An FBI report obtained by the McCurtain Daily Gazette of Oklahoma contains never-before-published information and allegations regarding links between a former member of the Army’s elite special forces, Timothy McVeigh, and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
The man at the center of these revelations is David Michael Alexander Hollaway, an individual whose life experiences appear to be as unusual as they are conflicted.
Referred to as “Dave” by his friends and business associates, the 48-year-old man who is the focus of the report served an eight-year stint in the U.S. Army where he earned the right to wear the elite Green Beret.
Also included in that same report of investigation are references to Hollaway’s lengthy service to Kirk Lyons, a Black Mountain, N.C., lawyer with a long history of representing members of the Ku Klux Klan, the Branch Davidians and other fringe elements.
And then there is Hollaway’s alleged role as a pilot for the CIA and his well-established relationship with the FBI.
However, the most remarkable allegations contained in the Feb. 25, 1997, FBI report, are those regarding Hollaway’s eerie admissions that McVeigh failed to park the bomb truck in the best location in front of the Oklahoma City federal building that fateful April morning in 1995.
The information contained in the report was provided by a person whose name and relationship to the FBI were redacted from the “302” to protect his identity.
The statements and admissions attributed to Hollaway are reported to have been made over a three-day period during an underwater technologies convention in Houston. The confidential source for the report was debriefed by a special agent for the FBI on Feb. 24 and 25, 1997.
After eight years in the Army, Hollaway told the source that he flew an airplane for the CIA for a period of two years before settling down, marrying his wife and forming an affiliation with some of the most virulent and violent members of the far right in this country.
After the service, Hollaway said he worked for two years with the Corpus Christi, Texas, police department as a diver.
The well-educated Hollaway is believed to have earned a B.S. in Aviation Engineering and a B.S. in Molecular Biology after his stint in the Army.
So how did Hollaway become a negotiator for the government in cases involving the radical right? And what brought Hollaway into contact with McVeigh?
Central to the FBI’s report from their source are detailed allegations concerning statements attributed to Hollaway about his remarkably detailed knowledge of explosives and his precise knowledge of facts concerning the OKC bombing.
“While describing the Oklahoma City bombing, Hollaway was able to provide technical details concerning the truck bomb and ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil) to include its blast over-pressure, fragmentation distances and deflagration with an alarming degree of specificity,” the source told the FBI.
“Additionally, changes in Hollaway’s body language while describing the Oklahoma City bombing, to include the rolling of his eyes when describing the truck not being parked in a place to wreak maximum destruction, provided the indication that Hollaway was attempting to communicate an involvement on his part in that bombing without verbally acknowledging participation.”
An exact copy of the redacted FBI 302 about Hollaway may be found on the Gazette’s website.
The FBI report notes that, “At one point during their discussions, Hollaway admitted to have spoken to Timothy McVeigh on the telephone two days before the detonation of the truck bomb outside the Oklahoma City federal building.
“In reference to that particular event, Hollaway stated, “(T)he f—-ing truck was too far away,” and indicated it was not parked in the position which would inflict most damage on the building.”
Asked for Hollaway’s reaction to the document, Hollaway’s attorney Kirk Lyons said Tuesday: “Hollaway has never met or talked to McVeigh.”
The Lyons connection
No stranger to the Oklahoma bombing saga, Hollaway has been a peripheral figure whose name has come up a number of times in news accounts focusing on the Oklahoma City bombing and some of the leading figures associated with the investigation.
The McCurtain Daily Gazette first reported in early 1996 that Hollaway was the man who spirited former paramilitary instructor at Elohim City, Andreas Carl Strassmeir, also known as “Andy the German,” out of the United States to Berlin after the newspaper revealed Strassmeir’s links to McVeigh.
Kirk Lyons often is referred to as the lawyer for American Klansmen. Among clients he has represented is Louis Beam, the former Grand Dragon the Texas KKK and a legendary figure in the Aryan Nations movement.
Once a person listed among the FBI’s “Top Ten Most Wanted,” Beam was captured in the mid-80s in Mexico by a team of Mexican police and FBI agents.
The arrest was not without incident. Beam’s young wife, Sheila, was arrested in the melee for allegedly shooting one of the Mexican policemen.
Beam was whisked quickly to the U.S. to stand trial for his alleged role in a wide-ranging conspiracy to overthrow the federal government. His attractive and youthful blonde wife remained behind in a dingy Mexican jail, awaiting an uncertain future.
At the conclusion of the much-publicized Fort Smith, Ark., sedition trial, the nation was shocked when Beam and 13 co-defendants were found innocent of all counts against them.
Lyons was Beam’s adviser at the trial. What is little recalled, though, was the remarkable project pulled off by Lyons’ associate, Dave Hollaway.
Set forth in a FBI 302 dated Aug. 13, 1996, and confirmed by Louis Beam to reporter J.D. Cash during an interview at Lake Tahoe, Nev. in April, 1996, it was Hollaway who convinced the Mexican government to release Sheila Beam and let her leave the country without a trial.
Also contained in the Aug. 13, 1996, FBI 302 are admissions by Hollaway to FBI agent Herbert C. Hoover Jr. that he and former roommate Strassmeir claimed to have McVeigh’s military fatigue jacket in their possession after the bombing.
Strassmeir and Hollaway shared an apartment in Texas in the late-1980s.
While Hollaway was involved in the computer business in Austin with Beam, Strassmeir – an illegal overstay on his visa – joined an outfit in Austin, Texas, called the Texas Light Infantry, or TLI.
The TLI was a paramilitary group set up originally by Lyons and Hollaway. The press was told TLI members were civil war reinactors. The man in the shadows of the group was Klansman Beam.
By 1990, the FBI had enough proof of a criminal conspiracy involving weapons violations and bomb-making by members of the TLI that the agency went forward with a formal criminal investigation into the group.
Contained in an unclassified teletype from the FBI’s San Antonio office to the director of the FBI, the transmittal includes the following information involving the “Texas Light Infantry, AKA “The Order.'”
Defining the group’s membership as “… a white separatist-survivalist group,” the FBI reported to the director the agency had completed an inspection of a Texas ranch where some of the members had allegedly set off pipe bombs.
Additionally, the teletype said, “Due to specific threats to FBI personnel, and subjects continued possessions of weapons and explosives, subjects are considered armed and dangerous. Full investigation authorized July 17, 1990, extended to expire July 11, 1991.”
Two former members of the TLI told the Gazette in 1996 that they fled Texas as a result of pressure this investigation produced. Both men — interviewed separately – said they suspected Strassmeir was the government’s source for the information that caused them to abandon the group and leave the state.
With Strassmeir ordered to leave the TLI by the harried remnants of the TLI, in August of 1992 the Bundesweir officer with extensive training from a German military academy was relocated to Elohim City by his American benefactors Lyons and Hollaway.
Lyons had lived at Elohim City during the Fort Smith sedition trials. Hollaway had married one of the group’s young girls. With their recommendations, Strassmeir was quickly accepted at the Christian Identity compound. Soon Strassmeir would persuade the faithful to sell their deer rifles and let him supply them with cheap, Chinese- made assault weapons.
An undercover operation conducted by a member of the Oklahoma TAC team said Strassmeir quickly began supplying weapons and explosives to the group. By 1994, the officer noted that Strassmeir was leading groups of skinheads from around the U.S. in paramilitary drills.
Before his death, the group’s leader, Robert Millar, said, “Andy wanted to get us into the illegal gun business.”
An informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Carol Howe warned her superiors prior to the bombing that Strassmeir wanted to bomb federal buildings.
In an appeal for contributions, Lyons sent out the following description of the events that led to Strassmeir’s flight from justice.
After blaming the McVeigh defense team and irresponsible members of the media for stirring up trouble, Lyons wrote: “First, Strassmeir had to be spirited out of the country before Jones and company could get their hands on him.
“Also, there was the danger the FBI might take Jones seriously and it would be much easier to defend Strassmeir from Germany than from the inside of a federal facility. This required a clandestine and circuitous route through Mexico, Paris, Frankfurt and Berlin, with numerous investigators, agents and process servers one-step behind.
“Next, Associate Director Dave Hollaway had to go with him; there were numerous obstacles which developed and had to be overcome; language barriers, entanglements with four countries’ border and immigration services, security, etc. At one point the Kriminal Polizei and Bundes Grenschutzgruppen 9, or GSG-9, were involved because of death threats against Strassmeir and his family passed to them through Interpol by the FBI. Hollaway thought the whole episode was right out of ‘Secret Agent Man,’ a campy 1960s television spy series.”
FBI and SPLC connections
There is growing evidence to suggest Hollaway’s comparison was on the mark. While the FBI says it put border guards on the Mexican border on notice to pick up Strassmeir if he tried to cross the border, FBI director Louis Freeh had already cleared the way for the German’s escape.
Contained in Jan. 4, 1996, teletype from Freeh, he told a select group of agents that Strassmeir was living with Lyons in Black Mountain, N.C. and preparing to leave the U.S. through Mexico.
Freeh did not order agents to pick Strassmeir up even though documents obtained by the McCurtain paper show the Oklahoma bombing task force wanted Strassmeir brought for questioning.
The Freeh teletype also discusses an allegedly close relationship McVeigh had with a subject living at Elohim City, a person who, the teletype says, spoke with McVeigh only two days before the bombing.
That information, Freeh said, was from an informant who was working for the Southern Poverty Law Center – a tax-exempt civil rights group co-founded by Morris Dees.
The Freeh document is heavily redacted and has become the focus of a Freedom of Information suit in Utah. A judge there has ordered the FBI to supply the plaintiff, Salt Lake City lawyer Jesse Trentadue, an unredacted copy of the memo along with hundreds of other documents Trentadue is seeking.
The FBI says it wants a stay of the order so the agency can appeal.
The FBI connection
If Lyons’ and Hollaway’s actions to spirit Strassmeir from the country aren’t odd enough, then there is the strange reunion in Montana that occurred shortly afterward.
Just a few months after Strassmeir fled, the FBI turned to Lyons and Hollaway to help the agency with the so-called Freeman standoff in Montana.
Incredibly, the FBI sought out the pair to act as negotiators in a nationally publicized standoff between the government and a Montana Freeman sect. The bureau hoped to avoid a repeat of the Waco, Texas, debacle at the Branch Davidian compound that also began with a standoff.
Indeed, it was Hollaway who was reported to be the negotiator the FBI sent in to get the Freeman’s leader to order his men to surrender, ending the 81-day siege without bloodshed.
Afterward, Hollaway and FBI negotiator and Critical Incident Response Group leader Robin Montgomery posed together at a local tavern for a photo before leaving town.
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