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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Informant: McVeigh Called Strassmeir Weeks Before OKC

By J.M. Berger

An informant told the FBI in 1996 that Timothy McVeigh telephoned a German national linked to U.S. white supremacist groups, weeks prior the Oklahoma City bombing.

Andreas Strassmeir was a German national and security director for the white separatist compound, sometimes known as "Andy the German."

Strassmeir has been the focus of numerous media reports and independent investigations of possible unknown conspirators in the Oklahoma City case, most recently including a Congressional probe (document and story). Only McVeigh and Terry Nichols have been convicted as direct perpetrators in the bombing.

The claim was made by Kevin McCarthy, a member of a bank robbery gang known as the Aryan Republican Army. McCarthy, who subsequently joined the witness protection program, contacted the FBI in June 1996 to report the phone call (document: FD-302, Kevin McCarthy).

McCarthy said that "in April 1995, he was residing in Elohim City, Oklahoma," a white separatist compound that has been linked to McVeigh. According to McCarthy, he was staying at Elohim City with Andreas Strassmeir.

"Timothy McVeigh, who had been arrested for the bombing, had apparently telephoned Andy Strassmeir in Elohim City several weeks prior to the bombing," according the FBI document, citing a third-hand conversation relayed by McCarthy.

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)

Prior to arriving at Elohim City, Strassmeir was a member of a racist militia group in Texas, according to documents obtained by INTELWIRE using the Freedom of Information Act (documents and story).

According to court records, McVeigh attempted to reach Strassmeir by phone two days before the bombing. ATF informant Carol Howe told her handler before the Oklahoma City bombing that Strassmeir was planning to bomb federal buildings, according to court records (document).

McCarthy's tip came one month after the FBI interrogated Strassmeir via telephone in Germany. Strassmeir left the country after the Oklahoma City bombing. He told the FBI that he had met McVeigh once at a gun show a few years earlier and had never spoken with him again (document).

Members of McCarthy's Aryan bank robbery gang have also been the focus of investigation since the official Oklahoma City bombing case closed. An inquiry by U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, released earlier this month, failed to find conclusive links. The probe was unable to locate McCarthy himself for questioning.

According to Rohrabacher's report, "a federal probation officer in Philadelphia could find no record of McCarthy in the federal probation system. A confidential law enforcement source informed the subcommittee that McCarthy was in some type of federal witness protection program and even located him living in Newtown, Pennsylvania. When pressed for details a week later, this same source told staff that he could no longer help with this matter and that it was "above his pay grade."

Convicted conspirator Terry Nichols also recently alleged a connection between McVeigh and the gang (story).

The new document was provided to INTELWIRE by Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney who is investigating the Oklahoma City bombing through lawsuits against the FBI (external link).

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Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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