Had the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in February of 1995 acted upon an its expressed determination to arrest a German national who had overstayed his visa, the Oklahoma City bombing might not have taken place.
While the show trial of Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh was being conducted at Denver, Colorado in April of 1997, another federal proceeding was taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But no one seemed particularly interested in this case–the federal prosecution of former beauty queen and Oklahoma debutante Carol Howe for making bomb threats against the government of the United States.
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No one, that is, but the Department of Justice itself. And attorneys representing the Department were interested enough to exhibit virtual desperation when privately begging Judge Michael Burrage to seal the case and all appertaining information lest it be acquired by McVeigh attorneys in Denver!
For some 8 months prior to the April 19, 1995 destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, Carol Howe had been acting as an informant for the ATF. Her mission was to gather information from and about friends and acquaintances located in Elohim Cty, Oklahoma, a known hangout for neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in the state.
And although Judge Burrage did indeed seal the records of her trial, a leaked “Transcript of Proceedings” conducted in a sealed hearing make it clear that Howe had reported to her ATF contact that Andreas Strassmeir, a German national living in Elohim City who had over-stayed his American visa, was both an explosives expert and had made threats about blowing up a federal building in Oklahoma City.
“And Ms. Howe told you about Mr. Strassmeir’s threats to blow up federal buildings, didn’t she,” asked Howe’s attorney, Clark Brewster of Carol Howe’s “handler”, ATF Agent Angela Finley-Graham during Howe’s trial.
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“In general, yes” responded Agent Graham.
“And that was before the Oklahoma City bombing,” continued Brewster.
“Yes” said Graham. (1)
In fact, Carol Howe had accompanied Andreas Strassmeir to Oklahoma City at Graham’s urging some months earlier and not only relayed this information to Graham, but accompanied the ATF agent to Oklahoma City shortly thereafter, detailing all of the buildings visited by the prospective bombers.
As reported by McCurtain Daily Gazette journalist J.D. Cash, Andreas Strassmeir “…had been singled out for arrest by the ATF in early 1995, but those plans were thwarted by the Oklahoma City FBI office.” (2)
Howe had identified Strassmeir as a principle in the plot to destroy federal buildings. He had over-stayed his visa and bragged of having access to fully automatic weapons.
Yet “…last minute efforts by then-FBI special agent in charge of the Oklahoma City field office, Bob Ricks, scrubbed plans for Strassmeir’s arrest when the FBI agent contacted U.S. Attorney Steve Lewis in Tulsa and complained about the ATF plan to raid Elohim City.” (2)
Ricks later explained his actions by claiming he wanted to avoid another Waco-type debacle on the part of the ATF!
So the FBI intervened to prevent the arrest of the explosives expert whose knowledge was so necessary to Tim McVeigh in the construction of the Oklahoma City truck bomb. Had this early 1995 ATF raid of Elohim City and arrest of Andreas Strassmeir taken place, would it have given flight to others known to frequent Elohim City and known to have assisted McVeigh and Nichols in the bombing? Would the loss of Strassmeir to the conspiracy have been enough in itself?
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