In October 1939, as Europe teetered on the brink of war, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to the Soviet Union as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”
The same can be said of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, in which 169 American citizens were killed and nearly 700 injured. Although the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice called a premature halt to the investigation as soon as they had what they felt was sufficient evidence to convict two former Army buddies, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, local law enforcement officials, investigative reporters, freelance writers, county grand jurors, and state and federal lawmakers continued their search for truth. They had evidence showing that at least seventeen other individuals were involved.
In addition to McVeigh and Nichols, the FBI and federal prosecutors charged one additional conspirator, Michael Fortier, an Army buddy of McVeigh and Nichols, of Kingman, Arizona. He signed a plea agreement in which he admitted to knowing about the attack in advance and failing to inform federal authorities. He was released from prison on January 20, 2006 after serving 10Â½ years of a 12-year sentence. That is the sum and substance of what the American people were told about Michael Fortier and his participation in the bombing.
However, what the media have failed to report is that Fortier apparently played a much larger role in the terror attack. For example, in his book, The Oklahoma City Bombing – Case Revelations, writer Patrick B. Briley tells us that the media have failed to report that Fortier and his wife, Lori, drove from Arizona to Oklahoma City in December 1994, at which time McVeigh showed the Fortier’s the building that was to be bombed just four months later. Nor have the media reported that eyewitness accounts place Fortier and his wife in Oklahoma City, with McVeigh, one week before the bombing, and on the morning of April 19, 1995.
So why has McVeigh been executed and why is Nichols serving life in prison, while Fortier served just 10½ years of a 12-year sentence and his wife was granted immunity? It may come as a surprise to the American people to learn the story behind the plea agreement that Fortier signed. According to former FBI Assistant Deputy Director, Danny Coulson, in his book, No Heroes, the initial draft of the Fortier plea bargain agreement was drafted at the White House by Howard Shapiro, Bill Clinton’s legal advisor and FBI liaison, and hand delivered to Fortier in Kingman, Arizona, by Coulson himself, on April 29, 1995, ten days after the bombing.
According to the March 20, 1996 edition of the Strategic Investment newsletter, “A classified report prepared by two independent Pentagon experts has concluded that the destruction of the federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995 was caused by five separate bombs. The two experts reached the same conclusion for the same technical reasons. Sources close to the Pentagon study reported to have said that Timothy McVeigh did play a role in the bombing but peripherally, as a “useful idiot.”
A report in the Freedom Network News shortly after the bombing indicated that “seismograph readouts at the University of Oklahoma (20 miles south of Oklahoma City) indicated more than one blast impulse. Independent ordnance experts including a Navy Commander, unanimously agreed that a car-bomb with low intensity fertilizer explosives could not have inflicted such extensive damage to the building and that it was highly likely that high-intensity explosives had been wired directly to the columns (in the parking garages beneath the building). The Strategic Investment report, edited by former CIA Director William Colby, indicated that the multiple bombings had a “Middle Eastern signature.”
But what is most disturbing is the fact that federal officials had advance knowledge that the building would be bombed. In his book on the Oklahoma City bombing, writer Patrick B. Briley quotes federal court transcripts in which U.S. Department of Justice Prosecutor, Beth Wilkinson, made a startling admission. In a November 1996 preliminary hearing before Federal Judge Richard P. Matsch and McVeigh’s attorney, Stephen Jones, in Denver, Wilkinson admitted that the entire federal family of judges, U.S. Marshals, and FBI agents in Oklahoma City had been forewarned of an attack against the Murrah Building, as the result of a fatwa (a non-binding Islamic legal opinion) issued by radical Islamists in connection with the trial of Islamic terrorists charged in the 1993 bombing of the New York World Trade Center.
It has been established that federal officials took the threat far more seriously than previous bomb threats. In fact, Federal District Judge Wayne Ally avoided going to his Murrah Building office that day and kept his grandchildren out of the Murrah day care center. FBI and BATF agents also decided to stay away from their offices that day. But none of those federal officials bothered to warn employees of other federal agencies headquartered in the Murrah Building.
In the intervening years since the attack, those investigators who knew that there was much more to the crime than the FBI and the BATF were willing to admit, and that the mainstream media were willing to report, have continued their efforts to learn the motives and the identities of those involved. But why did the FBI and the BATF close out their investigations prematurely when additional evidence pointing to others was being developed? Could it have been Bill Clinton’s assurance just days after the bombing that, “There is no Middle Eastern connection?”
For example, why did the FBI move quickly to confiscate the video tapes from all outdoor security cameras in the vicinity of the Murrah Building? And why did they find it necessary in the days immediately following the bombing to have all security cameras in the neighborhood removed, the mounting holes filled in and painted over, and the electrical wires removed from inside the walls, making it appear as if the security cameras had never existed?
And why did the FBI find it necessary to have some 400 duplicates made of the videotapes and then refuse to allow anyone else to view the tapes even when ordered to do so by the federal courts? And while the FBI now claims that the original tapes and all of the duplicates have been misplaced and can’t be found, is it not reasonable to speculate that the duplicate tapes were intended to be used as “insurance policies,” so that no one who was required to compromise their integrity by participating in one of the greatest cover-ups in history, could ever be used as a scapegoat by powerful people in Washington?
Anyone who reads any of the many books already published, or the comprehensive report in author Craig Roberts’ soon-to-be published book, The Medusa File II – The Politics of Terror and the Oklahoma City Bombing, will certainly be confronted with one overriding question: What was it about the Oklahoma City bombing that attracted the attention and the active involvement of literally every law enforcement organization… state, local, county, and federal, that might conceivably have some interest in the crime?
The list of organizations and individuals who played some role in the investigation and subsequent coverup included: Bill Clinton, President of the United States; Janet Reno, John Ashcroft, and Alberto Gonzales, Attorneys General of the United States; Jamie Gorelick, Deputy U.S. Attorney General (author of the infamous “Gorelick Wall,” the DoJ policy that prohibited the FBI and the CIA from sharing intelligence information that likely would have prevented the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Directors Robert Mueller and Louis Freeh; John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence; Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security; Howard Shapiro, Bill Clinton’s legal advisor and FBI liaison; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tax, and Firearms (BATF); the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the Department of Defense (DoD); the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Frank Keating, Governor of Oklahoma; the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI); the Oklahoma Highway Patrol; the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office; the Noble County Sheriff’s Office; the Oklahoma County District Attorney; the Oklahoma City Fire Department; the Oklahoma City Police Department; the Tulsa Police Department; as well as FBI, BATF, and U.S. Attorney personnel too numerous to mention.
If a disgruntled postal worker walked into an Oklahoma City post office and relieved himself of some deep-seated resentment, the crime would more than likely attract the attention of the U.S. Postal Inspector; the FBI, the OSBI; the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office; the Oklahoma County District Attorney; and the Oklahoma City Police Department. So, what was it about the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that attracted so much official attention?
Clearly, the answer lies in the untold number of file cabinets and file boxes that federal agents were unable to retrieve from the basement of the Murrah Building, and which now lie entombed in tons of rubble, soil, and twisted steel beneath the shimmering reflecting pool of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Perhaps more importantly, the answer lies in the truckloads of files retrieved from the basement levels of the building on the morning of April 19, 1995, and from the 7th and 9th floor offices of the DEA and the BATF in the late afternoon and evening of that day… files and file boxes that were so critically important to someone in the highest levels of the federal government that the FBI shut down all rescue and recovery operations for several hours while the screams and moans of the trapped, wounded, and dying filled the air.
If some brave patriot would come forward to divulge the current location of all those documents, documents that some of the most powerful people in Washington prized far more than life itself, we would finally have the answer to the “myth” of Oklahoma City. The riddle, the mystery, and the enigma of one of the greatest crimes of all time would be solved and the lives of all those dead and maimed could be avenged.
Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.