Teletypes provide some detail on Oklahoma City bombing investigation


Monday, November 28th 2005, 11:13 am
By: News On 6


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Memos obtained by a Salt Lake City trial lawyer show the FBI was tracking a cast of characters for months after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, but none was ever charged in the crime.

The lawyer, Jesse Trentadue, is trying to force more FBI disclosures that he says could help explain the death of his brother, whom he believes was mistaken for Timothy McVeigh's ``John Doe 2'' _ a suspect never identified.

Kenneth Trentadue, a convicted bank robber picked up on a parole violation, turned up dead at a federal prison at Oklahoma City shortly after McVeigh's indictment for the bombing.

The Bureau of Prisons said he committed suicide by hanging. Jesse Trentadue believes his 44-year-old brother was killed during an interrogation gone awry.

The lawyer has obtained some FBI teletypes on his own and others under a Freedom of Information request. He is suing to force more FBI disclosures.

The FBI memos released so far make no mention of Kenneth Trentadue, but indicate others beside McVeigh and conspirator Terry Nichols were investigated in the Oklahoma City bombing.

The FBI teletypes on an investigation dubbed ``BOMBROB'' outline an effort to tie a Midwest bank robbery gang with an Oklahoma white supremacist compound where the FBI says McVeigh called for help and may have sought refuge before the bombing.

The FBI teletypes show the bureau was trying to reconstruct events long after the April 1995 bombing.

An August 1996 teletype says Richard Guthrie, a convicted bank robber and member of the Aryan Republican Army, told FBI agents McVeigh participated in some holdups and shared the loot.

Guthrie was found hanging in his prison cell in 1997 after pleading guilty to a string of bank robberies.

Another heavily edited teletype, transmitted by then-FBI Director Louis Freeh in 1996, asks a Philadelphia field office to help investigate Aryan Republican Army suspects.

In it, a subject whose name is blacked out was said to have had a ``lengthy relationship'' with McVeigh.

The same teletype suggests the Southern Poverty Law Center had an informant at the Elohim City compound just before the bombing.

But FBI got that wrong, Richard Cohen, president and chief executive of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the AP.

``They made a mistake putting our source at the compound,'' said Cohen, who said the center had supplied the FBI with secondhand information about Elohim City dealings in the frantic days after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Freeh's teletype cites a ``continuous'' danger of Aryan Republican Army bombing, assassination and robbery plots more than a year after the Oklahoma bombing.

``The likelihood that it will occur _ i.e., violent acts advocated by members of the ARA _ have occurred on a consistent basis over the past decade,'' Freeh wrote. ``This pattern, coupled with comments and views of the group's leadership, tend to assure a continuance of these types of actions to attain their political goals.''

The FBI declined comment.