Tag Archives: Middle East

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.

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The Founders’ Worst Fears Coming True

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico who served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. It comes several months after another piece raised hackles among conservatives, in part, because of it’s headline, Ted, Bobby, Marco and Rick Share Something in Common. Even if you disagree with Paul, this piece will make you think long and hard.

INELIGIBLE: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

Click on image above to read Paul R. Hollrah’s previous piece on four prominent GOP hopefuls who are ineligible to serve as president of the United States.

As the Founding Fathers met at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1778, producing word-for-word the greatest governing document in all of recorded history, they were haunted by a number of major concerns. Among their most critical concerns was the long-term sustainability of the constitutional republic they were creating. How could they prevent it from being subverted?

General George Washington, president of the Constitutional Convention, read a July 25, 1787, letter from John Jay, a member of the Continental Congress, who would later become the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. It was just five years and eleven months since Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown and Jay was concerned that the administration of our federal government might one day fall into the hands of a man who might find it difficult… because of divided loyalties… to always do what was in the best interests of the country. He was especially concerned over what might happen if command of our Army and Navy should ever fall into the hands of such a man.

In his letter, Jay wrote, “Permit me to hint whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government; and to declare expressly that the commander-in-chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born citizen (emphasis added).”

John Jay, National Portrait Gallery.

John Jay, National Portrait Gallery.

In Federalist Paper No. 68, Alexander Hamilton expressed the prevailing concern of foreign influence in the affairs of government. He wrote, “These most deadly adversaries of republican government (cabal, intrigue, etc.) might actually have expected to make their approach from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this than by raising a creature of their own to the Chief Magistracy of the Union?”

Taking into account the concerns expressed by Jay and Madison, it is easy to understand why the Founders produced a constitution under which only two of the 145,400,000 jobs in the United States… public sector and private sector combined… require the incumbents to be “natural born” citizens. Those two jobs are president and vice president of the United States.

So, precisely what was it that the Founders found so worrisome about future presidents… so worrisome that they placed tight restrictions on access to the position?

The Founders rightly understood that the most influential factor in a child’s upbringing is the parenting he/she receives as a child, and that the cultural, philosophical, political, and religious influence of a child’s parents fundamentally establishes the direction of his/her future conduct. Accordingly, what the Founders feared most and what caused them to limit access to the presidency only to the “natural born” was the fear that a future president… during his formative years and during the years in which he was developing intellectually… would be exposed to an environment in which he would learn to reject the values and the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Although they were not alive to see it, their worst fears were realized 221 years later when a usurper named Barack Hussein Obama occupied the White House.

Barack Obama’s mother was a citizen of the United States. However, under the tutelage of her liberal parents she grew up to be a radical leftist, while his father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., was a devout Kenyan-born socialist. Obama spent most of his formative years as a citizen of Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation on Earth, where his name was changed to Barry Soetoro and his school records list his religious preference as Islamic. Then, upon returning to Hawaii at age 10, he was mentored during his teen years by a card-carrying member of the Communist Party,USA, Frank Marshall Davis. It was not the sort of environment conducive to the political and intellectual development of a man who would one day follow in the footsteps of patriots such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan.

Obama went into office promising the most transparent administration in history, and that he would bring an end to the revolving door of lobbyists moving into and out of the White House. Instead, the revolving door at the White House has been set spinning with lobbyists coming and going, while even the most liberal media outlets insist that his is the least transparent, the most secretive, and the least responsive administration in history.

He went into office promising to depolarize American politics and government and to reach across the aisle to work with Republicans. Instead, he pokes his thumb into the eyes of Republicans at every opportunity, and what has always been a healthy mistrust between the major parties now approaches bitter animosity.

He went into office promising to reduce unemployment and to spur economic growth. Instead, he has steadily shrunk the size of the U.S. workforce, increased the ranks of the unemployed, and, with little understanding how the U.S. economy works, he has stymied economic growth.

He promised to provide healthcare insurance for some 30 million uninsured, while improving the quality of healthcare and reducing the cost of healthcare for everyone… and all of that without increasing the number of doctors, nurses, and hospitals. Instead, many workers have lost their insurance, doctors are giving up their practices, and employers are reducing the working hours of employees so as to avoid paying the burgeoning cost of healthcare benefits.

He went into office promising to close the budget deficit and reduce the national debt. Instead, in the six years he’s been in office, he has not produced a single balanced budget and the national debt has increased from $9 trillion to $18 trillion… more than all previous presidents combined.

By David Donar

By David Donar

He went into office promising to reduce poverty and to shrink the income disparity between the rich and the poor. Instead, the number of Americans living below the poverty line has gradually increased, nearly 50 million Americans are on food stamps, and the wage gap between the rich and the poor has steadily widened.

He went into office promising to heal the scars of racism in America and to bring our people together. Instead, he has played the race card at every opportunity and race relations are now more tenuous than at any time since the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan.

He went into office promising to solve the illegal immigration problem by first securing our borders. Instead, millions upon millions of illegals from Mexico and Central America stream across our borders, while he uses every conceivable device to insure that the invaders can stay in the U.S. and that they will one day become reliable Democratic voters.

He went into office promising to improve relations with the Russians; to bring peace to the Middle East; to draw “red lines” in Libya and Syria that radical Islamists would not dare cross; to promote friendship and cooperation throughout the Arab world; and to heal any rifts that may have developed between us and our allies. Instead, relations between the U.S. and Russia are at an all-time low; every nation in the Middle East is either at war or about to be at war; “red lines” were crossed but Obama failed to respond as threatened; our enemies throughout the Middle East are emboldened; the most dangerous purveyor of state-sponsored terror is just weeks or months away from having a nuclear weapon; our Arab allies no longer trust us; and our long-time allies in Israel and in Europe must now face a dangerous world without our leadership.

In short, Barack Obama is precisely what the Founders feared most when they wrote Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, limiting access to the presidency only to those who are natural born citizens. In just six short years he has become the poster boy for national suicide.

Unfortunately, the intellectually lazy in both major parties, representing the entire ideological spectrum, have failed to satisfy themselves of Obama’s fitness for the presidency. Those on the left were so anxious to recapture the White House, especially with a young attractive black man as their standard bearer, that they paid no attention whatsoever to warnings that he was lacking in qualifications. While on the right, it is all but impossible to find a conservative commentator or a political leader with the courage to challenge the bona fides of a black Democrat… fearing that they may be forced to defend themselves against charges of racism.

What they have done, in fact, is to create a de facto amendment to the U.S. Constitution without going to the trouble of consulting the provisions of Article 1, Section 3; Article II, Section 1; or Article V of the Constitution.

Now, because of the duplicity of the left and the cowardice of the right, we are confronted with a potential constitutional crisis involving the candidacies of Sen. Ted Cruz (D-TX), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)… all prominently mentioned as potential Republican presidential nominees in 2016, but none of whom are eligible for that office because they fail to meet the “natural born” requirement of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.

Will Democrats, knowing that they supported and elected a usurper in 2008 and again in 2012, allow Republicans to do the same in 2016? Are we to simply accept that two wrongs make a right? Anyone who believes that Democrats are not so duplicitous as to glorify Obama’s illegal presidency while crucifying a Republican candidate guilty of the same offense, simply does not know Democrats. The wisest course would be for Cruz, Jindal, and Rubio to do what is best for their party and their country by removing themselves from consideration. The worst fears of the Founders has been realized in Barack Obama. Republicans should not repeat the outrage.

SEE ALSO: The Obama Eligibility Question Revisited Again.

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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