Sometimes, I Feel Like A Government Watchdog

Take a look at the weekly recap below, and you’ll understand why I sometimes feel like a government watchdog:

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

On Sunday, I watched the 14-minute segment, Manhunt: Inside the Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation, on CBS News’ 60 Minutes.  One day later, I felt compelled to ask the question, Does FBI Have More Boston Marathon Bombing Video Than They’re Willing to Share?  Read my article and see if you think my question is valid.

Later on Monday, I reported a Top Intelligence Community Lawyer Made Me Laugh.  To find out what Robert Litt, general counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said at a recent Freedom of Information Day event in the D.C. area, read the article.

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

In my third and final piece Monday, I shared news that proves why National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was able to pass two polygraphs and gain access to America’s most precious secrets.  Read about it under the headline, Newspaper Reporter Reveals How He ‘Beat’ Polygraph Exam.

On Wednesday, I shared video of former Army Ranger officer Michael Behenna‘s first television interview after being paroled and released from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth.  The video appears in my piece, Michael Behenna Gives First Television Interview Since Release From Military Prison.

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article.

On Thursday, I revisited a subject more than two and a half years old under the headline, Woman Continues Fight After Losing Mother, Granddaughter.  Read it and let me know what you think my next step(s) in reporting about this case should be.

On Friday and Saturday, I’ll be spending most of my time editing the 400-plus pages of the final draft of my still-untitled first fiction novel.  I hope to have this, a “reality-based action thriller,” available for purchase early this summer and hope you’ll order a copy!

This photo shows the slightly more than 400 pages of the final draft of my first fiction thriller. Notice the red pen? I'm getting ready to put it to work.

This photo shows the slightly more than 400 pages of the final draft of my first fiction thriller. Notice the red pen? I’m getting ready to put it to work.

FYI:  If you need something to read while waiting for Book #3 to be released, order my two previous books by clicking here or on the graphic below.  Thanks in advance!

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty’s Top 5 Oklahoma City Bombing Stories of 2013

For more than four years, I’ve been reporting updates related to the tragic events that took place in and around downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.  Below, I share the Top 5 stories of 2013 from my series, Untold Stories of the Oklahoma City Bombing:

Untold Stories of the OKC Bombing#5. Memo Filed in Advance of 2014 Oklahoma City Bombing Trial – 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.

#4. New Oklahoma City Bombing Trial Set for Spring 2014 – I shared a federal judge’s ruling that a trial will be held to resolve a long-running legal battle between Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue and the FBI over videotape footage recorded in downtown Oklahoma City April 19, 1995 — footage the Salt Lake City attorney believes will help him unravel a mystery almost two decades old.

#3. Truth Remains Elusive 18 Years After Oklahoma City Bombing – This piece served as my recap of my coverage of events related to the Oklahoma City Bombing on the 18th anniversary of the event.

FBI Informants in Churches?#2. Are FBI Informants Working Inside America’s Churches? – I asked this headline-shaping question regarding Trentadue’s motion to learn whether the FBI has informants working inside American churches.

#1. Brother of Murder Victim Seeks Details of FBI’s ‘Sensitive Informant Program’ – Trentadue filed a motion asking a federal judge to determine whether he is entitled to limited discovery into the FBI’s “Sensitive Informant Program.”

If you enjoyed these stories and others I shared during 2013, you’ll love reading my books. Be sure to add Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO to your libraries today!  Both are available in paperback and ebook versions at Amazon.com.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Everything Redacted in 4-Page Document About the FBI’s ‘Sensitive Informant Program’

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.

OKC FBI TRANSP 1 OKC FBI TRANSP 2

OKC FBI TRANSP 3OKC FBI TRANSP 4

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.

To learn more about Trentatude’s long-running legal battle with the FBI, watch the chilling one-hour video below:

To learn more of my coverage about Trentadue’s battle for justice, read Truth Remains Elusive 18 Years After Oklahoma City Bombing and other articles in my series, Untold Stories of the Oklahoma City Bombing, that dates back to April 2009 and includes more than 30 original articles.

UPDATE #1 2/28/2014 at 4:45 p.m. Central:  I just learned from a source close to the case that the new trial has been pushed back to July 28-30.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

FBI’s ‘Sensitive Informant Program’ Back in the News

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.”

Trentadue Motion for Limited Disc 2-27-13

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 informants and 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.

Untold Stories of the OKC BombingTo learn more about Jesse Trentadue’s quest to learn more about his brother’s deaths, read my posts in the series, Kenneth Trentadue Murder Case, or watch this chilling one-hour video in which he recounts his long-running battle for truth.

To learn more about the bigger picture surrounding this case, read my series, UNTOLD STORIES of the OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING, which includes my Exclusive Interviews About the Oklahoma City Bombing Investigation.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Memo Filed in Advance of 2014 Oklahoma City Bombing Trial

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.

Untold Stories of the OKC BombingVia 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.

Trentadue Proposed Pre-Trial 11-05-13In 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.

OKC Bombing Interviews

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.

Hussain Al-Hussaini (Quincy P.D. Photo)

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.”

Trentadue Motion for Limited Disc 2-27-13

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.

To learn more about the Oklahoma City Bombing, read my series, UNTOLD STORIES of the OKC BOMBING.

To learn more about why Trentadue wants the videotapes, watch the riveting video below:

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

New Book Reveals How Top US Government Officials Withheld Key Information From Senators

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.

100707-F-3431H-016Since 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.

TCM Graphic 2-17-13In 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.

PapersIn 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.

Saddam_Hussein_LRMost 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.

The 268-page product of an exhaustive four-year investigation, THE CLAPPER MEMO is available in paperback and ebook versions.  Order your copy today!

FYI:  THE CLAPPER MEMO has received several notable endorsements.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Former NTSB Investigators Featured in New Documentary About Downing of TWA Flight 800

Six retired former National Transportation Safety Board crash investigators have come forward to offer findings about the downing of TWA Flight 800.  Their findings differ greatly from those that appeared in the NTSB’s official investigation report and will be highlighted in a soon-to-be-released documentary, “TWA Flight 800,”  the trailer for which appears below:

The trailer will, according to a Fox News Channel report, debut on the cable network, EPIX, sometime in July.  When it does, the folks who branded me a “conspiracy nut” for thinking something was amiss when I published a piece about the crash off Long Island, N.Y., four years ago might have to “eat crow.”

Before wrapping this up, I must note an observation about the last paragraph of the aforementioned Fox News article about the documentary (below):

With conspiracy theories immediately swirling around the crash — one being that it was caused by a terrorist missile strike — the FBI conducted  a 16-month investigation and concluded that there was no evidence to indicate that any criminal act occurred.

Based on his own experience with the nation’s top law enforcement agency, I suspect Jesse Trentadue will not be surprised if FBI officials find nothing to indicate that any criminal act occurred.  Will you?

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.