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Oklahoma City cover-up alleged

September 29, 2009

Bomb tapes may not tell whole tale

FBI Oklahoma City cover-up alleged



BY TIM TALLEY
ASSOCIATED PRESS

OKLAHOMA CITY — Long-secret security tapes showing the chaos immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building are blank in the minutes before the blast and appear to have been edited, an attorney who obtained the recordings said Sunday.


“The real story is what’s missing,” said Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney who obtained the recordings through the federal Freedom of Information Act as part of an unofficial inquiry he is conducting. The April 19, 1995, bombing killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.


Trentadue gave copies of the tapes to the Oklahoman newspaper, which posted them online and provided copies to the Associated Press.


The tapes turned over by the FBI came from security cameras various companies had mounted outside office buildings near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. They are blank at points before 9:02 a.m., when a truck bomb carrying a 4,000 pound fertilizer-and-fuel-oil bomb detonated in front of the building, Trentadue said.


“Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995,” Trentadue said. There’s “no such thing as a coincidence.”


He said government officials said the security cameras did not record the minutes before the bombing because “they had run out of tape” or “the tape was being replaced.”


“The interesting thing is they spring back on after 9:02,” he 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.”


A spokesman for the FBI in Oklahoma City, Gary Johnson, declined to comment and referred inquiries about the tapes to FBI officials in Washington, who were not available for comment Sunday.


The soundless recordings show people rushing from nearby buildings after the bomb went off. Some show people fleeing through corridors cluttered with debris. None show the explosion.


FBI agents did not report finding any security tapes from the federal building itself.


The FBI refused in the past to release the security camera recordings, leading Trentadue and others to contend the government was hiding evidence that others were involved in the attack. “It’s taken a lawsuit and years to get the tapes,” Trentadue said.


Trentadue began looking into the bombing after his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, died at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center in August 1995. His brother was never a bombing suspect, but Jesse Trentadue alleges guards mistook him for one and beat him to death during interrogation.

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