Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

Responding to a constituent’s plea for an investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., forecast that a congressional investigation was about to get under way into the April 19, 1995, attack that left 168 persons dead.

However, the congressman that will likely lead such an investigation, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., says he’s not quite ready to make that announcement.

Citing new evidence emerging from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue against the Oklahoma City FBI office, asking for copies of documents that could reveal a wider conspiracy in the bombing case, Coburn wrote: “Currently the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee on the International Relations Committee is preparing to do an investigative hearing on the Oklahoma City Bombing as it relates to the case before the Utah court. This case, some say, provides new compelling, evidence suggesting that someone other than Tim McVeigh was responsible, in part, for the Oklahoma City bombing.”

Last Thursday the federal judge in the case referred to by Coburn took under advisement arguments by the FBI to keep a lid on details of what appears to be a failed “sting operation” by the government at a right-wing paramilitary camp in eastern Oklahoma, called Elohim City.

U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball had already ruled in May that the FBI should provide Trentadue internal FBI documents detailing contacts McVeigh had with a gang of bank bandits that lived or frequented Elohim City before and after the bombing. Thursday’s hearing was held so the FBI could reargue their case against disclosing that information.

The FBI says details of the undercover operation involving FBI special agents and a private charity, the Southern Poverty Law Center, should remain secret along with the names of those involved in gathering information of the bomb plot.

FBI teletypes obtained by this newspaper indicate senior members of the FBI were aware of links between McVeigh and the camp’s paramilitary advisor Andreas Carl Strassmeir, but publicly denied such knowledge after this newspaper began an investigation into activities at Elohim City in 1995.

Trentadue’s FOIA lawsuit also included a transcript of a hearing that a federal judge had ordered sealed in 1997.

That transcript included testimony from a BATF agent saying she had been warned before the Oklahoma bombing by an informant for the agency that Strassmeir was planning to bomb a federal building.

Commenting on the Coburn letter, Rohrabacher, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, said, “I’m still conducting my own investigation into this tragedy. I’m overwhelmed now with leads and evidence. It’s going to take a little longer before I can assure everyone that those hearings are going to take place.”

Rohrabacher emphasized that he hopes the court in Utah rules favorably in the Trentadue matter: “I’m watching with intense interest this great court case. We could learn much from those documents if the FBI would simply provide them to the public in complete and unredacted form.”

The congressman said hearings into the Oklahoma City bombing would not likely be held before the end of this year.

Previous stories:

Agent: Feds told of threats to blow buildings

Oklahoma City FBI surrenders documents to court

Congressman to FBI: Turn over documents

FBI must turn over investigation docs

Ex-Green Beret involved in attack?

FBI has secret docs it’s reluctant to give up

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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