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Thursday, March 31, 2011
Just Days After OKC Bombing, Informant Named Two Key SuspectsJust days after the Oklahoma City bombing, an informant told the FBI that white supremacists Dennis Mahon and Andreas Strassmeier had been actively discussing plans to bomb the Alfred E. Murrah federal building for months prior to the attack.
A record of an FBI interview with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms informant Carol Howe, dated April 21, 1995, was provided to INTELWIRE by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue and investigative journalist Roger Charles. Trentadue is engaged in a lawsuit to compel the FBI to release documents pertaining to the bombing under the Freedom of Information Act. Charles, a retired Marine Corps officer, worked with J.D. Cash of the McCurtain Gazette investigating the bombing.
Mahon and Strassmeier both have ties to a large number of white supremacist and anti-government movements, and both have been linked to a white supremacist compound in Oklahoma known as Elohim City. Both men separately claimed to have met convicted OKC bomber Timothy McVeigh at gun shows prior to the attack. McVeigh placed a call to the Elohim City compound, where Strassmeier was living, shortly before the bombing.
According to the document (click here to read), Mahon told Howe he wanted to target federal facilities for bombings, including specifically federal buildings in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
Howe told the FBI that Mahon and Strassmeier took three trips to Oklahoma City, in November 1994, December 1994 and February 1995. According to a chronology of McVeigh's travels compiled by his defense team (link), McVeigh was also in Oklahoma City in December 1994 and cased the Murrah building during that trip. However, Howe said she accompanied Mahon and Strassmeier on the trip and did not report any meeting with McVeigh.
It's not clear how much the FBI did to attempt to follow up on this information. The FBI has consistently refused to disclose the bulk of its investigative file related to the Oklahoma City bombing.
What records have been released through Trentadue's lawsuit and other sources do not detail any substantial investigation of Mahon and only relate a belated interview of Strassmeier by phone after he had left the United States. Strassmeier left the U.S. soon after the bombing and now lives in his native Germany.
Dennis Mahon is currently facing trial, along with his twin brother Daniel, for a 2004 bombing that targeted Don Logan, a black official working for the Scottsdale, Arizona, city diversity office. Logan was injured in the attack.
According to the Associated Press, the Mahon brothers' trial was scheduled to start this month but has been delayed until early 2012 because of "a 'substantial' amount of information disclosed by the government" during discovery. The nature of the disclosures is currently unknown.
Previously released documents (click to read) indicated that Howe had related the possible threats described above to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms prior to the April 1995 bombing (for specific testimony, click here).
Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.
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ISIS: THE STATE
Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger co-author the forthcoming book, "ISIS: The State of Terror," from Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins. The book, which will debut in early 2015, will examine the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, its potential fall, how it is transforming the nature of extremist movements, and how we should evaluate the threat it presents. Jessica Stern is a Harvard lecturer on terrorism and the author of the seminal text Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. J.M. Berger is author of the definitive book on American jihadists, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy, and editor of Intelwire.com.