T H E N E W Y O R K T I M E S
Thursday October 28, 1993 Page A1
Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart
Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast
By Ralph Blumenthal
Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building
a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center,
and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting
harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after
The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb
and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by
an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer,
Emad Salem, should be used, the informer said.
The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of
hours of tape recordings that Mr. Salem secretly made of his
talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as
being in a far better position than previously known to foil
the February 26th bombing of New York City's tallest towers.
The explosion left six people dead, more than a thousand people
injured, and damages in excess of half-a-billion dollars.
Four men are now on trial in Manhattan Federal Court
[on charges of involvement] in that attack.
Mr. Salem, a 43-year-old former Egyptian Army officer, was used
by the Government [of the United States] to penetrate a circle
of Muslim extremists who are now charged in two bombing cases:
the World Trade Center attack, and a foiled plot to destroy
the United Nations, the Hudson River tunnels, and other
New York City landmarks. He is the crucial witness in the
second bombing case, but his work for the Government was
erratic, and for months before the World Trade Center blast,
he was feuding with th F.B.I.
Supervisor `Messed It Up'
After the bombing, he resumed his undercover work. In an
undated transcript of a conversation from that period,
Mr. Salem recounts a talk he had had earlier with an agent
about an unnamed F.B.I. supervisor who, he said,
"came and messed it up."
"He requested to meet me in the hotel,"
Mr. Salem says of the supervisor.
"He requested to make me to testify, and if he didn't
push for that, we'll be going building the bomb with
a phony powder, and grabbing the people who was
involved in it. But since you, we didn't do that."
The transcript quotes Mr. Salem as saying that he wanted to
complain to F.B.I. Headquarters in Washington about the
Bureau's failure to stop the bombing, but was dissuaded by
an agent identified as John Anticev.
Mr. Salem said Mr. Anticev had told him,
"He said, I don't think that the New York people would
like the things out of the New York Office to go to
Another agent, identified as Nancy Floyd, does not dispute
Mr. Salem's account, but rather, appears to agree with it,
saying of the `New York people':
"Well, of course not, because they don't want to
get their butts chewed."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The New American
by William F. Jasper
Powerful evidence exists that federal agents were not surprised by OKC blast One of the most persistent and vexing questions to arise in the immediate aftermath of the April 19th terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City concerns the matter of prior knowledge: Did agents and agencies of the federal government know about the bomb plot ahead of time? If so, could not this mass murder have been prevented?
Questions along these lines have been shouted down by
politicians and media mavens as the perfervid rantings
of dangerous militia partisans, "hate mongers," and
"conspiracy kooks." Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating,
himself a former FBI official and Treasury Department
functionary under James Baker, has been especially
quick to lead the chorus in denouncing all those who
raise legitimate questions about troubling discrepancies
in the federal investigation. The shock and anger
Americans have felt over this abominable crime have
been shamelessly directed at principled critics of
Clintonista socialism and new world order
internationalism. Such critics have been cast as "voices
of hate" and "right-wing, anti-government forces."
Lies and Cover-up
In the ensuing months since the bombing, however, the
unanswered questions have festered and multiplied as
new evidence and witnesses have piled on top of old.
A conspicuous absence of ATF (Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms) personnel at the Murrah
Building on April 19th.
An official ATF explanation of the whereabouts of
office personnel on April 19th which contains a
Admissions by ATF personnel at the bomb scene that
they had been tipped off in advance.
Conflicting stories by ATF officials concerning whether
or not they were expecting "trouble" on April 19th.
Admissions by sources connected to the Oklahoma
City FBI office that they had been tipped off prior to the
Admissions by personnel of the Oklahoma City Fire
Department that they had been notified by the FBI of an
impending bomb attack.
Witness accounts of police bomb squads outside the
Murrah Building an hour before the blast.
A U.S. Marshals Service memorandum warning of an
impending major bomb threat.
An informant for the U.S. Department of Justice who
provided very accurate and specific advance warning of
an impending bomb attack.
A federal judge in Oklahoma City who told of
heightened security concerns immediately before the
A federal grand juror who has charged federal
prosecutors with covering up the identities of additional
suspects in the crime.
Accusations by a highly decorated scientist at the FBI's
vaunted crime lab that some of his colleagues --
including a major expert in the Oklahoma bombing --
tampered with evidence, fabricated evidence, and
committed perjury concerning evidence in major cases.
Taped conversations between an informant in the New
York Trade Center bombing and an FBI agent indicating
that the FBI may have had specific prior knowledge
about that plot and may have been in a position to foil
that deadly blast but for some reason failed to do so.
A Can of Worms
The "prior knowledge" can of worms spilled before the
public eye on national television when bombing victim
Edye Smith zeroed in on troubling rumors of an ATF
tip-off. Smith, who lost her two young sons, Chase and
Colton, in the explosion, told CNN reporter Gary
Tuchman that she was troubled by unanswered
questions, such as: "Where was ATF? All 15 or 17 of
their employees survived, and they lived -- they're on the
ninth floor. They were the target of this explosion, and
where were they? Did they have a warning sign? And
did they think it might be a bad day to go into the office?
They had an option to not go to work that day, and my
kids didn't get that option. Nobody else in the building
got that option. And we're just asking questions, we're
not making accusations. We just want to know, and
they're telling us, 'Keep your mouth shut, don't talk about
The ATF responded immediately, claiming, "Rumors
that employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms (ATF) had evacuated the Murrah Building prior
to the April 19th bombing are entirely false." Lester D.
Martz, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas ATF office,
stated in a May 23rd press release: "I strongly suspect
that these malicious rumors are fueled by the same
sources as the negative rhetoric that has been recently
circulating about law enforcement officers. The facts are
that ATF's employees in Oklahoma City were carrying
out their assigned duties as they would any work day,
and several of them were injured in the explosion."
Moreover, claimed Martz, "Several ATF employees
were actually heroes on April 19th." His press release
then went on to describe this ill-devised apocryphal tale
ATF's Resident Agent in Charge Alex
McCauley was with a DEA agent in the
elevator when the bomb exploded. The
elevator dropped in a free fall from the eighth
floor to the third. The two men were trapped
in the smoke-filled elevator .... On their fourth
attempt, they managed to break through the
doors and escape from the elevator. The
agents made their way to the stairwell and
brought with them 10 or 15 people they
found along the way ....
The McCauley elevator story was repeated again the
following day on CNN by ATF director John Magaw. But
the story was refuted by those who were on the scene
and were in a position to know the facts. The free-falling
elevator yarn was first subjected to media scrutiny by
J.D. Cash of the McCurtain Daily Gazette in Idabel,
Oklahoma. Cash interviewed members of the elevator
inspection and repair crew who were at the site minutes
after the explosion. Repairman Duane James told the
Gazette that McCauley's story was "pure fantasy."
James said that he and other members of his crew
checked and double-checked each elevator that terrible
morning to make certain that no one was trapped inside.
J.D. Cash reported in the Gazette:
Of the six passenger elevators, five were
stopped between floors, their doors blown
inward, prompting the safety mechanisms to
freeze them in place ....
"Once that occurs, the doors cannot be
opened -- period," James said. "What I and
some others did was kick in the ceilings on
each of those elevators and determined that
no one was in them."
He said only one passenger elevator could
later be repaired and operated manually,
"and that one was sitting at floor level on
three or four...."
Certainly it had not "free fallen," he said, nor
had any of the others.
According to James, the elevators were equipped with
safety switches to protect against excessive speed and
acceleration. "None of those switches were tripped on
any of the elevators in that building," James told Cash. "I,
along with other men with our company, checked the
equipment several times. Absolutely no elevators
dropped that morning." In fact, said James, it is
impossible for modern elevators like those in the Murrah
Building to drop "unless you cut the cables, because
they are counter-balanced to protect occupants from just
that sort of danger."
Oscar Johnson, the president of Midwestern Elevator,
the company which employs Duane James, agrees that
the falling elevator scenario may make for good drama
in a Schwartzenegger action feature, but it is not
something that happens in real life. "None of the
elevators fell," Johnson told THE NEW AMERICAN. "All of
the elevators' cables were intact." Moreover, Johnson
pointed out that, even if a free-fall of five stories had
occurred, those inside would have suffered severe
Johnson said that on the morning of April 19th two of his
technicians were about to begin an inspection of the
Murrah Building's elevators when the bomb went off. The
men had met with a General Services Administration
inspector at the federal courthouse across the street
from the south side of the Murrah Building at nine
o'clock. All three men were walking through the tunnel
under 4th Street to the Murrah Building when the
explosion occurred. Within just a couple minutes of the
blast they were at the scene of the devastation, checking
elevators, assisting survivors, searching for trapped
victims, and removing bodies.
Another of Johnson's technicians was sitting in his
pickup truck in front of the YMCA, across the street from
the north side of the Murrah Building, just a few dozen
yards from the Ryder truck. He was preparing for an
inspection of the YMCA elevator when the bomb
detonated. Although chunks of concrete and metal shot
through the cab of his vehicle, shattering the windows
and windshield, he was unharmed and was soon helping
with the rescue effort.
"Within about eight to ten minutes, we had about ten
people at the scene," Johnson told THE NEW AMERICAN.
Getting the elevators operational again was a top
priority for the rescue effort. On Thursday, April 20th, he
and his crew had one passenger elevator running, and
the following day had the freight elevator operating.
Johnson, who had serviced the Murrah Building
elevators for many years and was intimately familiar with
the building, insists that the ATF account of Agent
McCauley's experience is patently false.
In the May 24th interview with ATF Director John
Magaw, CNN's senior Washington correspondent
Charles Bierbauer asked, "Was there some warning?"
Magaw replied that "there was not any warning. We do
have 15 employees there. Five of them were in the
building, and three or four of those were injured. One
was trapped on the ninth floor and escaped later, one
was in the hospital for about two weeks. And she [Edye
Smith] is right, we did not have any fatalities."
According to Magaw, most of the ATF agents were
either in court or "out working on the street." "And so,"
said the ATF director, "you will never find any time,
unless you're having some office meeting of some kind,
where all 15 or 17 people will be in that particular office."
However, according to others who worked in the building
and who prefer to remain unnamed, the normal
contingent of ATF personnel at 9:00 a.m. in the Murrah
Building was considerably more than the five who were
supposedly there on April 19th.
"Was there a bomb threat to ATF in Oklahoma City the
day before?" asked Bierbauer. "Were people told not to
come into the offices...?" "No," answered Magaw, "there
was ... no bomb threat specifically to ATF or any threat
that I'm aware of. And they were not told to not come in.
This is -- this is false information...."
Perhaps. Or perhaps not. On September 12th, television
station KFOR Channel 4, Oklahoma City's NBC affiliate,
broadcast interviews with three witnesses who attested
that ATF agents admitted to them to being tipped in
advance of the bombing. The witnesses, whose
identities were shielded in "shadow" interviews, arrived
at the bomb scene shortly after the blast. The first
witness works just a few blocks from the Murrah Building
and rushed to the explosion site to find his wife who
worked inside the Murrah Building. Spotting an ATF
agent, he asked him to contact other ATF agents to see
if his wife had been found. The witness told KFOR's
Brad Edwards that the ATF agent "started getting a little
bit nervous. He tried reaching someone on a two-way
radio, [but] couldn't get anybody. I told him I wanted an
answer right then. He said they were in debriefing, that
none of the agents had been in there. They'd been
tipped by their pagers not to come in to work that day.
Plain as day out of his mouth. Those were the words he
The second witness interviewed by KFOR was the first
witness' boss, and had accompanied him to the Murrah
Building. He was standing with the first witness when the
ATF agent made the comments, and he confirmed to
KFOR the accuracy of the first witness's testimony. The
third witness was a female rescue worker. When she
asked an ATF agent on the scene if any of his fellow
agents were still in the building, she was told that the
agents "weren't here" at the office that morning.
In his May 24th interview, CNN correspondent Bierbauer
asked the ATF's Magaw about the relationship of the
April 19th bombing to the second anniversary of the
Branch Davidian holocaust, an issue over which there
has been some marked inconsistencies. "Was there any
sense that you needed to be more alert because of
that?" Bierbauer queried.
"Clearly there was an interest all over the country to do
that," replied Magaw. "And I was very concerned about
that. We did some things here in headquarters and in all
of our field offices throughout the country to try to be
more observant. But ... we didn't anticipate something
like this. We were thinking about, you know,
demonstrations and things like that that might cause
problems." (Emphasis added.)
However, at the very time Magaw was claiming on
national television that his agency in Washington and all
his field offices throughout the country had been on
heightened alert for the Waco anniversary, ATF
representatives in Oklahoma City were telling the
families of bombing victims an entirely different story. On
the morning of May 24th, ATF agents Luke Franey and
Chris Cuyler visited Edye Smith at the home of her
parents, Glenn and Kathy Wilburn. Glenn Wilburn recalls:
They told us that they didn't have the slightest
hint that April 19th had any significance, that
they weren't anticipating anything, and that
they had treated it like any other day --
nothing special. I said, "You mean to tell me
that you're not aware that April 19th is a real
red letter day for many militia radicals... You
mean you weren't aware of this and didn't
anticipate any activity?" They assured me
they hadn't known about the significance of
the date and they hadn't had any clue that
anything might happen. They basically had
me convinced and had allayed my concerns
about the rumors of their prior knowledge.
But a couple hours later, when I turned on
CNN, I saw John Magaw saying exactly the
opposite, that ATF had been on a "Waco
alert" nationwide. Somebody wasn't telling
Bomb Squad on the Scene
Okay, but there is a difference between being on a
general alert because of a possible generalized threat,
and more precise knowledge of a specific threat at a
specific time and place. Federal agencies and facilities
receive many bomb threats, most of which turn out to be
hoaxes. The burning question is whether or not federal
authorities had specific knowledge of a plot to bomb the
Murrah Building or other facilities in Oklahoma City
around the time of the actual crime. There is compelling
evidence that this is the case.
On April 23rd, the Sunday after the bombing, the Panola
Watchman of Carthage, Texas reported on the story of
a local Carthage businesswoman whose sister was
involved in the explosion. The sister, who was identified
only as "Norma," works in the federal courthouse
building across the street from the south side of the
Murrah Building and was there on the morning of April
19th. That same fateful morning, Norma's son Eddy was
stopped at a red light three blocks from the blast site
when the explosion occurred. Neither Norma or her son
were harmed by the bomb even though they were very
near to ground zero. But Norma had been in a position
to witness a significant occurrence that tends to support
claims of official prior knowledge of the plot. Shortly after
the bombing, Norma recounted to Panola Watchman
reporter Sherry Koonce what she had seen prior to the
The day was fine, everything was normal
when I arrived at 7:45 to begin my day at 8
a.m., but as I walked through my building's
parking lot, I remember seeing a bomb
squad. I really did not think about it --
especially when we did not hear more about
There was some talk about the bomb squad
among employees in our office. We did
wonder what it was doing in our parking lot.
Jokingly, I said, "Well I guess we'll find out
Around nine or maybe a little after I heard
and felt it. It was a huge explosion and our
building was shaking with vibrations....
Norma explained that when she and her co-workers fled
the building, "There was smoke and dust everywhere --
and bodies." The newspaper continued Norma's
account of that harrowing experience:
We were walking fast and everyone seemed
to be in a daze. We were simply shocked
and confused about what had happened.
Then someone said, "It had to be a bomb" ...
and then we all knew, I remember the bomb
squad in our parking lot and knew what had
According to the Watchman, Norma does not wish to
give any further interviews, so THE NEW AMERICAN has
been unable to confirm her story. However, another
woman who works in the federal courthouse and whose
child was killed in the Murrah Building day care center
has confirmed Norma's story of the bomb squad.
Insisting on anonymity, this grieving mother recounts that
she was late for work that tragic day, and remembered
seeing the bomb squad as she hurried into the building
shortly after eight o'clock. An attorney who works in the
area has also attested to seeing the bomb squad in the
The Oklahoma City Fire Department, it appears, was
also given advance warning of the terrorist attack. Glenn
Wilburn had heard several reports concerning FBI
tip-offs to the fire department before the blast, and
decided to check them out himself. When he asked
Assistant Chief Charles Gaines about the matter, he
was met with denial. Walking out of the chief's office, he
went down the hall to Chief Dispatcher Harvey
Weathers' office and asked the same question. "Harvey
said yes, they had received a message from the FBI on
the Friday before the bombing that they should be on
alert," Wilburn told THE NEW AMERICAN. He said he then
told Weathers, "Well, you're going to be surprised to
learn that Chief Gaines' memory is failing. He says it
never happened." According to Wilburn, Weathers then
responded, "Well, you asked me and I told you. I'm not
going to lie for anybody. A lot of people don't want to get
involved in this." According to Wilburn, two other
dispatchers corroborated Weathers' story. All members
of the Oklahoma City police and fire departments have
since been ordered not to speak to anyone concerning
events surrounding the bombing unless it has first been
cleared through official channels.
Judge Recalls Blast
On April 20th, the day after the explosion, the
Oregonian, Oregon's largest daily newspaper,
interviewed Judge Wayne Alley, who was born and
raised in Portland, Oregon and who was soon to
become a central figure in the bombing case. In light of
other revelations that have surfaced in the ensuing
months, Judge Alley's remarks in the immediate
aftermath of the bombing take on an added significance.
Reporter Dave Hogan wrote in the Oregonian:
As a federal judge whose office faces the
Alfred P. Murrah Building across the street in
Oklahoma City, Wayne Alley felt lucky that he
didn't go to his office Wednesday ....
The judge said the bombing came just a few
weeks after security officials had warned him
to take extra precautions.
"Let me just say that within the past two or
three weeks, information has been
disseminated ... that indicated concerns on
the part of people who ought to know that we
ought to be a little bit more careful," he said.
Alley, who started his law career in Portland,
said he was cautioned to be on the lookout
for "people casing homes or wandering
about in the courthouse who aren't supposed
to be there, [and] letter bombs. There has
been an increased vigilance."
He said he was not given an explanation for
Asked if this might have just been a periodic
security reminder, he said, "My subjective
impression was there was a reason for the
dissemination of those concerns."
Alley has since been appointed as the judge who will
preside over the trial of chief bombing suspects Timothy
McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
Still another hint of federal prior knowledge comes from
the U.S. Marshals Service. On March 22nd, a little more
than three weeks before the Oklahoma bombing, the
Newark, New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that "U.S.
law enforcement authorities have obtained information
that Islamic terrorists may be planning suicide attacks
against federal courthouses and government
installations in the United States. The attacks, it is
feared, would be designed to attract worldwide press
attention through the murder of innocent victims."
The story, by Star-Ledger correspondent Robert
The Star-Ledger has learned that U.S. law
enforcement officials have received a
warning that a "fatwa," a religious ruling
similar to the death sentence targeting
author Salmon Rushdie, has been issued
against federal authorities as a result of an
incident during the trial last year of four
persons in the bombing of the World Trade
Center in New York.
The disclosure was made in the confidential
memorandum issued by the U.S. Marshals
Service in Washington calling for stepped-up
security at federal facilities throughout the
According to the memo, the information
about the threat was obtained from an
unidentified "informed source" who said the
death sentence was specifically directed
against U.S. Marshals Service personnel....
The Marshals Service memo said the
agency believes that "there is sufficient
threat potential to request that a heightened
level of security awareness and caution be
implemented at all Marshals
Service-protected facilities nationwide."
The memo, issued by U.S. Marshals Service Director
Eduardo Gonzalez, warned that attacks may be
designed to "target as many victims as possible and
draw as much media coverage as possible" to the
fundamentalist cause. "The terrorists, possible suicide
bombers, will not engage in negotiations," the memo
warned, and "once the press is on the scene, the new
plans call for blowing everyone up."
While no "Islamic fundamentalists" have taken credit for
the Oklahoma City bombing, many details of the warning
and the timing of the Oklahoma blast seem to indicate
that the memo certainly may have pertained to the mass
murder at the Murrah Building.
An even more intriguing and compelling piece of
evidence comes in the form of a warning allegedly
delivered to the U.S. Justice Department offices in
Denver less that two weeks before the Oklahoma
bombing. U.S. Attorney Henry Solano confirmed that his
Denver office granted immunity last September to an
informant who claimed to have information about a plot
to bomb a federal building.
This same informant reportedly delivered a letter to the
Justice Department on April 6th claiming to have
"specific information that within two weeks" a federal
building was to be bombed. The informant's hand-written
After leaving Denver for what I thought would
be a long time, I returned here last night
because I have specific information that
within two weeks a federal building(s) is to
be bombed in this area or nearby ....
I would not ignore this specific request for
you personally to contact me immediately
regarding a plot to blow up a federal bldg. If
the information is false request Mr. Allison to
charge me accordingly. If you and/or your
office does not contact me as I so request
herein, I will never again contact any law
enforcement agency, federal or state,
regarding those matters [indecipherable
word] in the letter of immunity.
After the April 19th bombing, spokesmen for the Justice
Department stated that they had not -- and still do not --
deem the informant to be credible. However, last
September they had apparently deemed him credible
enough to grant him immunity. That is not a prize which
federal prosecutors dispense frivolously to every
"informant" who walks through the door. The informant's
immunity letter of September 14, 1994 on U.S. Justice
Department stationery reads:
This letter is to memorialize the agreement
between you and the United States of
America, by the undersigned Assistant
United States Attorney. The terms of this
agreement are as follows:
1. You have contacted the U.S. Marshals
Service on today's date indicating that you
have information concerning a conspiracy
and/or attempt to destroy United States court
facilities in [redacted] and possibly other
2. The United States agrees that any
statement and/or information that you
provide relevant to this
conspiracy/conspiracies or attempts will not
be used against you in any criminal
proceeding. Further, the United States
agrees that no evidence derived from the
information or statements provided by you
will be used in any way against you....
The informant claims that he was acting as a courier
transporting illegal drugs from Kingman, Arizona to Las
Vegas and Denver when he discovered C-4 explosives
in a delivery envelope. He also says he overheard
discussions about a plot to blow up a federal building, or
buildings, in the Midwest sometime in mid-April 1995.
The alleged conspirators were Latin American or Middle
Eastern with Arabic names. Kingman, Arizona, of
course, was home to Timothy McVeigh and Michael
Fortier, both of whom are charged in the bombing of the
Murrah Building. According to our information the
informant did not report seeing McVeigh or Fortier or
hearing their names in connection with the bomb plot.
However, as we have reported previously in THE NEW
AMERICAN (September 4th, "Searching for John Doe No.
2" and October 16th, "Startling OKC Developments"),
reliable witnesses have identified apparent Middle
Eastern accomplices in the company of McVeigh in the
days prior to April 19th and on that fateful morning with
McVeigh in and near the Ryder truck.
Grand Juror Speaks Out
In the November 27th issue of THE NEW AMERICAN
("New Charges of OKC Cover-up"), we reported on the
serious charges leveled against federal prosecutors in
the case by grand juror Hoppy Heidelberg. Heidelberg
had attempted to expose improper interference with the
grand jury's duties by federal prosecutors. Specifically,
he accused the government of covering up the identity of
the still missing John Doe No. 2, arguably the most
sought after fugitive in history. For his civic-minded
efforts he was dismissed from the jury and threatened
with possible fines and imprisonment.
Fortunately, Heidelberg has continued to speak out.
And, amazingly, he has even received some positive
coverage from certain vehicles of the controlled
Establishment media which have otherwise performed
deplorably with virtually all of their reporting on
Oklahoma City. A prime example of this rare and
responsible journalism could be found on CNN's
Burden of Proof program on November 11th. In an
amazing turn of events, the program's co-hosts, Greta
Van Susteran and Roger Cossack, as well as the panel
of three legal experts, all came down on the side of
Heidelberg. Cossack even exclaimed ardently, "I think
Hoppy's a hero." Plainly, the government's credibility in
this case is in tatters.
Adding to this credibility crisis are the recent revelations
of FBI scientist Dr. Frederic Whitehurst. Special Agent
Whitehurst, a top chemist in the FBI's celebrated crime
lab, has shaken the Bureau and the Justice Department
with accusations of perjury, evidence tampering, and
evidence fabrication in hundreds of high-profile cases
stretching back several years. Moreover, he charges
that his superiors have refused to correct these criminal
malpractices and have covered up for the guilty parties.
Although we have not yet been able to satisfactorily
verify Whitehurst's charges, many of them appear to
have merit. If even a fraction of them prove to be true,
they should serve to topple Janet Reno, Louis Freeh,
and others leading the government's effort in the
Oklahoma City case.
However, the Whitehurst accusations, serious as they
are, pale into relative insignificance next to the explosive
allegations of Emad E. Salem, an FBI informant in the
World Trade Center bombing. Salem, a 43-year-old
former Egyptian army officer, was used by the U.S.
government to infiltrate the group of Muslims convicted
of the New York City bombing which left six dead and
more than 1,000 injured. According to Salem, he was
originally supposed to substitute "phony powder" for the
explosive ingredients used in the bomb, but was foiled
by an FBI supervisor who "came and messed it up."
Although hardly a paragon of virtue, Salem has brought
forth taped conversations with FBI agents that seem to
lend credibility to his fantastic claim. Did the FBI fail to
prevent the Trade Center bombing when it was well
within its power to do so? If so, why? Who was
responsible? If federal officials -- due to incompetence,
negligence, or other reasons -- did indeed fail to stop
the New York bombing (or even contributed to its
perpetration), is it not appropriate to ask if some similar
"foul-up" may have occurred in Oklahoma?
Is dismissed grand juror Hoppy Heidelberg correct in
claiming that the federal investigators are covering up
the identity of John Doe No. 2? Why were some of the
most important witnesses in the Oklahoma City case not
called before the grand jury? Why was the Denver
informant granted immunity and then not listened to?
Why is he still considered "not credible" after providing
details in advance of the event which would require
either the inside knowledge he claims or special
clairvoyant skills? Why did the ATF lie about the events
of April 19th? Why have the Oklahoma City fire, police,
and sheriffs departments been placed under gag
Clearly, there are many. pieces of this puzzle that point
toward foreknowledge of the bombing plot by federal
officials prior to the terrible moment at 9:02 a.m. on April
19th, when the murderers' bomb (or bombs) ended the
lives of 169 people. These witnesses and pieces of
evidence cannot be ignored or summarily dismissed.
They deserve a thorough and fair investigation. And
Americans must demand one, or face the certain
prospect of additional -- and perhaps more heinous --