U.S. government attempts to portray Timothy McVeigh as the "lone bomber" (with assistance from Terry Nichols) in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City have completely collapsed with recent revelations of McVeigh's associations with individuals connected to the Aryan Republican Army, as well as with a BATF informant and an agent of German military intelligence.
This has led some to conclude that there has been a U.S. government (primarily BATF and FBI) cover-up motivated by the desire to destroy evidence of a "government sting gone bad," much as with the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The secret Pentagon report shows, however, that such a judgment may be too kind to the agencies concerned. The principal damage to the Alfred P. Murrah Building was brought about by explosives placed on five columns of the Murrah Building, according to the Pentagon report, and not by the ANFO bomb in the truck supposedly driven by McVeigh. Thus, until the individuals who placed the explosives on the columns of the Murrah Building are identified, any proposed explanation of how the bombing came about is woefully inadequate. The existence of demolition charges placed on some columns at the third-floor level of the Murrah Building is strongly suggestive of inside participation by at least some federal employees.
The Pentagon commissioned nine explosive experts to write independent reports on the bombing, and adopted two of the nine reports as the "official" report. I spoke to both experts, but they declined to be interviewed, citing confidentiality agreements with the Pentagon. Sources familiar with the Pentagon report, however, have confirmed that the conclusions were similar in nature to those of a private report prepared by General Benton K. Partin, dated July 30, 1995, except that the Pentagon report concludes there were demolition charges placed on five columns, not four as concluded by General Partin.
Partin's report showed that the pattern of damage to the Murrah Building was inconsistent with the ANFO truck bomb as a point source for the explosion, and that the damage sustained by the columns could not possibly have come from this source.
Explosive pressure drops off approximately with the cube of the distance. Double the distance, and you reduce the explosive pressure (pounds per square inch) to one-eighth its original value.
If the 4800 pounds of ammonium nitrate in the Ryder truck bomb were in a compressed sphere and detonated from the center, it would have generated a blast wave with an initial pressure of about 500,000 pounds per square inch. By the time the nearest Murrah Building column was reached, that pressure would have fallen to about 375 pounds per square inch.
The rows of columns in the Murrah building can be labeled from front to back as rows A, B, and C. The rows are about 35 feet apart. The columns in each row can be labeled from left to right (as seen by an individual facing the front of the building) as numbers 1 through 11. The third column in the first row would thus be labeled "A3". The columns are 20 feet apart within each row.
The concrete in the columns had a compressible yield strength of at least (and probably higher than) 3500 pounds per square inch. Since this value is almost ten times the strength of the blast wave hitting the columns from the truck bomb, the blast wave is insufficient to produce a wave of deformation in the concrete (and thus to turn it back into its sand, gravel, and clay components).
However, a high detonation velocity contact explosive attached to a column would have generated pressure of 1 to 1.5 million pounds per square inch-- about 300 times the yield strength of the concrete, and thus would have pulverized it into sand until the blast wave front had dropped below the yield strength of the concrete. Left behind would be a smooth granular surface with protruding steel reinforcement rods (which have a much higher yield strength).
General Partin's report shows strong evidence of such contact explosive charges placed on columns B3, A3, A5, and A7. While the truck bomb itself was insufficient to destroy columns, it was responsible for ripping out some floors at the second and third floor levels, Partin concluded.
The notion of a government-sting gone awry would at best suggest the idea that BATF or FBI agents planned to arrest McVeigh in a dramatic flourish of publicity when he pulled up in front of the Murrah Building in his rented Ryder truck containing the ANFO bomb. But this story becomes faintly ridiculous when you consider that demolition charges were placed on five Murrah Building columns well before McVeigh's arrival. If there was a government sting in operation, then someone was using their knowledge of the sting as cover for the actual bombing. Either way, it suggests an inside job.
Finally, McVeigh was not arrested prior to the bombing. Which leads one to ask, What government sting? We are basically left with evidence of government complicity and government cover-up, but with no evidence of a government sting. Did some government agency take advantage of the general expectation that something would happen that day, and, for its own reasons, ensure these fears were realized?
There are several sources of evidence of a prior expectation of a bombing to take place on April 19, 1995.
Executed on the day of the Oklahoma bombing was Richard Wayne Snell for murder of a black Arkansas trooper. Snell had been involved in a plot to blow up the Murrah Building in 1983. And, according to Alan Ables, an Arkansas prison official quoted by the Denver Post, "Snell repeatedly said that there would be a bombing or explosion the day of his death." The explosion took place at the Murrah Building, the previous focus of Snell's attention.
Snell's information would appear to have come from Robert Millar, who was in attendance as Snell's spiritual advisor. Millar was the founder of Elohim City, a religious commune in Oklahoma near the border with Arkansas. Timothy McVeigh had made numerous visits to Elohim City in the weeks before the bombing (see, for example, William F. Jasper, "More Pieces to the OKC Puzzle," The New American, June 24, 1996).
A BATF informant named Carol Howe wrote her BATF case officer in Tulsa that the Elohim City group, or its operational arm the "Aryan Republican Army", was planning to blow up a building with a possible date of April 19, 1995 (McCurtain Daily Gazette, February 11, 1997). Howe said there were three possible targets, two in Tulsa, and one in Oklahoma City.
(Members of the Aryan Republican Army are currently charged with bank robberies in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This includes Peter Langan, on trial in Columbus, Ohio, and Michael Brescia, indicted in Philadelphia. Witnesses have identified Brescia as "John Doe II", originally sought by the FBI in the Oklahoma City bombing.)
The BATF says the warnings were too vague to prompt any actions. Too vague, apparently, to warn security guards at the Murrah Building, who overlooked all the activity involved in placing demolition explosives on the building columns.
But not too vague not to warn BATF employees to stay home for the day. No BATF employee was among the 168 killed in the bombing.
February 11, 1997
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