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FBI paper trail
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 05/15/2001 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
A day before Timothy J. McVeigh was to have been executed, a new batch of undisclosed records in the Oklahoma City bombing case has been found in Baltimore, prompting the FBI to issue a worldwide directive ordering all bureau field offices and attaches to comb their files for any more documents that may not have been turned over to the convicted bomber’s lawyers, the Los Angeles Times reports in today’s editions.
Meanwhile, a former investigative reporter for the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City last night told Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly that she has gathered massive evidence pointing to a conspiracy between McVeigh, Terry Nichols and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization.
Jayna Davis, a former reporter for KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City, says she took her evidence — including hundreds of court records, 24 sworn witness affidavits and reports from law enforcement, intelligence and terror experts — to the FBI, which refused to accept the material or the leads.
The FBI reportedly told “The O’Reilly Factor” that the agency did not accept the materials because they could not be corroborated and would need to be turned over to the defense.
New details emerged about the contents of more than 3,000 pages of documents discovered last week — witness statements and photographs relating to a mysterious person known as Robert Jacques, as well as surveillance tapes of sightings of “John Doe No. 2,” an alleged McVeigh co-conspirator, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The investigation of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, became the largest in the history of the FBI — involving, according to the agency, more than 2,000 agents and 20,000 witness interviews.
Nevertheless, federal officials claimed to have discovered just last week 3,135 pages of new material after collecting McVeigh files from dozens of field offices across the country. After turning the documents over to McVeigh’s defense team and Nichols, his convicted co-conspirator, seven additional documents turned up late last week in the Baltimore office, sources told the Los Angeles Times. The documents were expected to be delivered promptly to defense attorneys.
Government sources discounted the new records, much as they did last week with those in the first discovery, as having no relevance to McVeigh’s guilt or innocence.
With its call for a global search for records, the FBI sought to ensure that no additional materials will surface that should have been shared with the defense long ago, the Times reported.
A Department of Justice official reportedly said authorities are worried that if even more material is found after this latest search, it will be all the more embarrassing to federal law enforcement.
“We certainly want all the information that is available,” the official told the Times. “We want all the information that’s out there.”
The April 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was the largest terrorist attack in the United States, killing 168 people and injuring more than 500 others.
In the larger cache of FBI documents discovered last week, references to a Robert Jacques crop up several times, sources told the Los Angeles Times. Shortly after the bombing, a southwest Missouri real estate broker told the FBI that three men came to his office in November 1994 looking to buy secluded property that was “in the middle of nowhere.” He said they wanted some land with caves.
The broker, William Maloney, said two of the men fit the descriptions of McVeigh and Nichols, and he recalled that the third man, who said his name was Robert Jacques, “did most of the talking.” But the government was never able to authenticate that the men were actually McVeigh and Nichols, or that Jacques ever existed. Sources told the Los Angeles Times the other newly disclosed material included photographs of people resembling descriptions of Jacques.
Also in the files, the sources said, was information about the so-called John Doe No. 2. Employees at the Ryder store, where McVeigh rented the truck to carry the bomb, insisted that McVeigh was with a second man. The government later insisted that the Ryder employees were mistaken and that McVeigh had been alone.
In the missing files also are surveillance tapes of John Doe No. 2 look-alikes, as well as statements from various people who claimed to have seen him, sources told the Times.
McVeigh was to have been executed tomorrow. But after the FBI files foul-up, Attorney General John Ashcroft delayed the execution for 30 days, until June 11.
While defense attorneys do not think 30 days is long enough to review the newly disclosed materials, Ashcroft has said he will not grant another postponement.
Meanwhile, lawyers for Nichols also are trying to use the new information to help him win a new trial in federal court, or at least reduce his life sentence.
In Washington, where several members of Congress are urging thorough reviews of FBI operations, outgoing Director Louis J. Freeh is to appear at previously scheduled hearings tomorrow and Thursday. The hearings are supposed to be about the FBI’s budget needs. But, tough questions about the evidence scandal are expected.
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