Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Military Injustice: Remembering Michael Behenna’s Story

EDITOR’S NOTE: Though I lost many of the dozens of articles I wrote about a Soldier from my home state of Oklahoma and the tragic situation that consumed his life (See paragraph six of this piece for details about the losses), I managed to save the article below which I share again, only slightly modified since being published three years ago today. Please read and share.

Then-1st Lt. Michael Behenna

Then-1st Lt. Michael Behenna

I’m on the road right now, but when I came across some terrible news this afternoon that I simply had to share:  The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the appeal of Michael C. Behenna of Edmond, Okla., and upheld his murder conviction and 15-year prison sentence at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth.

Who is Michael Behenna?  He is the Army Ranger first lieutenant who, on July 31, 2008, was charged with the premeditated murder of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda agent operating near Albu Toma, an area north of Baghdad.  He is the one-time leader of the 18-member Delta Company, 5th Platoon of the Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry Division who, seven months later, was convicted of unpremeditated murder and sentenced to 25 years confinement — later reduced to 15 — at Fort Leavenworth.

Why do I staunchly support Lieutenant Behenna?  Because even the government’s top witness, Dr. Herb MacDonell — a man who wasn’t allowed to testify after new evidence was shared with him and he told prosecutors he believed the young officer was innocent.

Below is an excerpt from a December 2009 post, one of the more than four dozen posts I’ve written about Lieutenant Behenna’s case, that outlines the forensics expert’s position:

An e-mail Dr. Herbert Leon MacDonell sent to Capts. Meghan Poirier, Jason Elbert and Erwin Roberts — Army prosecutors all — just after 4 o’clock in the afternoon Feb. 27, 2009, should have warranted their attention for several reasons, but they opted to treat the information it contained in exactly the same manner as they had treated it when delivered in person a day earlier.

Largely as a result of the prosecutors’ decisions, Army Ranger 1st Lt. Michael Behenna is now serving a 20-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth after being convicted by a seven-member court-martial panel of unpremeditated murder in the shooting death of Ali Mansur, a known Al-Qaeda operative.

Why should the prosecutors have paid attention to what Dr. MacDonell had to share with them?

For starters, they should have paid attention, because Dr. MacDonell is the expert witness in blood stain forensics they had flown to Fort Campbell, Ky. to testify in the case. Now serving as director of the Laboratory of Forensic Science in Corning, N.Y., Dr. MacDonell’s expert forensics career spans five decades and includes such high-profile and complex cases as the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and the case against O.J. Simpson. In other words, he’s no slouch when it comes to investigations.

For reasons inexplicable, prosecutors opted not to call upon Dr. MacDonell to testify in the case; therefore, he was never able to share with the court something new he had learned about the case — something vital that prosecutors had not shared with him.

Thanks, however, to the fact that he sent that single e-mail, Lieutenant Behenna’s parents, Scott and Vicki Behenna, now hold on to an ever-so-slim hope that they can bring an end to the family nightmare involving their son, now 26.

Read the unedited text of Dr. MacDonell’s e-mail message below and judge for yourself whether you think Lieutenant Behenna deserves, at a minimum, a new trial or, more appropriately, a full presidential pardon:

Friday, February 27, 2009
4:07 p.m.

Dear Captain Poirier:

I came home to an incredible pile-up of work but I shall try to send an invoice to you within a few days. On that issue I should advice you that I may have exceeded what was appropriate because of staying two nights rather then one. My estimate for my total cost was based on one night there but I shall still try to keep the total within your budget even if I have to reduce the number of hours I spent here in preparation for my testimony.

On another issue I am somewhat concerned that I did not testify and have a chance to inform the court of the only logical explanation for this shooting. As I demonstrated to you and to the two other prosecutors, Dr. Berg, Sgt. McCaulley, and Sgt. Rogers?, from the evidence I feel that Ali Mansur had to have been shot in the chest when he was standing. As he dropped straight down he was shot again at the very instant that his head passed in front of the muzzle. Admittedly, this would be an amazing coincidence, however, it fits the facts and as I told you on Wednesday, it fits the facts and I can not think of a more logical explanation.

This scenario is consistent with the two shots being close together, consistent with their horizontal trajectory, consistent with the bloodstains on the floor, and consistent with the condition of the 9mm flattened out bullet which was tumbling after leaving Mansur’s head or body. I do not know where this bullet was recovered but I would expect after impact to the concrete wall it fell very close to that wall. The other bullet should have been close to the first and there should have been two impact points on the wall.

On Thursday afternoon when I heard Lt. Michael Behenna testify as to the circumstances of how the shots were fired I could not believe how close it was to the scenario I had described to you on Wednesday. I am sure that had I testified that I would have wanted to give my reenactment so the jury could have had the option of considering how well the defendant’s story fit the physical facts. This, of course, would not have been helpful to the prosecution case. However, I feel that it is quite important as possible exculpatory evidence so I hope that, in the interest of justice, you informed Mr. Zimmerman of my findings. It certainly appears like Brady material to me.

It was a pleasure meeting you and your team and I learned one thing; the military life is not for me. You guys are getting up about the time we go to bed.

Respectfully Submitted,

Dr. Herbert Leon MacDonell, Director

This photo is one of several Dr. MacDonell examined.

This photo is one of several Dr. MacDonell examined.

The details above offer just a snippet of the injustice that has befallen this young officer and his family.  In another post, Photos Show Scene Where Trail of Injustice Began, I shared photos of the shooting scene as well as the text of the sworn affidavit (below), dated April 21, 2009, in which Dr. MacDonell explains how knowledge he obtained while waiting to testify in the case could have changed dramatically its outcome:

I was retained by the government to testify as an expert witness in bloodstain analysis. On 16 December 2008 I received a FedEx package from Captain Megan Poirier. It contained ten envelopes of photographs and reports as well as a video of the scene. Included was a report by Barbara Liveri, and the autopsy report done by an Iraqi doctor. Prior to trial, I told the government that using only the photographs at the scene and the nature of the surfaces where the bloodstains were located made it difficult to reach any definitive conclusions. I had been contacted before trial by Jack Zimmerman, one of the lawyers for First Lieutenant Behenna and told him the same thing. I was set to travel to Fort Campbell on Wednesday, February 25, 2009, to return on Friday, February 27, 2009. I was called and asked to come a day earlier, which I did. I sat in on the testimony of Dr. Paul Radelat and Mr. Tom Bevel. They testified on Wednesday.

At a recess on Wednesday, I was in the prosecutor’s office in room 13 in the courthouse. While talking with Dr. Berg about the bullet wounds Ali Mansur received, Dr. Berg gave me information I previously did not have. Dr. Berg told me that the wound trajectories for both the chest wound and the head wound were horizontal and essentially parallel.

After thinking about this new information, I did a demonstration to show the only logical explanation which was consistent with the autopsy findings, the bloodstains, the final resting position of the body, and the time between shots. I had Sergeant MacCauley stand directly in front of me, and facing me. I asked him to raise his right arm a little and then I poked my right index finger in to the right side of his chest under his arm and said, “Bang! You have just been shot, so drop down.” The sergeant dropped to his knees and as his head passed in front of my finger, I said, “Bang! You have been shot again.” I remarked that this was consistent with the physical evidence. All three prosecutors, Captains Poirier, Roberts, and Elbert were present when I gave this demonstration and informed them of my opinion.

On Thursday morning during one of the breaks I examined the 9mm bullet and saw it had struck a hard object while traveling backwards. This is consistent with the bullet tumbling as it exited on of Ali Mansur’s wounds. The uniformity of the extruded lead into a disk-like configuration shows it was traveling in a horizontal trajectory if the surface it struck was a flat, very coarse, vertical surface. Logically, that could have been the culvert’s concrete wall.

On Thursday afternoon, the day after this demonstration, I listened to Lt. Behenna testify. I had seen no written statement made by him. This was the first time I learned what he said had happened. After Lt. Behenna described the shooting, I turned to Dr. Berg and told him, “That is exactly what I told you guys yesterday.” There was a recess about 5:00 pm and Lt. Behenna was still on the witness stand. I was told by Captain Poirier that I would not be needed, and a flight was arranged for me for that evening. I told Captains Poirier and Roberts that I could stay another day if necessary. They told me my testimony would not be needed and I could leave to get my flight.

When I went back to room 13 to get my hat, coat, and briefcase the captains on the prosecution team were already in that room. As I gathered my things I reminded them that although the scenario I had presented to them the day before was unlikely, it still was the only theory I could develop that was consistent with the physical evidence. It was also exactly the way Lt. Behenna had described the events. Their reaction was noticeably cold. I went back into the courtroom and went over to Jack Zimmerman. As I was putting on my coat I remarked that I was sorry I was leaving because I would have made a good witness for him. He asked why, and I told him I was a government expert, and could not discuss it with him until after the trial. He asked me not to leave but I did. I did not believe it would have been proper for me to have told Attorney Zimmerman any more than I did. I was not “eager to communicate” with him or I would have told him my concern at that time on Thursday.

I expected that the prosecutors would tell Mr. Zimmerman what I had told them. When I was released without being called as a defense witness, and had returned to Corning, New York, I was concerned. I consulted two friends, a Supreme Court judge and a lawyer, and decided to check with Captain Poirier to ensure she had passed on the opinion I had given the prosecutors Thursday afternoon when I was getting my hat, coat, and briefcase.

From reading the judge’s ruling, I believe the misunderstanding may have resulted from the way I interpreted the questions asked during my telephone testimony on Saturday, February 28, 2009.

When I testified that I told Dr. Berg, “That is exactly what I told you guys yesterday,” and did not remember telling my reaction to any other person, I meant right there at that moment in the courtroom. There was no one else but Dr. Berg sitting nearby who had witnessed my demonstration the day before. The prosecutors were at counsel table then.

However, at the next recess, when I went to get my hat, coat, and briefcase, I specifically told the three prosecutors in their office in room 13 the same thing I told Dr. Berg. As I testified on February 28, 2009, “And as I was leaving I told the prosecuting group, I said, “That was exactly what I told you.’”

I do not feel that it is fair to put the opinion I related to Dr. Berg and Captains Poirier, Roberts, and Elbert on Thursday in quotation marks. Until Wednesday afternoon I had not been told the wound trajectories for both shots were horizontal and parallel. I had not been provided the bullet to examine. The scientific process required me to consider the physical and medical evidence in reaching my final conclusion. That is why I wanted to see the bullet on Thursday. When I heard Lt. Behenna describe what happened, I did not say other witnesses were lying, or that my conclusion was based on my opinion of the Lieutenant’s credibility. My expert opinion was based on the fact that the Lieutenant’s description as to how the shooting occurred fit the physical evidence.

I have consulted and testified in many trials, and I know what exculpatory evidence is. I firmly believe the jury should have heard my testimony.

Of course, there’s much more to this story. The good news, however, is that Behenna was released from the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth Friday, March 14, 2014.

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Freedom Still Exists in My ‘Forever Hometown’

Today, more than ever before, the freedoms celebrated by Americans on Independence Day appear to be at risk. Among the most important are some freedoms I remember growing up with in Enid, Oklahoma, during the ’60s and ’70s.

Enid, Okla., is known as the

Enid, Okla., is known as the “Wheat Capitol of the United States” and boast an enormous grain storage capacity.

The people of Enid had the freedom to feed the world.

Because my “forever hometown” in North Central Oklahoma was known as the “Wheat Capitol of the United States,” its residents could have boasted about having some of the tallest buildings in the world if not for the fact that those buildings, known as grain elevators, were lying on their sides. Still, they were proud of those structures and what they represented as the largest inland grain storage center on the planet, visible from miles away to visitors as they made the flat-land approaches to the city via U.S. Highways 64 and 81.

Every year without fail, those grain elevators were filled as a result of hard work and a lot of prayer put in by farmers, aided by caravans of combines and a large labor force of willing-and-able teenagers and others who counted on “The Harvest” for extra income.

Did the fact I grew up watching T-38

Did the fact I grew up watching T-37 “Tweet” and T-38 “Talon” aircraft — like the one above, but painted white — flying overhead influence me to become an Air Force officer? Probably.

The people of Enid had the freedom to defend freedom.

When I was a kid, Enid served as home to some of the busiest air space in the Midwest, thanks to Vance AFB, a pilot training base since 1941 that has served as a launching pad for thousands of Air Force pilots and, more recently, Marine Corps and Navy pilots.

As a kid, I can remember going to annual Open House events at the base to see aerobatic wonders executed by members of the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron (a.k.a., “The Thunderbirds”), the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and others in the sky above my head. I also remember watching T-37 “Tweets” and T-38 “Talon” aircraft flying overhead almost daily during the first two decades of my life. In addition to influencing my decision to become an active-duty Air Force officer and serve on three continents, I suspect the presence of the air base might have influenced other Enid boys, including Owen K. Garriott, the first Enidite – yes, that’s what we called ourselves – to fly into space as part of the Skylab 3 mission in 1973.

The people of Enid had the freedom to fuel freedom.

Agriculture is one of Enid’s oldest and strongest businesses. Until 1998 the Enid Board of Trade was running Oklahoma’s feed and grain association, managing all sorts of things from correct utilization of plant adjuvants to seed trade management. In addition to agriculture and defense, Enid was home to a large number of individuals – including my dad, an independent petroleum geologist – and companies involved in the exploration, production and refining of oil. In fact, I grew up about three miles across town from a facility known as the Champlin Oil Refinery.

Just like the Oklahoma state song says, “the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains” on a regular basis in Enid. On rare occasions, however, the wind blew from the East instead of the West. As a result, it was often accompanied by sulphur-tinted vapors emanating from that oil refinery.

Did the people on the West Side of Enid panic upon smelling the refinery fumes from the East Side? No, they didn’t. In Enid, that vapor wasn’t regarded as “air pollution”; instead, it was respected – albeit in an odd sort of way – as the aroma of jobs, money and economic vitality.

The Enid (Okla.) Kiwanis Club train at Meadowlake Park.

I enjoyed many “stowaway” rides on the Enid (Okla.) Kiwanis Club train at Meadowlake Park.

The people of Enid had the freedom to enjoy freedom.

Even after the refinery was shut down in 1984 and relocated to Corpus Christi, Texas, the “dots” of agriculture, defense and oil remained connected by the “glues” of patriotism, sacrifice and rugged individualism that shaped the community. And nothing said “community” more than the annual Independence Day celebrations at Meadowlake Park. Each year, tens of thousands of people descended upon the 110-acre city park for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

All year round, Meadowlake Park is a host for many kinds of activities and games. For hours at a time parkgoers will spend time coaxing fish out of the lake, playing baseball, softball, and even airsoft games (thanks to online sources providing the biggest range of cheap airsoft guns the community could get their hands on.) Less sporty members of the community enjoy going to the park for picnics, dog walking, bird watching, and more.

There are also rides in Meadowlake Park operated by a local civic club, the Enid Kiwanis Club. The train was among the best rides available. The “City of Enid Express,” purchased by the club in 1963, includes an engine that’s a replica of the 1863 C. P. Huntington and three open-air passenger cars. Most incredibly, the train was manned by volunteers and operated without any federal government support. The train carries an average of 15,000 passengers a year over 1.2 miles of track, through a tunnel, and over two bridges.

Thanks to online resources, such as the The Enid News & Eagle and Enid Buzz, and my Facebook friends in Enid, I’m able to keep up with news from my forever hometown and have been assured of several things that give me hope as I enjoy the Fourth of July with my family in the St. Louis area:

~ The sound of freedom still roars loudly in Enid, thanks to the people at Vance AFB;

~ The combines are gonna run in the fields this summer;

~ Oil and natural gas wells are still being drilled;

~ Kids are still climbing aboard that slow-moving train when the conductor can’t see them in his side-view mirror; and

~ Weather and fire danger permitting, the South side of the park is gonna shut down Monday evening so that the annual fireworks display can be enjoyed one more time by the good people of Enid.

I absolutely loved growing up in Oklahoma, it was such an amazing place to live and there have definitely been times when I have thought about moving back here. One of my friends recently moved to a gorgeous house in Oklahoma so I might have to pay him a visit once he has settled in. Although, I’ve got a funny feeling that this will take a while.

It took him longer than he’d like to sell his previous home, and it wasn’t until he asked himself the question of “how much do home investors pay” that he thought about selling his home to a real estate investor instead. This meant that he could get it listed at a quicker rate, which means he’d be able to move out a lot faster. Bless him. He’d already stressed himself out so much over this that he forgot to enjoy the fact that he was moving to this gorgeous new home. But at least he’ll know what to do next time. That’s why I’m going to wait for him to properly settle in because I don’t want to be an added burden.

When we last spoke he was still in the process of sorting out his home insurance and all those other necessities that have to be arranged whenever you move home. It can be all too easy to end up paying too much for your home insurance so I told him to make sure to check out some home insurance comparison websites like this good resource. Ultimately, using comparison websites can help you to make sure that you are getting the best deal on your home insurance so I would definitely recommend taking a look if you would also like to make a saving.

Editor’s Note: E-N-I-D is the answer to any crossword puzzle clue asking for the name of a four-letter town in Oklahoma.

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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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Obscure Justice Department Agency No Stranger to Me

Yesterday, I came across The Washington Free Beacon article about the U.S. Department of Justice concentrating on “far-right” groups in a new half-million-dollar study of social media usage aimed at combating violent extremism. It was, however, writer Elizabeth Harrington’s mention of the National Institute of Justice in the second paragraph of the piece that caught my attention.

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Click image above to order a copy of The Clapper Memo.

Why the interest in this obscure little agency that serves as the research, development, and evaluation arm of DoJ? For starters, because it deals in large quantities of taxpayer dollars. Beyond that, because I was already painfully familiar with NIJ after having dealt with its people while conducting the four-year investigation into the federal government’s unholy reliance on century-old polygraph technology that resulted in publication of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, in May 2013.

During the course of my investigation, I used the federal Freedom of Information Act and the Oklahoma Open Records Act to obtain copies of print and electronic communications between NIJ officials and academics involved in the conduct of 22 studies that cost taxpayers almost $4.5 million — or more than $202,000 per NIJ grant. If you take time to read some of the communications highlighted in Chapters 11 and 18 of The Clapper Memo, you’ll probably experience the same hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck feeling I did and think — just like the polygraph — something doesn’t pass the “smell test.”

For more info about The Clapper Memo, visit TheClapperMemo.com. To order a copy of the book, see below.

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News Media Fails to Provide Thorough Coverage of Latest Oklahoma City Bombing Trial in Salt Lake City Federal Court

Two days ago, I shared news about the courtroom portion of a little-publicized Oklahoma City Bombing Trial coming to an end in federal court in Salt Lake City. Then I waited for members of the news media in Oklahoma City and around the world to share news about the trial. For the most part, I heard crickets.

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

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

While I never expected members of the national media to devote much time and attention to the case, I remained hopeful that so-called “journalists” in the state where I earned my journalism degree would see the news value of the trial. Sadly, they’ve underwhelmed me.

While reporters at NewsOK.com, the online home of the state’s largest print newspaper (The Oklahoman), have covered the trial, the coverage has lacked enthusiasm. Proof can be found in the fact that five months have passed since the last trial-related report in which the name of the plaintiff, Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, was mentioned appeared on the site under the headline, FBI agent to testify in Oklahoma City videos case.

Conversely, yours truly has published several articles since that date, the date I shared news under the headline, Documents Raise Serious Questions As New Oklahoma City Bombing Trial Takes Place in Federal Court in Utah, and included a chilling one-hour video of Trentadue explaining his quest:

• On Nov. 7, I shared news about Federal Judge Clark Waddoups threatening FBI officials with contempt of court for failing to comply with his order and provide a required report.

• On Dec. 3, I shared news about Judge Waddoups being asked by Trentadue to appoint a special master to investigate allegations of FBI witness tampering.

• On Dec. 16, I shared news about the arrest of an FBI agent who allegedly beat up his girlfriend. The story was relevant inasmuch as the agent involved was the same one I had mentioned in the Dec. 3 report as having allegedly told a key witness to take a vacation.

On the FBI website, the Oklahoma City bombing is described as "the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history." Click on image above to read why this narrative appears to be false.

On the FBI website, the Oklahoma City bombing is described as “the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history.” Click on image above to read why this narrative appears to be false.

• On Dec. 30, I asked a question — Does ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Label Apply to OKC Bombing? — after learning Trentadue had obtained evidence that led him to say, “My thoughts are that the CIA could only have been involved if there was some foreign connection,” after I asked him to explain the involvement of the intelligence agency tasked with the collection of national intelligence outside the United States.

Of course, NewsOK.com isn’t the only Oklahoma City news outlet failing to keep Oklahomans informed. Local television stations have, for the most part, dropped the ball as well.

For instance, News9.com hasn’t broadcast a story in which the name of the plaintiff, Trentadue, was mentioned since July 30, 2014. Likewise, KFOR-TV hasn’t mentioned Trentadue in a story of their own since July 31, 2014, though they did share a Salt Lake City station’s story Nov. 13. Following suit, KOKH-Fox 25 has aired only two pieces during the past year — one on Aug. 17 and the other Aug. 22.

The only television station in the state capitol city appearing to have made a slight effort to report about the trial was KOCO-TV. During 2014, the station aired five no-byline pieces — July 30*, Aug. 1, Aug. 26, Oct. 28 and Nov. 11*. Sadly, two of them — each marked by an asterisk (*) — spanned only four paragraphs.

Worth noting: I did not dive into the radio scene, because there are simply too few radio journalists anymore to make such a look worthwhile.

As The X-Files characters “Mulder” and “Scully” said so often, “The truth is out there.” Now, I think Trentadue is on the verge of finding it. Judge Waddoups is expected to issue a ruling in the case by the end of the year, so stay tuned!

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