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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jesse Trentadue Presses FBI on Secret Files In OKC Bombing

Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue has filed new evidence of secret FBI filing practices in his Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the bureau seeking files related to the Oklahoma City bombing.

Trentadue this week filed exhibits pertaining to FBI procedures for filing documents while keeping them out of legal disclosure processes such as FOIA or discovery. The exhibits were provided to INTELWIRE by Trentadue.

Affidavit of Richard Ojeda

Ojeda was an FBI agent from 1989 to 1999 who worked on the Oklahoma City bombing. According to Ojeda, when FBI agents interviewed subjects, they were trained to "be careful what we put into" written records such as FD-302 forms, since such records were "likely to be turned over to the defense in discovery."

According to Ojeda's affidavit, some information for FD-302 files would be omitted from the main report, but included in an insert "which we knew would generally not be discoverable in court."

"The FBI also kept 'zero files' which were reports containing information that the FBI would not generally want disclosed to the defense and which were kept in a separate case file." Ojeda indicated that he believed information about the Oklahoma City case had been improperly withheld from defense attorneys.

Memorandum and Order, National Lawyers Guild et. al. v. FBI et. al.

The unpublished 1980 court ruling found that the FBI maintained what were called "June Files," which held "the results of electronic surveillance and other secretive methods of acquiring sensitive information."

Trentadue sued the FBI after his brother, Kenneth, was found dead in a federal prison cell soon after the bombing. Trentadue won a wrongful death suit against the Bureau of Prisons for covering up key details of his brother's death, which the Bureau claimed was a suicide.

Trentadue believes his brother was murdered in prison in a case of mistaken identity due to his resemblance to a suspected accomplice in the bombing, Richard Guthrie, who was also found dead in prison under similar circumstances in 1996.

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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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