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Sunday, August 27, 2006
1991 Turner Diaries Memo Warned Of Truck Bomb Attack
Memo Penned By FBI Agent Investigating Texas Militia; Member Andreas Strassmeier Was Later Linked To OKC Bombing
By J.M. Berger
More than three years before the Oklahoma City bombing, an FBI agent investigating a group of Texas extremists warned that "The Turner Diaries" could inspire a truck bomb attack against the U.S. government.
RELATED: PATCON: The FBI's Secret War On The Miltias
At least one member of the Texas group was subsequently linked to the Oklahoma City bombing -- Andreas Strassmeier, a German national whose role in the conspiracy will be the subject of Congressional hearings this fall.
The revelations are contained in approximately 500 pages of FBI documents obtained by INTELWIRE under the Freedom of Information Act.
Based in the Austin area, the Texas Reserve Militia claimed at least one expert bombmaker among its ranks. The group stockpiled explosives and held monthly paramilitary training sessions, the documents revealed.
The documents also disclose that the TRM purchased shipments of weapons from El Salvador and worked with a right-wing group connected to the Iran-Contra Affair.
The FBI's field office in San Antonio, Texas, investigated the TRM from no later than 1990 to at least 1992. The Bureau deployed at least four confidential informants and at least three undercover agents to penetrate an organization with fewer than 50 members.
INTELWIRE obtained files related to the TRM -- also known as the First Texas Light Infantry -- from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act. The FBI refused to release about 60 additional pages.
The story below outlines some of the most significant data points found in the new documents, many of which are suggestive of a broader domestic conspiracy in the Oklahoma City bombing. The source documents for each item are included as links in the story.
Most of the documents originate from the San Antonio field office, led by Special Agent In Charge Jeffrey Jamar, who would later take on a leading role in the 1993 Waco siege.
Waco became a cause celebre among right-wing extremist groups; the Oklahoma bombing took place on the anniversary of the end of that siege -- a disastrous fire that killed 76 people, including children. Close links between the TRM and the Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy suggest the terrorist attack's connection to Waco may be much more personal and direct than previously thought.
The items below are presented as a basic factual summary of key points from the material, supplemented where appropriate by other reliable sources. INTELWIRE plans to publish additional stories exploring specific points in greater detail. INTELWIRE will eventually publish all the documents released by the FBI in response to this request.
THE TURNER MEMO
Agents in San Antonio feared TRM members might model an attack on "The Turner Diaries," a novel describing a white supremacist takeover of America that inspired Timothy McVeigh.
In August 1991, a special-agent-in-charge investigating the TRM sent FBI headquarters photocopied pages from the book containing detailed instructions on how to build truck bomb from ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (known as ANFO). A similar bomb was used in Oklahoma City. The name of the memo's author is not specified.
In the book, the truck bomb was used to attack FBI headquarters. The memo presciently noted that the FBI was already aware of several instances in which extremists had accurately re-created "exact actions from the fictional accounts of the 'Turner Diaries.'" (Emphasis in original.) The memo specifically highlights the truck bomb plot.
The agent raised the issue in August 1991 because of concerns about the imminent arrival of key dates mentioned in the narrative -- September 16, 1991, and October 13, 1991.
THE 'TURNER' MEMO, 8/20/91
Although the attacks prophesied in the book failed to materialize on schedule, the FBI had good reason to remain vigilant about the truck-bombing tactic. Agents suspected the TRM was linked to partially completed ANFO devices found in Alabama in 1991. The bombs were apparently intended for use in an audacious plot to rob a large shipment of military weapons from a National Guard convoy.
LETTER TO THE ARMY, 2/4/92
The FBI's records of the TRM -- as disclosed in redacted and incomplete form to INTELWIRE -- trail off to silence in 1992 without an account of even one successful terrorist act. But one TRM member -- monitored by the FBI as early as 1990 -- may have continued to focus on the Turner blueprint.
Andreas Strassmeier was a German national and security director for a white separatist compound known as Elohim City, sometimes known as "Andy the German."
The son of a prominent German politician and a veteran of that country's army, he moved to the United States from Hamburg in the late 1980s or early 1990s, and established relationships with various racist and anti-government movements around the country. (US v Nichols, 96-CR-68, 12/10/97; In Bad Company, Hamm, pp. 116-117)
Strassmeier is expected to be a topic of discussion during new Congressional hearings on the Oklahoma bombing scheduled for this fall.
Prior to his arrival at Elohim City, Strassmeier was a member of the Texas Reserve Militia, also known as the Texas Light Infantry.
The group's membership included "at least one foreign national from Germany," according to a memo sent to the director of the FBI in 1991.
FBI LETTERHEAD MEMORANDUM, 12/26/91, TEXAS RESERVE MILITIA
Another document describes a white male member of the TRM, born in a foreign country. The names of both the member and the country have been redacted, but the details reported in the document match published details of Strassmeier's history.
The unnamed member "traveled to the U.S. on four occasions since 1988," the memo states. He "is believed to have falsified some of the information on [redacted] application as far as the locations at which he would be staying in the U.S. … [redacted] was a veteran of [redacted] Army" and claimed to be connected to a similar extremist group in his home country.
FBI LETTERHEAD MEMORANDUM, 12/21/90, TEXAS RESERVE MILITIA
Members of the TRM suspected Strassmeier was a government informant, according to published reports. (McCurtain Gazette, FBI document links former Green Beret to McVeigh, bombing, Cash and Charles, Aug 31, 2005)
While the documents obtained by INTELWIRE are redacted of virtually all proper names, it is clear that the TRM had ample reason to be concerned about informants.
At one point, the group was penetrated by at least four FBI informants simultaneously, as well as at least three undercover FBI agents. Estimates of the group's total membership ranged from 15 to 50 during the same period.
FBI LETTERHEAD MEMORANDUM, 6/24/91, TEXAS RESERVE MILITIA
By 1993, Strassmeier had moved out of Austin and taken up residence at the Elohim City white separatist compound near Muldrow, Okla. That year -- according to his own account -- Strassmeier met Timothy McVeigh at a gun show in Tulsa, Okla.
FD-302 INTERROGATION OF ANDREAS STRASSMEIER (COURTESY JESSE TRENTADUE)
Shortly before the Oklahoma City bombing, an informant told the ATF Strassmeier was plotting to blow up U.S. federal buildings. The informant also said Strassmeier had traveled to Oklahoma City prior to the bombing.
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS, SEALED HEARING, US V. VIEFHAUS AND HOWE, 4/214/97 (COURTESY JESSE TRENTADUE)
Right after renting the Ryder truck used in the Oklahoma City bombing, Timothy McVeigh called the Elohim City compound and asked to speak with Strassmeier. (US v Nichols, Op. Cit.) After the bombing, he fled the country and returned to Germany.
The FBI interrogated Strassmeier by phone in May 1996, but agents did not ask him about his association with the TRM.
THE GREEN BERET
From 1990 to 1992, the TRM conducted monthly paramilitary training camps in the vicinity of Austin, Texas. The sessions included firearms and explosives training, as well as more exotic skill sessions such as parachute jumping and rappelling.
Several former members of the U.S. military were involved in the camp. Two in particular caught the attention of the San Antonio agents.
One member of the group was a former officer in the U.S. Special Forces. One of the FBI's informants in the TRM made special efforts to collect intelligence on this figure, whom the San Antonio agents positively identified in a January 17, 1991 teletype to headquarters.
FBI TELETYPE, 1/17/1991, SPECIAL FORCES MEMBER (PAGE 5)
The name of the TRM member has been redacted from the teletype; the description isn't sufficiently detailed to allow for a definite identification.
Previously published reports have cited an associate and close friend of Strassmeier named Dave Holloway who was a former member of the Special Forces and a founder of the Texas Light Infantry (an alternate name for the TRM). (McCurtain Gazette, FBI document links former Green Beret to McVeigh, Op cit.)
Timothy McVeigh telephoned Holloway one day before the Oklahoma City bombing. During an interview, Holloway intimated to the FBI that Strassmeier might be connected to McVeigh.
FBI FD-302 RECORD, 8/13/96, INTERROGATION OF DAVE HOLLOWAY (COURTESY JESSE TRENTADUE)
Later, an FBI informant reported a conversation with Holloway in which Holloway confirmed he had spoken with McVeigh and went on to comment about various technical details of the bomb.
A 1991 FD-302 report of a conversation with an informant described another former soldier, a retired U.S. Army first sergeant who participated in a TRM training session earlier that year. The man had been photographed during surveillance of the camp. His last name was unknown.
FBI FD-302 RECORD, 12/23/91, RETIRED ARMY SERGEANT
In 1992, San Antonio sent out requests to several other FBI field offices for assistance in tracking down information related to the TRM's members. One of the requests dealt with an individual or individuals in Fayetteville, N.C., which was soon to become home base of an extremist organization known as the Special Forces Underground.
The SFU's membership consisted primarily of active-duty and retired Special Forces personnel. The group was founded by a first sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg who had retired during the 1980s then re-enlisted. The official "founding date" of the SFU is believed to have been 1993, but documentation is scanty.
Details of the Fayetteville information request were redacted from the FBI memorandum released to INTELWIRE.
FBI AIRTEL, 3/17/92, TEXAS WHITE SUPREMACIST-SURVIVALIST-PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATION
Previously: FOIA Documents On The Special Forces Underground
THE ARMY INSIDER
Like the SFU, the TRM claimed members and associates who were on active duty in the U.S. military.
One associate of the group was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. (Ironically, ATF personnel would travel to Fort Hood in 1993 to meet with Special Forces trainers, in preparation for the disastrous Waco raid.)
The soldier at Fort Hood was "a possible source of supply for the military C-4 for this group," the documents show. The soldier may have been "related to a full-fledged member" of the TRM.
FBI LETTERHEAD MEMORANDUM, 6/24/91, TEXAS RESERVE MILITIA
Further investigation revealed that the soldier was supplying the group with arms and ammunition stolen from the base -- including at least 10,000 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, a type of bullet that fragments on impact with a human body causing massive internal injuries that are extremely difficult to treat.
The group planned to steal 40 mm high-explosive grenades from Fort Hood as well, which would be fired from a modified 37-mm flare gun.
THE STINGER MISSILES
Interestingly, several documents provided to INTELWIRE are captioned as related to the "Possible Theft of Stinger Missiles From The U.S. Government."
Details of the case are not clear in the documents, which have been heavily redacted. Stinger missiles became well-known to Americans after it was revealed that the CIA supplied Islamic fighters with the shoulder-mounted guided missile systems during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Some of those Stingers, which were used to down Soviet aircraft during the occupation, found their way to al Qaeda armories after the war.
It's not clear from the released documents whether TRM had taken possession of Stingers from some source, whether they were seeking to steal them from Fort Hood, or some other sort of interaction entirely.
What the documents do clearly outline, however, is an incident that threatened to derail the Stinger investigation -- when an informant with the FBI field office in Birmingham, Ala., turned against the agents he or she had previously been assisting.
FBI TELETYPE 4/27/92, POSSIBLE THEFT OF STINGER MISSILES
A rogue informant involved in the Stinger investigation demanded that the FBI pay $60,000 for his or her information, as well as an ongoing monthly stipend of $2,000. If his or her demands were not met, the informant threatened to expose the FBI's other sources within the militia movement, including at least one specific informant in Phoenix.
The author of the FBI teletype drily noted that the rogue informant "has displayed an instability and uncontrollability which diminishes the likelihood that the source will be of use in the future."
FBI TELETYPE 4/02/92, POSSIBLE THEFT OF STINGER MISSILES
The investigation of the Stinger theft specifically -- and the Texas Reserve Militia broadly -- was tied to a related case in Phoenix and Alabama regarding a group known variously as Civilian Military Assistance, Civilian Material Assistance or Civil Military Assistance, which had a substantial presence in both Phoenix and Alabama.
Members of the TRM attended a CMA convention in 1991, where speakers proposed "interlocking" otherwise unrelated right-wing extremist groups across the United States. The goal of the plan was to enable cooperation among groups with different beliefs or agendas in the eventuality that the U.S. federal government collapsed.
(Members of the groups believed on a nearly continual basis over the course of a decade that such a collapse was imminent. According to the documents, several militia groups contributed to an online database of suspected homosexuals whom they would "deal with" after taking over the United States.)
The FBI Phoenix had developed a strong source within the CMA. Although the blackmailer's threat raised concerns, agents were fairly certain their source's position was secure, in part because members of the CMA and other militia groups habitually used unfounded accusations of FBI involvement as a bludgeon to attack their internal rivals.
The source within CMA, who was paid an undisclosed amount, was "in a good position to identify and ascertain the intentions of the groups involved in" interlocking, the author of the teletype reported. It was also believed the source could "ascertain further information relating to Stinger missiles [redacted]."
FBI TELETYPE 4/17/92, POSSIBLE THEFT OF STINGER MISSILES
CMA and the TRM were also believed to be importing weapons from El Salvador -- apparently through CMA's lingering connections to the Iran-Contra Affair.
THE IRAN-CONTRA CONNECTION
CMA originated as a private organization funneling volunteers, training, funds and weapons through El Salvador to the Contra anti-Communist resistance in Nicaragua during the 1980s, a program supported by the CIA.
According to January 17, 1991 teletype from the FBI's San Antonio office, "the Texas Reserve Militia has received weapons shipped from El Salvador [redacted] and TRM members are interested in shipping guns back to El Salvador from the U.S. [redacted] is [redacted] contact for these gun shipments and [redacted] has allegedly spent six months [redacted] working with [redacted] to arrange these shipments."
Substantial redactions also follow this paragraph.
FBI TELETYPE 1/17/91, TEXAS RESERVE MILITIA
"Investigation has confirmed that the TRM is allied with a group from Decatur, Alabama, called Civilian Material Assistance," wrote the author of a December 20, 1991, FBI memorandum. Members of CMA trained with TRM in the Austin area, the document reveals.
FBI LETTERHEAD MEMORANDUM, 12/21/90, TEXAS RESERVE MILITIA
CMA members were also active in Miami and Broward County, Fla., and investigators probed possible links in Florida. In 1991, agents in San Antonio and Birmingham sought, but failed to find, an individual in Broward County whose name has been redacted.
FBI AIRTEL, 8/29/91, TEXAS LIGHT INFANTRY
Another communication, redacted almost in its entirety, indicates the TRM investigation had taken a turn toward Miami. The FBI in Miami was asked to identify the associates an individual whose name was redacted.
The lead yielded a substantial amount of information concerning an extensive, secret FBI investigation that was not identified in the document.
"A review of Miami indicies reflects [redacted]. Five of these will be summarized in the pages of this communication to follow," the document states. "The [redacted] consists of multiple volumes and therefore will be summarized in a separate communication."
Virtually all of the remainder of the document was redacted by the FBI before release.
FBI AIRTEL, 7/1/91, TEXAS LIGHT INFANTRY
In early 1993, Timothy McVeigh spent time in Broward County, where he met up with traveling gun dealer Roger Moore, an independently wealthy businessman with various interests in Fort Lauderdale and other locations, including an ammunition supply operation and a boat-building business.
During their association, Moore taught McVeigh how to modify a civilian flare gun to fire explosive rounds, the same technical breakthrough that TRM had discovered. McVeigh later sold the modification at gun shows, precipitating a falling out with Moore -- who claimed he had personally invented the idea. (US v. Nichols, 11/17/97 and 11/18/97; Mark Hamm, The Critical Criminologist, Tragic Irony: State Malfeasance and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy)
Even by standards of the often opaque Oklahoma City story, Moore rates as a mysterious figure, who had made some of his fortune importing gold and precious stones from Costa Rica, Ceylon and Saudi Arabia. Terry Nichols would later claim Moore was an FBI informant. (US v. Nichols, 11/18/97; INTELWIRE story)
One Miami figure connected to CMA was Jack Terrell, a former soldier who claimed to have worked for the CIA in Nicaragua as part of the Iran-Contra Affair.
Terrell was embroiled in a diplomatic incident while working as a mercenary in the Philippines during the early 1990s. His stay in the Philippines overlapped with some of Terry Nichols' visits to the country. (Washington Post, American Mercenary's Charge Stirs Political Storm in Manila, Oct. 17, 1991)
Terrell and other defendants were indicted in Fort Lauderdale under the Neutrality Act for his assistance to the Contras in 1988, in a case that was eventually dismissed. Some flights for the operation departed from Fort Lauderdale. (New York Times, 6 Ask Dismissal of Case on Fighting in Nicaragua, December 3, 1988; See also Washington Post, July 14, 1989).
RELATED: PATCON: The FBI's Secret War On The Miltias
Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.
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