Terror, Travesty and Tales of Suppressed Evidence

Vicki and Michael Behenna

Vicki and Michael Behenna

EDITOR’S NOTE: I waited to publish this piece until after the Army Clemency and Parole Board made public it’s decision concerning the case of 1st Lt. Michael Behenna.  Why?  Because I did not want to divert anyone’s attention from the 26-year-old Army officer’s case and what seems like overwhelming evidence to suggest, first, that Army prosecutors suppressed evidence during his court-martial and, second, that he deserves, at a minimum, a new trial  and, at best, a presidential pardon.

During the past seven months, I’ve published more than a dozen posts and two widely-circulated articles (here and here) about the case of Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna.  In my writings, however, I described the lieutenant’s mother, Vicki Behenna, only as a federal prosecutor in Oklahoma City.  I wrote very little about the fact that she helped wage the government’s case against Timothy McVeigh, a man who was eventually convicted, sentenced to death and executed for his role in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that left 168 dead and scores injured.

Today, however, I share more details about the unique — and, I suspect, unprecedented — position in which Vicki Behenna finds herself today.

BACKGROUND

On June 7, only three days after publishing my first brief about Lieutenant Behenna, I published my first post about the Oklahoma City bombing.  In the latter post, I drew parallels between the bombing and the July 17, 1996, disaster involving TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island.  Little did I know, however, that I would find a thread of irony to link the lieutenant’s case to the Oklahoma City bombing.  The thread became visible in late September 2009 after the FBI released footage captured moments after the blast by several security cameras in downtown Oklahoma City.

THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING

On Sept. 28, I published the first of four posts in which I cited two highly-credible sources, Jayna Davis and David P. Schippers, who believe the FBI withheld evidence — including, but not limited to, security camera footage shot before the blast took place at 9:02 a.m. Central — from parties on both sides of the OKC Bombing trial.

At the time of the bombing, Davis was an award-winning investigative reporter for NBC affiliate KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City.  Unlike most other journalists, who’ve attributed the horrific attack solely to so-called “domestic terrorists” McVeigh and Nichols, Davis turned up seemingly-irrefutable evidence which pointed the lion’s share of the blame to a group of former Iraqi soldiers.  One of them was identified by several witnesses as having been in the cab of the Ryder rental truck with McVeigh; hence, the title of the book she went on to write, “The Third Terrorist.”

Davis’ book would make it to The New York Times Best Sellers list with the help of then-upstart conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck.  In addition, she was featured on CNN (Lou Dobbs) and Fox News Channel, in several major newspapers (i.e., Indianapolis Star, London Evening Standard, Philadelphia Daily News, Wall Street Journal and Washington Times) and in articles published on several prominent online news sites, including NewsMax and WorldNetDaily.

Schippers, a Democrat and author of the book, “SELLOUT: The Inside Story of President Clinton’s Impeachment,” is an experienced litigator from Chicago who served as chief investigative counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee during the Clinton Impeachment Hearings.  He became an outspoken believer in Davis and her investigation and wrote the forward for her book.

Regarding the whereabouts of the video evidence likely to show what security cameras captured moments before the blast at 9:02 a.m. Central, Schippers told this writer in September that he thinks “the FBI still has all of those tapes, and I don’t think we’re ever going to see ‘em.” Further, he said he believes the FBI committed a Brady violation — that is, they suppressed evidence from both sides during the trial. Read all of what this man told me about the case in the post, Attorney Says Unedited Versions of the Oklahoma City Bombing Surveillance Tapes Are ‘Somewhere’.

Davis and Schippers, along with nearly two-dozen people who signed sworn affidavits related to events they witnessed related to the bombing, believe that evidence would have played a key role in determining who else, in addition to McVeigh and accomplice Terry Nichols, was behind the attack.

THE CASE OF LIEUTENANT BEHENNA

In the court-martial case against Lieutenant Behenna, one expert contends to this day that Army prosecutors committed a Brady violation when they suppressed evidence favorable to the lieutenant’s defense and, in doing so, violated due process and his right to a fair and impartial trial.  The real “kicker” in the case lies in the identity of the person from whom the allegation of prosecutorial misconduct came.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t someone on the defense side of the court room.  Instead, it was the Army’s own expert witness.

Dr. Herbert Leon MacDonell was flown in from Corning, N.Y., but never allowed to testify.  Why?  Because, during the trial, he had the opportunity to examine key pieces of evidence prosecutors had not shared with him prior to his arrival at the proceedings.  When he told prosecutors that his examination of that evidence had caused him to change his mind and believe Lieutenant Behenna was telling the truth, they opted against having the court hear his testimony — words that should have resulted in a favorable outcome for the young officer. (For all of the details about what the director of the Laboratory for Forensic Science knew, when he knew it and why he was never called to testify in Lieutenant Behenna’s case, read this post.)

In the end, Lieutenant Behenna was found guilty on a single count of unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison — a term twice reduced — for killing Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda operative.  Today, he is prisoner #87503 at Fort Leavenworth, serving a 15-year sentence and continuing the appeals process.

RADIO INTERVIEWS

Pat Dollard

As a result of her experience with the Oklahoma City bombing trial and her son’s court-martial, Vicki Behenna knows what it’s like to be involved — once on the prosecution side, once on the defense — in separate criminal cases in which evidence crucial to the outcomes has been suppressed.  Indirectly, she fielded questions about that subject during two recent radio interviews.

During a Dec. 29 interview, Pat Dollard raised the possibility that the Oklahoma City bombing might have marked the first moments the Behenna family had been touched directly by jihad.  Very politely, Vicki Behenna dismissed his theory.

“There’s been a lot of speculation,” she said.  “It’s clear, I think, from the evidence, that there were not a whole lot of other people involved in that and that it was a plot by a small group of men, three men, who were angry and wanted to make a statement against the government.”

Michael Savage

During an interview with Vicki Behenna this month, conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage went a step further than Dollard and asked Vicki Behenna if she thinks there was some kind of political payback from somebody related to her involvement in the McVeigh trial.

“I can’t imagine why,” she responded.  “I mean, I’m just a little assistant. I’m just a federal employee that does federal prosecutions.  I can’t imagine, although that’s been suggested before.”

KARMA?

I cannot imagine being involved in two separate cases over which allegations of suppressed evidence and/or testimony hang like dark clouds. At the same time, however, I’m not going to imply that her son’s wrongful imprisonment is the result of some kind of what-goes-around-comes-around karma tied to her work on the McVeigh trial.  Instead, I’ll offer three IF-THEN statements for consideration while maintaining my steadfast and unwavering support of Lieutenant Behenna:

1.  IF you find nothing wrong with the fact that the FBI released only post-blast footage from security cameras in downtown Oklahoma City but refuses to release pre-blast footage, THEN you’ll likely agree with Vicki Behenna and most other Americans that “unknown others” were not involved in the Oklahoma City bombing;

2.  IF, however, you read Davis’ book — and I have read it twice — and consider the evidence she presents, THEN you’ll find it impossible to agree with Vicki Behenna and others on the prosecution side of theOklahoma City bombing that there was no Iraqi involvement; and

3. IF it turns out that Lieutenant Behenna’s imprisonment is somehow tied to his mother’s involvement as a prosecutor in Oklahoma City, THEN this nation has even bigger and more troubling problems than most Americans can dare imagine.

* * *

For a complete report on Lieutenant Behenna’s case, read “The Michael Behenna Story” (pdf) by Carrie Fatigante.

For information about how you can contribute to Lieutenant Behenna’s legal defense fund, visit the Defend Michael web site.

Rush Limbaugh Holds News Conference About Condition; No Signs of Heart Disease Found

After a health scare while on vacation in Hawaii this week, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh held a news conference today and said that an angiogram found no signs of heart disease.  In addition, he sang the praises about the quality of health care in the United States.  Video of the news conference below:

Michael Savage Pegs Janet ‘Big Sister’ Napolitano

I listen to Michael Savage more for the entertainment value than for political insights.  On some subjects, however, I find myself in complete agreement with the venerable radio talk show.  One of those subject is terrorism and/or how we deal with terrorists — especially those of the Muslim extremist variety.

Case in point: On his program last night, he offered his spot-on analysis of the handling of the nation’s security by Homeland Security Secretary Janet “Big Sister” Napolitano and others stuck inside the “brown paper bag” of the administration within which they work.

Hat tip:  Nearly Nobody’s News

There’s Gonna Be Hell to Pay on Election Day 2010

One year ago today in my post, Democrats Adopt New Marching Orders, I cited predictions offered by political pundits and prognosticators about how the Chicago Political Machine behind Barack Obama was working hard to lower expectations in advance of Inauguration Day. I never imagined a president could live up to such lowered expectations in such a complete and thorough way.

From health care reform and homeland security to our nation’s economy and foreign policy, President Obama far exceeded any and all expectations of poor performance.

The American people — including many of the people who voted for Obama — expect and deserve more than just beer summits and Bush-bashing rhetoric from the man in the Oval Office.  If they don’t get it, there’s gonna be hell to pay on election day.

Happy New Year and Thank You!

That's me, rallying against socialism!

Yes, that’s me, rallying against socialism!

To all who’ve stopped by, read, shared and/or contributed to the success of Bob McCarty Writes since October 2006, I say, “Thank you!” and wish you and our nation the best in 2010!  Nearly 3,600 posts published and “miles to go before I sleep.”

Top BMW Stories the Mainstream Media Missed (Update)

Below, in much the same manner as Fox News published a year-end piece, Nine Big Stories the Mainstream Media Missed in 2009, I highlight four seven subjects I covered that were, mostly or largely, ignored by the “lame-stream” media:

1.  The Chevron-Ecuador Lawsuit — My coverage began April 22 with the post, Blogger Investigating $27 Billion Lawsuit Against Chevron, Sending Correspondent to Ecuador.  Twenty-eight posts later, I found myself being trashed by The Huffington Post for reporting the facts.  A badge of honor, I say.

2. Anti-Socialism Rallies — Not your typical “Tea Party” rallies, the K and N Patriots’ rallies were launched by a 68-year-old grandmother whose message continues to resonate.  To date, I’ve published 22 posts, several of which included videos contrasting the patriotic, pro-freedom crowd with those advocating government-run health care.

3. Single-Payer Health Care — On Nov. 14, I crashed the 2009 Healthcare-Now.org National Strategy Conference as the only journalist in a room full of radical, left-wing single-payer health plan advocates, including NOW President Terry O’Neill, as they discussed extreme proposals for government-run health care.  In addition to a piece published at Pajamas Media, I published 11 posts that included 10 unique videos from the conference.

4. Three Navy SEALs — In four posts this month, I not only covered the surface issues related to the case of three Navy SEALs facing charges related to their apprehension of an enemy combatant, but I sought out inside sources, including a retired Navy SEAL who questioned the nation’s mental state.

Stay tuned as I’m working on several investigative pieces — including one on small town health care — and plan to publish them during the coming months.

UPDATE 1/01/10 at 11 a.m. Central: As I published this post yesterday afternoon, I must have been experiencing the side effects of what I like to call a “brain fart.”  In short, I left at least three more important story subjects off of my list of stories missed by the mainstream media.  Because I own this blog, I decided to add items #5 and #6 below:

5. LIE DETECTORS IN COMBAT — On April 9, I asked the question, Is Tech ‘Turf War’ Putting U.S. Troops at Risk? What followed was a series of six more posts about a controversy with life-and-death implications has been brewing for years over the Army’s decision to deploy the Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System, a hand-held lie detector, to combat zones instead of using new, more effective technology preferred by those who’ve used both in combat zones.  I have more stories coming on this subject.

6. EXCLUSIVE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING INTERVIEWS — While many consider the subject closed, I consider it wide open.  After new post-blast video tapes were released by the FBI, many wondered why the nation’s top law enforcement agency didn’t release tapes from prior to the bombing.  In two exclusive interviews published in late September, I spoke with Jayna Davis, investigative reporter and author of the best-selling chronicle, The Third Terrorist, and David P. Schippers, a man who served as chief investigative counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee during the Clinton Impeachment Hearings.  He is an outspoken believer in Davis.  My investigation of this story isn’t finished.

7.  1st Lt. MICHAEL BEHENNA –I wrote my first story about this Army officer from Edmond, Okla., in June.  Six months later, I launched a tirade of more than a dozen follow-up pieces, nine of which were penned by new BMW contributor Carrie Fatigante.  In short, his story is one of justice denied.  He’s now serving a 20-year sentence for killing a known Al-Qaeda operative in self-defense.  For the complete story in one document, read “The Michael Behenna Story (pdf),” a 26-page document (PDF) by Fatigante.

How Will Obama Administration Officials Respond to Discovery of Rocket Launcher in Houston?

According to a news report out of Houston this morning, police there found an AT-4 shoulder-mounted rocket launcher like the one shown in the photo above, alleged to belong to a man by the name of Nabilaye I. Yansane, in a southwest Houston apartment complex.  Though I have yet to see comments by members of the Obama Administration in response to the news about this weapon, I have some ideas about what they might say:

“This was just an isolated incident.” — President Barack Obama

“Obviously, this was a mix-up.  The rocket launcher was probably left there by a careless veteran returning from Iraq or Afghanistan.” — Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano

“Arabs traditionally welcome the New Year by firing larger, more powerful fireworks than we do in the United States.” — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

“It’s probably something the guy picked up at an Army surplus store and doesn’t deserve any more attention than it’s already received from Fox News.” — Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

Unfortunately, I suspect all of the above comments will be proven reckless and wrong.  That said, should Americans be concerned about such a discovery?

According to a retired Navy SEAL friend of mine, the AT-4 is a one-time-use weapon capable of hitting a target from 300 yards, can bring down aircraft and can be remotely fired.  Best of all for the one using it, my combat-veteran friend says, it’s the weapon of choice — short of a Stinger missile, that is — for someone who wants to take out a hardened vehicle like those used for executive protection.

Developing…

Hat tip:  Jihad Watch

UPDATE 12/31/09 at 1:10 p.m Central: Remember the news story about the Continental Airlines pilot who, in June, reported a missile had flown past his aircraft while it was in the airspace above Liberty County, Texas.  Perhaps this rocket launcher is the one used in that incident.  Either way, troubling questions remain:  How did the rocket launcher end up in Houston and who is responsible?

RELATED 12/31/09 at 10:39 p.m Central: Police in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills, Texas, confirmed tonight that a device found in that city — and next to a Koran — contained explosives.  See this report for details.

RELATED #2 01/01/10 at 11:43 a.m. Central: Though a couple of days old, a Philadelphia television station reported that police in that city were investigating the discovery of a Molotov cocktail along with anti-Israeli books inside a Center City parking garage.