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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oklahoma City Bombing: FBI Informants Reported on ABC News, McVeigh Defense Team

FBI informants reporting on the Oklahoma City bombing provided the bureau with leads taken from ABC News and Timothy McVeigh's defense team, according to documents filed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

A confidential informant in the St. Louis, Missiouri, area "learned of the following information as a result of interviews and contacts made by the ABC News team covering OKBOMB," the FBI's code name for the investigation, according to an FBI FD-302 record dated April 3, 1996.

The informant said government documents including "telephone records and grand jury information" had been "leaked" to attorneys for both Timothy McVeigh and his co-conspirator, Terry Nichols.

The informant said the information was "being used to fuel belief that a government conspiracy exists to 'cover up' government mistakes," the document states, including information indicating that the goverment was warned of the April 19, 1995 attack ten days in advance. The material was being used to bolster claims that "the government had a confidential informant next to McVeigh."

The informant also provided information on reporting by the late J.D. Cash regarding the bombing and the possibility of additional conspirators.

According to the document, the informant also provided information on gun dealer Roger Moore and German neo-Nazi Andreas Strassmeier, both of whom have been the subject of scrutiny for their relationships to McVeigh and possible roles in the bombing plot. According to the informant, "some right-wing group supporters believe [Strassmeier] is an FBI informant."

A second document from the same informant again provided information learned "as a result of interviews and contacts made by the ABC News Team covering OKBOMB" related to Elohim City, a white supremacist compound in rural Oklahoma where Strassmeier lived and worked as security director.

A third document identifies a numbered informant in Oklahoma who claimed to be alerting the FBI to a planned ABC expose concerning the bombing. This informant was relaying information from "a confidential source who works for a news agency."

A fourth document from April 16, 1996, was previously released and identifies a numbered FBI informant based in New York who was "a senior official employed by ABC News for over fifteen years." This informant was pressured into revealing the name of a ABC News source -- Vincent Cannistraro -- who had provided information pointing to overseas involvement in the attack. This informant was later allegedly identified as Christopher Isham, who denied providing information to the FBI.

The complete set of new Oklahoma City bombing documents were filed as support for a sweeping motion that details the FBI's noncompliance with previous court orders regarding disclosure of documents related to the Oklahoma City bombing.

Salt Lake City attorney Jesse 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.

Documents previously disclosed as part of the lawsuit can be found here, here and here.

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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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