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Sunday, July 3, 2011

In Latest Filing, FBI Says It Can't Find OKC Bombing Videos

The FBI admitted in a court filing Thursday that videotapes related to the Oklahoma City bombing -- including possible footage of the actual truck bomb detonation -- may have been misfiled and as a result might never be found.

The new filing came as part of a lawsuit filed by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue. Documents previously disclosed as part of the lawsuit can be found here, here and here.

The lawsuit seeks, among other things, information pertaining to surveillance videotapes that may have captured the bombing in progress and which Trentadue believes may show additional conspirators in the domestic terrorist attack that claimed 168 lives on April 19, 1995.

Trentadue previously submitted affidavits and other filings claiming the existence of a tape that shows the truck bomb in the moments before it detonated as well as another tape showing the arrest of Timothy McVeigh during a traffic stop soon after the bombing.

In response to these documents and another filing which showed David Hardy, the FBI's main FOIA compliance official, had intentionally misled the judge in a different FOIA case, Judge Clark Waddoups in May ordered the FBI to provide additional information on its search for the tapes as well as other documentation averring the truthfulness of previous FBI filings.

Filed Thursday, Hardy's response was largely uninformative, repeating its earlier claims and averring that Hardy had not misled the judge. Hardy claimed he had no information which could assist additional searches for the tapes, except for a manual review of the 450,000 pages of documents generated during the first two weeks of the Oklahoma City bombing investigation, which he said could take as long as a year and a half to complete.

Hardy argued against making the search, saying that it would impact other pending FOIA cases. The documents in question are, in fact, covered by a FOIA request made by INTELWIRE which has not been fulfilled to date.

Hardy also said in Thursday's filing, "While it is always a possibility that responsive documents might have been misfiled and thus could be located somewhere other than in the OKBOMB file (though it would be impossible to know where), I am not aware that this is the case, and a reasonable search did not and would not locate any such documents (if they exist) because they would not be in a location likely to contain responsive documents."

The complete response from the FBI can be viewed here.

Trentadue sued the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act for documents related to the Oklahoma City bombing 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.

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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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