trying to protect her from? When I called Mrs. Jarrahi, the telltale signs of a tapped phone were clearly present. If Terrance Yeakey's death was a simple suicide, why would law-enforcement agencies be tapping the family's phones?
The OCPD soon began conducting surveillance on the dead man's family.
"There was always an officer out there in front of our apartment," said Jones. Anywhere we went, we had an officer or someone in a marked car following us around. It started right after I started going to the Police Department quite a bit."
They also tailed Rivera. When she confronted the officers, they ignored her, hid their faces, or sped off. Cars were parked outside her childrens' school. When she spoke to school officials about the surveillance one afternoon, she went to work startled to find the conversation on her office answering machine! Rivera had spoken to the school principal in person. How did the conversation wind up on her answering machine?
The harassment against Officer Yeakey's family wasn't limited to mere surveillance. After Rivera met with State Representative Charles Key, her car was broken into. Her house was broken into twice.
She finally moved to Enid when the heat became too hot. "I lived in an apartment on the third floor with a security alarm in it," said Rivera. "I'd come home and the alarm would be off. I'd notice things out of place. There'd be cabinets open that I'd have no reason to have opened."
About two weeks after Terry's death, Rivera went downstairs around 6:30 one morning to do some laundry, "and there was a man downstairs with huge headphones on, at 6:30 in the morning, right behind my apartment.…"
The individual, who was wearing a jogging suit — wasn't jogging, and was not doing laundry. "He looked startled when I came around the corner," said Rivera. "I came back down at 8:30 and the guy was still there."
It appears that what Rivera was describing was an audio technician with a "Shotgun Mic," a portable surveillance tool designed to pick up conversations through windows and across fields. They are commonly used by private detectives and law-enforcement agencies.
One day Rivera came home to find her front door open and off its hinges. When the frightened single mother walked into her bedroom, she found a balloon tied to her door. It read: "Get well soon. This will keep you busy until you do."
It seems the OCPD and the FBI thought that Officer Yeakey had passed off some incriminating documents concerning the bombing cover-up to his ex-wife, and were intent on obtaining the documents.
The surveillance, break-ins, and thinly-veiled threats soon escalated into more serious incidents. Right before Yeakey's murder, the couple's Ford Explorer began getting mysterious flats. "And when I'd roll it into a shop," said Rivera, "they'd pull out like six or seven nails." This occurred between eight and ten times, she claims.
Rivera explained that once during a quarrel, Terry had removed some fuses from her car to keep her from leaving. The police knew about the incident, said Rivera, who thought the subsequent events were created by the OCPD to sow mistrust and provide a convenient trail of evidence to prove that Yeakey led a troubled family life. Yet while Yeakey admitted to removing the fuses, he repeatedly and adamantly denied that he had damaged the car — a car that was registered in his name and carried his cherished children to and from school.
On April 24, two weeks before he was found dead, the Explorer began acting strangely. When Rivera pulled it into the local Aamco Transmission Center, she found that it had been tampered with. "Somebody who knew what they were doing pulled hoses from your car," said Todd Taylor, the chief mechanic. "I'm sorry to tell this ma'am, but this is not just something you can pull randomly.…" Taylor also said he though Rivera's brakes had been tampered with.
About two weeks before this story went to press, the Ford's brakes went out suddenly while Rivera was traveling at 40 mph. "I went to brake," said Rivera, "and guess what? No brakes!" The large 4 X 4 slammed into the back of smaller car, damaging it badly. "The message is 'we can get to you if we want to,'" she concluded.
Officer [Jim] Ramsey also began making his presence felt. "All of the sudden, when we moved to Oklahoma City [from El Reno]," said Jones, "there was Ramsey. When we joined a new church, Ramsey was there. Ramsey was everywhere. You turn the corner, there was Ramsey.… Everything we did, he was like the helpful old guy. This went on for two months."
"He was keeping tabs on everyone," added Rivera. "He was showing up in a lot of places… just casually, in fact, places where he knew that people knew me just as well as they knew Terry, and weren't buying into the 'it's Tonia's fault' routine.
"[Ramsey] tried to claim it was his ex-wife and love for his children he couldn't see that made him commit suicide," she added. He would talk to her friends. "'How's she taking it? What does she think, blah, blah, blah.'"
Both Rivera and Jones feel the OCPD officer was sent to "baby-sit" them — to maintain an ever-present watchful eye. "[When he showed up]," Jones said, "I looked at him and said, that is not a friend of Terry's. He was never at the house. I never met him before."
Ramsey, who told People magazine that Yeakey was his "dear friend," also told the press that he was Terry's partner.
"That was a lie," declared Jones.
Rivera concurred. The ex-wife said that not only was Ramsey never Yeakey's partner, but that the two men didn't even get along. "Terry hated Jim Ramsey," said Rivera. "He put on a real good performance," she added. "He's hiding something, I believe.… It burns me up."
For his performance, Ramsey was promoted to Detective, and made "Officer of the Year."
If Terrance Yeakey did have many friends in the Police Department, they were among the beat patrolmen, not the upper echelon. While Detective Mullinex said everybody "loved Terry," according to Rivera, the brass "hated his guts." "Him and [Maj.] Upchurch had a hate-hate relationship," she said.
For his part, Mullinex claims he was "totally unaware" of any problems Yeakey was having in regards to what he knew about the bombing. "It is my opinion as a fourteen-year homicide veteran that it was a suicide," said Mullinex.… If we thought it was anything [other than a suicide] we would have pursued it to the ends of the earth. We're not hiding anything."
According to Rivera, three government sources, including a U.S. Attorney and a U.S. Marshal, hold a slightly different view. As relayed by Rivera, the events on the morning of Officer Yeakey's death transpired as follows:
At 9:00 a.m., Officer Yeakey was seen exiting his Oklahoma City apartment with nine boxes of videos and files. He then drove to the police station where he had a fight with his supervisors.
He was told to "drop it" or he'd "wind up dead."
Yeakey was also due for a meeting with the heads of several federal agencies that morning. He apparently decided to skip the meetings, instead, driving straight to a storage locker he maintained in Kingfisher.
What he didn't realize was that the FBI had him under surveillance, and began pursuit. The six-year OCPD veteran and former Sheriff's Deputy easily eluded his pursuers. Once at his storage facility, he secured his files.
What were in the files? According to one of Rivera's sources, incriminating photos and videos of the bombed-out building. Perhaps more.
On the way back, the feds caught up with him just outside of El Reno. "He had nothing on him," at that point, said Rivera, "just copies of copies."
While it is not known exactly what transpired next, Rivera's confidential source "described in intimate detail," the state of the dead man's car. The seats had been completely unbolted, the floor-boards ripped up, and the side panels removed, all in an apparent effort to find the incriminating documents.
There were also burn marks on the floor. Apparently, the killers had used Yeakey's car to destroy what little evidence they had discovered.
At approximately 6:00 p.m. that evening, Canadian County Deputy Sheriff Mike Ramsey was cruising the area near the old El Reno reformatory when he noticed an abandoned vehicle in a field. "Immediately [the] hair stood up on the back of my neck," said the deputy. Ramsey came upon the empty car which he immediately recognized as Yeakey's. There was blood on both seats, and a razor blade lying on the dash. Yeakey was nowhere to be found.
The deputy immediately called for a homicide investigator, and taped off the scene. It wasn't until several hours later that police dogs finally located Yeakey's body in a ditch, a mile and-a-half away.
While it was a macabre scene, the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner's report was even more gruesome. The report released from the Medical Examiner described numerous "superficial" lacerations on the wrists, arms, throat, and neck, and a single bullet wound to the right temple.
The report also showed another curious thing. The bullet had entered just above and in front of the right ear, and had exited towards the bottom of the left ear. Apparently, whoever held the gun held it at a downward angle. A person shooting themself would tend to hold the gun at an upward angle, or at the most, level. It would rather difficult for a large, muscle-bound man like Yeakey to hold a heavy service revolver or other large caliber weapon at a downward angle to his head. (See Appendix)
While it is true that a slug can alter its trajectory once inside the skull, a pathologist in the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office told me that a 9mm or other large caliber weapon — the type commonly used by police officers — usually tends to travel in a straight line.
But perhaps the most revealing evidence was that the wound did not have a "Stellat," the tell-tale star shape caused by the dissipating gases from the gun's muzzle. At the close range of a suicide weapon, such markings would clearly be present, unless of course… the shooter used a silencer.
While Dr. Larry Balding, Oklahoma City's Chief Medical Examiner, quickly ruled the death a "suicide," another Medical Examiner's report would, according to Rivera, surface like an eerie, prescient message from the grave. This other report, quickly redacted and hidden from public view, showed a face that was bruised and swollen; blood on the body and clothes that was not the dead man's blood type; and multiple deep lacerations filled with grass and dirt, as though the body had been dragged a distance.
Yet according to Rivera, Maj. Upchurch denied that Yeakey's throat was slashed at all. She was later told by a sympathetic police dispatcher that his throat was indeed slashed — deeply.
Dr. Larry Balding, who signed off on the Yeakey report, is adamant. "I can tell you unequivocally and without a doubt that there was no other ME report."
Yet while attending a social function, Rivera claims her sister had a chance encounter with the mortician who worked on Yeakey's body. She was discussing the strange inconsistencies of his death with someone at the party, when the mortician, not knowing the woman was Rivera's sister, spoke up. "That sounds just like a police officer we worked on in Oklahoma City," he said. When asked if that man happened to be Terrance Yeakey, the mortician "freaked."
When pressed, he told the shocked relative that the dead man's wrists contained rope burns and handcuff marks. A former FBI agent and police officer, the mortician said that Yeakey's lacerations were already sewn up when the body arrived from the Medical Examiner's office. Dr. Balding's response to this was that the marks were merely "skin slippage," resulting from the natural decomposition of the body.
Yet stranger still, the body was not supposed to go to this particular funeral home at all, but to one in Watonga. While the OCPD was supposed to pay the expenses of the funeral, no funds were ever allocated, according to Rivera. "Vicki had to pay off the burial to Russ Worm [Funeral Home]. So I wonder if we paid somebody off to do the job."
Was that job to clean up Yeakey so that his manner of death wouldn't appear suspicious?
This incident is similar to the murder of President Kennedy, whose body was taken to Bethesda Naval Hospital instead of being examined by the Dallas Medical Examiner as is standard procedure. Once there, military pathologists and those controlling them were able to skew their findings to the satisfaction of the murderers. The chief pathologist burned his notes, and years later, when researchers went to examine Kennedy's brain, it was found missing from the National Archives.
Apparently, Terrance Yeakey's murderers and those covering up his death had not counted on this particular mortician's testimony.
Was Terrance Yeakey tortured? Was he murdered, then made to look like a suicide? Did he know something he wasn't supposed to know, or was he simply despondent over life's circumstances?
Said friend Kimberly Cruz, "I don't believe he would have done something like that. He was always happy and joking a lot."
Another friend, Karen Von Tungeln, said, "[Terry and I] talked about a friend in high school… who had committed suicide, and how stupid and selfish he was for having done so.… 'I just can't understand it man,' said Terry. 'It makes no sense to me.'"
If the officer was bent on taking his life, it would appear strange, since he had spent most of the previous month taking entrance exams for the FBI. Yeakey and best friend Barry McCrary were looking forward to becoming FBI agents. Perhaps if he had known the role that the FBI played in the bombing, perhaps even in his own death, he would have changed careers.
Like Dr. Don Chumley, Terrance Yeakey was one of the first rescuers in the Murrah Building on April 19. Had he seen something he wasn't supposed to see? Had he heard something he wasn't supposed to hear?
One afternoon, while the family was at Police Headquarters, an officer who Rivera described as Yeakey's "only true friend," pulled them off to the side, and whispered "They killed him."
Like Terrance Yeakey, the press claimed that Dr. Don Chumley was saddened and disturbed that he hadn't helped more people that terrible day. Chumley, who ran the Broadway Medical Clinic about half a mile from the Federal Building, was one of the first to arrive at the bombing site on April 19. Shaun Jones, Chumley's step-son, was assisting him. Jones recalled the scene:
"They had sent us around to the underground parking garage, where some people were trapped. Suddenly, three guys come running out of the basement yelling, 'There's a bomb! A bomb! It's gonna' blow!' Everybody panicked and ran screaming away from the building as fast as they could."
Chumley, who was working with Dr. Ross Harris, was one of the few doctors who actually went into the Federal Building, while the others waited outside. He had helped many people, including seven babies, whom he later pronounced dead.
Chumley was killed five months later when his Cessna 210 crashed near Amarillo, Texas in what Jones calls "mysterious circumstances."
"It's a pretty mysterious circumstance," said Jones. "There's no apparent reason — there's nothing we can think of."
Jones added that Chumley had been in a minor wreck during a landing a year earlier when his plane became trapped in a vortex caused by a large jet landing nearby. The small plane was forced into a snow bank causing some damage to its left wing tip. The damage had been repaired.
Would this contradict Jones' hypothesis?
"Well, from talking to pilots I that know, they say that can't cause a plane to crash. I mean, as good a pilot as he is, that's not going to cause his plane to go straight down into the ground.
Another pilot said, 'that's just like a car that's out of alignment — it happens all the time — it's just something you learn to fly with.' The plane had been flown several times since that."
According to reports in The Daily Oklahoman, Chumley, who was on a hunting trip that weekend, had twice landed earlier — on Friday, due to bad weather conditions. The crash occurred three days later, on a Monday.
"The thing that's odd to me is that Don was perfectly healthy," said Jones. "He was talking to the tower, and from one minute to the next he just went straight smack down into the ground."
Investigators said they could find no evidence of an explosion at the macabre scene. Chumley's throttle was still set at cruise, and his gear and flaps were up. The FAA inspector stated there were "no anomalies with the engine or the airframe," and "pathological examination of the pilot did not show any preexisting condition that could have contributed to the accident."
"To me it's unusual because I know he was a good pilot," added Jones. "Everything was fine, he was in the air for 15 minutes, he was climbing, he had just asked permission to go from six to seven thousand feet. They tracked him on the screen at 6,900 feet, and the radar technician said he saw him on the radar, then he looked back and he was gone, and the plane came straight, straight down. I mean, no attempt to land… nothing, just straight down."
Chumley's hunting partner Joey Chief said in an interview in The Daily Oklahoman:
"He was the kind of guy who did everything right, always. He was very cautious, very professional," Chief said, adding [that] Chumley's plane was equipped with extra safety instruments.
Mike Evett, a Federal Public Defender, had known Don Chumley for over twenty years. "I would never get into an airplane with anybody I didn't know," said Evett, "and I would never be afraid to fly with Don. For the life of me, this doesn't sit right with me."
Yet Clint Boehler, a former FAA inspector, discounts that notion. "That was an accident waiting to happen," said Boehler. "He didn't have an instrument rating, and he went out into adverse conditions. One of the classic symptoms of what's called stall-spin accidents, is people who are in limited visibility or full IFR, meaning they can't see the propeller in front of their face. And, they're not current or trained or in some way up to speed on their operation. And they'll get into some particular mode of flight, particularly a climb, and their body and mind tells them their not doing what their instruments say they're doing, and they tend to react to that. And the results is sometime they stall the airplane, and not necessarily spin it, but what it then does is it rolls over to one side and begins a very tight, steep spiral that is gaining speed all the way down. And if they ever do come out of the clouds or obscuration or whatever it is, often they see the ground at low altitude and they pull back on the wheel and overstress the airplane as it hits the ground. And this is not an uncommon thing. Its called spatial disorientation followed by the graveyard spiral. And I can cite numerous examples of that. There was a local doc here went out west some time ago — went out in a 210 — and had the same scenario exactly."
Yet Boehler is incorrect. The doctor did in fact have an instrument rating, and was an experienced pilot, having logged over 600 hours of flying time.
Did Dr. Don Chumley crash on the evening of September 25th due to bad weather? Did he commit suicide due to his grief over what he saw on the morning of April 19th. Or was Don Chumley murdered?
The Daily Oklahoman article described how he had cried in front of his friend Jim Taylor on the day of the bombing, after tagging seven babies, and was not satisfied he had done all he could, even after helping to organize a fund-raiser for the victims.
It was also rumored that Chumley was about to go public with some damning information. According to a local journalist who has investigated the bombing, Chumley was asked to bandage two federal agents who falsely claimed to have been trapped in the building morning. Since the pair was obviously not hurt, Chumley refused. When the agents petitioned another doctor at the scene, Chumley intervened, threatening to report them.
Chumley's crash is reminiscent of that of Dr. Ronald Rogers, whose plane went down on March 3, 1994 near Lawson, Oklahoma in good weather. Clinton's former dentist, Rogers was on his way to be interviewed by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Sunday Telegraph, where he intended to reveal evidence of Clinton's alleged cocaine use.
He never made it.
Like Rogers, Hershel Friday, a "top-notch pilot," died in the crash of his small plane only two days earlier during a light drizzle at his private airstrip. Friday had been a member of Clinton's presidential campaign finance committee, and was a close associate of C. Victor Raiser, another member of Clinton's presidential campaign, who died in a suspicious plane crash two years earlier.
In fact, the list of those who had potentially damning evidence on everything from the Kennedy assassination to Clinton's improprieties is a long one and sordid one, stretching to hundreds of names and spanning at least three decades.
A few years after the Kennedy assassination, a disgruntled CIA official was on his way to Chicago to inform a journalist of the CIA's complicity in the murder. His plane exploded and fell into Lake Michigan.
Another well-known crash was that of Gary Caradori, a private investigator who was hot on the trail of a pediophile ring being run by Larry King and other prominent businessmen and politicians in Omaha, Nebraska.
Caradori and his eight-year-old son Andrew died when their plane crashed in July of 1990. Caradori radioed that his compass was swinging wildly just before he went down. Moments later, the plane went into a steep dive from which it never recovered.
What is interesting is that only several days earlier, the courageous investigator had informed a friend that he had obtained evidence which threatened to break the case wide open. Among those implicated in the child pornography ring was none other than George Bush.
Like Caradori, Rogers, and numerous other whistle-blowers, Don Chumley had evidently learned of the government's hastily planned cover-up surrounding the Oklahoma City bombing.
Had he, like so many others, made the fateful decision to go public?
Glenn Wilburn, who lost his grandsons Chase and Colton in the bombing, was one of the very first to go public. A staunch opponent of the government's case, Wilburn had teamed up with reporter J.D. Cash and State Representative Charles Key to investigate the crime.
Key and Wilburn petitioned for the County Grand Jury investigation. Wilburn worked tirelessly to investigate the truth about what really happened that fateful morning, and his evidence was proving more and more embarrassing to authorities.
About a year after he began his investigation, Wilburn, 46, came down with a sudden case of pancreatic cancer. Initially recovering after surgery, he died on July 15, 1997, the day after the County Grand Jury which he convened began hearing evidence.
Three weeks later, on August 5, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Richardson was found in a church parking lot with a shotgun wound to the chest. The Medical Examiner's report stated: "No powder residue is apparent, either on the external aspect of the wound or in the shirt." An interesting observation considering Richardson had allegedly pushed a shotgun up to his chest and pulled the trigger.
The death was ruled a "suicide."
Yet the circumstances seemed to concur. Richardson had been depressed. He had been seeing a psychiatrist and was on Prozac. He once told a hunting buddy he "felt like ending it all."
One sunny morning, Richardson rose, fed his two dogs, got in his car, drove to a church near his house, pulled out a shotgun and shot himself through the heart.
He left no note.
Was Ted Richardson depressed enough to kill himself? And if so, why? The 49-year-old father of two had a happy marriage, and adored his 8-year-old son.
The two weeks he took off of work due to unexplained "pressures" may provide a clue. Richardson was the bombing and arson specialist for the Western District of Oklahoma. He was inexplicably transferred to the bank robbery detail after the bombing — an area in which he had no expertise. As his brother Dan explained, "Ted should have gotten the bombing case."*
Instead, the case was given to Joseph Hartzler.
Friends described Richardson as "one of the few good guys," and a man with a "strong sense of conscious." It is uncertain if the same can be said of Hartzler. Given the Federal Government's conduct in this case, such labels might tend to render a man such as Richardson a piranha.
Interestingly, Richardson was the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Sam Khalid in 1990 for insurance fraud. It was rumored that he was looking into Khalid's suspicious activities subsequent to the bombing, and was about to bring charges.
He decided to kill himself instead.
Is it a coincidence these individuals, who had witnessed events on April 19, or had been vocal opponents of the government's case, had died?
"Out of roughly 5,000 of us who were originally involved in Iran-Contra," said Al Martin, "approximately 400, since 1986, have committed suicide, died accidentally or died of natural causes. In over half those deaths, official death certificates were never issued. In 187 circumstances, the bodies were cremated before the families were notified."
Craig Roberts and John Armstrong, who investigated a similar spate of suspicious deaths for their book, JFK: The Dead Witnesses, revealed that most of the deaths peaked in the months leading up to one of the investigations, with the deaths often coming days or even hours before the person was supposed to testify.
In the three years following the Kennedy assassination, 18 material witnesses perished. In the time period leading up to 1979, when the last of the Kennedy investigations ended, over 100 witnesses had died. Interestingly, most of the deaths coincided with one of the four main investigations: The Warren Commission (1964-65); the Jim Garrison investigation (1965-69); the Senate Committee investigation (1974-76); and the House Committee on Assassinations investigation (1976-79).
Naturally, the CIA had an answer for these mysterious deaths. In a 1967 departmental memo, a CIA officer wrote:
Such vague accusations as that more than 10 people have died mysteriously can always be explained in some rational way: e.g., the individuals concerned have for the most part died of natural causes; the [Warren] Commission staff questioned 418 witnesses — the FBI interviewed far more people, conducting 25,000 interviews and re interviews — and in such a large group, a certain number of deaths are to be expected.
Yet Roberts and Armstrong correctly note that if the CIA were not involved in any of the deaths, why was such a memo disseminated?
Then, to add further fuel to the fire, CIA technicians testified before the Senate Committee (Church Committee) in 1975 that a variety of Termination with Extreme Prejudice [TWEP] weapons had been used throughout the years, and many were chosen because they left no postmortem residue.
In one particular memo, the author states:
You will recall that I mentioned that the local circumstances under which a given means might be used might suggest the technique to be used in that case. I think the gross divisions in presenting this subject might be:
(1) bodies left with no hope of the cause of death being determined by the most complete autopsy and chemical examination;
(2) bodies left in such circumstances as to simulate accidental death;
(3) bodies left in such circumstances as to simulate accidental death;
(4) bodies left with residue that simulate those caused by natural death…
Regarding deaths that could be simulated to appear as "natural causes," the various assassination experts within the intelligence communities of the world knew quite well of the effects of such chemical agents as sodium morphate, which caused heart attacks; thyon phosphate, which is a solution that can suspend sodium morphate and provide a vehicle to penetrate the surface of the skin with the chemical (which is used to coat something the victim might touch); and beryllium, which is an extremely toxic element that causes cancer and fibrotic tumors.
As the daughter of a CIA contract agent who worked with Oliver North told me: "They eliminated my father, and I know what they do in the Agency. I know how they work as far as the Mafia goes.… They have no scruples. And they don't go by any law but their own. There is no conscious to these people; the end justifies the means.… They will shut anybody up that they possibly can. They're amazing. And they will go through anything to make you look crazy, to make you appear to be a liar.…
"And they go into these operations, and they run amok. They run amok. And then when it gets carried away or there's a leak, here comes the damage control, and you have to make everybody else appear like they're crazy. I mean people out there drop like flies. How many people can commit suicide for God's sake. How many people can be handcuffed behind their back, and they can call it suicide because they were shot in the head?"
Tip of the Iceberg
"Justice can kill or thwart any investigation at will, and it does so on a regular basis." - Former U.S. Senate investigator
"[Justice] has been engaged in sharp practices since the earliest days and remains a fecund source of oppression and corruption today. It is hard to recall an administration in which it was not the center of grave scandal.
- Publisher and scholar H.L. Mencken
As an experienced investigator once said, "A cover-up often proves the crime, and lifts the identities of the perpetrators into relief."
In this case, those covering up the Oklahoma City bombing appeared to be the Federal Government itself. Law-enforcement officials, including those at the local level, lied about their foreknowledge of the attack. They rushed to destroy all forensic evidence of the site. They ignored dozens of credible witnesses and intimidated others. They organized a media smear campaign against anyone who threatened to reveal the truth. And they murdered those with critical knowledge of the facts who had tried to come forward.
Ironically, the letters "FBI" stand for "Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity." A more appropriate definition might be "Federal Bureau of Intimidation." As will be outlined in Volume Two, the FBI is guilty of an whole litany of crimes, ranging from obstruction of justice to outright murder.
It might be interesting to note that the FBI's current director, Louis Freeh, rose to his position on the victory of the Leroy Moody case. Freeh's chief witness, Ted Banks, later told an appeals court that Freeh threatened him into testifying against Moody. Banks was subsequently sentenced to 44 months in prison for "perjury."
For his part, Freeh was promoted to FBI Director, where he drew around him such figures as Tom Thurman, Roger Martz, and Larry Potts, who led the murderous debacles at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
Freeh placed Potts in charge of the "investigation" in Oklahoma City.
Overseeing the FBI is the Department of Justice (DoJ), undoubtedly the most misnamed federal agency ever created. While purporting to be a law-enforcement body independent of the legislative and executive branches, in reality it is little more than a political tool utilized by corrupt leaders to cover up high crimes and intimidate and imprison whistle-blowers.
Janet Reno, the current Attorney General, rose to her position on a wave of highly dubious child abuse cases, where the only abuse, it appeared, was fostered by Reno herself.
In 1984, Reno, then Dade County District Attorney, prosecuted Ileana Fuster, a 17-year-old newlywed who helped her husband Frank by operating a day-care out of their home. To illicit the required confession from Ileana, Reno had her locked away in a solitary confinment. Stephen Dinerstein, a private investigator employed by the Fuster's attorneys wrote in his report that the formerly bright, attractive 17-year-old:
…appeared as if she was 50 years old. Her skin was drawn from a large loss of weight.… She had sores and infections on her skin and states that no sanitary conditions exist or are provided, that the shower, when received, is a hosing down in the cell. That she is in a cell with nothing in it but a light in the ceiling and that she is often kept nude and in view of everybody and anybody." [Dinerstein also noted that Ileana had become] a constantly crying, shaking, tormented person who understands little if anything about the whole process and is now being threatened and promised and is totally in a state of confusion to the point of not having the slightest idea as to month and date.… Mrs. Fuster's condition has deteriorated so badly she could hardly move and was very slow to respond to any questions. When asked if Mr. Van Zamft (her attorney) was present, she could not even recall, but said simply that the woman State Attorney (Reno) was very big and very scary and made suggestions as to problems that would arise if she didn't cooperate.
After almost a year kept in this deplorable condition, including visits by Reno to coerce her, and visits by psychiatrists to get her to confess, Ileana cracked, "confessing" to a whole legion of imaginary acts.
After serving three out of a ten year sentence, she was deported to Honduras, where her mind now clear, she immediately recanted her confession.
Only days before she was scheduled to retestify via satellite (the DA's office threatened to charge her with "perjury" if she returned), she retracted her retraction in a letter to the Miami Herald. Rosenthal believes she was threatened.
Several weeks after Janet Reno was sworn in as Attorney General, she authorized a plan to flood the church at Waco (containing women and children) with tear gas and ram it with battle tanks, based on allegations of "child abuse."
A 1988 Amnesty International report claimed that "CS gas contributed to or caused the deaths of more than 40 Palestinians — including 18 babies under 6 months of age — who had been exposed to tear gas in enclosed spaces."* Reno's latest attempt to "save the children" resulted in the deaths of 86 people, including 25 children.
As for the allegations of child abuse, both the County Sheriff and the Texas Welfare Department, who were two of the first to interview Davidian children, indicated that there was no signs of abuse. The FBI later acknowledged their own reports to be false.
Representative James Traficant (D-OH) summed up the situation at "Justice" when he wrote to members of Congress on April 15, 1997:
There have been numerous case of prosecutorial misconduct, fraud and outright murder on the part of Justice Department personnel that have gone largely unpunished. The American people expect the Justice Department, more than any other federal agency, to be beyond reproach when it comes to ethics and responsible behavior. Something is seriously wrong in our democracy if criminal and unethical behavior at the nation's top law enforcement agency goes unpunished.*
The crimes Traficant's speaking of are legion. The scandals covered up by corrupt DoJ officials are endless. The cases of individuals who have been singled out for prosecution by the so-called "Justice" Department would fill volumes.
Probably the most infamous case of DoJ corruption in modern history is the Inslaw affair, where DoJ officials conspired to steal software from the small computer company, defraud them out of payments, then force them into bankruptcy. The Inslaw case provides a perfect example of how the DoJ regularly lies, destroys evidence, selectively prosecutes people, obstructs Congressional investigations, and murders those who threaten to reveal their wrongdoing.
In 1982, the DoJ signed a $10 million contract with Inslaw to install an enhanced version of their PROMIS (Prosecutors Management Information System) software in 42 U.S. Attorneys offices. Inslaw completed the project, but was never paid for their services. Heavily in debt, they had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
It seemed that a rival firm named Hadron, had attempted to purchase PROMIS from Inslaw. "We have ways of making you sell," said CEO Dominic Laiti, who warned Inslaw owner Bill Hamilton that Hadron was connected to Attorney General Edwin Meese. Both Meese and his close friend, Earl Brian, had financial interests in Hadron.
After the DoJ refused to pay Inslaw, Meese handed the software over to his crony Brian, who had CIA contract agent Michael Riconosciuto reconfigure the program with a special "trap door," allowing U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor and manipulate accounts of banks and intelligence agencies who subsequently purchased the program. The profits, of course, went to Brian and his cronies at the DoJ.
When Inslaw attempted to sue the DoJ, their attorney was threatened and dismissed from his firm. In spite of the stonewalling and harassment, Inslaw eventually won their case. Judge George Bason, ruling in favor of the company, wrote:
[DoJ officials] took, converted, stole, [the plaintiff's property] by trickery, fraud and deceit. [They made] an institutional decision… at the highest level simply to ignore serious questions of ethical impropriety, made repeatedly by persons of unquestioned probity and integrity, and this failure constitutes bad faith, vexatiosness, [a] fraudulent game of cat and mouse, demonstrating contempt for both the law and any principle of fair dealing.
After Judge Bason ordered the DoJ to pay Inslaw $6.8 million in licensing fees and roughly another $1 million in legal fees, he suddenly discovered that he was not being reappointed to the bench.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Sam Nunn, agreed wholeheartedly with Judge Bason. Yet the committee's efforts to probe the Inslaw scandal were blocked by the DoJ, who refused to allow their personnel to testify under oath. The Senate report stated that it had found employees "who desired to speak to the subcommittee, but who chose not to, out of fear for their jobs."
Said a former Congressional investigator who dealt with the Justice Department for 15 years, "I've got to tell you, the bottom line is that the DoJ as presently constituted is a totally dishonest organization, riddled with political fixes. They know how to write the memo, how to make the phone call, how to deny access to Congress. The game over there is fixed."
The stonewalling by the DoJ during the Inslaw investigations paralleled that of the Oklahoma City bombing, where defense attorneys encountered continuous denials in their requests for discovery. The stonewalling of the Inslaw investigation, stated the Congressional report, included, "restrictions, delays, and outright denials to requests for information… obstructed access to records and witnesses, [and] the "illegal shredding of documents."
Yet the committee did nothing to punish those responsible, merely recommending that the DoJ request the Court of Appeals to appoint an "independent" prosecutor. While Attorney General William Barr initially refused, he eventually succumbed to media pressure, appointing one of his old DoJ cronies, Nicholas Bua, to "investigate" the matter. Bua impaneled a Federal Grand Jury. But, as in the Oklahoma City case, the prosecuting attorney, Bua's law partner Charles Knight, manipulated and controlled the witnesses. When the jury began giving credence to the allegations against DoJ, Bua quickly dismissed the jury and impaneled another one.
Not surprisingly, one of Bua's chief investigators was none other than Joseph Hartzler. In a letter Hartzler wrote to Assistant Associate Attorney General John Dwire in October of 1994, the noble government prosecutor states:
I applaud your efforts and especially your conclusions. To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, we spent ourselves on a worthy cause….
Hartzler's next "worthy cause" would be to serve as lead prosecutor in the Oklahoma City bombing case, assisting the DoJ in one of the largest cover-ups of the 20th Century.
"I don't understand where they found him or why they chose him," says Michael Deutsch, who as an attorney in Chicago defended a Puerto Rican terrorist in a 1985 bombing case prosecuted by Hartzler, a successful prosecution that is often cited as one of the reasons Hartzler got the Oklahoma City job.…
Deutsch is referring to the prosecution of four Las Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion National Puertorriqueo (FALN) members, a Puerto Rican nationalist group which the government claimed was responsible for more than 100 bombings or attempted bombings since 1970. The defense of the FALN paralleled that of the Oklahoma City bombing defendants, with crucial evidence being withheld — evidence that would have implicated the FBI and ATF in COINTELPRO-style illegal activites directed against the Chicano and Puerto Rican Movements. The judge in the FALN case, Federal District Judge George Leighton, has reported connections to the CIA.
Yet Hartzler claimed he volunteered for the role of lead prosecutor. Whether or not that is true, Hartzler, a wheelchair-bound multiple sclerosis victim, is the perfect choice — a man able to pander to the sympathies of a jury already overwhelmed by images of dead and handicapped victims. This astute observation was made obvious by none other than Newsweek, which wrote: "Some suggested that a wheelchair-bound prosecutor would appeal to a jury in a case with so many maimed victims.…"
As the Legal Times observed:
Having a lead prosecutor who maneuvers around the courtroom in a motorized scooter, some say, is a good tactic for gaining sympathy with a jury — especially in a case where more than 500 people were injured.
"Others saw a malleable personality easily micromanaged by superiors in Washington," added Newsweek. A rather candid observation in a case where "micromanaging" is key.
"I don't think that Joe is in charge of the prosecution team," said Stephen Jones. "The shots are called by [Deputy Attorney General] Jamie Gorelick and [her top aide] Merrick Garland."
Justice Department officials scoff at such a notion, pointing out that they are too far away and too busy to micro-manage the trial team. Hartzler, they say, is firmly in charge.…
Interestingly, Hartzler was chief of both the civil and criminal division of the Chicago U.S. Attorney's office during his 10-year term, a jurisdiction not unknown for its share of corruption-ridden scandals.
His assistant, Scott Mendeloff, was accused by Sherman Skolnick of the Chicago-based Citizens' Committee to Clean Up the Courts of covering up the murder of Wallace Lieberman, a Chicago Federal Bankruptcy Court official ready to finger several judges for bribery.
"The assassination of Lieberman, as Mendeloff knew, was tied to the corrupt activities of First National Bank of Cicero, a Mafia/CIA laundry," writes Skolnick.
Naturally, Hartzler doesn't see any corruption in Oklahoma. "I am 100 percent confident that when this case is resolved, everyone will think that complete and fair due process was obtained by the defendants," Hartlzer told the American Bar Association Journal.
To facilitate this "complete and fair due process," the DoJ transferred Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Richardson from his position as chief bombing and arson prosecutor for the Western District of Oklahoma to the bank robbery detail (where he had no experience). As previously noted, Richardson was the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Sam Khalid for insurance fraud. It was rumored that Richardson, who friends claim had a "very strong sense of conscious," was looking into Khalid's subsequent activities. On August 5, 1997, Richardson "committed suicide."
As previously noted, the number of suspicious deaths skyrocketed in the 1980s, as the government attempted to cover up an increasing pattern of fraudulent and illegal activities.
Even reporters weren't exempt from the DoJ hit-list. On August 10, 1991 reporter Danny Casolaro, who had been investigating the Inslaw scandal and a related web of corruption he called "The Octopus," was found dead in his Martinsburg, West Virginia hotel room. Casolaro was there to meet with a witness who was supposed to provide the key link between the DoJ and Inslaw.
Like Sergeant Yeakey, Casolaro's wrists were slashed numerous times. Like Yeakey, his notes and briefcase were missing. And like Yeakey, the death was immediately ruled a suicide by police, who made no attempt to contact Casolaro's family before ordering an immediate and unprecedented embalming of the body. A team of contract cleaners was brought in to scour clean the hotel room from top to bottom, eliminating all forensic evidence.
The death of Casolaro led to an investigation by the Congressional Subcommittee on Economic and Commercial Law, headed by Representative Jack Brooks (D-Texas). The report stated:
Instead of conducting an investigation into Inslaw's claims that criminal wrongdoing by high level government officials had occurred, Attorney Generals Meese and Thornbugh blocked or restricted Congressional inquires into the matter, ignored the findings of two courts and refused to ask for the appointment of an independent counsel. These actions were taken in the face of a growing body of evidence that serious wrongdoing had occurred which reached to the highest levels of the Department. The evidence received by the committee during its investigation clearly raises serious concerns about the possibility that a high level conspiracy against Inslaw did exist and that great efforts have been expended by the Department to block any outside investigation into the matter.
The DoJ also prosecuted a key witness in the Inslaw case, Michael Riconosciuto, who was set up on phony drug charges to prevent him from testifying. The Congressional committee probing the matter noted:
[A DEA agent] reassignment in 1990 to a DEA intelligence position in the State of Washington, prior to Michael Riconosciuto's March 1991 arrest there on drug charges, was more than coincidental… The agent was assigned to Riconosciuto's home state to manufacture a case against him. Mr. Coleman stated he believes this was done to prevent Mr. Riconosciuto from becoming a credible witness concerning the U.S. government's covert sale of PROMIS to foreign governments.
Another example of selective prosecution on behalf of DoJ is Juval Aviv, owner of the investigative firm Interfor. A former Israeli intelligence agent, Aviv was hired to look into the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. His report was directly at odds with the government's "official" conclusions — that two Libyan terrorists were responsible for the bombing. Aviv discovered that not only had U.S. officials been specifically warned of the ensuing attack, but may have had direct complicity in the murder of 270 people.
For his embarrassing disclosures, Aviv was targeted for prosecution, and investigated by the very same FBI agents who "investigated" the Pan Am case. To punish Aviv, DoJ fabricated evidence that Interfor had defrauded G.E. Capital Corporation, a client who was completely satisfied with Interfor's work, and hadn't even filed a complaint against the firm.
Nevertheless, in 1995, the DoJ indicted Aviv on three counts of defrauding G.E. — charges for which he was unanimously acquitted. In his ruling opinion, the judge wrote:
The chronology of the investigation, the fact that it is resulting from no external complaint whatsoever but simply internally within the FBI as far as any witness has testified, leads to an inference that it was generated from some other sources, and the only source in the record so far for which any such purpose could be ascribed is the report in the other case, in the Lockerbie case.
Yet DoJ wasn't finished with Aviv. They canceled their contract with Interfor and began a systematic campaign to intimidate his clients. Interfor was financially devastated. The U.S. government, through the DoJ, believed that by intimidating people such as Juval Aviv, they could prevent public knowledge of their complicity in the murder of 270 innocent people.
As in Oklahoma City, witnesses who knew too much about Pan Am 103, or those who possessed politically inconvenient facts, were intimidated. Five years on, volunteers and policemen who participated in the search remained recalcitrant — most so those who had searched the area where the heroin was found.
The "Justice" Department also brutally attacked Pan Am's lawyers, attempting to sanction them with huge fines for daring to challenge the government's case.
The government went after Allan Francovitch, producer of the award-winning documentary on Pan Am 103, The Maltese Double Cross, which was due to premiere at the 1994 London Film Festival. Strangely, for the first time in its 38 year history, the festival pulled the film at the last minute.
Suspiciously, a few weeks after the film previewed at London's alternative Angle Gallery, it suffered a major fire.
One day before the film was to air on Channel 4, both the Scottish Crown Office and the U.S. Embassy sent every national and Scottish newspaper a press pack smearing four of the film's interviewers.
Within days of film being broadcast, Juval Aviv was indicted on fraud charges. His attorney, Gerald Shargel, applied for a dismissal on the grounds of selective prosecution. Even the judge was forced to condemn the prosecution's arguments as "pathetic" and "dishonest."
Allan Francovitch wasn't so lucky. Within minutes of arriving in the United States to testify at Aviv's trial, he was detained by Customs agents in a private interrogation room, and dropped dead on the spot. All evidence and documents in Francovitch's brief case were found "missing" from the scene. Francovitch had been working on three other documentaries at the time, including a devestating exposé of the U.S. atrocites in Panama.
For his role in revealing the truth, former DIA agent Lester Coleman would be arrested on fabricated passport charges and forced to seek asylum with his family in Sweden.
In Oklahoma, ATF informant Carol Howe would be arrested on trumped up charges and forced to take refuge inside a jail cell, her testimony of the bombing blocked from even her own trial.
While reporter Danny Casolaro was murdered investigating matters related to Inslaw and BCCI, he was also checking on a lead provided to him by Lester Coleman.
Curiously, Pan Am has never been able to review those documents which the government claims would merely show its "innocence." Like so many other heinous crimes, the government sought to hide its wrongdoing under the catch-all of "national security." The government, claiming it had nothing to hide, conspired with Federal Judge Thomas Platt to deny Pan Am's discovery requests on the grounds of "national security." As Pan Am's lawyer, James Shaughnessy, wrote in opposition to the government's motion to dismiss the company's third party liability suit:
The government has fought strenuously and successfully for three years to prevent any discovery of it.… Now, the government seeks millions of dollars of sanctions to punish and bankrupt my firm and me for having the temerity not only to assert claims against the government but also for even seeking discovery from the government.…
The government condemns as sanctionable any view of the facts that differs from its own. In effect, what the government condemns is defendants' refusal to blindly adopt its version of the facts despite the government's refusal to produce the evidence from which defendants could have determined whether the government's version of the facts was correct.…
The government expects this blind trust even though we had information from multiple sources that conflicted with the government's sweeping assertions and that suggested the government was responsible for the failure to prevent the bombing.…
Seven years later, the DoJ and FBI would ask the victims in Oklahoma City for this same blind trust — lying about their prior knowledge of the attack. Lying about the number of bombs found. Lying about the APB put out on the brown pick-up. Lying about the presence of other suspects. Ignoring witnesses who saw those suspects and trying to get them to change their stories. Tapping people's phones and exhorting them into not talking to the press and defense investigators. And intimidating several witnesses into silence.
In their attempt to frame ATF informant Carol Howe on phony explosives charges, the government was unsuccessful. In his closing argument, Howe's attorney Clark Brewster waved his arms and passionately announced to the jury, "there was no bomb threat here, the only threat here is what the government can do to people when they don't like what you say or what you might say…."
Howe was acquitted.
Many others wouldn't be so fortunate.