Documents obtained exclusively by Fox News Channel suggest a third gun linked to “Operation Fast and Furious” was found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s murder, according to the network’s exclusive report today. Further, those documents appear to contradict earlier assertions by federal agencies that police found only two weapons tied to the federal government’s now infamous gun interdiction scandal, and network sources say emails support their contention that the FBI concealed evidence to protect a confidential informant. But is this a unique occurrence? One man says, “No.”
Jesse Trentadue has seen similar behavior during his investigation of the Oklahoma City Bombing, an effort he hoped would lead to the truth about the death of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue several months after the bombing while in custody at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City.
Via the Freedom of Information Act, Trentadue has, for more than three years, sought copies of the videotape images captured by more than 20 surveillance cameras operating in the vicinity of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City prior to 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995. In addition, he’s tried to obtain a copy of the original videotape taken by the dashboard camera on Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Hanger’s vehicle showing the arrest of Timothy McVeigh a short time later on the same morning.
While the FBI did produce tapes from the buildings around the Murrah Building, the tapes had been edited, Trentadue said. As for the tapes from the cameras on the Murrah Building, the contents of which are describe in a timeline prepared by the Secret Service, the FBI claims it cannot find.
The FBI also produced a copy of the McVeigh arrest tape, taken by the dash camera of Trooper Hanger, Trentadue added. That tape had also been edited so as not to show the arrest and the brown pickup truck traveling with McVeigh. Instead, it showed only McVeigh’s empty car parked along side the freeway.
The FBI initially claimed it had only a copy of the Hanger tape and not the original, according to Trentadue, but when he filed evidence receipt forms — Exhibit 3 and Exhibit 4 — showing the FBI had obtained original tape from Trooper Hanger on April 27, 1995, the FBI reversed itself and now claims that it also cannot find this tape.”
Though he seemed to make progress on the case May 11 when a federal judge in Utah ordered the FBI to answer questions about the whereabouts of the OKC Bombing videotapes by June 30, progress was slow. Two days later, I reported that the OKC Bombing investigation was clouded by the FBI practice of hiding evidence in secret databases.
Meanwhile, Trentadue shared four possible FBI responses to the judge’s order in late June while waiting for the FBI and other defendants to meet Judge Clark Waddoups’ deadline. All of them turned out to be wrong.
Rather than say there were no tapes, say they need more time, say that sharing the tapes might compromise national security or simply produce the tapes, the FBI’s David Hardy said the OKC Bombing videotapes “might have been misfiled and thus could be located somewhere other than in the OKBOMB file (though it would be impossible to know where).”
Three months later, Trentadue finally had a breakthrough when his legal efforts prompted the FBI to release a previously-sealed document that includes mention, by a confidential source, of another document “which would remove all doubt that the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had prior knowledge of the bomb which destroyed the Alford P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.”
The released document also contains now-declassified details about a meeting FBI agents had April 19, 1995, with a source “who provided highly accurate and reliable information in the past” and was now advising “that a source within the Saudi Arabian Intelligence Service advised that the Oklahoma City bombing was sponsored by the Iraqi Special Services out of Pakistan.”
On Aug. 15, Trentadue countered the FBI response by submitting to the court a 34-page memorandum of his own that was accompanied by 69 pages of exhibits. In his memo, he rebuts factual assertions made by Hardy, a senior official in the FBI’s Records Management Division in Winchester, Va., and drives home some key points: “This is not a case about reports and documents. It is a case about videotapes. Missing videotapes.”
In a footnote at the bottom of page 4 of his memo, Trentadue shares more thoughts about the case before pointing to what he believes is a never-before-published FBI document:
“It is also a case about the most crucial evidence in what was then the biggest criminal investigation ever handled by FBI Defendants: the bombing of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Building. FBI Defendants do not present the Court with any admissible evidence that these tapes do not exist. Rather, FBI Defendants claim that the tapes cannot be found despite a computer search for the location of this evidence and, therefore, that their FOIA obligations have been met. But that is not enough to satisfy FBI Defendants’ FOIA obligations in this instance.
The American public has a right to know what happened in Oklahoma City on the morning of April 19, 1995 and, more importantly, why? Yet, it is obvious that for some reason FBI Defendants do not want the truth about the Oklahoma City Bombing made public. Perhaps the reason is as simple as: the Federal Government’s prior knowledge of that planned attack and failure to prevent it, or that there were others involved whom the Federal government chose not to expose and/or prosecute. See, e.g., Exhibit 1 discussing a failed FBI/ATF “sting operation.”
The heavily-redacted document, Exhibit 1 (above right), which Trentadue believes was never made public until he shared it recently with a handful of journalists, reads as follows (unedited):
Based on a request for contact, Special Agents (SA) –REDACTED– contacted –REDACTED– protect identity by request). At this time, –REDACTED– provided a two-page document which bore obvious indications of being faxed. REDACTED– stated that –REDACTED– contributed a considerable amount of knowledge and information to this article, –REDACTED–.
REDACTED– related that this document contained information which would remove all doubt that the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had prior knowledge of the bomb which destroyed the Alford P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. REDACTED– stated that these agencies attempted to develop a “sting” operation and did not take the bomb threat seriously.
Prior knowledge? Seems like I’ve heard that before. Yes, something of that nature was disclosed in the 2004 best-seller, “The Third Terrorist: The Middle East Connection to the Oklahoma City Bombing,” by award-winning investigative reporter Jayna Davis.
Of course, there’s more to this story than space allows today. Rest assured, however, that I’ll share more about this case soon — probably when Judge Waddoups takes his next action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division. The FBI’s next response to the court is due Sept. 29.
UPDATE 9/12/11 at 12:36 p.m. Central: Cross-posted at Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com.
UPDATE 9/13/11 at 9:19 p.m. Central: Since I brought up the subject of prior knowledge some people appeared to have had about the Oklahoma City Bombing, I feel like I ought to share a video (below) which I had seen long ago but stumbled across by accident again tonight. I think it clearly shows that, without a doubt, ATF agents knew in advance about the bombing. Watch and see if you agree.
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