by William F. Jasper. 9-10-97.
To a tight circle of federal law enforcement officials she was known as Confidential Informant 53270-183, or more commonly, CI-183. To her "comrades" in the neo-Nazi and "Christian Identity" movements whom the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and FBI had asked her to infiltrate and surveil she was known by the nome de guerre "Freya" and "Lady MacBeth." During the trial of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing, she became more widely known in press accounts by her real name: Carol Elizabeth Howe.
That is the name affixed to the ATF's "Informant Agreement" of August 25, 1994, signed by Miss Howe and Special Agent Angela Finley (now Angela Finley-Graham) of the ATF's Tulsa, Oklahoma office. McVeigh's defense team had sought to have Howe testify concerning her allegations that she had warned her federal supervisors prior to the bombing that subjects of her investigation were planning to bomb federal buildings, including the one in Oklahoma City. But jurors in the Denver trial of McVeigh never heard Carol Howe's name mentioned in court, nor did they hear her testimony. Federal prosecutors filed motions to prevent her appearance as a defense witness.
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch ruled for the prosecution in a May 27th decision that found Miss Howe's testimony "irrelevant" to the McVeigh trial. At the time, Judge Matsch's ruling was astounding, since the "relevance" of Howe's testimony is facially obvious. It was federal prosecutors, after all, who had entered into evidence the records of a telephone debit card registered to Timothy McVeigh under the name "Daryl Bridges." Among the calls listed was one placed two weeks before the bombing, at 1:46 p.m. on April 5th, to Elohim City, the main target of Howe's undercover work. The intended recipient of that call was Andreas Strassmeir, whom Howe had identified before the bombing as one who was plotting to blow up federal buildings and carry out shootings, assassinations, and other acts of violence. Strassmeir has admitted in an affidavit to having met McVeigh at a gun show and having purchased materials from him.
However, there is considerable evidence indicating a much more substantial connection. Witnesses in Herington, Kansas, for instance, where McVeigh once lived and where his co-defendant Terry Nichols still lived at the time of the bombing, state that Strassmeir was a friend of McVeigh. The McVeigh/Bridges call to Strassmeir at Elohim City takes on even more relevance by virtue of the fact that it was placed from the same phone (at the Kingman, Arizona motel where McVeigh was staying), and on the same calling card, less than two minutes after a call to the Ryder Truck Rental agency.
Even more astonishing evidence supporting Howe's charges was revealed in Howe's own trial in Tulsa, which concluded with a complete acquittal on all counts on August 1st. Howe's attorney, Clark O. Brewster, had claimed that the federal government's prosecution of Howe for the very actions that she had been contracted to carry out as an undercover operative was reprehensible and obviously "retaliatory," intended to dissuade her from revealing potentially damaging information she has about the bombing.
Howe had been charged with possession of an illegal explosive device, conspiracy to make a bomb threat, and making a bomb threat (see our August 4th issue). The New American has obtained and examined copies of ATF reports and documents, along with other evidence and testimony revealed during the trial. (Many of these are now available for examination on our Internet web site at www.jbs.org/okc/Howe/) Our analysis of this material, combined with our interviews of key participants, supports Mr. Brewster's charge and indicates that the jury was correct in finding Howe innocent of all charges. It also indicates that ATF, FBI, Justice, and Treasury officials engaged in a long train of misrepresentation, cover-up, deception, and outright lying concerning the Carol Howe case and the Oklahoma City bombing. Most importantly, evidence and testimony presented during the trial, together with government documents, go a long way toward proving Miss Howe's claims of having provided specific prior warning to her supervisors.
Perhaps the only thing more reprehensible than the mistreatment, betrayal, and endangerment of informant Howe by federal officials is the near total blackout of the Howe trial by the national media. Although hundreds of correspondents covered the McVeigh trial in Denver and were aware of the enormous potential impact of Carol Howe's testimony, almost every major news organization ignored the Tulsa trial. With the exception of the Tulsa World, which provided extensive coverage (and surprisingly fair reporting, considering the World's pronounced antipathy for all those who question the official government line on the bombing), this important story was spiked, or received only trivial attention from the Establishment opinion cartel.
On August 30, 1994, Agent Angela Finley filed her preliminary report on Carol Howe (CI-183) and ATF Investigation No. 53270-94-0124-B. Entitled White Aryan Resistance, W.A.R., it states: "This is an opening report in the investigation of the White Aryan Resistance and the violation of federal firearms and conspiracy laws in various counties in the Northern Judicial District of Oklahoma."
The ATF had contacted Howe after learning that she had filed a crime report with the Tulsa Police Department against a leader of WAR, Tulsa resident Dennis Mahon, for threats he had made against her. Miss Howe had also obtained a court restraining order against Mahon. Agent Angela Finley's August 30th report continues:
On August 24, 1994 this agent met with CI-183 in the Tulsa ATF Field Office and discussed in great detail the federal firearms and conspiracy violations of the White Aryan Resistance, "W.A.R."
The following information pertaining to W.A.R. was provided by CI-183:
W.A.R. is a white supremacist organization that is described briefly as being radical, paramilitary, neo-Nazi, anti-government and violent. W.A.R. has national and international affiliates to include the KKK and a racist following in Germany. W.A.R. affiliates with John Metzger, who is a widely known white supremacist with the KKK. W.A.R. has approximately 20-25 active, 50 non-active, and 200 underground members locally. When a group of "legals" reaches a membership of 5 to 15 people, it will separate to form another group. This is done to protect the members from any government action such as search warrants and infiltration.
Agent Finley's report also notes that "W.A.R. has several training sites in Oklahoma. The primary training location is called Elohim City which is in a rural area near the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas." Finley concludes this initial report by recounting that CI-183 provided her with a videotape of Mahon making statements "that he was a member of the Klan; that violence is the only answer; that violence does work; and that he supports violence against politicians."
The report, on what the ATF refers to as a standard 3270.2 form, was directed to Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Dallas Field Division, Lester D. Martz. It was signed by Agent Finley; by David E. Roberts, the Resident Agent in Charge (RAC) of the Tulsa Field Office; and by Tommy Wittman for SAC Lester Martz in Dallas. According to former top ATF official Robert Sanders, it is very significant that the report — and others that followed — was specifically designated "sensitive" and "significant" rather than routine, and that the investigation was specified as one concerning "terrorist/extremist" individuals and groups. These designations would guarantee that this investigation was being closely monitored at the highest levels in Washington, DC, Sanders told The New American. Sanders, who served for 24 years in the ATF, where he held every supervisory position including that of ATF Assistant Director, the agency's number two spot, also testified as an expert witness for the defense during the Howe trial.
In her second report on Carol Howe, filed September 26, 1994, Finley records that "183 met Andy LNU [last name unknown]" during a September 2nd trip to Elohim City. Andy was described as "a German male, who is head of security for Elohim City." Moreover, "Andy also told 183 that there exists a black market dealer who can get grenades, C-4 and a range of explosives." And, in what was apparently a "loyalty test," Andy "made 183 crawl on the ground under barbed wire while he fired his .45 at 183's feet." Andy, as veteran readers of The New American are already aware, turns out to be a very important and mysterious connection to Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing.
In the same report, Finley writes that Dennis Mahon "gave 183 approximately 2 feet of green safety fuse, a can of gun powder and a plastic funnel," and said he would "instruct 183 how to assemble hand grenades." Mahon also told 183 "that the race war would begin" in 1995 and they "need to prepare for it."
On January 11, 1995, more than three months before the Oklahoma City bombing, Agent Finley filed a status report which has startling relevance to the bombing. It states:
On December 19, 1994 this agent learned the identity of "Andy" who is said to be the head of security at Elohim City. He is actually Andreas Karl Strassmeir, a West German, DOB 051759. This agent then contacted the INS in Oklahoma City and was informed that according to their records Strassmeir is an illegal alien. Strassmeir entered the United States in May of 1991 and was scheduled to leave August of 1991, however, according to records Strassmeir has not left the country. It should be noted that Strassmeir always carries a .45 pistol.
In the same report, Agent Finley relays to her superiors Howe's intelligence that Strassmeir was drilling his Elohim City "troops" in "combat maneuvers," that they were "camping outside in 14 degree weather," and that Strassmeir's troops "were forced to swim in a creek in these frigid temperatures." "Each household is required to be stockpiling ammunition," she writes, and Robert Millar, the founder and head of Elohim City, "gave a sermon soliciting violence against the US government." "He brought forth his soldiers and instructed them to take whatever action necessary against the US Government," reads the ATF account. "He stated that certain groups from Texas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma will be uniting as one front to fight the government," it continues, noting that Millar "explicitly told 183 that they were preparing to fight a war against the government."
"Arm of the Lord"
Significantly, this ATF report and others which preceded it mention the resurrection of another militant group associated with Elohim City, the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord (CSA), which had engaged in an armed standoff with federal authorities a decade before and had been involved in an earlier plot to bomb the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. In fact, Millar's son-in-law, James Ellison, a CSA leader, was due to return to Elohim City in April, after completing a prison sentence related to those earlier activities. And, at the same time, another CSA leader, Richard Snell, was due to be executed for the murder of an Arkansas Highway Patrol officer. ("Reverend" Millar, acting as Snell's "spiritual adviser," would journey to Arkansas and bring back "martyr" Snell's body for burial at Elohim City after his execution on April 19, 1995, the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing.)
The report states that "183 met Keith Bowel, a former CSA who stated that many members of CSA have stayed together and are living in Sparta, MO. Ellison is still planning to visit EC [Elohim City] in April and is expected to round up his followers in order to reconstruct CSA." Howe was invited to join CSA and was told "that Ellison will have a militia with fully automatic firearms and that he intends to have fewer followers to insure a stronger community."
On February 7, 1995, Finley reported that she, along with ATF technician Pat McKinley and acting Special Agent in Charge Tommy Wittman, flew with Oklahoma Highway Patrol pilot Ken Stafford over Elohim City to take photographs and video. Later, on February 22nd, Finley met with Stafford to exchange information regarding the investigation. Her report states:
Trooper Stafford indicated that the FBI also had an ongoing investigation regarding Elohim City. On this same date, RAC David Roberts met with the United States Attorney for the Northern Judicial District of Oklahoma, Steve Lewis, to discuss this investigation.
On February 23, 1995 RAC David Roberts was contacted by FBI supervisor, Marty Webber, who stated that FBI Special Agent in Charge, Bob Ricks, would be available during the week of February 27 through March 03, 1995 to meet with ATF Special Agent in Charge, Lester Martz. RAC Roberts then contacted Dallas Division to request SAC Martz meet with SAC Ricks to discuss the investigation of Elohim City.
Robert Sanders and other veteran federal law enforcement officials confirm what common sense tells anyone who examines the ATF reports: Elohim City was under intense scrutiny by federal agencies at the top levels of management. According to Sanders, the intelligence coming out of Elohim City — illegal explosives and firearms, illegal aliens, planned terrorism, groups and individuals with a history of violence, incendiary rhetoric — together with the rare interagency action between the FBI and ATF indicate that this information would go not only to the heads of the Treasury and Justice Departments, but also to the White House and the National Security Council. The activities mentioned in the ATF reports have "such a high potential for affecting national security," Sanders said, that they would demand monitoring from policymakers in Washington, not merely the local and regional officials.
On April 20, 1995, the day after the bomb attack on the Murrah Building, Angela Finley was contacted by Howe, who stated her belief that Elohim City residents were connected to the crime. The following day Finley and another ATF agent transported Howe to the FBI's bomb investigation headquarters in Oklahoma City where, Finley reported: "CI-183 was debriefed by Special Agents from ATF and FBI. A lead sheet was then completed. It was then determined that CI-183 would be sent to Elohim City to obtain any intelligence relating to the bombing."
On May 1st, Howe traveled to Elohim City on her undercover mission. She returned on May 3rd and was again debriefed by ATF and FBI agents. According to Agent Finley's ATF report, Howe was told by an Elohim City resident, "There is a big secret out here." Howe also "stated that individuals spoken with were supportive of the bombing of the building in Oklahoma City."
In its case against Carol Howe, the federal government contended that Howe had not provided any specific warning prior to April 19, 1995 about Strassmeir or other Elohim City residents planning to blow up federal buildings. Government prosecutors also insisted that Howe was deactivated after June 1995 and that she was not working as a government informant when indicted on March 11th of this year for the explosives, conspiracy, and bomb threat charges. The value of her work as an informant was denigrated, and she was described as unstable. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neal Kirkpatrick called the 26-year-old Howe "the poster girl" for "conspiracy theorists" who believe the government is trying to cover up information about prior warning at the Murrah Building, which killed 168 people. Federal authorities attempted to present Howe as a dangerous neo-Nazi and violent skinhead sympathizer. The government also attempted to suppress any evidence or testimony by Howe concerning the bombing of the Murrah Building.
However, the government's own records and testimony by government officials during cross-examination revealed these alarming facts:
-- ATF Agent Finley-Graham admitted that Howe had warned of bombing threats against federal buildings before the April 19, 1995 bombing.
-- Government records show that Carol Howe was indeed carried as an informant up through the time of her arrest.
-- The government produced no records to support the claim that Howe was dropped as an informant and nothing to contradict Howe's claim that she was never told she was being dropped.
-- ATF reports describe Howe as "the key" witness tying Elohim City to the OKC bombing, and refer to her as "stable and capable."
-- The FBI blew Howe's cover and then refused to provide her with protection.
-- Federal reports show that officials knew their actions had put their informant's life in grave danger.
-- After being exposed by her superiors and denied protection, Howe opted to burrow deeper — and more convincingly — into the neo-Nazi movement, as a matter of survival.
The government's assertion that Howe did not continue as an informant after June 1995 is refuted by many of the government's own records. One of those is an ATF report by Angela Finley-Graham dated January 31, 1996 which states: "It is requested that CI 53270-183 be retained as an active informant. It was requested by the Dallas Division office that this informant be retained as an active informant for the duration of the Oklahoma City bombing investigation." (Emphasis added.)
Another important document in this respect is the April 22, 1996 memorandum from Agent Finley-Graham to the Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Division regarding the danger to Howe. It states: "This informant is involved with the OKC bomb case which is pending prosecution in Denver and was the key in identifying individuals at Elohim City, which is tied to the OKC bomb case." This clearly shows that: a) Howe was officially acknowledged as an active informant in April 1996; b) she was "the key," i.e. considered important and reliable; and c) Elohim City was considered to be "tied to the OKC bomb case."
Under cross-examination, ATF Agent Angela Finley-Graham admitted that Howe was listed as an "active informant" for the ATF through December 18, 1996, but offered an interesting explanation for that status. Graham and federal prosecutors argued that removing her from the official listing might have led to the destruction of records concerning the Oklahoma City bombing. That was especially intriguing and troubling because it left unanswered who would have destroyed which records, and why any records concerning the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil would have been destroyed, especially while the investigation is ongoing and a trial is pending.
Also left unanswered were these important questions: What happened to Agent Finley's December 1994 status report on CI-183? Was it destroyed? Did that report contain, as some sources indicate to us, Howe's specific warnings about the planned April attack on the Oklahoma City federal building? Like so much of the crucial evidence at Waco that conveniently "disappeared," the December report may be permanently "lost."
However, Finley-Graham did admit in an April 24th pre-trial hearing that Howe told her before the Oklahoma bombing that Strassmeir had threatened to blow up federal buildings. "Ms. Howe told you about Mr. Strassmeir's threats to blow up federal buildings, didn't she?" Howe's ATF supervisor was asked by defense counsel
Brewster. "In general, yes," Finley-Graham answered. "And that was before the Oklahoma City bombing?" "Yes," she answered again. It is important to note that Carol Howe and her attorney were limited by Judge Burrage's pre-trial instructions concerning evidence of her prior warnings to the government. The following exchange between Burrage and Brewster is taken from the transcript of the closed April 24th hearing:
Burrage: Well, let me just ask you this, Mr. Brewster. A lot of this makes for good conversation, like the trip to Oklahoma City, you know, before the bombing and so forth and it makes for sensationalism, and I don't know that it really has anything to do with the Oklahoma City bombing, but I saw where you were coming from. With that McVeigh trial going on, I don't want anything getting out of here that would compromise that trial in any way.
Mr. Brewster: What do you mean by compromise? Do you mean shared with the McVeigh lawyers?
Burrage: Yes, or something that would come up — you know, we have got evidence that the ATF took a trip with somebody that said buildings were going to be blown up in Oklahoma City before it was blown up or something of that nature, and try to connect it to McVeigh in some way or something.
During Carol Howe's trial, the defense was limited to making only general references to Howe's prior warning concerning the bombing, and then only insofar as was necessary to Brewster's defense theory. As evidence that Howe was truly planning to engage in terrorist bombings, the government had cited her notes, which among other things, listed 18 bombing targets — Muslim, Jewish, Native American, and government buildings — in the Tulsa area. Brewster's defense theory argued that Howe "believed she had sufficiently warned the government, such that, when the [Oklahoma City] bombing occurred, she felt that she had failed and therefore needed to keep more careful notes." In support of that theory, Brewster provided the jury with pre-marked copies of Agent Finley's ATF reports and walked them through some of the important information therein related to Carol Howe's warnings about Strassmeir, Mahon, and others. He then put Howe on the stand and asked her in a very general sense if, based on what she had told Finley and what had appeared in the ATF reports, she felt she had provided sufficient information for the ATF to conduct an investigation that would have confirmed that a bombing of the Murrah Building was about to take place. Howe said, "Yes."
The prosecution then began cross-examination of Howe by indicating it was going to challenge her claims of forewarning. At that point Mr. Brewster asked for a bench conference. When he returned from that conference, the prosecutor took an entirely different tack and did not confront Howe on the matter of prior warning. So what was said in that conference that had such an impact on the prosecution's line of questioning? We asked Mr. Brewster. He explained: "I simply said, 'Your Honor, out of deference to your Honor's struggle with the decision as to whether I could get into that topic, I want you to know that I very generally touched upon it with this witness, but Carol is sitting here today cocked and loaded to discuss that, and I just want the prosecutor to know that I didn't get into it, but I'm giving him full right to do so and I have no objection, but I want him to know that she will get into it if he opens it up.'" The point was well taken. The defense had put the government on notice that it could not hit and run. If the prosecution was going to attack its confidential informant's credibility on this specific matter, the defendant would have the right during re-direct to answer with specifics, and the government could not object on grounds that her testimony would jeopardize the bombing trials or some other investigation. The prosecution retreated.
So, will Carol Howe publicly divulge specifics about her warnings now that her trial is over? Not just yet. She is scheduled to testify before the Oklahoma County Grand Jury which was convened through the grassroots efforts of citizens to investigate all aspects of the bombing, including charges of prior warning and official misconduct and cover-up.
But what is in the official record already from the Howe trial alone should be more than sufficient to convince even the most hardened skeptic that we are witnessing an official cover-up of enormous proportions concerning the worst terrorist act in our nation's history. If John Huang, James McDougal, Charlie Trie, Nora Lum, James Riady, and other "donors" in the various "Moneygate" scandals being investigated by Congress are potential landmines for the Clinton Administration, Carol Howe is a potential nuclear bomb.
Time after time during the trial, the claims of Agent Finley-Graham and other ATF and FBI officials were proven false and the claims of Howe proven true. Finley-Graham and the prosecutors, for instance, charged that they were concerned about Howe's loyalty because she was improperly "mixing" with local skinheads and not relaying what she knew of their activities. However, defense attorney Clark Brewster introduced evidence that Howe had provided Finley with at least two tapes of phone conversations with local "skins" as well as their names and addresses. "How much more specific information than names and phone numbers do you need?" Brewster asked Finley-Graham. What's more, Finley herself had listed Howe's association with the Hammerskins, a Tulsa skinhead group, on an ATF form in May 1995, and immediately below that entry affirmed that Howe had provided "reliable" and "verified" information in the past. ATF records also show that Howe passed a polygraph and was deemed "truthful." Finley-Graham also admitted in court that Howe had given her a copy of The Turner Diaries months before the bombing and repeatedly insisted that she read it since it was "the Bible" of the neo-Nazi movement and a handbook on their strategy and tactics. Federal prosecutors later would claim that this novel had a tremendous impact on McVeigh and provided a blueprint for the truck-bomb scenario of the Murrah Building.
"A Very Good Informant"
On the witness stand, Finley-Graham implied that Howe was ineffective as an informant and never provided evidence that resulted in the conviction of a "target." But former ATF official Robert Sanders told The New American he found that assertion incredible. Howe provided authorities, he said, with specific intelligence "on dozens, maybe hundreds of serious crimes," yet "there is no evidence that they did anything with her information." It is not the informant's job, he pointed out, to arrest and prosecute. In the case of Strassmeir alone, Sanders pointed out, Howe provided information that the German illegal alien constructed, possessed, and detonated illegal explosive devices, and "each of those offenses is a federal felony carrying a ten-year sentence." Incredibly, Strassmeir was not even questioned by the FBI or ATF and was allowed to flee the country in January 1996, eight months after the bombing.
Then there is the damning evidence Howe provided on Mahon. "According to Howe, Mahon set off a 500-pound ANFO bomb," noted Sanders. "That is a big bomb. How many people in this country have ever done that? Not many, I can guarantee you. The ATF and FBI would definitely want to question him about that, especially after Oklahoma City. But there's no evidence that they ever did."
In Sanders' estimation, Carol Howe was "a very good informant." "She is obviously intelligent, resourceful, cool and convincing under pressure," and has a good sense for "the kind of detailed information that is most helpful" to law enforcement and prosecutors. Besides making 38 audio cassettes and two videotapes for her ATF and FBI handlers, she also provided voluminous information on the identities and relationships of residents and visitors at Elohim City, organizational charts and family trees, telephone numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, types and quantities of explosives and firearms, meetings with other violent extremist groups, drawings of tattoos, and much more. In return for this very courageous work under extremely difficult and dangerous circumstances, Carol Howe was "outed" by her own superiors and left to fend for herself.
An ATF report by Agent Finley-Graham dated April 1, 1996 leaves no doubt that authorities knew Howe had been put in grave danger. It states: "On March 29, 1996 this agent received a telephone call from S/A Harry Eberhardt," who "stated that the identity of CI 53270-183 had been severely compromised" due to the release of a report by FBI agent James R. Blanchard II which "contained the formal name of CI 53270-183," as well as other sensitive information about Howe. The report says that "S/A Eberhardt stated that he became irate because it was apparent that nothing was going to be done in an effort to rectify the problem or at least provide help for the safety of CI 53270-183." Finley-Graham wrote that she "immediately telephoned CI 53270-183 and informed him/her that their name had been disclosed and that he/she should take every precaution for their safety.... This agent told the CI that anything and everything will be done to insure his/her safety."
But that turned out to be an empty promise. A memo by Finley-Graham dated April 22, 1996 notes: "The FBI is the lead agency on this case, however, many other federal, state and local agencies are involved." (Emphasis added.) Still, with all that police power involved, Howe was given no protection. The same April memo asserts: "Individuals who pose immediate danger to CI 53270-183 are: (1) Dennis Mahon, (2) members of Elohim City, and (3) any sympathizer to McVeigh...." Finley-Graham concluded by saying she has "known CI 53270-183 for approximately two years and can assert that this informant has not been overly paranoid or fearful during undercover operations. This agent believes that s/he could be in serious danger when associates discover his/her identity."
Indeed, one of Finley's earliest reports on Elohim City recounts that Mahon "stated that he would kill any informant." (In fact, that may have been what Mahon had in mind when he sent Howe on a "night reconnaissance mission" in a secluded, rural area — straight into the arms of a black gang, whose members pistol-whipped Howe and cut her with a knife.) In spite of this acknowledged "serious danger," the feds left their outed informant unprotected. According to trial testimony, Finley-Graham, like Eberhardt, was angry with the FBI, both for compromising Howe and for failing to give her security afterward. FBI agent Pete Rickel admitted on the stand that Miss Howe had come to him in May 1996 seeking protection, but he had offered none. In fact, he said he didn't even make a note of the conversation with her. So much for concern about her safety.
After being thus betrayed by those who had pledged to protect her, Howe contended that her only hope was to dig deeper into the movement to allay any suspicions that she was an informant. Incredibly, the prosecution then tried to prejudice the jury against Howe by citing those very things which allowed her to be convincing enough to survive. It cited, among other things, her possession of neo-Nazi and racist literature, her association with neo-Nazis and skinheads, her possession of firearms, and her camouflage clothing. All of this was an obvious attempt to distract the jury from the weakness of the case against Howe.
It is transparent to many observers that the government's entire case against Carol Howe was a diversion and a retaliatory act meant to stop her from exposing embarrassing facts which key people in the government desperately want to remain buried. "I think it's appalling that the government prosecuted this girl for doing exactly what they hired her to do, while at the same time allowing Dennis Mahon, Andy Strassmeir, and others who are implicated [in the bombing] off scott-free," Kathy Wilburn told The New American. Mrs. Wilburn, whose two grandsons were killed in the blast and whose husband Glenn recently passed away (see our August 18th issue), was one of the very few who attended all of the Carol Howe trial. "Carol Howe's testimony and the ATF records lend very strong, additional support," says Mrs. Wilburn, "to all of the other evidence and eyewitness testimony — the bomb squads being at the building before the explosion, the ATF agents being out of their offices, other undercover informants — indicating that the government did have prior warning."
Media Bypass Magazine November 1996
By Lawrence Myers
According to the federal government, an Ammonia Nitrate-Fuel Oil (ANFO) truck bomb allegedly destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah building in downtown Oklahoma City on the morning of Wednesday, April 19, 1995. Also, according to recently released government documents, an individual experienced in loading large amounts of ammonia nitrate fertilizer into a vehicle for use as a terrorist truck bomb was present at the OKC scene and actually witnessed the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Records indicate that this ANFO explosives expert and his associates had constructed and destroyed at least eight vehicles in "test bombing experiments" out at a secret range in the New Mexico desert in the twelve months prior to the OKC bombing. He and his fellow explosives experts even photographed and videotaped these truck bombs as they detonated.
This individual is, however, not a known associate of suspects Terry Lynn Nichols and Timothy James McVeigh or any so-called "anti government militia" in the United States. The "vehicle bomb expert," Special Agent Harry Everhart, is an employee of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. And, according to federal government records obtained by Media Bypass, Everhart, an accomplished ATF expert in ANFO truck bombs, was actually one of the first federal law officers to report the details of the bombing to his superiors from the scene in front of the Murrah Building, within minutes of the blast.
The Department of Treasury confirms that Everhart called the ATF office in Dallas on his cellular phone and reported that the Murrah Building had just been attacked by an ANFO truck bomb at around 9:20 a.m. that morning. Records reveal that this particular ATF agent would clearly be qualified to make such an instant observation. Everhart, based out of the BATF's Oklahoma City Resident Agency, serves on the National Response Team (NRT), a group of experienced bomb and arson investigators who respond to major bombing crime scenes throughout the United States. He also served on a secret government project in 1994 that conducted tests using ANFO and C-4 to blow up cars and vans in a classified U.S. government experiment known as "Project Dipole Might." According to files, reports and photographs obtained by Media Bypass from the Department of the Treasury through a Freedom of Information Act request, the United States government initiated a "comprehensive ANFO and C4 vehicle bomb testing program" about a year before the OKC bombing. Records show the project was supervised and administered by ATF, but was actually funded through a National Security Council directive. The Department of Treasury confirms the project was initiated under President Bill Clinton's NSC White House staff shortly after he took office in 1993.
The "Road" to Oklahoma City?
The documents reveal that ATF not only built and detonated these home-made vehicle bombs, they actually set up test surfaces to replicate "four of the most common roadbed types in the United States," to cause the bombs to function in an environment where the crime scene teams evidently expected to encounter such a device somewhere in America. Furthermore, video footage obtained through these secret experiments is expected to be presented as evidence in the government's case against suspects Timothy James McVeigh and Terry Lynn Nichols. The stated intent of the Dipole Might experiments in 1994 includes making videos and computer models to "be displayed in a courtroom to aid in the prosecution of defendants" in vehicle bomb cases, according to government documents concerning the purpose of the project. The exact precedent and purpose of this activity is unclear. ATF agents started blowing up vans and cars in Spring, 1994 at the White Sands Missile Range in order to supposedly collect test data for post-blast forensics computer software packages to be issued out to National Response Team personnel when they respond to truck bombings. Why the National Security Council would fund such an ATF project, despite the absolute rarity of the crime, has not been explained. The NSC is part of the Executive Branch and evidently mandated the ATF's funding for Dipole Might in early 1993, shortly after Bill Clinton was sworn in as President.
Nor has it been explained as to what specific threat assessment information the government had when it decided to engage in such a project, just a few months before a Ryder Truck laden with ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded in front of the Murrah Building. Indeed the only major ANFO vehicle bombing in U.S. history, prior to OKC, occurred in August, 1970 at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, Wis. One of the key suspects in that bombing, Leo Frederick Burt, is, incidently, still at large. (Contrary to media reports, the World Trade Center Bomb of February 1993 was composed of Urea Nitrate, not ANFO, according to the FBI.)
Despite only one known case in almost 25 years, did Clinton's National Security Council actually anticipate a need for detailed information regarding ANFO vehicle bomb attacks a few months prior to the Oklahoma City blast? Evidently, such a bombing was exactly what they were expecting. Treasury's own official documents reveal the intensity of this interest. In fact, a brief summary of "Project Dipole Might" is featured in ATF's 1994 Annual Report to Congress. It reads:
"Dipole Might is the name given to a research project ATF is working on in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Defense Nuclear Agency. The objective of this three year project, funded by the National Security Council in 1993, is to create a computerized data base and investigative protocol for the investigation of large scale vehicle bombs. The basic computer software is intended to be in a format useable by law enforcement agencies around the world in crime scene management and analysis. The data will be integrated into this retrievable system so that it can be displayed in a courtroom to aid in the prosecution of defendants, aid in the security design of buildings, improve security response procedures, assist law enforcement agencies in their investigations of bombing incidents, and contribute to further development of analytical models. Data acquired will include blast over-pressure, fragment distribution, fragment mass, and sample fragment trajectory.
The tests for this project were conceived using four of the most common roadbed types in the United States and explosive charges that varied in size from 50 pounds to 1,000 pounds and type from C4 to ANFO (C-4 to represent the effect of plastic explosives and ANFO for its common availability and use in terrorist devices). By repeating several sufaces with different explosive weights and types, more data is able to be gathered with fewer events.
The tests began in 1994 at DNA's White Sands Missile Range high explosives test site in New Mexico. ATF personnel with extensive postblast experience were used to collect all data.
The execution of the tests required careful measurement of ground zero for centering the explosive charge in the instrumental area, calibration of numerous monitoring devices, timing of the photographic and video recording devices, and placement of the explosive charge.
For the first eight tests, all vehicle fragments measuring larger than 2 by 3 inches were marked identified and each fragment location surveyed. These tests used only two types of vehicles, a Chevrolet Caprice 4-door sedan, and a Dodge B-300 series passenger van. These vehicles were chosen to simulate two commonly available vehicles and If their load carrying capacity.
During the course of each event, data acquisition was accomplished through the Test Control Center at White Sands Missile Range. The recorded data was then analyzed by a team of engineers for accuracy.
Documentation of each event began with high speed photography and video. After each test, a complete crate profile was done by contract surveyors, and documented further with still photography. Additional still photographs were taken of significant and identifiable fragments. To date only one verification test has been completed. Although the computer software is incomplete, it has become clear that there are significant repeatable trends in large scale vehicle bombs.
Although the government does not claim that the OKC bombing suspects conducted any experiments with ANFO truck bombs prior to the most powerful terrorist bombing in U.S. history, the ATF now admits they conducted such testing in the months before the April 19, 1995 blast. Regardless of the outcome of the case against Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the White House National Security Council under President Clinton evidently had information in 1993 that an ANFO truck bomb was a serious potential terrorist threat in the United States.
The NSC further concluded that federal law enforcement needed tools to deal with the post blast investigation if such a bombing would occur on U.S. soil. Their assessment was correct. What ever that still classified NSC intelligence information was, it was compelling enough to get everyone ready for the blast, even to the point of funding an ATF exercise in blowing up vehicles full of ammonia nitrate and looking at the level of damage such a bomb would cause.
Within months, the outcome of these experiments and the resultant procedures were actually put to use.
The first appointed trial judge in the OKC case, Judge Wayne Alley, was removed after it was learned that he was warned to stay away from the Murrah Federal Building in the days before the bombing.
Not only were some government employees evidently warned of a specific threat in advance, other government agents were apparently preparing to investigate such a bombing in advance as well.
Regardless of the unusual coincidences involved in Operation Dipole Might, and despite other disturbing issues of so-called "government prior knowledge" in the OKC cases it is clear that at least 168 men, women and children had absolutely no idea what was going to happen at 9:09 a.m. on Wednesday April 19, 1995. The government is not talking. It is left to the families of the victims and other survivors to understand why.
Count The Coincidences
1.) Although no ANFO truck bomb attacks havc occurred on U.S. soil in more than two decades, just a few months before the OKC bombing, the federal government evidently felt a need for "investigative tools and computer data" on such attacks and actually test fired a few truck loads of ANFO to learn how the crime scenc looks afterwards.
2.) According to the indictment against McVelgh and Nichols, the conspiracy to build, transport and function the Ryder Truck bomb of April 19, 1995 took more than a year to hatch. Much of this conspiracy took place in Arizona, according to the U.S. Attorney. As McVeigh and Nichols were allegedly conspiring to create such a bomb, the government now admits it was actually building, blowing up and photographing ANFO truck bombs, just one state over, in New Mexico, during this same period of time. The purpose of the activity was to insure a smooth Investigation of a crime that had not occurred in more than 23 years, but would amazingly happen within 12 months of the project's inception.
3.) Of the handful of federal ATF agents who worked on Project Dipole Might, one just happened to be outside the Alfred P. Murrah building on the morning of April 19, 1995, and not only survived the lethal blast, but actually called in the bombing to his superiors, correctly identifying it as an ANFO Lomb. (Before you consider this particular coincidence, also explain whv virtually no other OKC BATF employees were anywhere near their place of employment that morning, and in fact, none were killed or seriously injured in a terrorist bombing the government claims was directed towards them.
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