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In Search of John Doe No. 2: The Story the Feds Never Told About the Oklahoma City Bombing

by James Ridgeway
MOTHER JONES

Federal officials insist that the Oklahoma City bombing case was solved a decade ago. But a Salt Lake City lawyer in search of his brother’s killers has dug up some remarkable clues—on cross-dressing bank robbers, the FBI, and the mysterious third man.

KENNEY TRENTADUE was driving a 1986 Chevy pickup when he was pulled over at the Mexican border on his way home to San Diego on June 10, 1995. He was dark-haired, 5 feet 8 inches, and well muscled, a former athlete who had picked up construction work after he quit robbing banks. His left forearm bore a dragon tattoo. Highway patrol officers ran his license and found that it had been suspended, and that he was wanted for parole violations. After two months in jail in San Diego, Trentadue was shipped, on August 18, to a prison in Oklahoma City for a hearing on the parole violations. The move placed Kenney in close proximity to the most famous federal prisoner in America. In one way or another, it also sealed his fate.

Four months earlier, another car had been stopped by a state trooper, some 80 miles north of Oklahoma City. It was 10:20 a.m. on April 19, 1995, and much of the country was still waking up to the enormity of what had happened earlier that morning, when an explosives-laden Ryder truck gutted the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. The driver of the 1977 Mercury Marquis was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and driving without tags. He gave his name as Timothy McVeigh. Two days later McVeigh was identified as the John Doe No. 1 wanted in the bombing, and fellow antigovernment extremist Terry Nichols turned himself in to police. They were indicted on August 10, and federal authorities said they had their men. But there were many who didn’t buy the tidy closure.

A sprawling Great Plains town known for its tornadoes, Oklahoma City was already the center of a swirl of theories about the crime, all of them insisting that the two men could not have acted alone. Some refused to give up on the idea of Middle Eastern terrorists, speculating about a plot headed by Saddam Hussein; others suspected an inside job by the feds. Some simply stuck to the far more plausible conviction that there were coconspirators not yet apprehended. After all, immediately following the bombing, law enforcement had been searching furiously for a man whom numerous sources said they saw with McVeigh, and who by some accounts was seen walking away from the Ryder truck—the character whose police composite sketch became known around the world as John Doe No. 2. According to the police description, this man was about 5 feet 9, muscular, and dark-haired. By some accounts, he drove an older model pickup truck and had a dragon tattooed on his left forearm.

Kenney’s brother, Jesse Trentadue, knew nothing about the resemblance between his brother and the nation’s most wanted man. But he now believes it sparked the events that would launch him on a 12-year investigation of a prison mystery and a massive government stonewalling effort. In the process, he would discover documents showing that even as the Justice Department was working to convict what it insisted were only two conspirators, its agents were actively investigating a wider plot—a plot whose possible ramifications they concealed from defense lawyers and from a public that, at a delicate moment in an election year, they were anxious to reassure. The government’s refusal to disclose what it knew—and what it did not know—may also have forestalled the nation’s best opportunity to address the problems in federal law enforcement and intelligence that would become tragically apparent on September 11, 2001.

Jesse Carl Trentadue is no liberal crusader, nor is he an antigovernment conspiracy theorist. He grew up poor in an Appalachian coal camp, called Number 7, halfway between Cucumber, West Virginia, and Horsepen, Virginia. Earlier generations of Trentadue men had all gone into the mines: One grandfather had first descended at age six, another at age 12, and both had died of black lung, as would Jesse’s father. But coal prices fell during the Korean War, and in 1961 the Trentadues followed a neighboring family to Orange County, California. They traveled, Jesse says, “like the Okies,” heading west on Route 66, sleeping beside the car at night.

Jesse’s ticket to a different life was a track and field scholarship to the University of Southern California where, like his teammate O.J. Simpson, he made all-American. After a stint in the Marines and law school at the University of Idaho, he landed in Salt Lake City, where he built a reputation as a tough, tenacious lawyer working everything from sports law to contract disputes. He met me on a warm Saturday, on a bench in front of the Judge Building, the handsome, century-old structure where he practices law. Stocky, with a graying mustache and a neat beard, a cigar between his lips, he looked like the 21st-century version of an Old West sheriff—weather-beaten, self-contained, and shrewd. His office upstairs was dominated by an enormous portrait of his brother. It depicted Kenney in a dark shirt, looking calm and earnest, bathed in a glow that evoked the portraits of saints.

As youngsters in West Virginia, Jesse says, the brothers “shared a bed and an outhouse.” Three years his junior, Kenney was a track star in high school, but dropped out after an injury and joined the Army, where he developed a heroin habit. Then he tried carpentry and factory work before discovering that he had a knack for robbing banks. “This isn’t just robbing a teller,” Jesse notes with a flush of pride. “It’s taking the whole bank down.” On Kenney’s jobs, he adds, “the weapons were empty or the firing pins had been removed. He said, ‘Robbery is one thing. Murdering is something else, and it’s not worth that.'” When Kenney got caught, “he didn’t contest it. He just went in, pled guilty, and served his time.”

Released on parole in 1988, Kenney cleaned up, started working in construction again, and got married. His first child, a boy named Vito, was born nine days after Kenney was arrested at the border.

On August 19, 1995, Kenney called Jesse’s house to report that he had just arrived at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center. Jesse’s wife, Rita, an attorney and law professor, was surprised he’d been shipped from San Diego all the way to Oklahoma for a probation hearing. Kenney told her—in a conversation that was, like all inmates’ calls,”It’s that jet age stuff.”

Kenney called again that night, sounding chipper, and the brothers strategized about the parole hearing; Kenney promised to call again the next day. But no call came until early the morning of August 21, when the phone rang at Kenney and Jesse’s mother’s house. It was the prison warden. Kenney, she said, had committed suicide that night. She offered to have the body cremated at government expense—a move without precedent in federal prison policies—but Wilma Trentadue turned her down.

Five days later, Kenney’s body arrived at a mortuary in California. There were bruises all over it, clumsily disguised with heavy makeup; slashes on his throat; ligature marks; and ruptures on his scalp. Photos of the injuries were included in a letter that Jesse drew up on August 30 and hand-delivered to the Bureau of Prisons (bop), which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice (doj)
.

“I have enclosed as Exhibit ‘A’ a photograph of Kenneth’s body at the funeral,” it read. “This is how you returned my brother to us…. My brother had been so badly beaten that I personally saw several mourners leave the viewing to vomit in the parking lot! Anyone seeing my brother’s battered body with his bruised and lacerated forehead, th
roat cut, and blue-black knuckles would not have concluded that his death was either easy or a ‘suicide’! ” After describing Kenney’s injuries in detail, and speculating how they might have come about (bruises to his arms from being gripped, others to his legs from being knocked to the ground with batons, slashes to his throat from someone “possibly left-handed,” which Kenney was not), Jesse concluded: “Had my brother been less of a man, you[r] guards would have been able to kill him without inflicting so much injury to his body. Had that occurred, Kenney’s family would forever have been guilt-ridden… with the pain of thinking that Kenneth took his own life and that we had somehow failed him. By making the fight he did for his life, Ken has saved us that pain and God bless him for having done so!”

Two days later, on September 1, the Bureau of Prisons issued a press release stating that Kenney’s death had been “ruled a suicide by asphyxiation” and that the injuries on the body “would indicate persistent attempts…to cause himself serious injury or death.” (Officials would later put forth an elaborate scenario in which Kenney tried to hang himself but fell, bruising his head and body, and then tried to slit his throat with a toothpaste tube before succeeding in his second hanging attempt.)

In fact, as the bop would have known, no official ruling as to the manner of death had been made; rather, every communication from the state medical examiner’s office indicated it was being treated as a suspicious death. On August 22, the day after the body was delivered to the ME’s office, Chief Investigator Kevin Rowland called the local fbi office to file a complaint. On a form documenting the call, the fbi agent wrote “murder” and noted that Rowland “believes that foul play is suspect[ed] in this matter.” The state’s chief medical examiner, Fred Jordan, refused to classify the case a suicide, listing the manner of death as “unknown” pending investigation.

As was customary with suspicious deaths, within days the Bureau of Prisons formed a board of inquiry. In an unusual move, the staff attorney heading the probe was told to treat his team’s findings as “attorney work product,” which would protect it from discovery in any future lawsuit as well as from Freedom of Information Act requests. In October the bop’s general counsel issued a memo noting that “there is a great likelihood of a lawsuit by the family of the inmate.” To this day, the bop, fbi, and Department of Justice refuse to discuss the case; spokespeople for each agency referred questions for this story to an fbi official in Oklahoma City, who declined to comment citing ongoing litigation.

Not long after Kenney died, Jesse got an anonymous phone call. “Look,” the caller said, “your brother was murdered by the fbi. There was an interrogation that went wrong…. He fit a profile.” The caller mentioned bank robbers but didn’t give many details. Jesse didn’t know what to make of the tip; he put the call out of his mind.

Exactly what happened the night Kenney died is impossible to reconstruct, in large part because a great deal of evidence went missing or was destroyed by prison officials. According to bop documents, a guard discovered Kenney hanging from a bedsheet noose in his cell at 3:02 on the morning of August 21, 1995. Stuart A. Lee, the official in charge at the prison that night, refused to unlock the cell while he waited for a video camera to film the body. According to a bop memo, he would later tell investigators that he knew Kenney was dead and he thus “was not concerned with taking any immediate emergency action.” The prison medic on several occasions said he performed cpr on Kenney, but later admitted he made no effort at resuscitation. The video of the body was never made, or it was erased, depending on whose account you believe.

Prison officials did take photos of Kenney’s body, though when the family asked for copies, they said they couldn’t find them; the photos reappeared in the fbi’s files years later. Kenney’s clothes vanished between the time he was found hanging in his cell and the time his body was turned over to the medical examiner. Other evidence, including his bedsheets, boxers, and fingernail clippings, disappeared for several weeks; investigator Rowland would later suggest they had been in the trunk of an agent’s car. Kenney’s cell was cleaned by 2 p.m. the day of his death, before legally required examinations of the site had been made. And even though the medical examiner’s office had given orders to preserve the cell, the walls—including a pencil scrawl that prison officials called Kenney’s “suicide note”—were painted over, leaving only photos whose “lack of detail,” according to the fbi crime lab, rendered it “doubtful if this hand printing will ever be identified with hand printing of a known individual.”

Other key evidence was simply omitted from or buried in the official reports: fbi and state Bureau of Investigations officials later testified, in a lawsuit brought by the Trentadue family, that a second person’s blood had been found in Kenney’s cell, and that there were no cut marks on the noose from which he was, according to prison officials, “cut down.” According to an internal fbi memo, a prison guard told his neighbor that Kenney had been killed, and then hung in his cell as a cover-up; an inmate who reported hearing similar statements from a second guard said he was warned to keep silent and then sent to isolation. Another inmate, Alden Gillis Baker, would later give Jesse’s lawyer a note describing an incident during which, he said, Kenney got into an altercation with a guard. Eventually, he wrote, additional officers entered the cell, there was “a lot of physical violence going on,” he heard “faint moaning,” and later the sound of bedsheets being torn. (He would repeat this account in a deposition in connection with a lawsuit brought by Jesse, but a judge ruled that Baker, a convicted robber and sex offender, was not a reliable witness. In 2000, Baker was found hanging in his cell in a California federal prison.)

Government accounts of the incident relied heavily on reports from a different set of inmates. One claimed that during his two days at the prison, Kenney had seemed angry and agitated. Another claimed he was acting “upset, paranoid, and weird in general,” and thought everyone was talking about him having aids. (The Bureau of Prisons transcript of Kenney’s conversation with Jesse’s wife reads, “It’s that aids stuff,” not, as Rita insists he said, “that jet age stuff.” According to medical records, Kenney was hiv negative.) And then there were the words scrawled in pencil on the wall—”My Minds No Longer It’s Friend” and “Love Ya Familia!” Oddly, the bop investigator who took the pictures shortly after Kenney’s death wrote in a caption that the scrawl read, “Love Paul.”

The fbi agent who investigated the case immediately following Kenney’s death did not even look at the cell. He did visit the prison, but spoke only with officials, interviewing no inmates and collecting no evidence except for the photos of the cell. The case languished for months, until complaints from the medical examiner’s office reached the Department of Justice in Washington. In early 1996, the department’s Civil Rights Division took over supervising the investigation and decided that the case should be presented to a federal grand jury, which would determine whether to issue an indictment.

On July 6, 1996, more than 10 months after Kenney’s death, the grand jury was convened. Justice officials from Washington went to the trouble of commuting to Oklahoma City to oversee the proceedings. It was an election year, and President Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno—still under a cloud for her handling of the Waco siege three years earlier—was preparing to try McVeigh and Nichols. The last thing the doj needed was a trial, in Oklahoma City, accusing its employees of murder and obstruction of justice.

But to put the case to rest, federal official
s would have to find a way around Fred Jordan, the Oklahoma chief medical examiner who had refused to classify the death a suicide. Within a few months, the local fbi office was calling Jordan—a man with a long and distinguished career, who had achieved near-heroic status in Oklahoma City for his effective and sensitive handling of the bombing victims’ remains—a “loose cannon.”

In December 1995, Jordan told an fbi official that the bureau had urged him to hold off on releasing an autopsy report until the fbi could complete its investigation. He also told the U.S. attorney’s office in Oklahoma City, according to correspondence from that office, that Kenney had been “abused and tortured”; later he would tell them, according to a bop lawyer, that “the federal Grand Jury is part of a cover-up.” In a memo to his own files, Jordan wrote that it was “very likely this man was killed.”

In search of a second opinion, doj officials asked Bill Gormley, a forensic pathologist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, to review the case. In May 1997, Gormley called Kevin Rowland, the chief investigator in the Oklahoma medical examiner’s office, who wrote a memo to his files noting that Gormley “was troubled that [the doj] only seemed interested in him saying it might be possible these injuries were self inflicted.” In fact, Rowland wrote, Gormley had grown convinced that “this man was murdered.”

As late as July 1997, Fred Jordan told a local TV station, “I think it’s very likely [Kenney] was murdered. I’m not able to prove it….You see a body covered with blood, removed from the room as Mr. Trentadue was, soaked in blood, covered with bruises, and you try to gain access to the scene, and the government of the United States says no, you can’t…. At that point we have no crime scene, so there are still questions about the death of Kenneth Trentadue that will never be answered because of the actions of the U.S. government. Whether those actions were intentional—whether they were incompetence, I don’t know…. It was botched. Or, worse, it was planned.”

After more than a year of proceedings, in August 1997, the grand jury (which, like all such panels, had heard only evidence selected by the government) concluded its investigation without issuing any criminal indictments. The doj held back the news for two months while staff in Washington met to devise a roll-out plan that a doj aide compared to “coordinating the invasion of Normandy.” The plan targeted the media as well as Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who, thanks to Jesse Trentadue’s efforts, had taken an interest in the case. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing a few months earlier, Hatch had quizzed then-Attorney General Janet Reno about Kenney and told her that “it looks like someone in the Bureau of Prisons, or having relations with the Bureau of Prisons, murdered the man.”

But Hatch never followed through on his stated intent to hold hearings on the case. Neither did Oklahoma Republican Senator Don Nickles, then the majority whip. In December 1997, Nickles held a press conference lambasting the feds’ handling of the case; he said prison officials in Oklahoma had told him they’d been ordered not to talk about it. The next day Nickles got a visit from Thomas Kuker, head of the fbi’s Oklahoma City office. According to an internal fbi memo, Kuker assured the senator that he, too, had once been concerned about the case, but had become convinced that there was no foul play. After a second meeting with the fbi two months later, Nickles backed off.

The doj also continued to pressure Medical Examiner Fred Jordan, to the point where Oklahoma Assistant Attorney General Patrick Crawley wrote to a Justice Department attorney that the bop and fbi had “prevented the medical examiner from conducting a thorough and complete investigation into the death, destroyed evidence, and otherwise harassed and harangued Dr. Jordan and his staff. The absurdity of this situation is that your clients outwardly represent law enforcement or at least some arm of licit government…. It appears that your clients, and perhaps others within the Department of Justice, have been abusing the powers of their respective offices. If this is true, all Americans should be very frightened of your clients and the doj.”

Four months later, in July 1998, Jordan suddenly changed his conclusion on Kenney’s manner of death from “unknown” to “suicide,” saying he had been convinced in large part by the identification of the supposed suicide note by a handwriting expert—even though the expert had not been able to see the actual note, and had received what the doj itself considered inadequate samples of Kenney’s handwriting. Although he never fully retreated from this determination, Jordan would later say, in a deposition, that he still believed Kenney was beaten, and that he himself had been “harassed by the Department of Justice from the very beginning” of the case.

The last government investigation into the death of Kenney Trentadue, conducted by the doj’s Office of the Inspector General (oig), was concluded in November 1999. The report was sealed, and only a brief summary made public. The full report, a copy of which was obtained by Mother Jones, ran to 372 pages and included names and many other crucial details. It also contained material taken from the secret grand jury proceeding, according to its cover page.

The oig report supported the government’s position that Kenney’s injuries had been self-inflicted. But it did find fault with the prison’s response and with the fbi’s investigations, concluding that bop and fbi employees had lied about their actions to supervisors, investigators, and the oig itself. (In 2003, Jesse filed a complaint about what he considered shoddy investigative work in the report with the President’s Council on Efficiency and Integrity, a White House agency; the council dismissed the complaint, and when Jesse asked why, it sent him 55 pages of evidence the oig had submitted. All but 350 words had been blacked out.)

In late 2000, the civil lawsuit brought by the Trentadue family commenced in federal district court in Oklahoma City. The jury found that Stuart A. Lee, the prison official in charge the night Kenney died, had violated Kenney’s civil rights by being “deliberately indifferent to his medical needs.” Four months later, the court awarded the family $1.1 million for emotional distress (based not on Kenney’s death itself, but on the bop’s conduct afterward). The court denounced prison employees for trying to cover up their own misconduct, declaring that, “From the time of Trentadue’s death up to and including the trial, these witnesses seemed unable to comprehend the importance of a truthful answer.” The government appealed, and the matter remains bogged down in the courts to this day.

For Jesse, the ruling was bittersweet. For more than four years, he had been investigating the case—interviewing witnesses, filing Freedom of Information Act requests, lobbying lawmakers. But he was no closer to understanding why Kenney might have been, as the medical examiner had put it, “tortured,” or why the prison and the doj would have gone to such lengths to cover up whatever occurred.

By the spring of 2003, Jesse Trentadue had all but given up on solving the mystery. Then he got a call from a small-town newspaper reporter in Oklahoma. His name was J.D. Cash, and he wanted to talk about Kenney, whose story and photo had been widely circulated on the Internet. What kind of vehicle had he been driving when he was stopped at the border? Did he have tattoos? Then Cash explained what had gotten him interested. Kenney’s particulars fit the police description of John Doe No. 2, and some photos of Kenney bore a clear resemblance to the police sketch of the alleged bomber. And both Kenney and John Doe No. 2 looked quite a bit like another man, a bank robber named Richard Lee Guthrie.

Guthrie’s name meant nothing to Jesse Trentadue, but in the far-right radi
cal scene, he had some notoriety. In 1994 and 1995, Guthrie and his gang, the Aryan Republican Army, carried out an impressive series of 22 bank robberies across the Midwest, netting some $250,000 that they used to support the white-supremacist movement.

The ara had a flair for the dramatic. They rented getaway cars in the names of major fbi officials. At some robberies they wore Clinton and Nixon masks; at others, they tried to look like Arabs. At a December 1994 robbery they wore Santa and elf suits; the following April, they left behind an Easter basket holding a bronzed pipe bomb. In a home movie, Guthrie’s partner Peter Langan donned a black balaclava and talked about the coming white revolution. The ara’s philosophy was old-fashioned nativism, but their style was a takeoff on the ira, with Latin American revolution and rock and roll thrown in. (Members of the Philadelphia skinhead music scene were part of the group.) Langan liked to call himself “Commander Pedro”; outside the gang, he cross-dressed and later, when sentenced to prison for the robberies, requested that a judge authorize a sex-change operation.

Cash told Jesse that some people—including some in federal law enforcement—thought the ara might have been involved in the Oklahoma City bombing, and that Guthrie could have been John Doe No. 2. (Guthrie, along with other key ara members, was finally arrested in January 1996 and was reported to be cooperating with federal prosecutors tracking the far right. That July, shortly before he was due to testify in court against Langan, Guthrie was found hanging in his cell.)

J.D. Cash, who died in May, at age 55, was an unsettling figure—a genuine crusader for truth as well as an instinctive self-promoter. A lanky man with a warm face that could turn hard in a hurry, he’d been a lawyer, mortgage banker, and entrepreneur before taking a job as the hunting and fishing reporter for the McCurtain Daily Gazette in eastern Oklahoma. Having lost friends and family in the attack, he had grown consumed with the bombing and become a central figure in the Oklahoma City “truth movement,” a loose collection of individuals and groups dedicated to identifying holes in the official story, advancing alternate theories, and gathering evidence to support them.

Cash became an acknowledged clearinghouse for information on the bombing and its endless complications, uncovering a store of vital information while putting forth some highly questionable theories. He despised the fbi and loved writing stories about the bureau’s stupidity and perfidy. His belief in a cover-up—and even government foreknowledge of the bombing—had made him a favorite among some militia types. Yet he also insisted that the bombing was part of a conspiracy by the organized far right, and wanted to see all the perpetrators brought to justice. From Cash, Jesse Trentadue would get a crash course on the questions that still lingered, years later, around the bombing.

For the federal government, a great deal was riding on public perceptions of the attack. Bill Clinton’s speech at a memorial service for the victims, and his emotional meetings with their families, drove up his popularity ratings, which had bottomed out after the 1994 midterm elections; the spotlight on violent antigovernment extremists was also credited with eroding sympathy for the antigovernment rhetoric in Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America.

But the destruction of the Murrah Building—just like, years later, the fall of the Twin Towers—also pointed to a series of deep shortcomings in federal law enforcement and intelligence. Agencies such as the fbi had plenty of agents doing first-rate crime-solving work, but their record in “domestic intelligence” was another matter. Not unlike the patriot groups obsessed with black helicopters, the fbi was consumed by conspiracy theories that reflected the fears and fantasies of its leadership. The same agency that harassed pinko screenwriters in the 1950s, bugged civil rights leaders in the 1960s, and today monitors peace activists and librarians sought to infiltrate the far right through similar means—with dubious informants and questionable surveillance. And when it did move against far-right groups, it often ended up boosting the movement it sought to thwart; the 1992 raid at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the botched 1993 attack on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco fueled a growing fury on the far right. (The Oklahoma City bombing came on the second anniversary of the Waco disaster.)

Increasingly, that anger was targeted at the federal government and its symbols. The Murrah Building itself had been the target of a white-supremacist plot as far back as 1983. Among those involved in that failed endeavor was Richard Wayne Snell, who was later convicted of murdering a black Arkansas state trooper and a pawn-shop owner who he thought was Jewish. Snell was executed on April 19, 1995—the very day of the Murrah bombing. The final resting place of Snell’s body would be a remote religious compound called Elohim City. For those seeking evidence of a wider conspiracy in the bombing—and the federal government’s missed opportunities to crack it—all roads led to Elohim City.

the place was not much to look at—a clutch of small buildings in the Ozark Mountains in eastern Oklahoma. Elohim City’s inhabitants were followers of the late Robert Millar, who taught a doctrine known as Christian Identity, which holds that black and brown people and other “non-whites” (including Jews) are “mud people.” The community was patriarchal and polygamous, with all residents, including children, trained in the use of weapons by a visitor they called “Andy the German”—Andreas Strassmeir, a former German military officer.

For many years, Elohim City served as a sort of extremist sanctuary. Members of the Aryan Nations came through, skinhead bands made visits, young recruits showed up at the gates. Dennis Mahon, a former Klansman who had become a leader of the White Aryan Resistance, had a trailer there and participated in Andy the German’s guerrilla warfare training. In the early 1990s, the burgeoning militia movement, which helped inspire McVeigh and Nichols, became part of the mix.

Also drifting in and out of Elohim City were various informants. Internal fbi memos suggest that the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the far right, had a source there whose tips were passed to law enforcement. (Mark Potok, the director of splc’s intelligence project, told me that his organization had not placed an informant inside the compound, but received only second- or thirdhand reports from the compound.) Millar himself shared some information with the fbi, according to his former attorney, Kirk Lyons, in hopes of avoiding a Waco-style raid. And the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was getting information from inside Elohim City for nearly a year before the Murrah bombing, via an ex-debutante named Carol Howe. The daughter of a wealthy Oklahoma businessman, Howe with her fiancé had formed a two-person neo-Nazi group that urged “white warriors” to take up arms against the government. In 1994 she called a racist hot line and got involved with the White Aryan Resistance and Mahon. Soon thereafter the batf, possibly wielding the threat of a weapons charge, convinced Howe to inform on Mahon, and for most of the next two years it employed her as an informant. In that capacity she made numerous trips to Elohim City.

Howe’s reports provided the batf—which, records show, shared some of the information with the fbi—with details about the weapons being stockpiled at Elohim City, Strassmeir’s combat training, and Millar’s sermons against the mud people and the U.S. government. Howe reported that Strassmeir had talked about blowing up federal buildings, and that he and Mahon had made several trips to Oklahoma City. In February 1995, Howe joined a group of Elohim City residents on such a trip; she told her batf handler that she’d stayed at the home of a former military person who d
emonstrated an explosive device.

Two years after the bombing, in 1997, Howe and her fiancé were indicted on charges related to their two-person “National Socialist Alliance” that included making bomb threats and possession of an illegal explosive device. She would be acquitted on all charges. There was a pretrial hearing in the case, which involved testimony from Howe’s batf handler, on the same day that Timothy McVeigh’s trial opened in Denver. At one point, the judge had the following conversation with Howe’s attorney, Clark Brewster:

The Court: Well, let me ask you this, Mr. Brewster. A lot of this makes for good conversation, like the trip to Oklahoma City, you know, before the bombing and so forth and it makes for sensationalism, and I don’t know that it really has anything to do with the Oklahoma City bombing, but I saw where you were coming from. With that McVeigh trial going on, I don’t want anything getting out of here that would compromise that trial in any way.

Brewster: What do you mean by compromise? Do you mean shared with the McVeigh lawyers?

The Court: Yes, or something that would come up—you know, we have got evidence that the [batf] took a trip with somebody that said buildings were going to be blown up in Oklahoma City before it was blown up or something of that nature, and try to connect it to McVeigh in some way or something.

Brewster did not return calls for this story; McVeigh’s lawyer, Stephen Jones, says the prosecution never gave him any information about Howe or Elohim City, but that Brewster filled him in and he attempted to have Howe testify at trial. The judge rebuffed him on this and every other attempt to show that McVeigh and Nichols hadn’t acted alone.

one day in 2004, Jesse had a kind of breakthrough—one that would put him at the center of the Oklahoma City truth movement, though it would ultimately get him no closer to proving who was to blame for Kenney’s death. A source at the fbi, who had at one point taken an interest in Kenney’s case, passed him two heavily redacted memos indicating that, more than a year after Oklahoma City, the bureau had been investigating a link between the bombers and bank robber Richard Guthrie’s ara—a connection that ran through Elohim City.

Jesse filed a Freedom of Information Act request, and then a lawsuit, for documents containing information on these connections, and the bureau—after first claiming it had none—finally produced 25 documents comprising 150 pages, many of them heavily redacted.

The documents connect two investigations under way at the bureau in 1995 and 1996, both of them linked to Elohim City via informants: OKBOMB, run out of Oklahoma City, and BOMBROB, an investigation of the bank-robbing Aryan Republican Army. One of the memos, dated August 23, 1996—some 16 months after the bombing—was sent from fbi headquarters in Washington to the BOMBROB investigation. It read, “Information has been developed that [names redacted] were at the home of [redacted] Elohim City, Oklahoma on 4/5/95 when OKBOMB subject, Timothy McVeigh, placed a telephone call to [redacted] residence. On 4/15/95, a telephone call was placed from [redacted] residence to [redacted] residence in Philadelphia division. BOMBROB subjects [redacted] left [redacted] residence on 4/16/95 en route to Pittsburgh [sic], Kansas where they joined [redacted] and Guthrie.” At that time, some ara suspects lived around Philadelphia, and Pittsburg, Kansas, was the site of an ara safe house. The document makes clear that the bureau was interested in communication between McVeigh and the ara immediately before the bombing, and that Guthrie himself was in Pittsburg—some 200 miles from Oklahoma City—three days before the attack.

In addition, the memos indicate that the fbi received reports of McVeigh calling and possibly visiting Elohim City before the bombing, at one point seeking “to recruit a second conspirator.” The documents also have one source reporting that McVeigh had a “lengthy relationship” with someone at Elohim City, and that he called that person just two days before the bombing. (These documents were never shown to McVeigh’s lawyer.) The Justice Department and the fbi would not comment on the documents; an fbi spokesman in Oklahoma City told me that the bureau is confident it has caught and convicted those responsible for the bombing.

Jesse believes that McVeigh’s contact was Strassmeir, a fixture in many Oklahoma City theories. There has been much speculation, aired most recently on the bbc show Conspiracy Files this year, that Strassmeir had ties to U.S. and German intelligence and might (along with his government contacts) have had advance knowledge of the plot. In February 2007, Jesse filed a declaration in court signed by Nichols stating, “McVeigh said that Strassmeir would provide a ‘safe house’ if necessary. McVeigh…said that Strassmeir was ‘head of security at some backwoods place in Oklahoma.'” Strassmeir left the country in early 1996; he was later questioned on the phone by the fbi.

Kirk Lyons, Strassmeir’s U.S. attorney, who has defended a number of far-right figures over the years, says the reality is far simpler; Strassmeir came to the United States to take part in Civil War reenactments, liked it here, and, hoping to find a bride, ended up at Elohim City. Lyons insists that Strassmeir was never a spy, except in the minds of conspiracy theorists. (“These silly right-wingers think I am Mossad,” he says. “I’ve given up arguing with these nutsy cuckoos.”)

Reached at his home in Berlin, Strassmeir told me that he met McVeigh once, at a gun show in 1993, but that they never spoke again. He said he had no intelligence affiliations and had no clues to the Oklahoma City attack before it happened; but there were definitely informants at Elohim City, he added, and sometimes surveillance planes flew overhead—probably, he thought, to check out the marijuana fields that “some of the rednecks” had planted. He confirmed that two ara members were part-time residents of Elohim City, but said that “nobody knew much about them.”

the oklahoma City bombing prefigured 9/11 in many ways. There were the missed clues; the federal informant who actually had contact with the conspirators; the turf-conscious agencies failing to share and act on vital information; and in general, a domestic-intelligence program incapable of translating surveillance into action. Just as they would misunderstand the nature of Al Qaeda, the fbi and other agencies never viewed the far right as a political movement with the strategic and tactical ability to deliver a major attack. Intelligence on these groups suffered from the broader inadequacies of domestic intelligence, especially in the use of untested freelance informants recruited under threat of prosecution. But with federal police forces and the Justice Department responsible for policing themselves, and the details of their work often shrouded in secrecy, the system remained unaccountable. The bombing “grew out of a definable social movement the authorities didn’t understand,” says Leonard Zeskind, a researcher who has tracked the far right for more than 30 years. “It went unsolved because of the character and gross mismanagement of the investigation. It was an outrageous crime, and the size of the crime magnifies the level of incompetence.”

In fact, after the bombing law enforcement’s failures were not corrected but rewarded. Congress passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, which severely restricted federal courts’ ability to grant habeas corpus relief, paving the way for speedier executions (like that of Timothy McVeigh), and ultimately for Guantanamo. It also restricted the rights of immigrants, extended surveillance capabilities, and provided $1 billion in authorization for antiterrorism work, half of it for the fbi. The act raised only muted protest, perhaps in part because it was signed into law by a Democratic president. Yet there can be no doubt that the roots of t
he Patriot Act were planted not in the chasm of Ground Zero but in the dusty soil of Oklahoma.

For Jesse Trentadue, the ara-Oklahoma City connection has suggested what he believes is the missing motive in his brother’s killing: Just as J.D. Cash posited in his first phone call, he now believes that whoever interrogated Kenney took him to be John Doe No. 2—and that Kenney died during an interrogation gone bad. He has no proof for that theory, though he continues to pursue all leads—interviewing McVeigh’s death-row neighbor, David Paul Hammer; preparing to formally depose Terry Nichols; seeking to obtain a surveillance video he believes exists of the Murrah Building area shortly before the blast. But by now, Jesse is after more than his brother’s killers. He has become an American archetype, the citizen-investigator—still propelled by the sense of justice that first drew him into the law, but no longer convinced of the government’s ability to see that justice is done.

Jennifer Wedekind, Caroline Dobuzinskis, and Jessica Savage contributed research to this article. For more Oklahoma City (and John Doe No. 2) mysteries, see motherjones.com/oklahomacity.

Discussion

5 comments for “In Search of John Doe No. 2: The Story the Feds Never Told About the Oklahoma City Bombing”

  1. I graduated w/ Tom Kuker from Arthur Hill HS in Saginaw MI. His dad was an fbi agent. I knew that was Toms choice of a career as well. Personally, my dealings with law enforcement at all levels in my life has been untrusted, suspect,and lacking professionalism. Your investagation is eye popping. We are taking a bus tour of Oak City this week. I will tell all 69 friends on the tour to read your account of what may have really happened. Thank You

    Posted by dan stockford | September 26, 2012, 4:12 pm
  2. While the timing of the massive fertilizer plant explosion outsid of Waco, Texas certainly raises an enormous number of questions (two days after Boston Marathon “Patriot Day” bombing and two days before the 18th and 20th anniversaries of OKC and Waco), it should be noted that the regulatory filings suggest that this company may not have had much experience safely storing ammonium nitrate, the compound used to build Timothy McVeigh’s bombs. It had long been known to regulators that the company was storing anhydrous ammonia, a relatively stable ingredient. But according to regulatory filings filed at the end of 2012, the fertilizer plant informed told regulators that it was now storing ammonium nitrate and other more volatile compounds at the facility. It’s not known if the company had been storing such compounds prior to 2012 or if this was new:

    Before Texas plant exploded: What did regulators know?

    By Anna Driver and Joshua Schneyer

    HOUSTON/NEW YORK | Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:12am EDT

    (Reuters) – Despite being located within a short walk of a nursing home, school and residential buildings, West Fertilizer Co in central Texas had no blast walls and had filed no contingency plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for a major explosion or fire at the site.

    It remains unclear what safety measures, if any, were required of the company or whether West Fertilizer failed to comply. But on Wednesday night, the company’s fertilizer complex in West, Texas – population, 2,600 – exploded with such force that 60 to 80 homes were flattened, the school and nursing home took heavy damage and at least 14 people were killed, authorities said.

    In a 2011 filing with the EPA, the operators of West Fertilizer told regulators that a typical emergency scenario at the facility that holds anhydrous ammonia could result in a 10-minute release of the substance in gas form. That chemical, used as a fertilizer, is toxic to inhale but is not considered highly flammable or explosive, and the safety plan did not envisage any blast scenario.

    In a separate filing earlier this year to the Texas Department of State Health Services, West Fertilizer disclosed that, as of the end of 2012, the company was also storing more volatile chemical compounds at the same address, including 270 tons of ammonium nitrate.

    The same type of solid fertilizer was mixed with fuel and used by Timothy McVeigh to raze the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995, killing 168 people. Sales of as little as 25 pounds (11 kg) of the substance are now tracked by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Investigators said on Thursday they remained concerned about volatile chemicals that may remain on the site, posing further risk. One official, McLennan County Deputy Sheriff Matt Cawthon, said ammonium nitrate was found at the scene. It was not known whether the site used or stored the substance before 2012.

    “This is a fertilizer company and as it is, it has that type of component in it and it is a volatile product,” Cawthon told reporters. “I don’t know about anhydrous ammonia. I’ve been told about ammonium nitrate.”

    Authorities are investigating what caused Wednesday’s blast, Cawthon said.

    Public records show that the family-run company in recent years had at least two types of operations at its complex – one that sold and stored liquid fertilizer and another that dealt with dry fertilizer, using what experts consider more volatile ingredients.

    West Fertilizer is owned by 83-year-old Donald Adair, and employed fewer than 10 people, according to a background report on the company from business information firm D&B. Adair and his wife, Wanda Adair, could not be reached for comment. A person who answered the phone at Adair Grains Inc, West Fertilizer’s parent company, said the owners had survived the blast.

    Ted Uptmore, listed as manager of the plant, could not be reached for comment, and other people listed in public records as working at the plant did not return phone calls. Craig Rogers, an owner at Security Truck Service, LLC, a contractor who hauls fertilizers and was listed as carrying out an independent safety inspection of the plant in June 2011, did not return a call requesting comment.

    In a filing with the EPA in 2011, West Fertilizer outlined safety measures to deal with an incident involving only the less flammable liquid gas, anhydrous ammonia. The filing, obtained by the left-leaning Center for Effective Government, did not envisage an emergency scenario that would cause a fire or explosion.

    PLANT’S SAFETY HISTORY AVERAGE

    The privately held fertilizer plant, which has been in operation since 1962, has been cited for safety violations by regulators in the past. Records show the EPA fined West in 2006 for $2,300 for failing to update its risk management plan, a blueprint required to ensure safe operations.

    At the time, the EPA found that the firm had poor employee training programs and did not have a formal written maintenance program in place. The EPA has not fined West Fertilizer since then, and the agency listed no outstanding violations as of Thursday.

    The EPA, which has officials on the scene, said in a statement, “The facility, which is required by law to submit an updated plan at least every five years, submitted an updated plan in 2011.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 18, 2013, 10:56 pm
  3. It looks like a paramedic that helped lead the rescue efforts after the West, Texas Fertilizer plant explosion was in possession of pipebomb-making material. Authorities arrested him today but aren’t yet calling him a suspect:

    Dallas News
    Authorities not saying whether West explosion criminal probe linked to paramedic’s arrest

    SARAH MERVOSH, BRANDON FORMBY and CHRISTINA ROSALES

    Staff Writers

    smervosh@dallasnews.com, bformby@dallasnews.com, crosales@dallasnews.com

    Published: 10 May 2013 11:31 AM

    Updated: 10 May 2013 02:37 PM

    WEST – The U.S. District Attorney’s Office on Friday afternoon said it “will not speculate” on whether a pipe bomb allegedly belonging to a West paramedic have any connection with the fatal fertilizer plant fire and explosion that he responded to.

    Bryce Reed, who told The Dallas Morning News that he assumed radio command of the April 17 incident after the explosion killed his superiors and colleagues, was accused Friday of giving an “assortment of bomb making components” to an unnamed person in nearby Abbott on April 26, nine days after the explosion.

    Hours after his arrest, the Texas Rangers and McLennan County Sheriff’s office launched a criminal investigation into the plant explosion but did not say what role, if any, the federal charges against Reed played in their decision.

    The State Fire Marshal’s office has not determined – or ruled out – whether the fire was a criminal act or accidental. The agency also has not determined the cause of the fire that preceded the deadly explosion, believed to have been fueled largely by ammonium nitrate kept at the plant. Rachel Moreno, a spokeswoman for the agency, said earlier Friday she could not comment on Reed’s arrest.

    Fifteen people, including 12 men responding to the fire at the plant, were killed in the blast. The explosion injured 200 others and wrecked havoc on schools, an apartment complex, a nursing home and hundreds of nearby houses.

    Reed was charged Friday with possession of a destructive device. He faces 10 years in prison. Reed made an initial appearance in federal court in Waco on Friday but did not enter a plea.

    According to an affidavit from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, someone who lives in Abbott called the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday about a “possible destructive device” that they had “unwittingly taken possession of” from Reed.

    Authorities found a 3.5-inch long galvanized metal pipe with a 1.5-inch diameter that had galvanized end caps. There was also a lighter and several pounds of chemical powders in individual bags, special ATF agent Douglas J. Kunze wrote in his affidavit. A U.S. Justice Department press release said Reed gave the component to the Abbott resident on April 26.

    As Reed remained in federal custody of the Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Friday, divergent portraits of the man emerged.

    After answering the door at his Rockwall home Friday, Gary Nelson said he couldn’t believe the charges against his stepson. He said there is “not a chance” that Reed was involved in the deadly explosion.

    “He’s been tore up about it,” Nelson said, adding that the family is “100 percent behind him.”

    But the sister of a firefighter Reed eulogized at a public memorial last month said she had to ask police to guard her deceased brother’s apartment because she feared Reed had been stealing from it since the blast.

    “Instead of grieving my brother’s death, we’re dealing with all of this,” said Sarah Reed, who is not related to Bryce Reed.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 10, 2013, 12:41 pm
  4. Investigators made a significant announcement regarding the massive and mysterious explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer plant two days after the Boston Marathon bombings: There’s no evidence of terrorism, and the paramedic who was initially a suspect is still not a suspect, but investigators are confident the fire was intentional:

    The Houston Chronicle

    ATF says fatal West explosion was result of a criminal act

    By Mark Collette Updated 7:14 pm, Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    WEST — In an extraordinary turn for one of the ATF’s most labored and expensive fire investigations ever, the agency said Wednesday that the deadly blaze that destroyed West Fertilizer Co. in 2013 was a criminal act, and it pleaded for the public’s help to find who was responsible.

    The news immediately opened old wounds in this small, agricultural town north of Waco, reignited rumors, frustrated residents trying to move on with their lives and threatened to complicate a mound of litigation against the plant and its suppliers.

    Anticipating questions about why it has taken three years, Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder outlined the meticulous nature of the investigation.

    Investigators for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spent more than $2 million, building life-size replicas of parts of the plant and interviewing more than 400 people, to reach the conclusion that the fire was set in the seed room, Elder told reporters. Victims’ families were briefed hours earlier. The news conference was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall that served as an aid station in the blast’s immediate aftermath.

    “Your loss is felt by ATF,” Elder said. “It has been a driving factor into why we have gone to the lengths and detail that we have.”

    No arrests have been made, he said, and the investigation remains open.

    The agency is offering up to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest, and McLennan County Crimestoppers is offering another $2,000.

    Elder would not elaborate on what evidence led to the finding or whether investigators have suspects, but said extensive scientific testing was done.

    “We want to make sure the integrity of this case is maintained, so that when we interview someone, they have the right knowledge, and they’re not feeding us something we put out there,” he said.

    But the lack of information drew criticism from Texas Watch, an advocacy group that targets corporations and insurance companies. In a statement, director Alex Winslow called the ATF’s findings speculation, said it won’t clear up confusion over the events at West Fertilizer, and worried that it will shift attention away from the failings of fertilizer manufacturers and handlers.

    The U.S. Chemical Safety Board in January issued a report finding that limited regulatory oversight, poor hazard awareness, inadequate emergency planning and the proximity of the plant to nearby homes all led to the event’s severity, but the board didn’t identify the cause of the fire that led to the explosion. The CSB said poor building ventilation and wooden storage bins contributed to the intensity of the blaze, and contamination of the ammonium nitrate fertilizer made it prone to explode.

    Attorneys Steve Harrison and Zona Jones, who represent plaintiffs suing the fertilizer makers, issued a statement emphasizing that the ATF’s investigation didn’t extend to why the explosion happened “or who knew that it could explode.”

    Nonetheless, Elder said all natural and accidental causes had been ruled out, and he seemed confident the investigation was nearing an end.

    “I think we’re headed in the right direction,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking for the public’s help to get across that finish line.”

    There is no evidence of terrorism, said special agent Nicole Strong, ATF Houston division spokesperson. And Former West paramedic Bryce Reed is not considered a suspect, Elder said. Reed was arrested in the weeks following the explosion after authorities say he tried to dispose of materials needed to make a pipe bomb, items he and his attorney have always maintained were strictly for entertainment purposes – basically fooling around with fireworks.

    Reed was charged with possession of an unregistered explosive device but eventually pleaded guilty to lesser felonies and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. He said in court that he could not return to his hometown because of the stigma that will always be attached to his name.

    Local and federal officials had previously cleared Reed in connection to the West explosion. The ATF clearing him once again is cold comfort to the family, says Reed’s stepfather, Gary Nelson.

    “They flat-out ruined that boy’s life and ours,” Nelson said.

    City, school and nursing home officials who have pending lawsuits against the fertilizer companies were told by their attorneys not to speak to reporters about the ATF announcement.

    Elsewhere in West, the news elicited mixed reactions, not the least of which was fatigue, after three years of mourning and rebuilding. A new high school replacing the one eviscerated by the blast is nearing completion. Signs of wreckage have mostly disappeared, leaving empty lots.

    “I thought it was a dead issue,” said David Urbanovsky, who was in his yard cleaning up after a night of severe storms toppled trees and power lines around town. “I thought we put all this to rest.”

    He was skeptical that it could have been intentional.

    “I’d be inclined to think it was somebody with a grudge, but there’s not that much mischievous activity around here,” he said. “It’s a quiet place. Most people leave their doors unlocked.”

    Several people chopping up a downed tree on Reagan Street, near the most devastated part of town, refused to believe the explosion was anything more than an accident, and accused the government of grandstanding to justify the expense of the investigation. They were tired of talking about it after three years, they said, and refused to give their names.

    The plant exploded just 14 minutes after the first 911 call on April 17, 2013, killing 12 firefighters and three others, injuring more than 260 and causing an estimated $230 million in losses. The blast left a crater 93 feet wide and 12 feet deep.

    The damage was inflicted across a 37-square-block area, destroying more than 500 homes, apartments and a nursing home. Had it happened earlier in the day, with school in session, hundreds more people, including children, would likely have been killed and injured, the CSB concluded.

    Ammonium nitrate has long been known for its explosive properties under the right conditions, but that was poorly understood and communicated to the public here, where local farmers have safely used the product on their fields for generations. Over the years, the town grew toward the plant, with new homes and schools popping up nearby.

    West Fertilizer is no longer in business, but the pending lawsuits name plant owner Adair Grain Co. as a defendant. El Dorado Chemical Co., CF Industries, Thermacline Inc. and International Chemical Co. – manufacturers and sellers of material to West Fertilizer – also are named. Adair has countersued the other defendants.

    A state district judge divided the plaintiffs into three groups. Many in the first two groups settled cases on undisclosed terms. The third group was set for trial Monday but has been moved.

    The disaster galvanized reformers, who asked for better policing of ammonium nitrate and other chemicals, better zoning to keep homes and businesses away from potentially dangerous plants, and more transparency to keep first-responders and the public informed about chemical hazards.

    The CSB found that almost all Texas fertilizer plants like the one that exploded are within a quarter-mile of a residence, and little has been done to protect the public.

    CSB spokesperson Hillary Cohen said Wednesday that the CSB will continue to advocate for the recommendations it made in the wake of its investigation.

    The board’s final report identifies gaps at the federal and state level that must be fixed to prevent a similar incident, she said.

    The first story in a yearlong Houston Chronicle investigation, published May 8, revealed little public or government scrutiny of facilities with dangerous chemicals. A fire on May 5 at a chemical packing facility in Spring Branch underscored problems that remain unsolved since West. Nearby homes and schools were told to shelter-in-place or evacuate; all the while, firefighters didn’t know what chemicals they were dealing with.

    “The U.S. Chemical Safety Board in January issued a report finding that limited regulatory oversight, poor hazard awareness, inadequate emergency planning and the proximity of the plant to nearby homes all led to the event’s severity, but the board didn’t identify the cause of the fire that led to the explosion. The CSB said poor building ventilation and wooden storage bins contributed to the intensity of the blaze, and contamination of the ammonium nitrate fertilizer made it prone to explode.”
    The fact that, while investigators still don’t appear to know who started the fire or why, everyone can still agree that poor regulations and shoddy, dangerous practices made the explosion of that magnitude much likelier to happen is a reminder that one of the best ways for a technologically advanced society with all sorts of dual-use technology sitting around is high-quality government regulations of the industries using those technologies. Especially in states like Texas. Because if groups like ISIS really are crossing the US-Mexican border as GOPers have repeatedly claimed, aren’t Texas’s highly dangerous chemical plants and poor regulations a clear and present danger to Texans? Those unsafe Texas plants are pretty much the first ones those terrorists are going to stumble across.

    Then again, perhaps Texas’s dangerously inadequate industry regulations could end up actually protecting the state from any ISIS attackers. Why? Well, if you’re a terrorist hell-bent on killing as many infidels as possible in a suicidal blaze of glory, why attack the state that’s already doing what it can to kill itself. It’s sort of redundant at that point. Then again, if ISIS was to follow the “don’t bother suicide-attacking the already-suicidal”-logic, it would have given up terrorism everywhere at this point. And that clearly isn’t happening.

    So, yeah, regardless of who set that fire and why, Texas should probably do something about doing nothing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 11, 2016, 5:11 pm
  5. Nice find!!
    – imo No Doubt!

    I must say, this reminded me of the apologetists’ post HSCA acoustic evidence (pointing at 2 firing positions)
    ‘Perhaps at the exact same moment as Oswald was firing on the motorcade there was infact another, independent lone nut shoting at JFK ”
    Reed was just the Other other lone nut..
    “Reed was arrested in the weeks following the explosion after authorities say he tried to dispose of materials needed to make a pipe bomb”

    Posted by Jen.X | May 13, 2016, 9:09 pm

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