Tag Archives: FBI

Are FBI Informants Working Inside America’s Churches?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Two years ago today, I shared the news below for the first time. In light of the fact that a verdict is imminent in the Oklahoma City Bombing Trial that’s been taking place in federal court in Salt Lake City recently (yes, it’s true), I decided to share it again with only minor modifications.

Click on image above to download document (PDF).

Click on image above to download document (PDF).

Jesse Trentadue’s ongoing effort to obtain information from the FBI continued this week when he filed a motion (PDF) aimed at convincing a federal judge in Utah to allow him access to information about the FBI’s “Sensitive Informant Program.  The move was made one month after the Salt Lake City attorney filed his first motion (PDF) seeking, among other things, to learn whether the FBI has informants working inside American churches.

Why is Trentadue seeking the information?  Because he believes it will lead him closer to the truth about the 1995 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.

Below, I share the fascinating details of his most-recent motion (PDF).  Beginning with the “Background” which begins on page one of the document, the details contained in the document appear below, minus the footnotes contained in the actual document (PDF):

The FBI devotes a considerable portion of the Memorandum that it submitted in opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion to arguing that this is a typical Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) case involving the adequacy of the FBI’s search for responsive documents and/or the applicability of the exemptions claimed by the FBI for not releasing the documents/records.  But this is not a typical FOIA case. Neither is it an isolated or stand alone case. This case, as the FBI well knows, is the latest front in Plaintiff’s long war with the Bureau to discover and uncover the truth about the Oklahoma City Bombing and a related matter: the murder of his brother, Kenneth Michael Trentadue.

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

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

The first battle in this almost decade long FOIA war was fought before this very Court in Trentadue v. FBI, which revealed that persons other that Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier had participated in the Bombing. That first battle, and the documents/records that Plaintiff obtained as a result, also disclosed: (1) the existence of the FBI’s I-Drive and S-Drive computer systems wherein evidence related to the Bombing was kept hidden so as not to be subject to a FOIA request and/or not made part of the FBI’s official Bombing case file; (2) the CIA’s involvement in the Oklahoma City Bombing; (3) “Patriot Conspiracy” or “PATCON” that was a decade or more long FBI undercover operation designed to infiltrate and monitor or perhaps even incite various right-wing organizations; and (4) the existence of a surveillance camera videotape taken on the morning of April 19, 1995, which according to federal government documents purportedly shows not only the destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Building, but also the persons who carried out that attack.  That first FOIA battle also disclosed the existence of the FBI’s “Sensitive Informant Program,” which is at the heart of this current FOIA discovery dispute.

The Sensitive Informant Program is the FBI’s disturbing practice of using private citizens as spies on the staffs of members of Congress and perhaps even federal judges, in the national media, within other federal agencies, on defense teams in high profile federal and/or state criminal prosecutions, inside state and local law enforcement agencies and even among the clergy of organized religions. The Sensitive Informant Program is designed to and does result in the circumvention of the protections guaranteed to American citizens by the Bill of Rights and the Separation of Powers Doctrine.

In response to Plaintiff’s FOIA request for the policies, rules, protocols and/or procedures governing the FBI’s recruitment and use of such informants in this secret surveillance program which spies on United States’ citizens on United States’ soil, the FBI produced 205 pages, which appear to be but a small portion of its: “Corporate Policy Directive” on the use of confidential human sources, “Confidential Human Source Validation Standards Manual,” “Confidential Human Source Policy Manual,” and “Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide” (collectively the “Manual”). Those portions of the Manual that the FBI actually provided to Plaintiff were heavily redacted. The FBI withheld all of these portions of the Manual on the basis of various exemptions from disclosure under FOIA.

It is Plaintiff’s belief, however, that NO exemption can be asserted to conceal this unconstitutional domestic spy/surveillance program. Simply put, FOIA, which has as its stated purpose the disclosure of the federal government’s wrongdoing, cannot and should not be used to shield the FBI’s unconstitutional actions undertaken on what appears to be a national scale. However, in order to properly frame and present to the Court his challenge to the FBI’s claims of exemption Plaintiff needs to conduct limited discovery into the scope and duration of this Sensitive Informant Program.

In the “Summary of the Argument,” beginning on page four of the motion (PDF), he presents the latest details:

Plaintiff’s need for this discovery is simple. If, for example, the FBI has never embedded a Sensitive Informant on the staff of a member of Congress and/or a federal judge, in the national media, within another federal agency, on the defense team in high profile federal and/or state criminal prosecution, inside of a state or local law enforcement agency or among the clergy of an organized religion, it will admittedly be difficult for Plaintiff to assert that NO FOIA exemptions should apply to those portions of the Manual being withheld from him. This is so because a rare or isolated violation of the Constitution by the use of Sensitive Informants may not be sufficient for the Court to override the FBI’s exemption claims.

However, if the FBI’s Sensitive Informant program has been in operation for years and/or involves the placement of many Sensitive Informants on the staffs of members of Congress and perhaps even federal judges, in the national media, within other federal agencies, on defense teams in high profile federal and/or state criminal prosecutions, inside state and local law enforcement agencies or among the clergy of organized religions, then it is obvious that the Manual is designed to and/or does result in the circumvention of the protections guaranteed to American citizens by the Bill of Rights and the Separation of Powers Doctrine. If this is so, then it is Plaintiff’s position that the FBI cannot lawfully assert any FOIA exemption to keep secret a clearly unconstitutional nationwide program of domestic spying.

The information that Plaintiff’s seeks by way of this discovery will also be necessary for the Court to determine whether the (b)(1) exemption claimed by the FBI applies. Exemption (b)(1) allows the FBI to exempt certain records provided it declares them “secret” on the basis of national security AND pursuant to an Executive Order allowing for that “secret” designation.

In order to obtain information with respect to the scope and duration of the FBI’s Sensitive Informant Program, Plaintiff has moved to conduct limited discovery consisting of just eleven (11) Interrogatories, the answers to which will document the unconstitutionality of the FBI’s Sensitive Informant Program, thereby allowing Plaintiff to challenge the FBI’s assertion of FOIA exemptions to conceal and/or withhold the Manual from Plaintiff and the American public, and the Court to determine the validity/applicability of those exemptions to the Manual. The FBI, however, vehemently opposes that Motion.

Of course, there is a lot more to the case, but Trentadue’s approach, summed up under the “ISSUE” section of the motion (PDF) and shared below, seems brilliant to this non-lawyer:

The issue in this case is not the adequacy of the FBI’s search for the Manual. The FBI found the Manual. The issue for the Court to decide is (1) whether the FOIA exemptions advanced by the FBI for withholding portions of the Manual apply and (2), even if they do apply, can those exemptions be lawfully asserted to conceal FBI activities that clearly subvert the Constitution? Furthermore, this issue cannot and should not be decided without the discovery that Plaintiff is seeking to obtain through his Motion to Conduct Limited Discovery.

During an email exchange March 1, 2013, Trentadue used layman’s terms to boil the matter down to one key issue: “The FBI argues that the discovery (he) seeks would be futile since ‘illegal’ activity by the federal government is shielded from disclosure under FOIA if covered by an exemption.”

He went on to question how the FBI can, in good faith, claim that a national security exemption allows the Bureau to declare its unconstitutional domestic spying program “secret” and, in turn, allows them to keep their illegal activities hidden from the public.

“It is an absurd — no, arrogant — position for the FBI to take,” he said.

Stay tuned for details about how this case turns out.  Also, be sure to read other articles in my series, UNTOLD STORIES of the OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING. If you like reading about the FBI, order a copy of my first crime-fiction novel, The National Bet (November 2014), in which an FBI agent plays the role of a hero.

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.

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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!

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.

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