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The FBI says it has located 340 documents related to the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, documents that could reveal damaging information about what the agency and its informants knew about the mass murder plot, reports the McCurtain Daily Gazette.

According to the report in the McCurtain County, Okla., paper, the documents address the monitoring of the bombing by FBI informants, Alabama attorney Morris Dees and Dees’ organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Writes reporter J.D. Cash in the Gazette: “If proven true, the ramifications of such disclosures would be far-reaching. Not only could the discovery of these documents lead to additional arrests and prosecutions in the OKC bombing case, but evidence of a cover-up of a sting operation involving the FBI and a private charity could ruin a number of careers of highly placed individuals.”

The documents are part of an extensive filing made in federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday. A court order was obtained by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, the plaintiff in a Freedom of Information suit against the Oklahoma City FBI office, the Gazette reported. Trentadue has been seeking evidence in the untimely death of his brother, whose body was found beaten and slashed while the inmate awaited a parole violation hearing.

Trentadue believes his brother was tortured and killed by government agents who mistakenly thought he was involved with executed killer Timothy McVeigh and others in a string of bank robberies and the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.

After learning the FBI was involved in a sting operation with the Southern Poverty Law Center, Trentadue, the Gazette reports, sought a copy of two teletypes from former FBI Director Louis Freeh that discussed the undercover operation “that proved the FBI knew in advance McVeigh’s plans for bombing a federal building.”

The FBI initially denied it had the teletypes, but after Trentadue produced redacted copies of them, he went to court to force the FBI to cough up copies of their original un-redacted versions.

On May 5, U.S. District Court Judge Dale A. Kimball ordered the FBI to turn over un-redacted copies of two teletypes sent by Freeh to a select group of FBI field offices, including the OKBOMB task force in Oklahoma City. Kimball’s order also included instructions to perform an extensive search for other records involving McVeigh, his alleged co-conspirators and informants working for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The paper reported that, according to a Jan. 4, 1996, teletype, Freeh disclosed the Southern Poverty Law Center had an informant at the white supremacist Elohim City compound when McVeigh called the facility requesting assistance with his plans. The teletype said the call was made on April 17, 1995 – 48 hours before a truck bomb destroyed the Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 persons and injuring 500 more.

For years, the FBI has repeatedly denied the agency had any prior knowledge of the bomb plot.

The FBI now says it has found 340 documents that could also link the SPLC to McVeigh, Elohim City and members of the Aryan Republican Army.

On Monday, the FBI proposed several alternatives to turning over the documents listed in Kimball’s order, saying it did not have time to comply with the judge’s order to turn over the material Trentadue is seeking by June 15.

Said an agency representative: “In the past, the backlog in the FOIPA Section has been exacerbated by the high volume of administrative appeals that will require review and response by the FBI’s FOIPA Section personnel. … At the present time, the FBI is involved in over 150 pending lawsuits in various federal district and appellate courts throughout the United States.”

The agency further argued that revealing the elements of its intelligence-gathering operation at Elohim City would not be in the best interests of the nation.

Related stories:

Withheld evidence to sink case against Nichols?

Declassified FBI memo reveals twists in probe

Reporter’s Oklahoma City coverage vindicated

Was FBI early arrival in Oklahoma City?

Another suicide or another cover-up?

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