Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue obtained the tapes through a Freedom of Information Act request as part of his investigation of the bombing. All of the tapes feature blanks just before the bomb went off at 9:02 a.m., but “the interesting thing is they spring back on after 9:02,” Trentadue said. “The absence of footage from these crucial time intervals is evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn’t want anybody to see.”
The Associated Press reported on September 30 that FBI spokesman Paul Bresson told them in an e-mail the Bureau didn’t edit the tapes before releasing them. Bresson said the FBI responded to Trentadue’s request by turning over 26 videos taken from surveillance cameras in 11 different locations. The agency did not report finding any tapes from the Murrah Building itself.
“The FBI made no edits or redactions in the processing of these videos,” Bresson stated. “The tapes are typical security cameras — the view switches camera to camera every few seconds.” Bresson declined to elaborate when AP made further contact with him.
Even if the cameras were switching views, it is highly unlikely that they would all switch simultaneously away from the location where the truck bomb went off. Trentadue is convinced that the complete lack of footage from before the blast is evidence by omission that the FBI doesn’t want the public to know what the cameras recorded. “They don’t do anything by accident,” he noted.
Trentadue would probably make one exception to that statement: Federal officials don’t do anything by accident except when they mistake the identity of an innocent person as someone who is guilty. It was just such a case of mistaken identity that started Trentadue on his quest to unravel the mysteries of the OKC bombing.
Trentadue’s brother Kenneth was being held on an alleged parole violation in the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center in August 1995 when he supposedly committed suicide. Although Kenneth was not a suspect in the bombing, Trentadue believes that federal officials mistook him for an associate of Timothy McVeigh named Richard Guthrie. Kenneth’s body showed signs of beating, torture, and strangulation that were much more in line with the treatment given prisoners at Abu Ghraib than with self-inflicted wounds.
When the Trentadue family attempted to investigate Kenneth’s death, they found that crime scene evidence had been intentionally destroyed, and that the government was stonewalling their efforts. The family finally won a U.S. District Court case in 2001 and were awarded $1.1 million dollars due to the government’s intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The ineptness and cruelty of federal officials may thus be the undoing of the government’s coverup of what really happened on April 19, 1995. The settlement from the case against them has provided the funding for Trentadue to continue his investigation, but it has not been an easy road.
“It’s taken a lawsuit and years to get the tapes,” Trentadue said. “The more important thing they show is what they don’t show. These cameras would have shown the various roads and approaches to the Murrah Building.” And these views would almost certainly have revealed how many bombers were involved and how they made their getaway.
A television news video posted on YouTube in September 2008 featured an anonymous source who saw portions of some of the unedited tapes in federal custody. The source’s information confirms that Trentadue is correct; the tapes did show multiple bombers, including the infamous John Doe No. 2.
The New American has stayed on top of the OKC bombing story from the beginning. William F. Jasper most recently wrote about “New Court Decisions in OKC Bombing” on October 15, 2008. The story includes links to his other articles that supply much more detailed information about the case, including the involvement of German national Andreas “Andi” Strassmeir and federal undercover informant Carol Howe.
Jasper’s determined investigation of the OKC bombing dovetails nicely with Trentadue’s pursuit of the truth. To find out why the federal government would want to hide what took place before 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 2005, read Jasper’s reports.
Photo: AP Images