Tag Archives: Judge Clark Waddoups

Pre-Blast Videotapes FBI Claims ‘Might Have Been Misfiled’ Remain at Center of Ongoing Oklahoma City Bombing Trial

EDITOR’S NOTE: Four years ago today, I shared an update about the Oklahoma City Bombing trial that was taking place in federal court and continues to this day in Salt Lake City. In case you missed it when it was published on this site and on Breitbart.com, I share it again with only minor modifications.

Click image above to read other OKC Bombing-related articles.

Click image above to read other OKC Bombing-related articles.

In a response filed yesterday to a federal judge’s order May 11, an FBI official offered no denials about the existence of video images captured by more than 20 surveillance cameras operating prior to 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, in the vicinity of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. Instead, he explained that officials at the bureau merely cannot find the tapes and raised the possibility that they “might have been misfiled and thus could be located somewhere other than in the OKBOMB file (though it would be impossible to know where).”

The order, issued by Judge Clark Waddoups in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division, stemmed from the bureau’s failure to comply with a three-year-old Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Salt Lake City lawyer Jesse Trentadue, a man on a quest for answers related to the Oklahoma City Bombing and the death of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, who died under suspicious circumstances several months later while in custody at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City.

Judge Waddoups’ order was both clear and concise. The items to which the FBI was to respond by June 30, 2011, and how the bureau responded (shown in italics after each item) appear below:

1.  Affirm whether the six government officials from the FBI and CIA who had submitted affidavits in this case had misrepresented information or provided incomplete or otherwise misleading information to the Court. In response to this item, the only thing Judge Waddoups received as an affidavit from David M. Hardy, section chief of the FBI’s Record/Information Dissemination Section of the Records Management Division in Winchester, Va.  The CIA submitted nothing.

Click on image above to download document.

Click on image above to download document.

2.  Advise whether the I-Drive and S-Drive, data storage areas on the FBI computer system, were searched for the videotapes and other documents sought by my FOIA request and, if not, why not. In response, the FBI told the judge the I-Drive no longer exists and that FBI officials have no reason to believe that S-Drive would contain anything.

3. State whether the Evidence Control Centers or other evidence storage facilities located at FBI Headquarters, the FBI Crime Lab and FBI Oklahoma City Field Office were manually searched for the videotapes and other requested materials and, if not, explain why such searches were not done. The FBI responded by saying their headquarters does not have an Evidence Control Center and that the FBI Crime Lab was instructed to send all OKBOMB materials to the Oklahoma City FBI Field Office, where they were placed in a warehouse.  According to Hardy, “it is always possible” that these materials/evidence “might have been misfiled and thus could be located somewhere other than in the OKBOMB file (though it would be impossible to know where).”

4. Manually search the OKBOMB physical files at FBI Headquarters, the FBI Crime Lab and the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office for the videotapes and other requested documents or provide evidence as to why such a search would be too burdensome. The FBI responded, explaining to the judge that no manual search was done because to manually search the 450,000 pages of the physical file that might contain the location of this evidence, would require one and one-half years of an FBI agent’s time.

5. Provide the court with an affidavit from Mr. Hardy stating that he does not know of either the existence of or the likely locations of the videotapes and that he is unaware of anyone else that may know of the existence or likely locations of the videotapes. The FBI response via Hardy:  “I am unaware of the existence or likely location of additional tapes responsive to the plaintiff’s FOIA request, including tapes from the Murrah Building or any additional Hanger tape other than the tape that plaintiff already received, and do not know of anyone who would know where additional tapes would be located.”

In an email July 1, 2011, Jesse Trentadue pointed out several things to me about the FBI’s response as being “noteworthy.”

“There is no affidavit from someone within the FBI stating that the tapes do not exist,” he wrote, adding that FBI officials couldn’t make such a claim, because it would conflict with three sworn affidavits, the contents of which had already been made public.

In a post published April 7, 2011,  I shared documents Trentadue had shared with me that contain fodder provided by three people — OKC police officer Don Browning, private security specialist Bradford Cooley and FBI Special Agent Ricardo Ojeda — that sheds light on the FBI’s response to the FOIA request.

Office Browning noted in a declaration to the court that he and other non-federal rescuers were ordered to leave the Murrah Building soon after the bomb exploded despite the need to move quickly in hopes of locating and, hopefully, saving victims trapped by the blast. In addition, he wrote the following:

Click on image above to download document.

Click on image above to download document.

That same morning, I observed men wearing jackets with “FBI” printed on the back removing the surveillance video cameras from the exterior of the Murrah Federal Building. I thought this was part of the FBI’s evidence gathering or “chain of custody” procedures since those exterior cameras would have shown and recorded delivery of the bomb in a Ryder truck that morning as well as the person or persons who exited that truck.

I knew from my training and experience as a police officer that an investigation of the bombing and prosecution of those involved would require not only preserving the videotapes of the event but also require preserving the cameras and tape decks by which those videotapes were made. Nevertheless, I did think it odd that the FBI’s removal of those cameras was taking place while many people were still trapped alive in the rubble of the Murrah Federal Building and so many of us were working desperately to find them.

Cooley’s declaration, in which he outlined his knowledge of the surveillance systems at the Murrah Building, included the following hard-to-ignore observations:

Click on image above to download document.

Click on image above to download document.

From my knowledge of the video surveillance system in place at the Murrah Federal Building, an my presence on scene just after the bomb exploded, I have no doubt that the two external cameras on the Northwest and Northeast corners of the Building would certainly have recorded the entire event. Those cameras would even have recorded the delivery of the bomb to the Murrah Federal Building in a Ryder truck and, most importantly, those cameras would also have recorded everyone who exited that truck prior to the explosion. Because of their distance from the Murrah Federal Building, ADT’s offices were not destroyed or otherwise damaged in the bombing, which means that the videotapes should still exist.

In a sworn affidavit dated May 21, 2001, FBI Special Agent Ojeda outlined how the FBI handled information they did not want to see brought up in court:

Click on image above to download document.

Click on image above to download document.

The FBI also kept “zero files,” which were reports containing information that the FBI would not generally want disclosed to the defense and which were kept separate from a specific case file. These files were kept internally within the Bureau and typically were not turned over to the prosecution or the defense. Files would be assigned numbers bases on the type of offense or investigation involved, for example, a bank robbery would be assigned a particular number. A letter A after that number would mean highest importance. A zero after that number would mean that the report should go into the “zero” file.

On the last page of his affidavit, Ojeda added the statement below:

Although there are many very good FBI agents, there are also FBI agents, including some who worked on the Oklahoma City bombing case, who are willing to subvert the truth in order to protect fellow agents.

In addition to the conflicts surfacing between the FBI’s stance and statements made in the affidavits above, it appears FBI officials are playing a shell game with Jesse Trentadue and the judge.

Jesse Trentadue pointed out that, for the first time in three years, the FBI said that all Oklahoma City Bombing-related evidence and documents are in a warehouse somewhere in Oklahoma City.  In addition, he noted that bureau officials misrepresented the purpose of the S-Drive before the court.

“This was the time and the place for FBI officials to come forward with evidence of no tapes, but they did not,” said Jesse Trentadue during an interview Friday about the matter.  “They are, in plain English, in contempt of the court’s order.”

For more details about this long-running FOIA case being adjudicated before Judge Clark Waddoups in a federal court in Salt Lake City, I suggest you watch this chilling one-hour video below. After that, read other posts about the Oklahoma City Bombing Trial and stay tuned for more details.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

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Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Could Hackers Expose Hidden Oklahoma City Bombing Files?

As a former U.S. government employee via my status as a military veteran, I don’t support hacking efforts like the one that resulted in an estimated 32 million records being stolen from the Office of Personnel Management. At the same time, however, I occasionally find myself wishing someone would hack into the FBI’s I-Drive and S-Drive computer systems so that  Jesse Trentadue could finally get his hands on evidence related to the Oklahoma City Bombing and the death of his brother almost 20 years ago.

In this trial exhibit, two Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building surveillance cameras are shown, circled in red.

In this trial exhibit, two Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building surveillance cameras are shown, circled in red.

IF such a hack took place and the hackers shared their findings with Jesse Trentadue, the Salt Lake City attorney might learn the truth about the death of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City a few months after the Oklahoma City Bombing.

Without such a hack, Jesse Trentadue must continue his 20-year battle to obtain copies of surveillance camera videotapes recorded in downtown Oklahoma City prior to the April 19, 1995, explosion that killed 168 and injured countless others. The tapes, he believes, are being kept hidden — stored in the Federal Bureau of Investigation‘s aforementioned I-Drive and S-Drive systems — so as not to be subject to a Freedom of Information Act request he filed in 2008 and/or not made part of the FBI’s official “OKBomb” case file.

Why does Trentadue want copies of the pre-explosion videotapes? Because, he believes — and has documents and sworn affidavits from civilian and law enforcement witnesses to back up his beliefs — the tapes not only exist, but they contain images of the man FBI officials at first referred to as “John Doe 2” before, days later, saying he never existed. As contained in the sketch circulated soon after the Oklahoma City Bombing, the image of John Doe 2 bears a striking resemblance to his brother.

For more details about this long-running FOIA case being adjudicated before Judge Clark Waddoups in a federal court in Salt Lake City, I suggest you watch the chilling one-hour video below. After that, read other posts about the Oklahoma City Bombing Trial and stay tuned for more details.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

National News Media Outlets Ignore Current Oklahoma City Bombing Trial During Week of 20th Anniversary Milestone

Thanks to our nation’s news media paying scant attention to the case, few Americans are aware that a second Oklahoma City Bombing trial has been taking place in federal court in Salt Lake City for several years. Even during the week leading up to the 20th anniversary of the deadly man-made disaster, I could find only three minor media outlets mentioned the plaintiff attorney in their coverage. Only three.

In this trial exhibit, two Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building surveillance cameras are shown, circled in red.

In this trial exhibit, two Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building surveillance cameras are shown, circled in red.

Despite the fact Judge Clark Waddoups, the federal judge handling the case, is expected to make a decision within the next few months, the nation’s news media seemed interested only in the official government narrative when it came time to cover the milestone anniversary.

Despite the fact that Judge Waddoups threatened the FBI with contempt of court for their behavior during the trial.

Despite the fact that Judge Waddoups was asked to appoint a special master to investigate allegations of FBI witness tampering against an FBI agent who was arrested a short time later on disturbing, but unrelated, charges.

The only things plaintiff attorney Jesse Trentadue seeks to obtain via the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit he filed against the FBI seven years ago are copies of surveillance camera videotapes taken from cameras in the area of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City during the minutes prior to the deadly blast at 9:02 a.m. April 19, 1995. Both government documents and sworn affidavits from witnesses — including members of more than one law enforcement agency — point to the FBI as having taken possession of the videotapes in question soon after the bombing. The FBI, however, seems to have reason(s) to want to keep those tapes out of Trentadue’s hands — and, in turn, out of public view.

Click image above to read other OKC Bombing-related articles.

Click image above to read other OKC Bombing-related articles.

To learn more about this trial, which I’ve been covering for six years, click here.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

FLASHBACK: Best-Selling Author, Investigative Journalist Breaks Silence About OKC Bombing Videotapes

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article below was originally published as a three-part series Sept. 28-30, 2009. I share it again today, in one piece, with only minor modifications and the addition of some new graphics as I continue my six years of coverage on this earthshaking event that changed the lives of so many in Oklahoma, the state where I was born and raised.

Click image above to read other OKC Bombing-related articles.

Click image above to read other OKC Bombing-related articles.

In an editor’s note Sept. 27, 2009, I informed my readers I had attempted to contact Jayna Davis for her take on a breaking news story related to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on the morning of April 19, 1995. This morning, I became the first journalist in four years to speak with Davis about the investigation of the bombing, a subject with which she became all too familiar during a decade-long investigation.

At the time of the bombing, Davis was an award-winning investigative reporter for NBC affiliate KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. Unlike other journalists, who’ve attributed the horrific attack fully to so-called “domestic terrorists” Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, Davis turned up details which pointed a share of the blame to a man of Middle East origin; hence, the title of the book she went on to write, The Third Terrorist, which made it to The New York Times Best Sellers list with the help of then-upstart conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.

Click on image to learn more.

Click on image to learn more.

Because I had spoken with Davis by phone years earlier on an unrelated matter, she responded favorably to my request for her reaction to the content of a NewsOK.com article published Sept. 27, 2009, under the headline, Attorney: Oklahoma City bombing tapes appear edited.

After explaining how and why she was so woefully disappointed with the content of the story, Davis forwarded to me a three-page summary of more than 700 pages of investigatory findings related to the surveillance camera footage.  I share those findings below in three parts:

PART ONE: Regency Towers Surveillance Tape

By Jayna Davis, author of The Third Terrorist

Why did the FBI not disclose the images viewed by a second lobby camera mounted in the entryway of Regency Tower Apartment complex? According to ADT Security officials who installed the system and Regency Tower employees who monitored the security cameras, the master recording from the building’s fourteen cameras would have captured images recorded by an additional ground floor camera. That camera was aimed in an eastward direction toward the intersection of 5th and Harvey Streets, where the Murrah Building once stood. What did it capture the day of the bombing? Curiously, government prosecutors limited its disclosure of photographs in court to the lobby camera pointed westward, away from the federal building. That videotape only produced a blurry image of a Ryder truck.

FBI documents establish that the Regency Tower security cameras were simultaneously recorded by a Vicon VCR 401 time lapse 4-head double density video recorder, Robot MV 16 multi-vision plus processor. So what does that technical jargon mean? Plenty. The Regency Tower security recording system simultaneously memorialized the events captured by both lobby cameras, not just one. But for some unknown reason, the image of the passing Ryder truck originating from only one camera was presented in the Denver courtroom during McVeigh’s federal trial.

So what events, vehicles, and passersby did the second lobby camera, which was pointed in the general vicinity of the federal complex, memorialize during the early morning of April 19? The FBI has not answered that question, but one can safely conclude the images from the eastward pointing camera were captured on the Regency Tower recorder.

Eyewitness testimony captured in a Secret Service timeline speaks volumes.

In this exhibit from the OKC Bombing trial taking place in Salt Lake City in 2015, eyewitness testimony captured in a Secret Service timeline speaks volumes.

PART TWO: Surveillance videotape in FBI custody that may memorialize the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing

I have compiled a comprehensive dossier of court records and evidence which lays a firm foundation for the belief that the public has yet to see all the surveillance tapes in the government files which relate to the Oklahoma bombing.

In 2001, federal authorities reluctantly conceded in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by an Oklahoma journalist that the Department of Justice maintains custody of twenty-two surveillance videotapes. They were recorded between April 15 and April 19, 1995.   The FBI confiscated those twenty-two tapes from security cameras near the doomed Murrah Building.  So who and what do those tapes reveal?

The Justice Department steadfastly maintains that only one surveillance videotape, recorded by a camera positioned in the lobby of the nearby Regency Tower Apartment complex, captured the events of April 19.  The blurry, black and white photographic image of a large Ryder truck heading east on 5th Street on its deadly trek to the federal complex was unveiled during Timothy McVeigh’s federal trial.

Is the Regency Tower’s videotape the only recording which memorialized the morning of the bombing?  The judge who presided over the FOIA case in Oklahoma federal court says no.

After reviewing a confidential index of the surveillance videotapes in federal custody, U.S. District Judge Wayne Alley ruled on July 10, 2001 “the FBI’s list of responsive material from its Oklahoma City Field Office includes numerous other tapes dated April 19, 1995, from several sources.”

In short, Judge Alley plainly stated in the court record that the FBI possesses numerous tapes which were recorded on the day of the bombing – tapes the public has never seen.   The judge stopped short of stating what those tapes show and the location of the cameras that recorded the images of that fateful day.   However, I have uncovered a trail of evidentiary clues which raises many disturbing questions.

Journal Record Building surveillance tape

Where is the videotape which purportedly captured a vehicle that resembled McVeigh’s Mercury Marquis when it was parked directly north of the Murrah Building in the Journal Record parking lot moments before 9:02 am?  On April 27, 1995, Oklahoma City FBI Special Agent Jon Hersley testified in open court to having viewed  photographs originating from a security camera positioned on the Journal Record Building.

What happened to that tape?  Agent Hersley said under oath that the surveillance photographs likely showed McVeigh’s Mercury Marquis.  I have an FBI 302 which establishes the tape that might have captured the bomber’s getaway car was taken into federal custody within hours of the blast.  The exterior security camera positioned on the Journal Record Building was trained on the alleyway through which McVeigh reportedly fled in his Mercury Marquis shortly before the explosion. However, that tape has not surfaced.  My research indicates the defense teams never received a copy.  Why?

Why?  That’s a question you’re likely to be asking yourself after reading parts two and three of this series and after reading Davis’ book, The Third Terrorist.

[Editor’s Note: A “302” is an FBI document containing an actual recitation of a witness interview or an agent’s record of an interview or other investigative matter.]

Two Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building surveillance cameras are shown circled in red.

In this exhibit from the OKC Bombing trial taking place in Salt Lake City in 2015, two Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building surveillance cameras are shown circled in red.

Part Three: Murrah Building Videotape

There remains one additional videotape which could have potentially captured Timothy McVeigh and John Doe 2 as they parked the explosives-laden Ryder truck.  This security camera was positioned on the northeast side of the Murrah Building and had tape been rolling, it would have provided an instant replay of the crime and all those involved.

In the fall of 2000, I scoured through thousands of photographs taken by journalists, bystanders, first responders, and the bombing memorial archives searching for the earliest images of the bombed out building. I found one photograph that clearly showed the camera mounted above the first floor of the Murrah complex on the northeast side of the building.   The lens was trained directly on the area where McVeigh parked the bomb truck.

In a sworn affidavit, an Oklahoma City police officer who commanded the search and rescue canine unit stated that he witnessed the FBI removing the surveillance cameras from the exterior of the Murrah Building. Those cameras were stripped by one o’clock in the afternoon on April 19, just four hours after the blast.

So here’s the $64,000 question:  Was there tape rolling in the record deck of the Murrah Building surveillance system on the day of the bombing, and did that particular tape survive the blast?  I can provide only a partial answer.  I know for a fact that the recording device for the Murrah Building video surveillance system was located in the basement of the federal courthouse. The courthouse was positioned south of the Murrah Building and was shielded from the tremendous impact of the explosion.   So if there was videotape in the recorder, it would have remained intact.

I spoke to employees of the General Services Administration who led me to believe that federal budget cutbacks rendered the cost of record tapes prohibitive, so there would not have been a videocassette rolling on April 19.   However, that excuse does not hold up to scrutiny.   Prior to the bombing, the federal government purchased a state of the art security system for the Murrah Building and installed an extra surveillance camera on the ground floor outside the GSA office due to a “known security risk to employees.”

So why could Uncle Sam not afford the nominal expenditure for a video library of tapes that would document events in and around the federal complex on a twenty-four hour cycle? I never received a satisfactory answer to that question.

Surveillance tapes permanently sealed

In late 2001, U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, who presided over the bombing trials, ruled in favor of the Justice Department request to seal all twenty-two tapes recovered from downtown businesses surrounding the Murrah Building.   To this day, the content of those recordings remains unknown.

The federal judge in the FOIA lawsuit implored Judge Matsch to lift the “shroud of secrecy” and release the tapes.  But I guess now, that will never happen.

(Note: Ask Marin about the amicus brief filed by CBS News in 2001 urging the unsealing of the surveillance tapes.  I did not receive a copy of the brief.  It obviously did not impact Judge Richard Matsch’s decision to keep the tapes under seal.)

Jesse Trentadue FOIA lawsuit for surveillance tapes

The surveillance tapes released in response to attorney Jesse Trentadue’s lawsuit do not address the above-referenced recordings of the events leading up to detonation of the Murrah Building bomb, as the clock ticked closer to 9:02 am April 19, 1995.

Copyright © 2009-2015 Bob McCarty.  All rights reserved.  Reprint permission required.

FYI:  Federal Judge Clark Waddoups is expected to rule on Jesse Trentadue’s FOIA lawsuit soon.

SEE ALSO: FLASHBACK: Attorney Says Unedited Versions of Oklahoma City Bombing Surveillance Tapes Are ‘Somewhere.’

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Oklahoma City Bombing Trial Judge Asked to Appoint Special Master to Investigate Allegations of FBI Witness Tampering

Combined with allegations of FBI witness tampering and a federal Judge’s threat to hold FBI officials in contempt for failing to comply with his order, the latest news about a little-reported Oklahoma City Bombing trial taking place in Salt Lake City has, at a minimum, all the makings of a made-for-television movie. More importantly, it could result in attorney Jesse Trentudue learning more about the death of his brother, Kenneth, in federal custody in Oklahoma City.

Screenshot of Trentadue's Motion 12-1-14

Screenshot of Trentadue’s Motion 12-1-14

On Nov. 6, according to a motion filed Dec. 1 by Trentadue, Judge Clark Waddoups entered an order vacating the Nov. 13, evidentiary hearing into the matter of the FBI’s alleged witness tampering involving John Matthews. In place of the evidentiary hearing on witness tampering, the court also notified the parties that the subjects of the Nov. 13 hearing would be the FBI’s possible contempt for not having completed a court-ordered investigation into the witness tampering allegations and the possible appointment of United States Magistrate Judge Justin B. Pead as Special Master “to oversee the Defendant’s compliance with the court’s orders, particularly relating to the allegations of witness tampering, and with Plaintiff’s FOIA request.”

This sketch of "John Doe 2" circulated soon after the OKC Bombing, then disappeared.

This sketch of “John Doe 2” circulated soon after the OKC Bombing, then disappeared.

What is it that Trentadue hopes to obtain via his Freedom of Information Act request? Evidence the FBI has repeatedly said it does not have — namely, copies of surveillance camera videotapes recorded in downtown Oklahoma City prior to the explosion that killed 168 and injured countless others. He believes those pre-explosion videotapes show another suspect -– a man once referred to as “John Doe 2.”

For more details about the long-running court case, I suggest you watch this chilling one-hour video (above). After that, read other posts about the Oklahoma City Bombing Trial and then stay tuned for more details.

If you like this article and my other efforts, please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.