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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism


Monday, February 25, 2008
 

New OKC Docs: Informants, Surveillance, Middle Eastern Suspects, And More

New information about the FBI's investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing has emerged in FBI documents recently released to Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue.

A lawsuit by Trentadue seeks to force the FBI to comply with Trentadue's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents pertaining to the Oklahoma City bombing.

Trentadue's lawsuit was prompted by the apparent murder of his brother while in federal custody, which Trentadue believes is connected to the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing (previous story). For more about that case and copies of documents released thus far, click here, here and here.

FBI Bulletin, 4/19/1995

The first document, issued on the day of the attack, alerts FBI offices around the country to the bombing and requests any current leads from all FBI offices regarding "domestic terrorism" and noting the anniversary of the Waco Siege. At this stage, the public investigation of the case had not yet ruled out foreign terrorism (and a subsequent teletype indicates several Middle Eastern suspects were being monitored).

It's worth noting that as early as 1991, FBI field agents had been warning headquarters of a domestic bombing of exactly this type (INTELWIRE, 8/27/2006). Also, a video filed in court by Trentadue as part of his FOIA case shows "a press conference given in December of 2003" at which Southern Poverty Law Center director Morris Dees stated "that about six months prior to the Oklahoma City Bombing, the SPLC had warned both FBI Defendants and Attorney General Janet Reno about an impending severe domestic terrorism attack and that within minutes following the Bombing of the Murrah Building, the SPLC had telephoned the FBI to say that the 'patriot movement' was involved in that attack, not Muslim extremists."

4/19/1995: FBI Teletype, Oklahoma City bombing

FBI Status of Investigation, 4/20/1995

This teletype is an overview of the ongoing investigation. It details efforts to track Timothy McVeigh through the identification number on the truck used in the bombing. The document also states that a person of interest was "believed to be staying in a motel room in Wichita, Kansas." According to court records, FBI Special Agent Thomas Price was conducting surveillance related to the Oklahoma City bombing in Wichita on April 20, but his team was called away from that assignment to monitor Terry Nichols. The subject of the surveillance was never disclosed.

The memo also outlines leads related to "Middle Eastern males," including a lead that appears to pertain to Onis and Assad Siddiqi. Other leads -- including one pertaining to a shipment of explosives -- were redacted by the FBI before it released the document.

4/20/1995: FBI Teletype, Oklahoma City bombing, suspects

FBI Lead, Informant Report, Cincinnati, 1/5/1996

A heavily redacted teletype from the FBI field office in Cincinnati states that a confidential informant encountered a figure involved with the Aryan Nations movement who made reference to the Oklahoma bombing. A previously released document dated January 21, 1995 and linked below, adds detail to this report, indicating subject of the report was Andreas Strassmeier, a German national linked to McVeigh. Click here and here for more documents related to Strassmeier.

According to the January 21 teletype, the informant agreed to seek more information regarding the lead and was willing to travel to the Charlotte, N.C., area in order to investigate further.

1/5/1996: FBI Teletype, OKC investigation in Cincinnati

1/21/1996: FBI Teletype, OKC investigation in Cincinnati

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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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