"The Oklahoma City Bombing and The Politics of Terror"
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.(972)
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.(973)
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.(974)
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.(975)(976)
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."(977)* 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.(978)
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.(979)*
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.(980)
When Inslaw attempted to sue the DoJ, their attorney was threatened and dismissed from his firm.(981) 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.(982)
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.(983)
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."(984)
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.(985)
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 .(986)
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. (987)
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.(988)
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. "(989)
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.(990)
"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. (991)
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.(992)
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."(993)
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.(994)
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.(995)
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.(996)
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."(997)
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.(998)
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.
"It's a total conspiracy. It has government written all over it."
- Tom Posey, Civilian Military Assistance Group/Iran-Contra Player
April 19, 1995 was, like November 22, 1963, a day that devastated America. Stunned citizens everywhere watched anxiously as another painful drama unfolded before them.
Within minutes of the brutal attack on Oklahoma City, an army of agencies leapt into action. In the White House Situation Room the atmosphere was tense as officials from the National Security Council, the Secret Service, the FBI, ATF, NSA, and CIA all assembled to brief the President.
This crisis team, led by the Justice Department, linked up to command centers around the globe, monitored by a plethora of intelligence agencies on extra-high alert. The FBI, the CIA's Directorate of Operations and their domestic arm, the National Resources Division, sent agents hither and yonder in a frantic and desperate search for information concerning the catastrophic attack.
In a quite Maryland suburb, one former CIA official sat back and calmly monitored the ensuing chaos. He picked up his pipe, casually adjusted the volume on his television, and leaned back in his comfortable leather chair.
Two thousand miles away in Albuquerque, D'Ferdinand Carone, the daughter of former police detective, CIA operative, and Mafia bag-man, "Big Al" Carone, picked up the telephone and dialed a very private number.
A half a continent away, the former CIA Deputy Director of Covert Operations tapped the contents of his pipe into an ashtray, hit the mute button on his remote control, and answered the phone.
Carone had been trying to reach Theodore Shackley for over two weeks. As they talked, her attention was suddenly diverted by a horrible scene. What appeared to be an office building lay smoldering in ruins. People and sirens were screaming in the background as bodies were carted away by ambulance.
"I said, 'oh my God, they bombed Oklahoma!'
"This was about the time they were talking about the plane they stopped in Heathrow [with Abraham Ahmed], and I said, 'here we go again.'
Carone was referring of course to the World Trade Center bombing by a group of Mid-East terrorists. She assumed that this was more of the same.
"And Ted said, 'Now wouldn't you find it interesting if you found out it was terrorists from here?'
"I said, 'excuse me?'
"And he said, 'just what I said.'
"Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I got the distinct feeling that he knew who it was, and that it actually had something to do with the Agency."(999)
While scores of intelligence and law-enforcement agencies scoured the globe for clues as to who had bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Building, one man in a small office in Maryland seemed to have the answer.(1000)
How did he know?
"The covert operators that I ran with would blow up a 747 with 300 people to kill one person. They are total sociopaths with no conscious whatsoever." - Former Pentagon CID Investigator Gene Wheaton
On December 21, 1988, in the tiny town of Lockerbie, Scotland, 270 lives came to a traumatic and fiery end when Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the skies. Two hundred and fifty-nine people plunged to their deaths, and 11 more died on the ground.
Several minutes before flight 103 took off from London's Heathrow airport, FBI Assistant Director Oliver "Buck" Revell rushed out to the tarmac and pulled his son and daughter-in-law off the plane.(1001)
How did he know?
Perhaps Revell's intimate knowledge derived from his relationship with Lt. Colonel Oliver North. In March of 1986, North advised Attorney General Edwin Meese to head off the FBI's ensuing investigation into Iran-Contra. Meese informed Revell. Consequently, North managed to keep abreast of the FBI's investigation by conveniently receiving copies of all FBI files.(1002)
Widely known for his inestimable and illegal support of the Contras, North (along with General Richard Secord and Iranian Albert Hakim) was a business associate of Syrian arms and drug runner Monzer al-Kassar. For his role in shipping Polish arms to North's mercenary army, al-Kassar became the recipient of North's undying gratitude [and laundered drug proceeds].(1003)
Like so many criminals, drug-dealers, and mass-murderers the CIA had cozied up to over the years, al-Kassar enjoyed the highly valued status of CIA "asset."
Al-Kassar was also closely aligned with Rifat Assad, brother of Syrian dictator Hafez Assad. Assad's daughter Raja was Kassar's mistress, and had once been married to Abu Abbas, a colleague of the notorious terrorist Abu Nidal. Rifat himself was married to the sister of Ali Issa Dubah, chief of Syrian intelligence, who, along with the Syrian army, controlled most of the opium production in Lebanon's Bekka Valley. The drug profits financed various terrorist groups, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), run by former Syrian army officer Ahmed Jibril.(1004)
Al-Kassar also acted as middleman in the ransom paid by the French to effect the release of two hostages held in Beirut. Given his assistance in securing the release of those hostages, the CIA believed al-Kassar would prove invaluable in negotiating the release of the six American hostages then being held in Lebanon.(1005)*
In return for this favor, al-Kassar's drug pipeline to the United States would be protected by the CIA. This would not prove difficult, as the DEA was already using Pan Am flights out of Frankfort, Germany for "controlled delivery" shipments of heroin. Realizing they couldn't halt the flow of drugs coming out of Lebanon, the DEA utilized the controlled shipments, escorted through customs by DEA couriers, as part of a sting operation, with the intention of catching the dealers in the U.S.(1006)
Negotiation with individuals like Monzer al-Kassar had only one drawback: al-Kassar was closely linked, not only with the terrorist-sponsoring Syrian government, but with groups such Ahmed Jibril's PFLP-GC. Jibril, was also aligned with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which had a somewhat different agenda than al-Kassar.
On July 3, 1988, less than six months before the Pan Am 103 bombing, the U.S.S. Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner over the Straits of Hormuz, killing all 290 people on board. Assuming the plane was a hostile craft, the captain of the Vincennes, Will Rodgers III, gave the command to fire.
While the people of Iran grieved, the officer responsible for the fatal mistake was awarded a medal.(1007)
Under Islamic law, the crime had to be avenged. As Juval Aviv of Interfor stated in his report, "It was known at the time that the contract was out to down an American airliner."
That contract--$10 million dollars--was given to Ahmed Jibril.(1008) Jibril had already established a base of operations in Neuss, Germany, not far from Frankfort. Central to his cell was one Marwan Abdel Razzack Khreeshat. Khreeshat's specialty was in building small, sophisticated bombs incorporating timing mechanisms capable of detonating at pre-determined altitudes.
By mid-October 1988, Jibril was ready. Khreeshat had assembled five bombs, built into Toshiba radio-cassette players. However, the German police were watching Khreesat. On October 26, Khreesat and 14 other PFLP-GC suspects were rounded up in an operation code-named "Autumn Leaves." One of the bombs was seized. Yet four more remained at large.
While in custody, Khreesat demanded to make a phone call, then refused to answer any questions. Within hours, he was mysteriously released.(1009)
The incident is strikingly similar to the arrest of "neo-Nazi terrorist" Andreas Strassmeir on traffic charges in February of 1992. "Boy, we caught hell over that one," recalled tow-truck driver, Kenny Pence. "The phone calls came in from the State Department, the Governor's office, and someone called and said he had diplomatic immunity. "(1010)
Similar calls were made on behalf of Khreesat. Former CIA agent Oswald Le Winter, who investigated the case, stated, " pressure had come from Bonn from the U.S. Embassy in Bonn to release Khreesat."
It seems that both Strassmeir and Khreesat were operatives of U.S. intelligence. "I had spoken to a German reporter who refuses to go on camera," adds Le Winter, "but who is very close to federal intelligence sources in Germany, who assured me that Khreesat was an agent of the Jordanian service, and an asset of the Central Intelligence Agency."(1011)
Given the close relationship between the Jordanians and the CIA, this is not surprising. Yet it appeared Khreesat wasn't only reporting to the Jordanians and the Americans; he was also reporting to Ahmed Jibril.
Two months before the bombing, Jibril and al-Kassar were spotted by a Mossad agent dining at a Lebanese restaurant in Paris. Jibril was hoping to use al-Kassar's controlled drug shipments through Frankfort to effect the delivery of a bomb. The problem: how to protect the drug shipments while at the same time extract revenge on the Americans? Al-Kassar preferred the former option, but, due to political pressure, he grudgingly agreed to the latter.
While a CIA team in Wiesbaden, code-named "COREA," was negotiating its secret deal with al-Kassar for release of the hostages (and protecting his drug route), a second team, led by Major Charles McKee of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and Matthew Gannon, the CIA's Deputy Station Chief in Beirut, had traveled to Lebanon to assess the odds for a military-style rescue operation.(1012)
According to Aviv's report, McKee's team had, while reconnoitering for the release of the hostages, stumbled onto the first team's illegal drug operation. McKee refused to participate. When he and Gannon contacted their control in Washington, they received no reply. Against orders, they decided to fly home to blow the whistle. According to Aviv:
They had communicated back to Langley the facts and names, and reported their film of the hostage locations. CIA did nothing. No reply. The team was outraged, believing that its rescue and their lives would be endangered by the double dealing.
By mid-December the team became frustrated and angry and made plans to return to the U.S. with their photos and evidence to inform the government, and to publicize their findings if the government covered up.
They never arrived. That night, Pan Am flight 103 was blown out of the skies.
Was the death of McKee, Gannon, and five others on their team an unfortunate coincidence, or did someone want to ensure that they didn't reveal the carefully guarded secrets of the Octopus?(1013)(1014)
Given the ample and specific warnings received by the U.S. Government from the BKA, the Mossad, and a Palestinian informant named Samra Mahayoun, it would seem the latter.(1015)*
Whatever the case, it is indisputable that U.S. authorities were warned of the attack, and failed to stop it.
Was their failure deliberate?
"Do I think the CIA was involved?" asked a government Mideast Intelligence specialist quoted in the financial weekly, Barron's. "Of course they were involved. And they screwed up. Was the operation planned by the top? Probably not. I doubt they sanctioned heroin importation--that came about at the more zealous lower levels. But they knew what was going on and didn't care." The expert added that his agency has "things that support Aviv's allegation, but we can't prove it. We have no smoking gun. And until the other agencies of the government open their doors, we will have no smoking gun."
The Lockerbie bombing was not the first time authorities were warned in advance of a pending terrorist attack. The situation would repeat itself five years later in New York City, and seven years later in Oklahoma.
It was an all too eerie coincidence.
Typically, U.S. authorities disingeniously denied receiving any warnings, as they would later do in New York and Oklahoma. Yet, as in those cases, evidence of prior knowledge would eventually become known. "It subsequently came to me on further inquiries that they hadn't ignored [the warnings]," said a Pan Am security officer. "A number of VIPs were pulled off that plane. A number of intelligence operatives were pulled off that plane."
Due to the warnings posted in U.S. embassies by the State Department (but not forwarded to Pan Am), many government employees avoided the flight. In fact, the large 747 was only two-thirds full that busy holiday evening. South African president Peter Botha and several high-ranking officials were advised by state security forces to change their reservations at the last hour. The South African State Security forces have a close relationship with the CIA.(1016)
Just as they would do in Oklahoma, government officials promised a complete and thorough investigation. Stated Oliver "Buck" Revell, who headed up the Bureau's investigation: "All of us working on the case made it a very, very personal priority of the first order."
Fronting for the CIA, Vince Cannistraro chimed in: "I had personal friends on that plane who died. And I assure you that I wanted to find the perpetrators of that disaster as much as anyone wanted to."
As in Oklahoma City, this would become the catch-all phrase that would set everything right and prove the government had no involvement. Of course, this would be somewhat difficult in Revell's case, since he pulled his son and daughter-in-law off the plane minutes before it took off. (This was suspiciously reminiscent of the ATF agents who were paged not to come into work on April 19.)
Interestingly, Revell was the FBI's lead investigator in the crash of an Arrow Air DC-8 which exploded on December 12, 1985 in Gander, Newfoundland, with the loss of all 248 personnel. As in Oklahoma City, that site was quickly bulldozed, destroying crucial forensic evidence, with an Army official maintaining a watchful eye at all times.(1017)
Hiding behind the cover-up was the same cast of characters--Oliver North, Duane "Dewy" Clarridge, and Vince Cannistraro--who was North's deputy at the NSC during Iran-Contra, and would later appear in Lockerbie. The same cast of characters that lurked behind the scandals in Nicaragua and Iran, and would appear like ghostly apparitions in the smoldering ruins of Oklahoma City.(1018)
It was also an act that the U.S. Shadow Government, responsible for precipitating, was anxious to cover up. Had the true cause of the crash--North's double-dealing with the Iranians--been revealed, the Iran-Contra scandal would have surfaced two years before it did.
Oliver "Buck" Revell would be on hand to make sure it didn't.
Three years later, in Lockerbie, the government was still claiming it's hands were clean. Yet it vigorously protested Pan Am's attempts to subpoena warning memos and other documents that would have revealed the government's foreknowledge, just as it did in Oklahoma.
Simply stated, the attack on Pan Am 103 was in retaliation for the downing of the Iranian airbus. The reason for targeting Pan Am was simple: the airline was regularly used by al-Kassar's operatives to ferry drugs. It would be a simple matter to switch a suitcase containing drugs for one containing a bomb.
That appears to be just what happened. According to Lester Knox Coleman, III, a former DIA agent in Cyprus seconded to the DEA: "I knew from the conversations around me in '88, that he (Lebanese drug courier Khalid Jaffar) was involved in the controlled deliveries. There's no doubt in my mind about that at all. When I found he was on 103 and was killed, and there was a controlled delivery going through at the time, and I knew the security problems the DEA had, and the relationships they had with the people in Lebanon, with the issues involving security, it was very simple for me to put one and one together and get the big two--that the DEA's operation had a role in all this."(1019)
According to Juval Aviv, the drug suitcase was switched at Frankfort, where Turkish baggage handlers working for al-Kassar had been regularly switching bags for those containing heroin.(1020)* As the Interfor report stated:
On December 21, 1988, a BKA surveillance agent watching the Pan Am flight's loading noticed that the "drug" suitcase substituted was different in make, shape, material and color from that used for all previous drug shipments. This one was a brown Samsonite case. He, like the other BKA agents on the scene, had been extra alert due to all the bomb tips. Within an hour or so before takeoff he phoned in a report as to what he had seen, saying something was very wrong.(1021)
The BKA reported this to the CIA team in Wiesbaden, who, strangely, did not reply. According to Aviv, "[The CIA unit] reported to its control. CONTROL REPLIED: DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, DON'T STOP IT, LET IT GO." *
Apparently, the CIA team "did not want to blow its surveillance operation and undercover penetration or to risk the al-Kassar hostage release operation," wrote Aviv. It seemed the CIA figured the BKA would intercept the terrorists, keeping the CIA out of the picture, thereby maintaining its cover.
Yet this explanation hardly seems credible. The BKA had informed the CIA about the threat--a threat to one of its own planes. They also knew the Americans were running a sensitive undercover operation, and must have assumed the Americans would want to handle the situation themselves.
Moreover, there is no indication that the CIA had instructed the BKA or any other German authorities to stop the bombing. The question is: why not? Certainly the CIA wouldn't blow its cover by asking the BKA to intercede, as they were already aware of the CIA/DEA operation.
This raises even more disturbing questions. Had the CIA "control" in Washington, monitoring the situation, purposely allowed the bombing to occur? Was the McKee team, about to blow the whistle on the Octopus, specifically targeted for elimination? Had Middle Eastern terrorists knowingly or unknowingly conspired with the Octopus in eliminating a group of pesky whistle blowers?(1022)
Strangely, after the crash, large numbers of American "rescue" personnel began showing up rather quickly. As one searcher, a member of a mountain rescue team recalled: "We arrived within two hours [of the crash]. We found Americans already there."(1023)
The first to appear was an FBI agent. According to George Stobbs, a Lockerbie police inspector, "[I] started to set up a control room, and [between] eleven o'clock and midnight, there was a member of the FBI in the office who came in, introduced herself to me, and sat down--and just sat there the rest of the night. That was it."(1024)*
Was this so-called FBI agent there to observe the Scottish police's investigation, and report any conflicting findings back to her superiors?
Tom Dalyell, a member of British Parliament, remarked: " Absolutely swarms of Americans [were] fiddling with the bodies, and shall we say tampering with those things the police were carefully checking themselves. They weren't pretending, saying they were from the FBI or CIA, they were just 'Americans' who seemed to arrive very quickly on the scene."
The scenario was eerily similar to that in Oklahoma City, where rescue workers and bomb squad technicians seemingly appeared out of thin air.
Recall that Oklahoma City eyewitness Debra Burdick, who was near ground zero when the bomb went off, said: "And right after that, here comes the Bomb Squad, before the ambulances and the Fire Department."
"They would have had to have had some kind of warning to respond that quick, said Burdick's husband, "because they would have had to get in their gear and everything."(1025)
As mentioned previously, Burdick wasn't the only one who saw federal agents and rescue personnel arrive a bit too quickly. J.D. Reed, who was in the County Office Building when the bomb went off, later wrote: "The paramedics and firemen were already at work. How could they move so quickly? They were there by the time we got down to the street!"(1026)
Then there was Sergeant Yeakey's ominous letter to his friend Ramona McDonald, which stated: "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. "
In Lockerbie, a number of American agents--some wearing Pan Am jumpsuits--were desperately searching for something. As Dalyell recalled: "It was odd and strange that so many people should be involved in moving bodies, looking at luggage, who were not members of the investigating force. What were they looking for so carefully? You know, this was not just searching carefully for loved ones. It was far more than that. It was careful examination of luggage and indeed bodies."(1027)
Dr. David Fieldhouse, the local police surgeon, identified Major McKee early on. "I knew that [the identification of] McKee was absolutely correct because of the clothing which correlated closely with the other reports and statements, and the computers that were linked up to Washington."(1028)
This would subsume that Washington knew exactly what McKee--who hadn't told Control he was coming--was wearing. In other words, it means he was under surveillance by the Octopus.
Fieldhouse also tagged over 58 bodies. "I later learned that when the bodies were taken to the mortuary, all the labels which had been put on them had been removed with the exception of two," said Fieldhouse, "but all the rest had been removed and discarded."(1029)
A similar incident would occur in Oklahoma City. After nurse Toni Garret took a break from tagging dead bodies, she walked back to the makeshift morgue that had been set up in a nearby church. "When we came back in, there was a cold, callous atmosphere," said Garret. "I found out later that the FBI had taken over. "
Not only had the FBI taken over, but for some reason, they were suppressing the body count, which they originally claimed as only 22 dead. This enraged Garret, who had personally tagged over 120 bodies. While giving a news interview, FBI agents rushed over and told her to stop. Garret recalled the scene: "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."(1030)
In Lockerbie, police officers and military personnel would be prohibited under the Official Secrets Act from talking about what they had witnessed.
Just what had they seen that was so sensitive?
Jim Wilson knows. A local farmer, Wilson told relatives of Pan Am victims that he was present "when the drugs were found." The Tundergarth farmer had discovered a suitcase packed with heroin in one of his fields. Worried that it might harm his sheep, he informed local police, who notified the Americans, who then raced to the scene in an all-terrain vehicle. Wilson noted that the Americans seemed extremely angry that the drugs had not been discovered earlier by their own personnel.
One Scottish police officer who did speak out said that his department had been told to keep an eye out for the drugs early on. He also overheard American personnel say that there was a drug courier on the plane--Khalid Jaffar--one of the Lebanese informants used by the DEA.(1031)
Had the heroin belonged to Jaffar? Since the drug suitcase had been switched at Frankfort, it would seem unlikely. A more probable explanation is that it belonged to Gannon or McKee--evidence of the illegal operation being run by the Octopus.
It would certainly explain why U.S. officials were so desperate to find the suitcase before the Scottish authorities did. Once located, the heroin was removed, and the bag placed back in its original position like nothing had happened.
In Oklahoma City, 10 hours after the blast(s), federal agents halted rescue efforts to remove files from the building. While limited numbers of rescue workers were constrained to the lower right side of the building, between 40 and 50 federal agents began carting away boxes of files from the ATF and DEA offices.
"You'd think they would have let their evidence and files sit at least until the last survivor was pulled out," one angry rescue worker told the New York Daily News.(1032)
Then, approximately 10 days after the blast, two white trucks pulled up to the postal annex across from the Murrah Building that was being used to store emergency supplies. A dozen men in black unmarked uniforms, wearing ski masks and carrying submachine guns, jumped out and formed a protective corridor to the building. Others, wearing blue nylon windbreakers and carrying hand-held radios, formed an outer perimeter. As a witness watched, he observed "box after box of what appeared to be files or documents in boxes [that] were loaded on the unmarked trucks that looked like Ryder rental trucks, but were white."(1033)
The witness, a Tulsa Fire Captain who was filming the site of the explosion, was told by one of the agents to put down his camera. His film was later confiscated.
What were in the boxes--boxes that were originally stored in the Federal Building--that over a dozen mysteriously anonymous federal agents armed with submachine guns were so anxious to secrete into hiding? Were they files that were being taken away to be destroyed or to be protected? And by whom?
The public would never learn of this bizarre incident, just as they would never learn of the Mid-Eastern connection, the numerous John Does, the prior warnings of Cary Gagan and Carol Howe, and the elaborate cover-up. The government had convicted their man--Timothy James McVeigh--just as they had done with Lee Harvey Oswald 34 years ago. The victims who subscribed to the government's version of the case could now begin to experience a sense of "closure," whether they had learned the truth or not.
Five years before, the government had attempted to provide "closure" to the Pan Am bombing by announcing its newly discovered "evidence"--a tiny piece of microchip allegedly linked to the bomb. This new evidence, discovered in a remote field ten months after the crash, would conclusively prove, the government claimed, that Libyan terrorists had destroyed the plane.
Like the evidence of McVeigh's racing fuel purchases which suddenly came to light 18 months after the bombing, or the startling new "revelations" of Eldon Elliott, Thomas Manning, and Daina Bradley, this "new evidence" would help the government divert attention from the true perpetrators of the crime.
Interestingly, Tom Thurman, the FBI lab technician who matched the chip--a tiny charred fragment that had miraculously survived two Scottish Winters--would later be accused of perjury in unrelated cases.
Nevertheless, the discovery was hailed as a major find. Vince Cannistraro, the CIA Counter terrorism Chief on the National Security Council, was the front-man for new "Libyan" theory.
"The principle avenues that led to identification of a foreign role in an act of terrorism," Cannistraro quipped with mock assurance, "was forensic evidence recovered by the Scottish police at Lockerbie themselves. Investigators and townspeople on their hands and knees, crawling along the countryside, picking up minute bits of debris. And one of those bits of debris turned out to be a microchip, which was analyzed microscopically that led to the Libyan connection."
Like the Ryder truck axle in Oklahoma City that was allegedly discovered by several different people, so the microchip would have a confusing and contradictory bevy of claimants. "Three of his people (FBI agents) had sworn that they had found this piece in a piece of a coat and had signed a paper to this effect," stated Bollier. "I later heard that it was the Scottish police who had found the piece in a shirt that came from Malta." Yet in spite of this, the Scotts would attempt to have a townsperson sign a statement that he had found the chip.(1034)
Yet the townsperson whom the FBI claimed had discovered the chip could not even recall finding it. The man, named "Bobby," said "I got a call from a policeman asking if he could come down to my home, and would I sign to say that I picked those [items] up. He brought with him three small bags about the size of an eight-by-five piece of paper, one of which contained an item of cloth, one of which contained a brown piece which looked very much like a piece of plastic, the third piece I couldn't tell what it was."
Had the chip been planted by the FBI? The Bureau admitted that it already possessed two such timers, confiscated from two Libyans in Dakar and Senegal in 1986. The incident was remarkably similar to the Oklahoma City bombing witnesses who were coerced into signing statements that differed from what they actually saw.
Yet British authorities would willingly cooperate with the U.S. as the result of a phone call made by President Bush to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. According to Washington Post syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, the two heads of state agreed that the investigation should be "limited" in order to avoid compromising the two nations' intelligence communities.(1035)
For his part, Cannistraro had developed, along with NSC staffers Howard Teicher and Oliver North, the Reagan-inspired propaganda policy of destroying the Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. As Bob Woodward wrote in the Washington Post:
Vincent M. Cannistraro, a veteran CIA operations officer and director of intelligence on the National Security Council staff, and Howard R. Teicher, the director of the office of political military affairs in the NSC, supported the disinformation and deception plan .
"I developed the policy toward Libya," said Cannistraro. "In fact, I even wrote the draft paper that was later adopted by the President."(1036)
In spite of the obvious propaganda ploy, the evidence against Libya was dubious at best. Even more dubious was the government's theory of how the bomb got on board. According to "Buck" Revell, the bomb, built by two Libyan intelligence agents--Abdel Basset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhima--was placed inside a suitcase and smuggled into the airport at Malta, and tagged for its final destination to JFK airport in New York. It then flew, unaccompanied, to Frankfort, where it changed planes, also unaccompanied, then flew to London, where it managed to change planes again, only to explode over Lockerbie.
Like the specter of two lone amateurs with a fertilizer bomb, the government actually expects the public to believe that a sensitive altitude-triggered time-bomb managed to pass through three countries unaccompanied, pass through security and customs checks, change planes twice, then detonate at precisely the right moment over its target destination!
Such a suggestion, even to the uninitiated, is ridiculous.
And there was no evidence to support it. According to Dennis Phipps, former head of security for British Airways: " the records of handling of that fight were made available for me to see. There was no evidence of any unaccompanied bags. All of the bags that were carried as passenger baggage on that flight, had to be checked in by a passenger who actually traveled on the flight."
Said Michael Jones, Pan Am's London Security Chief: "I've never seen any documentation whatsoever, produced by Pan Am or anybody else, showing there was any interlying baggage to Pan Am from the Air Malta flight "
Even the FBI's own telex, dated October 23, 1989, stated:
To Director, FBI, Priority--Records there is no concrete indication that any piece of luggage was unloaded from Air Malta 100 sent through the luggage routing at Frankfort airport then loaded on board Pan Am 103.
In fact, it is absurd to suggest that trained intelligence agents or even clever terrorists would opt for such a far-fetched and risky plan. Especially given the security measures regarding unaccompanied bags, which would have surely aroused suspicion. This premise becomes even more ludicrous considering the unexpected delays inherent in Winter holiday flights. How had the bomb, after passing through three countries, managed to arm itself and detonate at precisely the right moment?
Miraculously, eight months after the bombing, a baggage print-out was obtained by the BKA showing an unaccompanied bag that had been transferred from Air Malta.
The government finally had its "evidence."(1037)
Just as they had suddenly dropped the Middle Eastern lead in Oklahoma, the government was now switching tracks and blaming the Libyans for the Pan Am bombing. But why? Why, after two years of solid evidence pointing to Syrian and Iranian involvement, was the government now blaming Libya--and on such flimsy pretenses?
Naturally, like the theory of McVeigh's "revenge for Waco," the government had a handy explanation: Libya's motive for the attack stemmed from the April, 1986 U.S. air-raid on Tripoli and Benghazi, in which over 37 civilians, including Qaddafi's infant daughter, were killed. That raid was in retaliation for the bombing of the La Belle Discotheque in Berlin a year earlier, in which two U.S. servicemen and a Turkish woman were killed.(1038)
In fact, the involvement of Libya in the disco bombing was highly questionable. It is also curious why Qaddafi would wait two-and-a-half years to extract his revenge on the Americans for the Benghazi attack.(1039)
Essentially, government's desire to implicate Libya for the bombing of Pan Am 103 was no different than its desire to implicate the militia for the bombing in Oklahoma City. In that case, they claimed, the motive was revenge for the government's atrocities at Waco.(1040)
In fact, President Bush knew perfectly well who had bombed flight 103. Six months after the bombing, Secretary of State James Baker visited with Syrian Foreign Intelligence Minister Farouk al-Sharaa. Baker asked:
"What are you doing about the GLC group?"
"What are you talking about," asked al-Sharaa.
"Jibril," answered Baker. "We know they are responsible for Lockerbie. What are you doing about them?"
"How do you know that?"
"We have the evidence," Baker replied. "And the evidence is irrefutable."(1041)
Nevertheless, the government lied to the American people.(1042) The investigation had turned political. In July of 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. President Bush began forming his Gulf War coalition. Syria, formerly viewed as a terrorist state, was now seen as a necessary ally.
Interestingly, Bush had been quietly making overtures to Syrian President Assad for years. Assad was a bitter enemy of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. In order to bring Syria into the coalition, all evidence pointing to them was dropped. And, in November of 1991, the Libyan theory became the "official" version of the bombing.(1043)
The real story appears somewhat different.
On December 20, an intercept of a call made to the Iranian embassy in Beirut confirmed that an American operative named David Lovejoy (AKA: Michael Franks, Michael Schafer) had spoken to Iranian Chargé d'Affaires Hussein Niknam, and advised him that the McKee team had changed its travel plans and booked passage on flight 103. The next day, Niknam called the Interior Ministry in Teheran and passed on Frank's information.(1044)
The DEA was also monitoring McKee, and separately informed the CIA in Washington, British MI6, and the CIA team in Wiesbaden.(1045)
Al-Kassar's operatives had also observed Gannon making travel arrangements in Nicosia, and reported this to their CIA handlers in Wiesbaden. This wasn't difficult, as the DEA's "controlled delivery" operation, run by DEA Station Chief Michael T. Hurley in Cyprus, utilized Arab informants, some of whom, according to Coleman, were reporting back to Ahmed Jibril.(1046)
As one source familiar with the case said, "Every spook in Europe knew that McKee and Gannon were flying home on flight 103."
Yet while the McKee team was obviously compromised, the question begging to be answered is, who is Michael Franks? And why did Franks inform the Iranian embassy, a bitter enemy of the U.S., of McKee's travel plans?
An associate of Oliver North, Franks worked for Overseas Press Service (OPS) a television consultancy firm run by W. Dennis Suit. A former CIA operative in Central America, Suit was an associate of North, William Casey, Jack Singlaub, Jack Terrell, and Contra leaders Adolfo and Mario Calero. Lester Coleman aptly described him as a representative of North's "Georgia Mafia."
In other words, Franks worked for the Octopus.
Sent to Cyprus by OPS as a "cameraman," Franks was in a perfect position to monitor the activities of the DEA.
The other question begging to be answered is: who at the CIA Control in Washington (not their headquarters in Langley) told the CIA team in Wiesbaden: "DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, DON'T STOP IT, LET IT GO"?(1047)
It has been argued by apologists for the CIA that the Agency didn't stop the bombing because it didn't want to compromise its hostage-rescue mission--an operation being run by the Octopus in collusion with Monzer al-Kassar. Essentially, we are asked to accept the idea that the CIA was ready to sacrifice the lives of 270 people so as not to risk the opportunity to free six people.
A more plausible explanation is that the Octopus didn't want to compromise its profitable drug and gun running operation--an operation that traces its roots from the Corsican Mafia, through the Hmong tribesman in Laos, to the Mujahadeen in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and finally to the cartels in Columbia and Mexico. It is an enterprise run by many of the same spooks that ran the Cold War, channeling billions of taxpayer dollars into the military/industrial establishment, while funneling thousands of tons of heroin and cocaine into our cities' streets.(1048)
As intelligence analyst Dave Emory notes, "When federal intelligence agencies in the United States decide to move in a particular direction--or when a faction of them decides to move in a particular direction--they do so when to move in that direction would scratch a number of different itches at different levels simultaneously."(1049)
By passing on the travel plans of the McKee team to the Iranians, Franks allowed Ahmed Jibril to bomb the plane, eliminating McKee and Gannon in the process, and preventing exposure of the Octopus. At the same time, the Iranians got revenge for the shootdown of their airliner, and the drug dealers kept their operation relatively intact.
Using the Iranians as proxies permitted the Octopus to maintain "plausible deniability."
Describing how proxies or "cut-outs" are used in assassination work, 25-year DEA veteran Mike Levine said, " when you say 'they wouldn't do it,' surely you don't think that the Sicilian Mafia (to use an example) sends out a couple of Italians to do a hit on a U.S. Attorney that they could link directly back? No, absolutely not. What they might do is use what's left of [August] Record's organization (a drug dealer in South America), they might talk to an Italian who lives in Paraguay or Monte Madeo, he then talks to the son of a German who lives in Paraguay. An arrangement is made. They want them hurt. This organization finds out that this guy's wife is flying on a plane. Not that that's happened. I'm giving you a scenario that's the way it's done. We're living in a world where murder has become very, very high-tech, very convoluted, with cut-outs
"TWA, Pan Am 103--this is the perfect M.O. of this organization," adds Levine. "Not that they (Ricord) did it, but when they did things, there was no way it would ever go back to them, because they would do it for someone else."(1050)
In the case of Pan Am 103, it appeared that the Octopus was more interested in covering up its involvement with drug smugglers than in securing the release of American hostages. And it was willing to sacrifice 270 lives to do so.
"There were people in a position of authority that knew something was going to come down, and they didn't do anything about it and people got killed." - Tom G., 22-year CIA/DIA veteran
The logistical apparatus which allowed the PFLP-GC to bomb flight 103 was a controlled drug delivery at Frankfort airport--a sting operation run with the full knowledge of American, German, and Israeli intelligence. It was a sting operation that had been penetrated by Middle Eastern terrorists intent on wrecking havoc.
In Oklahoma City, another sting operation was underway. Like the DEA's controlled delivery of drugs through Frankfort, the ATF and the FBI would seek to utilize a "controlled delivery" of a bomb in Oklahoma City.
As previously discussed, the FBI, ATF, and U.S. Marshals, all had ample prior warning. Not only had the Marshals Service been warned of a Fatwa against American installations as a result of the World Trade Center convictions, but the FBI had received warnings from the Israelis, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, and their own informant, Cary Gagan, concerning threats against federal buildings in Phoenix, Denver, and Oklahoma City.
Additionally, ATF informant Carol Howe had specifically warned authorities about a neo-Nazi plan to blow up a federal building in either Tulsa or Oklahoma City as far back as November of '94.(1051)
As the fateful day drew closer, the warnings began pouring in. Judge Wayne Alley, whose office sits across from the Murrah Building, was warned several weeks prior to the blast by "security officials" to take "extra precautions." The federal judge, who was not in his office at the time, but whose clerks were injured in the blast, told the Portland Oregonian, "Of all the days for this to happen, it's absolutely an amazing coincidence." When asked to discuss the nature of the warnings, Alley said, "Let me just say that within the past two or three weeks, information has been disseminated that indicated concerns on the part of people who ought to be a little bit more careful."
This is not surprising. Gagan had warned the FBI as far back as September that federal agents and judges were targeted for assassination. As previously noted, Gagan had been deep inside the Middle Eastern cell involved in the bombing. Gagan informed the feds on September 21, 1994 that his Arab comrades had been cruising Denver in a white Mercury photographing federal agents. Gagan told the author that he was instructed to assassinate Judge Lewis Babcock.(1052)
Had the feds warned Judge Alley? "My subjective impression," said Alley, "was there was a reason for the dissemination of these concerns, strongly suggesting an impending proximate event."(1053)
The Oklahoma City Fire Department, unlike Judge Alley, had the benefit of more specific warnings. On Friday, April 14, the FBI placed a call to Assistant Chief Charles Gaines to warn him of a potential terrorist threat within the next few days.
When Glenn Wilburn confronted Gaines, he was met with a blanket of denial. Wilburn then walked down the hall and confronted Chief Dispatcher Harvey Weathers, who unhesitatingly replied that they had in fact received a warning. Wilburn told him, "Well, you're going to be surprised to learn that Chief Gaines' memory is failing. He says it never happened." Weathers replied, "Well, you asked me and I told you. I'm not going to lie for anybody. A lot of people don't want to get involved in this."(1054)
When Assistant Chief Jon Hansen was later interviewed by KFOR's Jayna Davis, he said he could no longer recall just exactly who had called the Department, but convincingly reassured skeptics, "The FBI came in yesterday and told me it wasn't them."
Yet two reserve Sheriff's deputies on duty at the Murrah Building the night of the bombing, Don Hammons and David Kachendofer, signed sworn affidavits that Representative Ernest Istook (R-OK) told them of the government's prior knowledge. Kachendofer was guarding the northwest corner of the building when Istook approached and chated with him. Kachendofer relates the conversation: "[Istook] made the comment to me, he says, 'Yeah, we knew this was going to happen.'
"And I said, 'Excuse me?'
"And he says, 'Yeah, we knew this was going to happen. We got word through our sources that there is a radical fundamental Islamic group in Oklahoma City and that they were going to bomb the Federal Building.'"(1055)
The day after the bombing, Oklahoma City FBI SAC Bob Ricks (of Waco infamy), managed to keep a straight face while announcing to reporters: "The FBI and Oklahoma City has not received any threats that indicated that a bombing was about to take place."
Like the fox assuring the farmer that he hadn't made off with any chickens, the FBI's claims proved of little solace. Fortunately for the FBI, the audio logs of the Fire Department's incoming calls were mysteriously "erased."(1056)
As The Daily Oklahoman reported on August 14, 1997:
Vance DeWoody, owner of Opal's Answering Service, and his employee, Pat Houser received an anonymous telephone call saying that a bomb was going to go off in the office of the U.S. Secret Service on the ninth floor of the Murrah Building.
Opal's takes calls for the Secret Service. The call came four days before the bombing. Then, on the morning of April 19, the Executive Secretariat's Office of the Justice Department received a mysterious call from someone claiming the Murrah Building had just been blown up 24 minutes before the blast! ABC 20/20 quoted the official government document:
The Department of Justice received a telephone call twenty-four minutes prior to the bombing The caller said, "The Federal Building in Oklahoma City has just been bombed."(1057)
ABC anchor Tom Jarriel noted that "no action was apparently taken" by the Justice Department in response to that strange emergency call minutes before the blast.(1058)
Not long after Bob Rick's announcement, Carol Howe and Cary Gagan would make their presence known--informing the public that the government did indeed have prior knowledge of the attack. To cover themselves, the government only admitted that they had vague, unspecified warnings of the impending plot. As Stephen Jones wrote in his brief of March 25, 1997:
Soon the government's position will revert to the ridiculous and it will only deny any knowledge that the Murrah Building was specifically targeted at 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, to be destroyed by a bomb delivered in a Ryder rental truck by Timothy McVeigh. That is the Federal Government playing word games in order to avoid what is potentially the single most embarrassing and humiliating situation since the public found out that the FBI had an informant inside the terrorist group that bombed the World Trade Center in New York--an informant that actually helped make the bomb--but they bungled the entire situation and did not prevent that tragedy.
Nevertheless, it wouldn't be long before a significant percentage of the population would learn about the suspicious activites in Oklahoma City the morning of April 19. Attorney Daniel J. Adomitis was driving downtown around 7:30 a.m. that morning when he noticed a white bomb squad truck parked on the west side of the courthouse, close to the Murrah Building. Adomitis told the Fort Worth Star/Telegram, "I remember thinking as I passed that, 'Gee, I wonder if they had a bomb threat at the County Courthouse?'"
Norma Smith, who worked at the Federal Courthouse across from the Murrah Building, saw, along with numerous others, the Bomb Squad congregated in the parking lot. Smith recounted her story for her hometown Texas newspaper, the Panola Watchman:
The day was fine, everything was normal when I arrived at 7:45 to begin my day at 8 a.m., but as I walked through my building's parking lot, I remember seeing a bomb squad. I really did not think about it--especially when we did not hear more about it....
There was some talk about the bomb squad among employees in our office. We did wonder what it was doing in our parking lot. Jokingly, I said, "Well I guess we'll find out soon enough"....(1059)
Renee Cooper, whose infant son was killed in the day-care center, was driving down Robinson Street when she saw several men in dark jackets standing in front of the Federal Courthouse. The men's jackets were inscribed with the words "Bomb Squad."
Reporter J.D. Cash spoke with a woman whose brother worked in the Federal Building. "Frantic with worry, Jackie Stiles said she talked to an FBI agent at the scene who told her there had been a bomb threat made against the Murrah Building the previous week."
This fact was also confirmed by Michael Hinton, a former police officer who was staying across the street at the YMCA. Hinton witnessed what appeared to be a bomb threat evacuation of the Murrah Building two weeks earlier.(1060)
Naturally, the Bomb Squad denied being there. In an interview with Jayna Davis, Sheriff J.D. Sharp claimed that the Bomb Squad truck was ten miles away at the time. "I can assure you from the testimony of witnesses and the bomb commander that our bomb unit was not anywhere near the Murrah Building the morning of the blast," said Sharp.
When the author attempted to interview two members of the Bomb Squad, one of them became visibly nervous, and demanded that I speak to his superior. He denied removing additional bombs, or being at the Federal Building early that morning.
The Sheriff's Department later told NBC Extra's Brad Goode that the Bomb Squad was in fact deployed downtown for "training purposes," but claimed they were not in bomb attire. At the same time, the OCPD told Extra the Bomb Squad was not there at all.(1061)
Reporter J.D. Cash received a similar response from Bomb Squad Captain Robert Heady. When confronted with the fact that at least two eye-witnesses saw the Bomb Squad members in their black t-shirts with the words "BOMB SQUAD" emblazoned across their chests in silver-white letters, the captain said, "We don't wear those type shirts."
Interestingly, a videotape made by Deputy Sheriff Melvin Sumter at the scene of the blast shows the Bomb Squad members, along with the captain, in t-shirts with words "BOMB SQUAD" in large silver-white letters written across their chests!
Still, the Bomb Squad would attempt to maintain this duplicitous charade. When he was summoned before the County Grand Jury reinvestigating the blast, Deputy Bill Grimsley claimed that the bomb squad was indeed downtown that morning. Grimsley claimed that he had left the county jail at 7:00 a.m., stopped at the nearby courthouse for a few minutes to take care of an errand, went to McDonald's for breakfast, then drove to the bomb training site ten miles away.
Yet Norma Smith saw the Bomb Squad truck downtown at 7:45 a.m. Renee Cooper saw it five minutes after eight--hardly in keeping with Grimsley's story.
Others, like Oklahoma Private investigator Claude Criss and County Appraiser J.D. Reed saw the Bomb Squad downtown in full gear. "The presence of law enforcement was in the air," said Criss. "It was everywhere downtown that morning."
As previously discussed, Debra Burdick was sitting at a red light at 10th and Robinson, five blocks from the Murrah Building. " as the light changed, we started through the intersection," recalled Burdick, "and [that's when] the bomb went off And right after that, here comes the Bomb Squad, before the ambulances and the Fire Department." As Burdick's husband remarked, "they would have had to have had some kind of warning to respond that quick, because they would have had to get in their gear and everything."
J.D. Reed, who rushed out of the County Office Building when the bomb went off, later wrote in a company newsletter: "The paramedics and firemen were already at work. How could they move so quickly? They were there by the time we got down to the street!"(1062)
The testimony of Burdick and Reed dovetails with that of Criss, who arrived at his office at 8:58 a.m. "I heard a lot of sirens at that time," he said. "A lot of sirens, coming from the west, approaching downtown. There was approximately seven trucks that were traveling at a high rate of speed. When they reached the top of that hill right there, the explosion went off."(1063)
When ABC's Extra contacted the Oklahoma City Fire Department to inquire about Criss's claim, they replied, "We can't really confirm or deny that claim."(1064)
As Sergeant Yeakey, one of the first rescue workers at the scene later wrote to bombing survivor Ramona McDonald:
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. For those who ran from the scene to change their attire to hide the fact that they were there, should be judged as cowards.
Rodney Johnson, who almost hit McVeigh and John Doe 2 as they ran from the scene minutes before the blast, didn't miss the presence of law-enforcement officers who seemed to materialize out of thin air. Where had they come from?
Associated Press photographer Pat Carter, who was at the scene within one hour of the blast, said that ATF agents were wearing full combat gear. Had they been preparing for a bust?(1065)
HUD worker V.Z. Lawton was on the eighth floor of the Murrah Building when the bomb(s) went off. Lawton described four men who gave him a ride home that afternoon. They told him they were General Services Administration (GSA) employees out of Fort Worth, and were there doing a "routine" security check on the Federal Building. The men told Lawton this "security check" was conducted in the wee hours of the morning.(1066)
Two of the men, Dude Goodun and Brent Mossbarger, later told the Daily Oklahoman they did not take Lawton home that day.(1067)
Even more interestingly, it was alleged that no ATF agents (as opposed to clerical workers) were in the Murrah Building at the time of the blast. Word of this quickly spread when Bruce Shaw, whose wife worked in the third-floor credit union, ran up to an ATF agent anxiously asking of her whereabouts. Shaw told KFOR's Brad Edwards that the agent "started getting a little bit nervous. He tried reaching someone on a two-way radio. [But] couldn't get anybody. I told him I wanted an answer right then. He said they were in debriefing, that none of the agents had been in there. They'd been tipped by their pagers not to come to work that day. Plain as day out of his mouth. Those were the words he said."(1068)
The second witness, Shaw's boss Tony Brasier, was present when the agent made those comments, and confirmed to KFOR the accuracy of Shaw's testimony.(1069)
The third witness was Tiffany Bible, a paramedic. When she asked an ATF agent on the scene (dressed in a black "Ninja" suit) if any of his fellow agents were still in the building, she was told they "weren't here" at the office that morning. When she asked, "who would want to bomb a building in Oklahoma?" he replied that it was in retribution for the massacre at Waco. How did he know?
"It's clear to me that the ATF knew in advance something was about to happen," says a man whose wife was seriously injured that morning.(1070)
In an attempt to steer suspicious eyes away from ATF culpability, Lester Martz, regional head of the ATF, put out a press release stating that several agents--Vernon Buster, Luke Franey, and Alex McCauley--had been trapped inside the building during the bombing:
ATF's Resident Agent in Charge Alex McCauley was with a DEA agent (David Schickedanz) in the elevator when the bomb exploded. The elevator dropped in a free fall from the eighth floor to the third. The two men were trapped in the smoke-filled elevator. The emergency buttons and the phone were inoperable. On their fourth attempt they managed to break through the doors and escape from the elevator.(1071)
Yet according to elevator repairman Duane James, who, along with several co-workers was checking equipment across the street that morning, Martz's statement is "pure fantasy." James, who was interviewed by J.D. Cash and ABC's 20/20, said five of the building's six elevators had frozen in place when the blast occurred, their doors blown inward. "Once that occurs, the doors cannot be opened--period," said James. "What I and some others did was kick in the ceilings on each of those elevators and determined that no one was in them."
James claims the remaining elevator was sitting at the third or fourth floor level and had no one in it. "Certainly it had not 'free fallen,' nor had any of the others." James explained that modern elevators cannot 'free fall' due to counterbalancing weights on them which prevent such occurrences. The elevators are also equipped with automatic safety switches that cut speed and power if the elevator starts accelerating too fast.(1072)
"None of those switches were tripped on any of the elevators in that building," said James. "I, along with other men with our company, checked the equipment several times. Absolutely no elevators dropped that morning."
Oscar Johnson, James' boss, told the Daily Oklahoman that when the elevator was found, a wall was pushed against the top of it "and there is no way you could have gotten the doors open. Our guys were the first ones there to open the top emergency access, and there was no one in it."(1073)
Federal elevator inspector Dude Goodun told the Daily Oklahoman that he agreed with Johnson.(1074)
So does former ATF agent Rick Sherrow. "This elevator business was garbage--about Franey being trapped in the elevator--because it didn't happen" said Sherrow. "Franey I pretty much believe was there, [but] this free-fall business, it just didn't happen."(1075)
Naturally, Martz insisted five ATF employees were inside the Murrah Building. Valerie Rowden, the office manager, was cut all over. Jim Staggs was hospitalized with head wounds. Vernon Buster, they claimed, had a nail driven through his arm, and his name showed up on a list of the injured. But according to David Hall, owner and manager of KPOC-TV in Ponca City, who checked with local hospitals, both Buster and Martz are lying.(1076)
According to a reporter who interviewed Joe Gordon, an ATF agent from Colorado Springs, there was at least one ATF agent from out-of-town (believed to have been Dallas) who was injured in the blast, that the ATF hasn't admitted to. While Buster's name showed up on the list of the injured, his name didn't.(1077)
Another reporter from New York developed information that the Dallas ATF office--Martz's office--was also suspiciously vacant that morning. Was the ATF running a combined operation out of Dallas and Oklahoma City? This would make sense, since Martz is the regional director.(1078)
DEA Assistant Agent in Charge Don Webb called the allegations against the ATF "bull-shit." Webb told the author that McCauley and Schickedanz were indeed in the elevator when the bomb went off. He also said that "Luke Franey was on the phone" at the time of the bombing (although Webb admitted to me that he himself was at a golf tournament that morning).(1079)
According to Sergeant Yeakey, Franey was not in the building:
Luke Franey 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?(1080)
Yeakey also wrote that Franey ran into the building. While news footage showed Franey standing in a blown-out window on the 9th floor shortly after the blast, he appeared surprisingly neat and clean. His appearance contrasted sharply with other survivors who were covered in dust and debris. In the photos, Franey is holding a box in one hand, and a walkie-talkie in the other.
Interestingly, Franey later showed up at Glenn Wilburn's house with a bandaged arm. Was Franey one of the agents who Dr. Chumley refused to bandage? According to a federal law-enforcement supervisor who works in the Federal Protective Services, Franey "was a bloody mess. He had a big gash on his forehead."(1081)
Whatever the true story, it is generally agreed that the Federal Building was suspiciously empty that morning. Wendy Greer, the Sister-in-Law of senior FBI Agent Jim Volz (retired), told me her brother said that the FBI's offices at 50 Penn Place (several miles from the Murrah Building) also appeared to be suspiciously vacant that morning.
If these agents weren't in their offices, just where were they? Some FBI agents, it appeared, were at a Special Olympics golf tournament in Shawnee (Webb told me he saw no ATF agents at the tournament). Yet this still wouldn't account for the strange activities on April 19.(1082)
In the early morning of April 19, Bob Flanders and his wife were driving east on I-44 at approximately 3:30 a.m., when they saw a strange team of men near the State Fairgrounds. The men, dressed in government black and driving black cars, were in the grass alongside the road, operating "hoops"--circular-shaped, radio beacon directional finders. Flanders recalled that the devices were about the size of a car steering wheel, and the men held them over their heads, slowly rotating them in a circular pattern.(1083)
At around 4:00 a.m., a man who was driving home after work saw another team operating these unusual looking devices, this time by the Alfred P. Murrah Building. As he approached 5th Street, he was directed to one lane. The person directing traffic was not a police officer, and was standing next to a white vehicle with a yellow stripe. As the man drove by, he saw several men on the sidewalk holding these hoop-like devices above their heads, slowly turning them in different directions. As the man passed through, a roadblock was set up behind him, and all traffic was diverted from the area.
The equipment these witnesses are describing matches that of RDF direction finding antennas that are used to home in on electronic transmitters. Was there a concealed radio transmitter on the one of the Ryder trucks, sending out a signal to these teams? It is likely, given the requirements of a successful sting operation, that they were electronically tracking the Ryder truck. The location of the team at the fairgrounds, high on a hill overlooking the city, is a clue to its intended mission.
Yet why were they tracking the truck? Had their quarry eluded them? Is it possible that one of the bombers, perhaps one of their own trusted undercover agents, turned off the transmitter, resulting in the loss of the signal? If so, it seems that the agents would have had what's known in law-enforcement parlance as a "loose tail," and, it appeared, they were frantically trying to find the truck.
Andreas Strassmeir, McVeigh's friend and alleged government operative, admitted that much in an interview with the London Sunday Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard:
The truck had a transmitter, so they could track it with a radio receiving device. I don't know how they could have lost contact. I think there was misinformation that the operation had been canceled.
According to KPOC's David Hall, the plan was to arrest the bombers at 3:30 in the morning. Given the ATF's past publicity stunts, it is likely that they were hoping to arrest the suspects at or near the Murrah Building to ensure a highly publicized bust. As Strassmeir told Evans-Pritchard:
"It's obvious that it was a government 'op' that went wrong, isn't it? The ATF had something going with McVeigh. They were watching him--of course they were," he asserted, without qualification. "What they should have done is make an arrest while the bomb was still being made instead of waiting till the last moment for a publicity stunt. They had everything they needed to make the bust, and they screwed it up."(1084)(1085)
Strassmeir added that the ATF thought that the bomb was set to go off at 2 or 3 a.m., but somehow the plan was changed. "McVeigh made some changes in the plan," said Strassmeir. "He is a very undisciplined soldier, you know... In retrospect, the ATF should have made the bust when the bomb was being built in Junction City."(1086)
The bombers, according to the former Elohim City security chief, were to be captured "during the night, when no one was there--that's why the ATF had the building staked out from midnight until 6:00 a.m. Later, the informant believed that the bombing was off for the day and reported that... the ATF lost control of the situation, and McVeigh and the others were able to bomb the building."(1087)
While Strassmeir heaps most of the blame on the ATF, he does task the FBI for its failure:
The different agencies weren't cooperating. In fact, they were working against each other. You even had a situation where one branch of the FBI was investigating and not sharing anything with another branch of the FBI. Whoever thought this thing up is an idiot, in my opinion.(1088)
While Strassmeir continually protested that he himself was not involved in the plot, as either a suspect or a provocateur, he did say that the plotters consisted of "four [men], plus the informant and McVeigh."
"They probably were going to entrap whoever was coming in," said Sherrow. "They had enough intelligence that they were going to set up an operation to pop this guy, whether it was McVeigh or whoever else, and something fell through the cracks.
"Talking from the perspective of a former ATF man, say they're going to buy explosives, or let somebody plant a bomb they will let the deal go until the last second, before making the arrest."
Somehow, the deal went wrong.
While this startling evidence would soon make itself known to investigators, bombing victims, and a limited segment of the public--the "Justice" Department, federal prosecutors, and the ATF all rushed to refute the evidence.
"Can you imagine if we had known that and let that happen?" said ATF agent Harry Eberhardt. "I had a lot of friends in that building--a lot of friends. We never would have let that happen."(1089)
Dewy Webb, the current ATF RAC, concurred. "They had so many friends they lost in the bombing--they had to pick which funeral they could go to."(1090)
Athough Eberhardt's reasoning sounds valid, it is likely his concern is overrated. While it is doubtful the ATF, FBI, or local officials would purposefully allow such a catastrophic event to occur, it is likely--highly probable in fact--that through their stupidity and negligence, such an event did occur.(1091)
Said Sherrow, "I've got agents in their court testimony saying that they don't care about the public's safety. They don't consider it. They arranged to meet with a guy here in Phoenix who allegedly had hundreds of pounds of explosives, and they chose a crowded shopping center parking lot, running around with MP-5 [sub-machineguns] and handguns and everything else.
"This happened before Oklahoma, and it continues to happen. We had a case in Pennsylvania where a guy wanted to sell a small amount of explosives. He wanted to meet [the agents] way out in the country. Instead they decided to meet him on an Interstate rest stop that was jammed with people, and brought the media. They endanger the public right and left and they don't care about it."(1092)
Sherrow's analysis is based on more than historical precedent and informed opinion. While ATF agents refused to admit their involvement in the bungled operation, Martz met with local TV producers behind closed doors shortly after the bombing. His intent was to convince the journalists that what was underway was a sensitive undercover operation, and that they should take pains not to reveal it.
This is most interesting considering that ATF agent Angela Finley-Graham's report of August 30 stated that their investigation of Elohim City was classified as "SENSITIVE" and "SIGNIFICANT" (as opposed to routine), and the investigation concerned "terrorist/extremist" organizations.
According to former ATF official Robert Sanders, such classifications mean that all reports would automatically be sent to Washington, as well as being routinely routed to Martz at the Dallas Field Office, which in fact, it was.
Sanders, who held every possible supervisory position including that of ATF Assistant Director, told The New Americanmagazine that the activities cited in the ATF reports have "such a high potential for affecting national security" that they would have most likely been sent to the heads of the Treasury and Justice Departments as well as the White House and National Security Council.(1093)
As if finally stating the obvious, Martz admitted to the incredulous reporters was that there was indeed a sting operation underway on the night of the 18th that was called off at 0600 hours (6:00 a.m.). When reporters asked Martz if the operation involved Timothy McVeigh, he replied "I can neither confirm or deny that."(1094)(1095)
David Hall attended the closed-door meeting with Martz. "I don't believe that the ATF wired the building and blew it up. I do believe that they knew that there was going to be a possible bomb threat to the building, because they had set it up themselves, with their informants and different people they were working with. And somebody really slipped it to 'em."(1096)
Hall had also been long-time friends with Harry Eberhardt, and was one of the first to develop inside information regarding the ATF's activities that morning. While Martz held fast to his claim that three ATF agents were in the Murrah Building at the time of the blast, Hall insists, "that's an outright lie."(1097)
The seasoned investigative journalist contends that at least eight of the ATF's regular compliment of 13 agents were on assignment away from the Federal Building that morning. "Three agents (Don Gillispie, Delbert Canopp and Tim Kelly) were in federal court in Newkirk, on an arson case that occurred in Ponca City . Two agents (Karen Simpson and Harry Eberhardt) were in federal court in Oklahoma City. Three more were in Garfield County at a hearing. The other five were out on surveillance."(1098)
Just who were they surveilling?
"As far as can be determined," said Sherrow, "they had an undercover sting operation. They had a sting operation going that night, with about six agents involved, and they terminated it at six in the morning. Martz has admitted to this, then since backed off. given the circumstances, it's reasonable to assume that the person they were surveilling was McVeigh."
Hall concurs. "We developed from our sources inside the ATF that five agents were up on surveillance all night long. We have to assume at that point, basically probably surveilling either McVeigh--and let me say this about McVeigh--there's a good chance that McVeigh could be the informant in this operation."
According to Glenn Wilburn, the ATF's plans changed at the last minute, and they stood down at 6:30 a.m. Then the Bomb Squad came on the scene at 6:30, checked the building for bombs, then stood down at 8:30. When the building blew up at 9:02 a.m., all the agents and police, who were already on the scene or nearby, quickly responded.
Yet it appears there is more to the story. Hall claims that on the night before the bombing, several witnesses saw McVeigh meet with ATF agent Alex McCauley and two other individuals of Middle Eastern descent in an Oklahoma City McDonalds at approximately 9:30 p.m. "He was a known ATF agent," said Hall. "[And] money changed hands."
Could this money have been the $2,000 that was discovered on McVeigh at the time of his arrest?
Terry Nichols was interviewed by Hall early on, and was told that McVeigh had met with "men" who had provided him with a $2,000 pay-off. Nichols left the restaurant at approximately 9:45 p.m. and drove back to his home in Herrington, Kansas. Hall interviewed Nichols' neighbors who claimed he arrived early that morning.(1099)
Another witness, an unidentified homeless man, contacted KTOK reporter Jerry Bonnen, and told him McVeigh drove past the McDonalds and yelled "Hey, want to have a few beers?" McVeigh then gave the man some cash, whereupon he purchased two quarts at the Total convenience store across the street. A Total employee, Ron Williams, reported that a Ryder truck was parked at the McDonalds.(1100)
An anonymous informant who contacted Representative Key, claiming to be a friend of the brother one of those involved in the bombing, said that McVeigh had indeed met federal agents at an unnamed restaurant in Oklahoma City, and had rendezvoused with at least four of them prior to the bombing. Key taped the conversation:
"This guy here, he has a recording--a video recording--a camcorder recording that shows this same DEA agent and McVeigh in the parking lot of a restaurant. And this is was shot about dusk. And two people in suits go over to the car, McVeigh and this DEA agent get out and they're standing back by the trunk. And the DEA agent's patting McVeigh on the shoulder, and then one of the two men in suits passes McVeigh a white envelope and then they leave, And he has this on tape."(1101)
While Representative Key never did get the videotape, another source close to the investigation told him that McVeigh was indeed an informant.
What he didn't explain was the reason for the presence of the DEA.
KFOR's Brad Edwards developed similar information," said Hall, "from totally different sources. "So we have four different sources telling us this. He also has the same name of the agent (McCauley). "I think that when this is all said and done, that we're going to find out--and this is what I've said from the beginning--that this was a sting operation gone sour."
But do you really need two tons of explosive in order to set up a sting? Yes, according to Hall. Ammonium-nitrate isn't illegal in Oklahoma, and a few hundred pounds won't convince prosecutors there was a serious bomb threat in the works. "I think the intent there was to show that it was going to do some damage, rather than, you know, a pipe bomb. It wouldn't bring the intention here in Oklahoma."(1102)
Strassmeir agrees. "I am told they thought it would be better to put a bigger bomb in there. The bigger the better. It would make them more guilty. "(1103)
While Martz would not confirm who the actual target of the sting was, one person who did confirm it was a man who spoke with bombing survivor and activist Ramona McDonald. McDonald had formed a group called Heroes of the Heart. Through her numerous meetings with paramedics and police, firefighters and even some federal agents, McDonald began learning the sickening truth about what really happened that day.
As the meetings wore on, a consensus was reached that the truth needed to be told. The question was how. As McVeigh's trial approached, McDonald and her group were gearing up for a trial of their own. McDonald had contacted former Pentagon counter-terrorism analyst Jesse Clear, and Clear had contacted a young fire-brand attorney named Joseph Camerata. Camerata's intent was to gather together survivors and family members, and bring a negligence suit against the Federal Government.
In August of 1996, about a month before Camerata came to Oklahoma to interview his prospective clients, McDonald received a mysterious phone call. Although the caller didn't identify himself by name, McDonald thought she recognized the voice of as that of Representative Ernest Istook (R-OK). The caller was concerned. "What do we have to do to get you to drop this?" he asked McDonald.
Although he didn't realize it, McDonald was taping the conversation. The scenario the caller lays out is, to the uninitiated, both startling and frightening. He describes in almost precise detail how the operation was a sting gone bad; how federal agents allowed a truck with a powerful bomb to be driven through a crowded city and parked next to a building containing hundreds of people. And, revealing the mystery of the elusive John Doe 2, he explains how he was an undercover agent, supposed to diffuse the bomb at the last minute and failed to do so.(1104)
Caller: "I don't think they expected the truck to blow up. I believe, and I've believed this for a long time I believe that number two--John Doe #2--was a federal agent working undercover. And I believe that he helped McVeigh steal the goods and helped buy the equipment, and I believe that he helped McVeigh make the bomb, and I believe that his whole task in this whole thing his only real task was to render the device safe so that the federal agents could pretend to remove it and move in. They did not want to move in until he was cleared of the scene so that they wouldn't tip their hands. See what I'm saying? And the odds are pretty good that whole reason behind this is because they were after someone bigger than McVeigh, which means they probably think he was linked to somebody in the Militia movement or something like that.
"So I think what you're saying you know I understand what you're saying but I don't think you see the big picture. I don't think that , you know, I'd only divulge a look at the big picture if that's the actual scenario. If that's the actual scenario, which I believe it to be, I think there really is no claim that the agent, that was John Doe #2, did not render the bomb safe. Which he very well may have rendered the bomb safe, and then McVeigh may have put in a second fail-safe which he didn't know about. Which is probably what's happened.
"I would bet money on that's, in fact, the way this whole thing came down. Yes, they stood out in front of the building. Yes, they followed him directly to the building. Yes, they watched him get out of the building get out of the truck. Yes, they watched him drive off. That's not that was their plan. I don't believe they ever planned to apprehend him anywhere near the building. I believe that John Doe #2 was a federal witness. His job was to render the device safe. Therefore, the only thing sitting out in front of that building was a bomb a truck loaded with a bomb that would not go off. And I think that's the situation. In fact I know it is."
McDonald: "Okay so so why didn't they just come out and explain that to everybody?"
Caller: "The public doesn't have to know that. When it comes to the national security and things like this, the public does not have to know the public is not required to know. First of all, by doing that, they would've, uh, put their witness, which is the federal agent John Doe #2, they would have blown his cover, first of all. Which possibly he's involved in something right now that you have no idea about. You know, there very well may have been numerous plots involving numerous buildings. See what I'm saying? You don't have the whole picture without full knowledge what you may do may cost them their lives. You should be very aware of that."
McDonald: "Okay. Well, that's what I've been trying to be very careful of. I don't want to see anyone else get hurt. At the same time "
Caller: " Well, if that guy's cover's been blown, he'd dead already."
McDonald: "Do you think so?"
Caller: "Sure I'm sure. Once you have gone up to this point, it has gotten out, which I'm sure it has, because there are moles everywhere the chances are good that he's been terminated already and this whole thing has blown up in their face. I don't believe that, out of an act of negligence, these highly trained professionals would have allowed that man to leave that truck out in front of that building with its live bomb in it."
McDonald: No, no, no. It stood out there for the whole time, from the time it pulled up until it went off."
Caller: "That's what I'm saying. They would not have allowed it. The only reason they allowed the truck to sit there so long, is because in my opinion they were under the impression that that bomb was rendered safe. And I'd say that there was no rush there was no reason to evacuate the building. There was no rush to make an arrest. The truck was just going to sit out there until they went and towed it off. So I don't think they thought it was an emergency and I think either that John Doe #2 made a mistake in rendering the bomb safe, or McVeigh was smart enough to plant a second fail-safe. Which most bomb makers do."
McDonald: "Do you think that's why they didn't tell anybody?"
Caller: "No. The bomb was safe as far as they knew."
McDonald: "Okay. Well, that explains why there was so many of them (federal agents) there so fast."
Caller: "Exactly. They followed him to the building, their agent was in the truck with him when they followed him to the building, everything was under control, as far as they thought, all they had was the man who built the bomb that was not going to go off, because their agent had rendered it safe. And their whole thing was not a problem. Let him drive his truck right in front of his target, then they allowed him to drive off.
"Once he drives off, he renders the truck safe, and then we can have the trooper arrest him on the interstate for bogus charges. Which they did, and this was all planned out 100 percent. I I I don't believe they allowed that truck "
McDonald: "You don't think they intentionally let the bomb go off?"
Caller: "No, that's right. I'll never believe that."
McDonald: "Well, I mean, that's the only thing about this that I found so hard to believe."
Caller: "They they thought the bomb was safe. They thought that their agent, who was in the truck and who helped prepare the bomb, would set it so it would not go off. Now, whether McVeigh went back to the truck where the agent did not know and put a second fail-safe or the agent made a mistake and did not actually render the bomb safe like he was supposed to that's what's going on here."
McDonald: "Well, see, that's it then. I wanted someone that would be able to tell us for a fact if this was, like, deliberate or not. You know what I'm saying?"
Caller: "I'm not gong to tell you that. Let me tell you something. I'm sure they had everything was under surveillance there. So I'm sure they do have pictures of the building blowing up, and I'm sure they do have pictures of federal agents, and I'm sure they do have audio tapes of them saying: Let 'em go, let 'em go Wait, wait, wait " there was no rush in their mind. In their mind, there was no rush to get that truck away from that building that bomb was not supposed to go off.
"Therefore, everything they did, fits, if you think about it. they followed it, they allowed it to drive up there knowing that there was a bomb in the truck. Their idea was to let John Doe #2--their federal agent--they would be able to use him in further investigations of these bombings of these groups that are in militia groups. And this was a perfect entry in, because he could have went through there.
"After McVeigh was arrested, John Doe #2 would have become a hero to the cause of the militias. And the militias would have taken him in and hid him, which would have made him part of the infrastructure of the militias. Which is what their goal was for this whole thing was to bust the militias. If you take the big picture, and look at the big picture, there were very few mistakes made on this sting operation. (except blowing up a building and killing 169 people - ed.) With the exception that John Doe #2, the federal agent, did not render the bomb safe. Just think of it this way, Ramona."
McDonald: "I've always been a big fan of the United States and that, but then I've always been this was the one thing that bothered me."
Caller: "They didn't let the building fall intentionally. Their opinion was that this bomb was rendered safe and this bomb would not go off. And their whole thing on this thing if you think about it it makes sense from a tactical standpoint. You would follow the truck to the building. You allow your lead suspect to get away from the building because it didn't blow up, because it's not supposed to. You take John Doe #2 he gets away, which is your federal agent. John Doe #1--McVeigh--is arrested on a bogus charge and then later proven that he's the one who planted the bomb that did not go off."
McDonald: "But you honestly don't think that they really intended "
Caller: "Not at all. Not at all. They would not have to. No. Basically, what happened is, this was a mistake. Someone screwed up and the only one that screwed up The agents on the scene? They didn't screw up. They did exactly what their orders were: Wait allow the suspect to leave the scene. Once the suspect had left the scene, then render the truck safe, which is already safe. All they have to do is get in, give it a hot-wire, and drive it off to a safe location and then open up the back and disarm the bomb. Which was supposedly rendered safe to begin with. Okay?
"And then, from there they charge in See, the plan this plan was put in motion before the bomb ever went off. Their intent was to allow McVeigh to be arrested later on John Doe#2 to get away and then, John Doe #2, the Federal Government would have released a sketch or picture. And then, that man would have had to go underground and hide. Where would he hide? He would have hid with the militias. The militias would take him in as a hero. The militias would give him hero status in the Militia movement, which would allow him to be privy to information that the government could use later on
" they did not want that building to blow up. I guarantee you this their whole intent was that that bomb was rendered safe before it was ever parked in front of that building otherwise, they would have quietly "
McDonald: " Got everybody out of the building?"
Caller: "Got everybody out of the building, before the bomb ever even pulled up in front of the building. There was no reason for them to do that, because according to their plan, the bomb was safe now. There was no reason to evacuate the building and the panic because there was a truck loaded with a bomb that was not going to blow up. "
Caller: "See what I'm saying? And John Doe#2. By going this far with it Let me explain something to you. Your actions have consequences. There are a lot of witnesses. There are a lot of agents right now in the hills that are infiltrating these militia groups, and all these people will get killed. Their blood will be on your hands. I understand that you want If I really thought that the government allowed the building to blow up, I would be with you 100 percent. But I know and I believe they were horrified when the bomb went off really horrified."
McDonald: "Yeah, they all looked like they were in shock."
Caller: "They figured, as soon as McVeigh got free, as soon as he got drove off in his car and I'll tell you something they did. Do you what they did?"
Caller: "They stole his license plate off that car. You know why? So they'd have probable cause to stop him on the interstate. They stole his plate. Why do you think the plate was never found? His plate was stolen from the vehicle and the Federal Government stole the plate from the vehicle, so that he would be arrested John Doe #2 would go free, they would put a sketch out that would make him 'America's Most Wanted.' The only place that a man that would be wanted by the government can hide would be to be hid by the militia groups inside their infrastructure.
"But once he infiltrates the infrastructure and he's in all of a sudden he's a hero. And right now, you know, these groups probably believe that they have John Doe #2 and that they're hiding him from the government and they're doing the patriotic thing and they believe that the building should have blown up. So they're holding him. Now, this man's privy to all kinds of information about future bombings, which we don't even know how many bombs they have stopped because the agents how many lives have been saved because that agent's now in the militia. And if this comes to light this operation "
What the caller does is attempt to instill guilt in McDonald over her efforts to reveal the truth. Yet McDonald did not allow 169 innocent people to be killed through her negligence and stupidity. The government did.
This ridiculous and immoral rationale is similar to that used by Winston Churchill during WWII. Churchill knew the German Luftwaffe were going to bomb the city of Coventry, because the British had cracked the German code using a device called the "Enigma" machine. Churchill feared that by evacuating Coventry on the night in question, the Germans would realize their codes had been broken and change them, thus hampering British intelligence efforts. Churchill, having knowledge of the forthcoming raid, let it proceed, at the cost of thousands of lives and millions in property damage, in order not to compromise their source--in this case--the Enigma machine.
In a similar vein, the Feds would cover up the truth of the Oklahoma City bombing so as not to compromise their undercover agent--John Doe 2--and ultimately, reveal their own negligence.
Nevertheless, McDonald's caller makes the case that she should respect these agents, who he terms "highly trained professionals," conducting an operation that has already resulted in the criminally negligent deaths of 169 people, and allow it to continue unabated, when it was undoubtedly government agents who acted as provocateurs and goaded the suspects into carrying out the bombing in the first place!
Of course, these "highly trained, dedicated professionals" he talks so admiringly about are the same "highly trained, dedicated professionals" who murdered 86 innocent men, women and children at Waco; who practically murdered an entire innocent family at Ruby Ridge; who dropped a bomb on the MOVE housing activists in Philadelphia, killing 11 people, including five children; and who bungled the World Trade Center sting operation, resulting in the deaths of six people and the injury of over 1,000.
What nitwit is supposed to buy the story that "highly trained, dedicated professionals" would drive a truck laden with explosives around a busy city--a bomb that could explode at any minute? More likely, the caller is using the "federal agent in danger" line with McDonald as a ruse to cover up the fact that these "highly trained, dedicated professionals" are nothing more than a bunch of highly dangerous, out-of-control, self-serving lunatics.
"The government must, and I say must, take responsibility for their sting operation going sour," said HUD worker Jane Graham. "We are not expendable for their cause. "(1105)
As of this writing, the tape is being analyzed by an audio forensics expert. Those Oklahomans who have listened to the tape, however, strongly believe that it is Representative Ernest Istook. Istook sits on the Subcommittee on National Security, which would tend to explain his rationale that "the public doesn't have to know. When it comes to the national security and things like this, the public does not have to know. "
Istook also voted for the 1995 Crime and Anti-Terrorism bills, and is reportedly very friendly with Senator Orin Hatch, one of the original drafters of the latter. Istook is also on close terms with the FBI, which would go a long way towards explaining his apologetic tone. He lives in the same Congressional district and neighborhood (Warr Acres) as McDonald.(1106)
This scenario is also reinforced by a second individual--a police officer named Bob Cancemi. He told McDonald he knows "for a fact" that authorities knew in advance specifically when and how the Ryder truck-bomb was to arrive at the Federal Building. But, he says, something went "very wrong;" the bomb was supposed to have been disarmed. "I feel pretty confident that they knew exactly what was going on," he said, "and just things didn't go according to plan."(1107)
Cancemi's information, and that of McDonald's caller, is backed up by Daina Bradley. Peering out the window of the Social Security office minutes before the blast, Bradley caught a glimpse of a stocky, dark-skinned man exiting the passenger side of the Ryder truck. She said the man walked to the back of the truck to open the door, then spun around, looking "very nervous, almost confused." He then ran down 5th Street in the opposite direction and jumped into a brown pick-up which sped away. Could the man's confused expression have been the result of an unexpected occurrence? Perhaps when he lifted the rear gate he saw a second timing device attached to the bomb that he didn't know how to disarm? And not knowing what to do, he fled.
Yet while the caller admits the government's involvement in the bombing, he fails to take into account the additional bombs placed inside the building. He fails to explain why the government quickly demolished the bomb site, destroying all forensic evidence. And his story does not account for the Middle Eastern and numerous other suspects.
The caller's explanation also goes a long way towards explaining a statement made by Terry Nichols after his arrest. When Lana Padilla asked her ex-husband during a prison visit about John Doe 2, he said, "If they want to find John Doe 2, they should look in their own backyard."(1108)
What is clear is that the government could take no chances in allowing any of their undercover operatives and informants--Strassmeir, Brescia, Howe, Gagan, Hussaini, and others--to testify at trial. To cover their butts, federal law enforcement agencies ignored, discredited, and even killed those who attempted to reveal the truth. As Officer Terrance Yeakey wrote before he was murdered:
I took an 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.
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.
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.
Finally, while those who said the bombing was an excuse to destroy the Militia movement were dismissed as self-deluded paranoiacs, McDonald's caller admits the entire operation was to ensnare the Militia movement! Of course, McDonald's caller makes no distinction between militias and neo-Nazi groups. militia groups angrily denounced the bombing, as any self-respecting citizen would, and certainly no militia member would consider a person who killed 169 innocent people a hero.
If the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building was merely a failed sting operation, where did it go wrong? Those who remember the World Trade Center bombing, may recall that it, too, was a fouled sting operation.
In that case, the FBI's original plan to entrap the Al-Gama'a al-Islamiya group was to have their undercover operative, Emad Eli Salem, substitute a harmless powder for the real explosive, which he would help them build. Instead, due to a "disagreement," the FBI pulled Salem off the case.
Like Cary Gagan, who tried to warn the FBI of the Oklahoma City bombing, and Samra Mahayoun, who tried to warn officials of the Pan Am 103 attack, Salem, they insisted, was just not credible. Several weeks later, a truck-bomb detonated under the World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring 1,000 more.
Unbeknownst to the FBI, Salem, a former Egyptian Army colonel, had secretly recorded his conversations with his FBI handlers.(1109) Portions of the tapes were made public and reprinted in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.. In broken English, Salem talks with the unnamed FBI supervisor who pulled him off the case:
"We'll be going building the bomb with a phony powder, and grabbing the people who was involved in it. But since you, we didn't do that."
When Salem decided to complain to FBI headquarters, FBI supervisor John Anticev dissuaded him: "He said, I don't think that the New York people would like the things out of the New York Office to go to Washington, D.C."
Salem's immediate handler, agent Nancy Floyd, is heard on the tapes agreeing with the Egyptian's account, saying, "Well, of course not, because they don't want to get their butts chewed."
In one conversation, Salem tells Floyd:
"Since the bomb went off, I feel terrible. I feel bad. I feel here is people who don't listen."
Ms. Floyd seems to commiserate, saying: "Hey, I mean it wasn't like you didn't try, and I didn't try."
Salem recounts another point in the conversation he said he had with Anticev, saying:
"I said, 'Guys, now you saw this bomb went off, and you both know that we could avoid that.'"
Salem talks of the plan to substitute harmless powder for explosives during another conversation with Agent Floyd. In that conversation, he recalls a previous discussion with Anticev. Mr. Salem says he told the other agent:
"Do you deny that your supervisor is the main reason of bombing the World Trade Center?"
Mr. Salem said that Anticev did not deny it.(1110)
What is also interesting to note is that not only did the FBI "foul up" the operation, but they had Salem act as a provocateur, recommending potential targets, teaching the terrorists how to build the bomb, then teaching them how to drive the truck used in the bombing!
As the Wall Street Journal reported in regards to Salem's activities inside the Sheik's group immediately following the World Trade Center bombing:
Mr. Salem helped organize the "battle plan" that the government alleged included plots to bomb the United Nations and FBI buildings in New York, and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels beneath the Hudson River. Working with a charismatic Sudanese man named Siddig Ali, a follower of Sheik Omar, Mr. Salem recruited seven local Muslims to scout targets, plan tactics and obtain chemicals and electrical parts for bombs, the government alleged. The FBI supplied a safehouse in Queens.(1111)
As Floyd later explained to her superior, "Emad had the information about the bombs and where they wanted to have them placed. If we had done what we were supposed to have done, we would have known about it we would have used our heads and come up with the solution of trying to neutralize the situation."(1112)
When these "highly-trained, dedicated professionals" pulled Salem off the case, the bombers contacted Ramzi Yousef, an Iraqi agent and expert bomb maker. Mujahadeen veteran and World Trade Center bomber Mamud Abouhalima met Yousef in Afghanistan in 1988, and brought him and co-conspirator Ahmed Ajaj to the U.S. in September of 1992. Far from building a harmless device, Yousef constructed a sophisticated, powerful bomb, capable of causing extensive damage. Had patsy driver Mohammed Salemeh parked the truck next to a key column, they might have toppled the 110 story Twin Towers, killing as many as 20,000 people!
As William Norman Grigg writes in the February 19, 1997 issue of the New American:
Shortly after Yousef's arrival, the FBI subpoenaed two dozen of Sheik Omar's followers and questioned them about the sheik, Nosair, and Abouhalima. However, no arrests were made, no grand jury investigation was launched, and the FBI chose to downgrade its scrutiny of Omar's network--just as plans were being finalized for the Trade Center bombing. This curious decision is even more peculiar in light of the fact that the FBI had obtained intelligence on the network's capabilities and intentions from Emad A. Salem, a former Egyptian Army officer and FBI informant who served as Omar's security guard.
The FBI defended themselves by alleging that Salem had refused to cooperate with FBI guidelines and procedures. He didn't want to wear a body-wire they claimed, and refused to testify against his so-called terrorist comrades in court. Salem was summarily dismissed. When these "highly-trained, dedicated professionals" pulled Salem off the case, they lost control of the situation, and the bombers made their move.
The FBI claimed the exact same thing about one of their informants in the Oklahoma City bombing case--Cary Gagan. Although the Justice Department granted Gagan a Letter of Immunity, they and the "highly-trained, dedicated professionals" of the FBI failed to follow up on the informant's apparently credible information. Gagan hadn't just contacted the FBI and the Marshals Service once or twice regarding the plot, but had informed them on numerous occasions of the terrorists' plans. To the Gagan's knowledge, none of this information was followed up.
After the bombing, the Justice Department tried to maintain that Gagan wasn't credible. The U.S. Attorney's Office revoked his Letter of Immunity, ignored his information, and apparently tried to assassinate him. In order to prove their bogus allegations, they removed reports from his informant file that showed Gagan had assisted the DEA in recovering critical information.
The government's conduct in dealing with Gagan paralleled their treatment of Carol Howe. As discussed previously, Tulsa ATF Agent Angela Finley-Graham had placed Howe inside Elohim City, where she reported on the activities of Mahon, Strassmeir, and others allegedly involved in the plot. It was recently learned that Howe had secretly taped conversations with her ATF handler as Salem had. Those tapes have not been made public as of this writing.
Still, the government would try to cover its tracks by claiming that Howe's information was unspecific, and that she was emotionally unstable. Yet two days after the bombing, the ATF renewed its contract with her, and sent her back to Elohim City to collect additional information. In the aftermath of the World Trade Center bombing, the FBI renewed its association with Emad Salem, paying him a reported $1 million to infiltrate Sheik Omar's group once again.
Given the Tulsa ATF's interest in Strassmeir and Elohim City, it is highly likely that they were the initial target of the sting. ATF agent Angela Finley -Graham conferred with her superiors about raiding the compound in February of '95 and arresting Strassmeir, but FBI and DoJ officials advised against it.(1113)
The ATF's actions at Elohim City were a curious parallel to those of the FBI's in New York. As the London Sunday Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard stated, "It appears that the local BATF had stumbled on a bigger operation being run by the grown-ups at the Justice Department."(1114)
If the Arabs had plotted with neo-Nazis to blow up the Federal Building. It is a foregone conclusion that they were under surveillance by the ATF and FBI.
Recall that Timothy McVeigh and Sam Khalid were both investigated by the FBI. McVeigh in 1993, and Khalid in 1990. Since Mike Khalid was investigated for espionage by Army CID, it is reasonable to assume that attention was focused on his brother as well.
Said David Hall, "I felt like that probably the agencies involved in this, their intent was to tie together some Patriot groups and to tie in some other terrorist groups. I think the intent here was to say--go to Congress and say--that we have domestic and foreign terrorist groups, Mideast or foreign, working together and trying to blow up buildings here in the United States."
It is likely that the FBI became aware of collusion between the two groups--neo-Nazis and Arabs--as early as 1994, when Cary Gagan reported that Terry Nichols had met with "Iranians" in Henderson, Nevada. With the involvement of the Arabs, and the white supremacists at Elohim City, the sting became a joint ATF/FBI operation.
Interestingly, Hall learned that the FBI and the ATF got into a shouting match while debriefing Janet Reno. According to Hall, when Reno left the room, the FBI and ATF began yelling at each other, angrily accusing each other for the tragedy.
Somewhere along the line in Oklahoma City, the FBI and ATF lost control of the situation, and the bombers were able to make their move. As in the World Trade Center case, someone who had infiltrated the operation in Oklahoma had substituted a real bomb for a phony one, or had placed a redundant timer on the bomb, or had simply provided false information to the agents in charge, preventing them from stopping the attack.
Were the FBI and ATF double-crossed by one of their own informants? Or, as in the Pan Am case, did someone in a position of authority look at the situation and say, "Don't stop it, let it go"?
If the FBI and ATF were double-crossed, it may have been by one of their own agents. Recall that Michael Franks, a rogue American agent with connections to the Octopus, had provided the key information that allowed Ahmed Jibril to target Pan Am 103.
Former FBI SAC Ted Gundersen (head of the Los Angeles field office) described to me what he called a "unilateral transfer" of CIA agents into various federal law-enforcement agencies in the early 1980s. The purpose of this Reagan/Bush covert policy was to permit the CIA to head off any inconvenient investigations that such agencies might be undertaking. If so, it would go a long way towards explaining the FBI's curiously timed fit of incompetence.
There are precedents. In 1971, Louis Tackwood, an agent provocateur working out of the LAPD's Criminal Conspiracy Section (CCS), charged that the CCS "had been set up on the same basis as the CIA." Tackwood disclosed that CCS agents--approximately 125 of whom were agent provocateurs--were sponsored by federal intelligence agencies. As researcher Alex Constantine notes in his book, Blood, Carnage, and the Agent Provocateur, the CSS was directly linked to the Washington, D.C.-based Inter-Agency Group on Domestic Intelligence and Internal Security, a little-known covert operations unit made up of Right-wing agents from the FBI, CIA, DIA, NSC, Army, Air Force, and local police departments.(1115)
The CCS's spying activities came to a head in 1973 with the publication of Tackwood's The Glass House Tapes, and the unit was summarily disbanded. In its place evolved the Organized Crime Intelligence Division (OCID), which, interestingly enough, maintains no files on organized crime, but plenty on local citizens and politicians.
The OCID also still maintains its ties with the federal intelligence apparatus. According to Pasadena City Council member Michael Zinzin, who won a $3.8 million dollar lawsuit against the LAPD's Anti-Terrorist Division, that apparatus is the same secret cabal involved in the Iran-Contra imbroglio.
In other words, the Octopus.
Mike Rothmiller, a former OCID detective, stumbled upon the connections and subsequently fell prey to an assassin's bullet. At the time, Rothmiller had been investigating one Robert Terry, an arms and drug smuggler with links to the CIA.(1116)
Gundersen's "unilateral transfer" could easily explain how intelligence operatives were able to manipulate the sting operation in Oklahoma City. If there were duplicitous agents inside the ATF and FBI, they would have known when and where the bomb was to be delivered. They would have known how [one of] the FBI's undercover agent(s)--John Doe 2--was to disable the bomb. They would have had full and detailed knowledge of the plot.
Like Michael Franks, they could have easily informed those who had an interest in changing that plot--those who had an interest in seeing that the building, and possibly some of those inside it--was destroyed.
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Last updated 09/02/2004