As I watched the 14-minute segment, Manhunt: Inside the Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation, on 60 Minutes on CBS yesterday, I noticed FBI officials seemed more than willing to share imagery recorded by security cameras along the route and near the finish line of the world-famous foot race. At the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder if they are keeping a lid on other video footage that might tell a different story about the attack that killed three and injured more than 250 others. After all, they’ve done it before.
Unbeknownst to many Americans, including those who did not read my Sept. 9 post, a new trial to determine the fate of video footage recorded by security cameras in downtown Oklahoma City prior to 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995, is set to begin July 28 in federal court in Salt Lake City after originally being scheduled May 5. Why a trial? Because FBI officials refuse to hand over that footage, and Judge Clark Waddoups seems to have a problem with that.
The plaintiff in the case, Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, hopes the trial will resolve his long-running legal battle with the FBI over the videotape footage he believes will help him unravel the mystery surrounding the death of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, while also shedding light on the identity of the man referred to as “John Doe #2″ during the chaotic days following the bombing.
As I’ve reported numerous times during the past five years in my series, Untold Stories of the Oklahoma City Bombing, Kenneth Trentadue died under suspicious circumstances while in custody at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City several months after the horrific events unfurled in in downtown Oklahoma City.
Via the Freedom of Information Act, Jesse Trentadue has spent most of the past five years trying to obtain 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 the detonation of the truck bomb that killed 268 168 people.
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 described in a timeline prepared by the Secret Service, the FBI does not dispute that the existence of the unedited versions of the surveillance tapes recorded prior to the blast; instead, they say they cannot find them. In addition, FBI officials have refused to provided the one-time star athlete at the University of Southern California with a copy of the original videotape showing the arrest of Timothy McVeigh as recorded on the dashboard camera of Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Hanger’s vehicle the day of the bombing.
Call me skeptical, but I’m hesitant to believe FBI officials will share everything they should with the American public after the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the lone remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombing. I hope they prove me wrong.
Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue has received three heavily-redacted batches of recently-declassified documents from the FBI in recent days as partial responses to his ongoing quest for materials related to the Bureau’s “Sensitive Informant Program.” The most recent document, however, could qualify as the most-heavily-redacted document ever offered in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Everything — four pages in all — is redacted! See pics below.
In an email message Thursday morning, Trentadue describes this latest set of documents as “certainly in line with the Administration’s position on FOIA and the need for ‘transparency.’”
Trentadue has sought details about the “Sensitive Informant Program” in an effort to learn more about the brutal death of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, under suspicious circumstances while in custody at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City in 1995 and about the connection he believes exists between his brother’s death and the investigation of the Oklahoma City Bombing.
As I reported in a Nov. 21 update to this post, federal Judge Clark Waddoups has set May 5, July 28-30, 2014, as the date on which a new Oklahoma City Bombing trial will begin in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division. The trial will begin at 8:30 a.m. local time, is expected to last three days and could produce some bombshells.
Nine months after Jesse Trentadue filed a motion aimed at convincing a federal judge in Utah to allow him access to information about the FBI’s “Sensitive Information Program,” FBI officials provided the Salt Lake City attorney with what he described as “another dump of documents.”
Click to download motion filed 2-27-13.
Via email this afternoon, Trentadue said the documents he received were declassified a little more than a month ago and reveal the FBI has a sophisticated program to recruit sensitive informantsand its agents are going to withhold as much information as possible about that program.
Once Trentadue obtains more details about the “Sensitive Informant Program,” he hopes those details will help him learn more about the brutal death of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, under suspicious circumstances while in custody at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City in 1995 and about the connection he believes exists between his brother’s death and the investigation of the Oklahoma City Bombing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: As I reported in a Nov. 23 update to a piece published Sept. 9, a new Oklahoma City Bombing trial is set to take place May 5, July 28-30, 2014 in Salt Lake City. With Judge Clark Waddoups presiding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division, the trial is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. local time and is expected to last three days. Hopefully, the upcoming trial will grab the attention of more Americans who, like Trentatude, merely want to know the truth.
UPDATE #3 2/28/2014 at 4:42 p.m. Central: I just learned from a source close to the case that it has been pushed back to July 28-30.
UPDATE #2 11/21/2013 at 5:36 p.m. Central: Judge Clark Waddoups has set May 5, 2014, as the date on which the next Oklahoma City Bombing trial will begin in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division. The trial will begin at 8:30 a.m. local time and is expected to last three days. Details about the trial are in the article below.
UPDATE 11/21/2013 at 8:22 a.m. Central:A spring 2014 court date for another Oklahoma City Bombing trial should be set later today. I will post details as soon as they become available.
Today, almost two months after sharing news about a new Oklahoma City Bombing trial being set for Spring 2014, I received copies of Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue’s proposed Trial Memorandum in which he outlines the case he hopes will result in FBI officials handing over copies of videotapes they have, thusfar, refused to produce.
Via the Freedom of Information Act, Trentadue has spent most of the past five years trying to obtain copies of 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. April 19, 1995.
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 described in a timeline prepared by the Secret Service, the FBI does not dispute the existence of the unedited versions of the surveillance tapes recorded prior to the blast; instead, they say they cannot find them. In addition, FBI officials have refused to provided the one-time star athlete at the University of Southern California with a copy of the original videotape showing the arrest of Timothy McVeigh as recorded on the dashboard camera of Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Hanger’s vehicle the day of the bombing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Below, I offer an excerpt from the document shared with me today. Please note that I have removed footnotes and, in a few cases, added links for downloading other referenced documents and graphics to lead you to related articles.
In the Order of September 9, 2013, the Court announced its intention to conduct a bench trial with respect to Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court also ordered the parties to submit a Trial Memorandum. In response to that Order, Plaintiff hereby submits his proposed Trial Memorandum.
Click to read interviews.
This suit arises under the Freedom 0f Information Act (“FOIA”). Plaintiff requested the Defendants to produce a number of videotapes: (1) the original Videotape taken by the dashboard camera on Oklahoma Highway Patrolman Charles Hanger’s vehicle showing the arrest of Timothy McVeigh on the morning of April 19, 1995; and (2) surveillance videotapes taken on the morning of April 19, 1995 by exterior cameras mounted on the following, among other, Buildings: (a) Murrah Federal Building; (b) Journal Record Building; (c) Regency Tower Apartment Building; Southwestern Bell Building, (e) YMCA Building, and (f), as described by a contemporaneous government records, a “security camera” videotape showing “the Ryder truck pulling up to the Federal Building and then pausing (7-10 seconds) before resuming into a slot in the front of the building” and “the truck detonation 3 minutes and 6 seconds after the suspects exited the truck.” Plaintiff also requested copies of all reports, including 302′s, that described and/or referenced Defendants having possession of these videotapes.
Author: ‘Third Terrorist’ Arrested in Quincy, Mass.
In response, Defendants produced 160 pages of documents related to the videotapes but only very few of these documents concerned the videotapes requested by Plaintiff; whereas most of these documents were irrelevant in that they related to videotapes from other locations and even other states, including videotapes of television news casts about the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. However, Defendants did not produce several key documents related to their having possession of the videotapes requested by Plaintiff. Defendants, for example, did not produced to Plaintiff a report that the Operations Manager at the Journal Record Building had handed over a videotape to the FBI taken from an exterior camera on the building that had “been blown off the wall” by the explosion and might show the “persons responsible;” a document reporting that the FBI had reviewed videotapes from the Journal Record Building and Southwestern Bell surveillance cameras which were “positive” for images of the “suspects” and/or “explosion” a document showing that on November 25, 1995 two surveillance tapes were being held in the FBI’s “Washington Metropolitan Field Office” or a document stating that certain videotapes were being kept in the “valuable evidence vault.”
Are FBI Informants Working Inside Churches?
Defendants also produced what appeared to be an edited version of the Hanger videotape, but claimed not to be able to locate the original videotape, which they took into evidence on April 27, 1995. With respect to the videotapes from surveillance cameras that Plaintiff had requested, Defendants provided no tapes from the Murrah Building surveillance cameras nor any records related to those tapes. While Defendants did produce tapes from cameras at the Journal Record Building, Southwestern Bell Building and Regency Towers, they produced none from the exterior cameras directed at the Murrah Building even though they took those tapes in to evidence; and Defendants also did not produce tapes from the YMCA Building or a videotape showing “the Ryder truck pulling up to the Federal Building and then pausing (7-10 seconds) before resuming into a slot in the front of the building” and “the truck detonation 3 minutes and 6 seconds after the suspects exited the truck.”
On May 5, 2011, the Court entered an Order requiring Defendants to conduct additional searches for the videotapes and related records. The Order further provided that if Defendants did not conduct those searches, they were to explain to the Court Why such searches would not be reasonably calculated to locate the videotapes and documents. Defendants did not conduct the additional searches. Neither did they submit a credible explanation to the Court for not having done so.
‘Operation Fast and Furious’ Coverup Not Unique
Nevertheless, Defendants have moved for summary judgment contending that they have only an edited version of the Hanger videotape, not the original; and that they can not find the Murrah Building surveillance tapes. Defendants offer no explanation for not producing the other videotapes referenced above. Instead, Defendants insist that they did adequate, but limited, computerized searches of their ZyIndex and ACS data bases for the videotapes and documents which failed to locate additional videotapes or related records, and that is supposedly all that is required of them under the FOIA.
To download the entire document from which the excerpt above was gleaned, including footnotes, click here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Slightly modified for stand-alone publication, the excerpt (below) from my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, reveals how officials inside the Departments of Defense and Justice withheld key information about interrogation technologies from members of Congress.
Since 2008, a number of reports have been produced by a variety of governmental and nongovernmental entities. While some focused on the situation involving detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (a.k.a., “GITMO”) in Cuba, others looked at the progress — or lack thereof — being made in the war in Afghanistan. From among the reports available, three warrant special attention.
Amidst media-flamed fires of concern regarding allegations GITMO detainees were being mistreated, members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee took steps in 2008 to make themselves appear proactive as the war approached its seven-year mark.
In addition to holding hearings, they deployed a team of investigators to look into allegations of torture being inflicted upon detainees at GITMO and at other detention facilities in Iraq (i.e., Abu Ghraib, Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca). The investigation resulted in the publication of an unclassified 263-page report, “INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY,” dated November 20, 2008.
Over the course of their investigation, according to the report, the committee reviewed more than 200,000 pages of classified and unclassified documents, including detention and interrogation policies, memoranda, electronic communications, training manuals and the results of previous investigations into detainee abuse. While the majority of those documents were provided to the committee by the Department of Defense, the committee also reviewed documents provided by the Department of Justice, documents in the public domain, a small number of documents provided by individuals and a number of published secondary sources including books and articles in popular magazines and scholarly journals.
In addition, according to the report, the committee interviewed more than 70 individuals in connection with its inquiry. Most were current or former DoD employees, and some came from the current and former ranks of DoJ, including the FBI.
The committee issued subpoenas, heard testimony from subpoenaed witnesses, sent written questions to more than 200 individuals, and held public hearings June 17 and September 25, 2008.
Though one might have expected to see several mentions of it, since it is the only approved credibility-assessment tool for use within DoD, the SASC report included only one mention of the word, polygraph. It appeared in a heavily-redacted paragraph in which interrogators and analysts were said to have attributed the cooperation of one detainee, Mohammed al-Khatani, to several factors, one of which was “his failing a polygraph test.”
Only one detainee cooperated.
The report also included mentions of interrogation techniques that were part of the curriculum at U.S. Military Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape schools and other non-polygraph interrogation techniques that had been authorized by U.S. Joint Forces Command for use during the interrogation of detainees in U.S. military custody by members of a Joint Personnel Recovery Agency team deployed to Iraq in September 2003.
Most remarkable about the committee’s findings, however, were the things not mentioned.
The committee’s report failed to mention a non-polygraph technology that had been used successfully to interrogate detainees at GITMO, to interrogate members of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle (a.k.a., “The Deck of Cards”) in Iraq, and to interrogate a diverse range of subjects at locations around the world.
Likewise, it failed to include a single mention of that non-polygraph technology or anyone remotely related to it.
As a result of the omissions, the polygraph’s leading challenger would remain unknown to anyone relying solely upon the SASC investigators’ report for information upon which to make critical decisions.
To learn about the two other reports and about the non-polygraph technology senior DoD officials continue to keep out of the hands of those who interrogate terror and criminal suspects and out of the hands of our fighting men and women on the front lines of war, order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO.
This morning, I read an article by McClatchy News reporter Marisa Taylor. Published in the Raleigh, N.C., News-Observer, its polygraph-focused content seems to contradict what an FBI supervisory special agent told members of a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary about the polygraph in 1997.
Click image to read NewsObserver article.
Taylor reported the nation’s top law enforcement agency has been turning down applicants because they fail their polygraph tests. Such moves fly in the face of testimony offered by FBI Supervisory Special Agent (Dr.) Drew Campbell Richardson.
In a piece I published one week ago, I highlighted Richardson’s description of polygraph screening as “completely without any theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity.”
Click image to read article.
Am I surprised by what Taylor uncovered or that the FBI continues to rely on often-criticized century-old technology? No.
After all, I spent much of the past four years learning about the polygraph and those loyal to it who, for more than 40 years, have waged a “turf war” against any and all challengers to their domain as the federal government’s credibility assessment technology of choice.
Unlike the wars that have been fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and elsewhere since the early 1970s, this turf war I uncovered has been fought overseas and at home.
Most recently, it has contributed to hundreds of American and coalition casualties in Afghanistan in so-called “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks — that is, when so-called Afghan allies turn upon their foreign colleagues, often with deadly impact.
For details about this turf war, order a copy of my recently-released second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. It’s available in paperback and ebook versions from Amazon.
Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.
On Sept. 29, 1997, FBI Supervisory Special Agent (Dr.) Drew Campbell Richardson testified before members of a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary about the polygraph. Among other things, he described polygraph screening as being “completely without any theoretical foundation and has absolutely no validity.”
Upon discovering Richardson is not alone in his assessment, one must ask the question, “Why is the polygraph the only authorized credibility assessment technology for use within DoD when newer, proven-reliable technologies are available?”
I answer that question and many more in my newest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, the product of four years of extensive investigation.
Most importantly, however, THE CLAPPER MEMO exposes the flawed process via which Afghans are being vetted before being allowed to serve alongside U.S. and Coalition Forces troops as uniform-wearing members of Afghan military, police and security units. Those flaws have resulted in hundreds of U.S. and CF casualties, the result of “Green-on-Blue” or “Insider” attacks, during the past six years.
In addition, it highlights the fact that the polygraph, despite being the only credibility assessment tool allowed for use by DoD personnel, either (1) isn’t being used as part of that vetting process or, (2) isn’t working well if it is being used as part of the vetting process. Either way, American casualties continue to add up as a result.
You can order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO in paperback or ebook versions from Amazon.
Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.