Tag Archives: Kenneth Trentadue

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.

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Does ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Label Apply to OKC Bombing?

The narrative President Bill Clinton and his underlings want to stand for time immemorial whenever the Oklahoma City Bombing is discussed goes something like this: “It was a domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.  Timothy McVeigh is dead, Terry Nichols is locked up, and there’s nothing more to know. Case closed.” But is that narrative accurate?

On the FBI website, the Oklahoma City bombing is described as "the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history."

On the FBI website, the Oklahoma City bombing is described as “the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history.”

While Wikipedia, the FBI website and countless other online and offline sources adhere to that narrative, Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue wants to find answers he knows are 100 percent factual. Why? Because he thinks the answers will help him discover the truth about what happened to his brother, Kenneth, who died in federal custody Aug. 21, 1995, barely four months after the blast that left 168 people dead in downtown Oklahoma City.

In one of the earliest episodes in his epic Freedom of Information Act battle, Trentadue sent a FOIA request to the Central Intelligence Agency Dec. 19, 2006. In it, he requested “documents, information and/or records prepared and/or received by the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) Office of the Inspector General relating or referring to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Bulding on April 19, 1995.” He specified that his request included, but was not limited to, “any and all report(s) by the CIA Office of the Inspector General, directly or indirectly, concerning the CIA’s prior knowledge of the planned attack [sic] upon the Murrah Building and/or the report(s) of any and all investigations into the CIA’s role, involvement with or connection to the Murrah Building Bombing whether through employees, informants, operatives or other means.”

Why did Trentadue think the CIA might know something about the Oklahoma City Bombing? Because he had heard from sources he considered reliable that at least one German individual had been connected to the conspiracy to bomb the federal building in downtown Oklahoma City.

In response to the FOIA request he had sent to the CIA, Trentadue received a letter dated May 28, 2009, from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. For some reason, officials at the CIA FOIA Office had referred his request to the Air Force investigative agency.

Attached to the AFOSI letter was a copy of a once-secret, heavily-redacted message sent April 20, 1995, by officials at an AFOSI office in the United Kingdom and addressed to officials at a laundry list of government agencies, including the CIA.

The subject line of the message began with a redaction code, “B1″ inside brackets, followed by the words, “INFORMATION IDENTIFYING POSSIBLE ACTIVE IRANIAN MILITANTS IN<OKLAHOMA>(U).” FYI: B1″ was explained in the cover letter as a code used to indicate “the withholding of national security information concerning the national defense or foreign policy that has been properly classified in accordance with substantive and procedural requirements of a presidential executive order (currently Executive Order 13292 dates March 25, 2003).” Other codes appeared as well and might warrant discussion in some future article(s).

Below the subject line were the words, “WARNING: THIS IS AN INFORMATION REPORT, NOT FINALLY EVALUATED INTELLIGENCE (See Screenshot 1 of 2).”

The body of the message included large white spaces, also marked with redaction codes. The body of the message also included details about two Iranians (names redacted) described as approximately 45 and 39 years old, respectively (See Screenshot 2 of 2). Though it does not list whether the individuals were men or women, the descriptions of their height, weight and manner of dress lead me to believe they were men.

Wondering why the Air Force was involved in responding to the FOIA request Trentadue made to the CIA? According to Trentadue, the Air Force ran the spy satellite program for the CIA before the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) took over the program. Now, hold that thought for a few moments while I continue down the FOIA path.

Trentadue learned his FOIA request to the CIA had been denied when he received an undated letter received from the NGA. As was the case with AFOSI, the CIA FOIA Office had referred 26 documents to the little-known NGA for review.

Though Trentadue would lose his FOIA lawsuit against the CIA, he did learn more about the CIA’s denial of his FOIA request by reading three paragraphs of a document — a declaration signed Aug. 18, 2009, by Earl J. Chidester, NGA’s Analysis and Production Executive Committee Direct Support Officer — that became part of the court record in the case. Those paragraphs appear below:

4.    (U) The purpose of this declaration is to explain the basis for NGA’s response to the CIA’s referral of documents determined to be possibly responsive to the Plaintiff’s FOIA request of December 19, 2006. In that request Plaintiff requested records and information the CIA had related or referring to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. During its records search in response to Plaintiff’s request, the CIA located in CIA’s files twenty-five classified documents that were originated by a predecessor organization of NGA that are responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA request. These documents are now the responsibility of NGA. On February 23, 2009, the CIA referred these documents to NGA to determine if any of these twenty-five documents could be released to the Plaintiff.

5.    (U) As an NGA technical expert, I reviewed the referred documents to determine whether any of them are releasable. Based upon my review NGA has determined that all the referred documents have been properly classified pursuant to Exec. Orders 12951 and 12958 and, accordingly, should be withheld. None of the documents can be released, even in part, as no reasonably segregable, non-exempt portion of these documents exists.

6.    (U) The 25 referred documents are imagery intelligence products derived from imagery collected by various national technical means satellites. The materials include briefing boards, anaglyphs, and IDEX II electronic light-table prints. Release of these materials would reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security as such release might reveal sources and methods used to acquire intelligence. This is because the nature of the technical output may reveal the technologies used, and the capacities of those technologies. Because these images are properly classified in their totality, it is not possible to segregate any portion of the images for release. Any portions that might possibly be segregated would convey no information as they would essentially be blank.

“My thoughts are that the CIA could only have been involved if there was some foreign connection,” Trentadue said after I asked him to explain the involvement of the intelligence agency tasked with the collection of national intelligence outside the United States.

At about the same time Trentadue filed his lawsuit against the CIA, he also filed one against the FBI. Unlike the CIA lawsuit, the FBI lawsuit continues to this day in a federal court in Salt Lake City with Trentadue appearing to have the upperhand. To learn more about it, 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.

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