Interview conducted March 30, 2010. Listen to the interview.
Scott’s collection of OKC audio clips here.
Scott’s collection of Jesse Trentadue’s court files here.
For Antiwar.com and KAOS radio 95.9 in Austin, Texas, I’m Scott Horton. This is Antiwar Radio. And our first guest on the show today is Jesse Trentadue. He’s an attorney from Salt Lake City, Utah. Welcome to the show, Jesse, how’re you doing?
Jesse Trentadue: Thank you very much.
Scott Horton: I really appreciate you joining us here. All right, so, I guess I’ll give a short introduction to the story here, just to catch everybody up, and I’ll try to make the long story short if I can: Jesse’s brother, Kenneth Michael Trentadue, was tortured to death in federal custody in the summer of 1995. And it turns out the reason, the probable reason anyway that he was tortured to death in federal custody, was because it was a case of mistaken identity. They were trying to get him to admit that he was a guy named Richard Lee Guthrie, who was one of the John Does suspected in the Oklahoma City bombing. And Kenneth Trentadue, unfortunately, was just at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong color hair, the wrong truck, the wrong dragon tattoo on his arm, and they were just convinced that he was Richard Guthrie, and he paid for it with his life. And a massive cover-up commenced, but they didn’t realize that they were messing with Jesse Trentadue, who happens to be a lawyer in Utah and knows how to work the system to, well, approach a remedy and justice. And so this is how Jesse’s story has become one with the story, the true story, of what happened behind the Oklahoma City bombing. And just in the last week Jesse has gotten refused by the court on some motions, some Freedom of Information Act suits that he had filed against the Central Intelligence Agency for any files that they had about the Oklahoma City bombing, and even though the files that he was suing for were denied, the judge’s decision on why he was denied was full of all kinds of extra interesting things itself. So, do I have that basically right, Jesse? Please correct me if I went off the story anywhere there, and then maybe please let’s get into what the judge’s decision actually said here.
Trentadue: Nope, I think you’re absolutely right. And one of the things your listeners should know is, I didn’t start out to solve the Oklahoma City bombing. I started out to find out who killed my brother, and as it happened, every lead I came across took me back to the bombing in Oklahoma City in April of 1995, including a message I received from Tim McVeigh shortly before he was executed. I mean they sent me a message that when he saw my brother’s picture and heard what happened to him, he said that I want you to know that essentially the FBI probably killed him because they thought he was John Doe 2, who was Richard Lee Guthrie.
Horton: That’s what McVeigh said in his letter to you.
Trentadue: Yes. He sent a message out to me.
Horton: And now, let’s see, he was executed in the early summer, late spring, I guess, 2001. How much of your story had already been out at that point? I mean, was there already, for example, could he have read in the McCurtain Gazette J.D. Cash’s writing about you and was just tagging along on that, or was this "there was no other way for him to know"?
Trentadue: There was no other way for him to know. None of this story was out.
Horton: When, at which point did JD Cash get in contact with you?
Trentadue: I think it was about 2003, 2004.
Trentadue: So, we had no knowledge. We had no motive.
Horton: Well what did you think when you got that letter from McVeigh? When did you get that letter from McVeigh?
Trentadue: It was shortly before he was executed. It wasn’t a letter, he sent me a message.
Horton: A message.
Trentadue: One of his contacts. He said that he wants you to know this. And I had never put it together before. I could never understand why we was getting such a fight from the federal government over an obvious murder. I couldn’t understand why all the evidence was disappearing. You know, crime scene photographs disappeared. The logbooks disappeared. Surveillance cameras supposedly didn’t work. All my brother’s bloodstained clothing was removed and destroyed before his body was turned over to the medical examiner. The medical examiner wasn’t allowed into the scene, it was cleaned and painted before he was allowed in. All these things were happening and I couldn’t understand why they were happening over the death of an ordinary person. And shortly after he was killed, I received an anonymous call, probably December or January, December of ’95, January of ’96, and I didn’t pay much attention to it but the caller said your brother was killed by the FBI, it was a case of mistaken identity, they thought he was a member of this group who was robbing banks to get money to attack the federal government, and they said he fit a profile of someone. And I, I of course just dismissed that as just some crank call. And later that year, in the summer of 1996, I read an article about the so-called suicide of Richard Lee Guthrie, who was a member of the Midwest bank robbery gang, and the article simply said that they were robbing banks to get money to attack the federal government, butâ€”
Horton: And he killed himself in prison, too.
Horton: Just like they tried to say about your brother.
Trentadue: And I had an eyewitness named Alden Gillis Baker, and a month before the trial was to start in 2000, they found him hanging in his cell too. All three, Guthrie, my brother, and Baker supposedly committed suicide by hanging themselves in federal custody.
Horton: Well you know the last time we spoke you mentioned that the expert, who I guess was sent by the government to examine the videotapes of what happened on the cell block that night was ordered not to discuss what was in the tapes and then himself was found dead, but I didn’t ask the obvious follow-up then, which was, do you know how he died?
Trentadue: They claim he had a heart attack. But this man was a world-famous videographer. He had did the videotape analysis in the Rodney King trial. And he called me up and told me, he said, the videographer said, I told the FBI that the tapes had been erased, and they immediately took the tapes back, the camera back, and told me not to write a report, not to talk about this, and he said I want you to know that that’s what I found. So he ended up dead about a month, two months before our trial too.
Horton: To be specific there, he was saying, this expert videographer was not saying the cameras were off, the tapes were blank, he’s saying these tapes have been erased.
Trentadue: He said they had been erased.
Horton: Yeah. All right, well, jeez. And what was his name?
Trentadue: Perle, if I remember, Norman Perle.
Horton: All right, well, so, what do we find out this week? What’s in these new documents? This judge told you, no, basically, your latest suit from Freedom of Information Act against the CIA has failed, correct?
Trentadue: It has, but, as you pointed out, [the judge] did a lot for me and he did a lot for the American people. He told us things that otherwise we would never have known. What happened is, I, in order to document the link between my brother’s murder and the bombing, and the connection to Guthrie, I filed a number of Freedom of Information Act suits. I sued the FBI. This time I sued the CIA. And it was sort of on a hunch, I said to the CIA I want all documents showing your involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing or prior knowledge of that attack. And they came back and gave me 37 blank pages, 12 documents all together, 37 blank pages, and they were stamped Secret, National Security. And they said, "Oh by the way, we have all these other documents that are so super secret we can’t even give you blank pages." So
Horton: Do they say how many were the ones that they couldn’t release in any form?
Trentadue: No, they said that would be disclosing how many they had.
Horton: So 37 that you know about that they gave you blank pieces of paper. Here’s 37 blank pieces of paper, and there’s another stack of pieces of paper that we can’t even tell you how high it is but you can’t have any of that either.
Trentadue: And it’s so secret we can’t even get any blank pages.
Horton: Heh. And, so, what’d the judge say?
Trentadue: Well, I sued them and said I want those documents, and the judge, of course, they came in, and it’s the very first time anyone in my Freedom of Information suits has ever asserted national security and the exemption of producing. And that’s like, it’s a rock that you can’t get around, once the government throws up national security. And they did more than that. They said to release these documents would pose a grave threat to the security of the United States of America. And the judge’s hands are tied at that point. It’s like a shield that he can’t go beyond, behind. But what he did, and I think he did this intentionally, is he wrote his opinion to let me know and the public know that there was a foreign connection to the Oklahoma City bombing. And he goes through it and he discusses the CIA’s assistance in helping prosecute Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols. And he talks about the contacts with foreign informants, foreign witnesses. He paints a very clear picture that there was foreign involvement, and of course there has to be because the CIA is a foreign intelligence agency. By law it cannot operate within the borders of the United States unless, unless there is a foreign element here.
Horton: So, to paraphrase, basically the judge is telling you, "We can’t give you these documents about the CIA’s involvement with foreign informants that knew something about the Oklahoma City bombing." That’s basically the way he’s saying it to you.
Trentadue: Yes, he says, "But I want you to know they were there."
Horton: Well, now, do you have any real indication as to what he’s talking about, if this is perhaps, you know, has to do with Andreas Strassmeir or whether this is, you know, along the lines of Jayna Davis and the American Enterprise Institute and trying to pin it on Middle Easterners?
Trentadue: I think it, I think it was Strassmeir, a German national and a former Army officer and counterterrorist person from the Republic of Germany. That’s my opinion. Of course he doesn’t say who, but it’s my feeling that’s the person.
Horton: There’s no reference in there, is there, to foreign intelligence agencies, are there?
Trentadue: There are oblique references. They talked about our ambassador in one of the documents being contacted by I’m trying to remember the exact language. Oh yes, information a foreign official provided to a United States ambassador. It talks about a cable relaying information about the Oklahoma City bombing that was provided to a United States ambassador by a foreign official.
Horton: Well, now, so in a sense this is a dead end because the judge is telling you, "Sorry." But, so, do you see perhaps in here opportunities of a way around, based on anything that’s in these? In this ruling?
Trentadue: No, but I think it’s significant, what he’s done. I mean, in one of the documents is talking about trying to extradite an organized crime figure from another country, that’s part of the bombing prosecution. And these things are, this is happening after, after the FBI says "We’ve caught Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols, they’re the ones who did it, end of story." So, long after they’re telling the American public that, the CIA is running down witnesses and suspects in foreign countries for the FBI and the Department of Justice. But, I think this was important for a number of reasons. It’s the first time it’s ever been documented, no one even suspected, that the CIA was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing. And, more than that, one of the things that came out is they actually had the Geospatial Intelligence Agency involved. Now I imagine very few if any of your listeners know what that is, and I certainly didn’t until the name came up in these CIA documents. And that’s the spy satellite program the CIA operates. So you have not only the CIA involved, you have the spy satellite folks involved.
Horton: Well, you know, I wonder, after all these releases, have you figured out who was running Strassmeir exactly? I mean, it seems like it would be kind of strange if the CIA was running him the whole time and then they go doing a big investigation about him after the fact, you know?
Trentadue: I think it was a joint operation between the FBI and the German government. You remember the people they targeted were the emerging neo-Nazi movement. It came to life in the United States. It was being exported back to Europe. The German government was petrified that this would take root there. And so I think it was a joint effort by the German government and the United States through the FBI to do this, infiltrate these groups. And I’ve come across a name that makes me believe that is so, because they refer to this operation as PatCon, the FBI did, P-A-T-C-O-N, which was an acronym for Patriot Conspiracy. And I think the objective was to infiltrate the militia movement, and they targeted this group, a potentially dangerous group in eastern Oklahoma who lived in a compound called Elohim City. Strassmeir worked his way into that compound as the explosives and weapons inspector, and I think he was an agent provocateur. I think he ginned those folks up to bomb the Murrah building.
Horton: Yeah, it does seem to be a question of well and I don’t to get too far into speculation here because honestly after all these years, you know, my memory fails, and also I’m not so sure anymore about some of the things I used to think I was more sure about, but it certainly seems as though, you know, Strassmeir was not the only FBI agent or informant in on this and that there’s enough hard evidence to show, well for example, the last time we spoke we talked about how the ATF informant, Carol Howe, was reporting back on this group of, you know, terrorist plotters and even as admitted by her ATF handler under oath, she even went with them to case the building, and then the next day drove her ATF handler on the same route and said "That’s the building we cased," before the bombing ever even happened. And, so it sure is, it sure seems pretty clear to me that, you know, there was some kind of infiltration, as you said, going on there, but then I guess the question comes down to, doesn’t it, whether it was a sting that got out of control or whether this guy Strassmeir’s mission actually was to get a bombing done. I mean, after all, there was a bombing, killed 168 people. Somebody built that bomb.
Trentadue: Carol Howe reported that four months before the bomb went off. In one of the documents reported this to the ATF, she went with Strassmeir and others to scout the target. One of the documents that came out as a result of my suing the FBI was a teletype from FBI headquarters, then Director Louis Freeh, to his field office in Oklahoma City saying that two days before the bombing McVeigh had called Elohim City to speak with Strassmeir asking for more help to carry out the attack. I mean, they clearly knew, clearly knew in advance it was going to happen. Now this is something you struggle with and I struggle with, did it go south on them, was the plan to catch the people in the act, or did they really want it to happen. I God I had to think it as much as I hate the FBI, I hate to think it’s the latter. You have to look at what they get when there’s a terrorist attack. They get all new funding, they get the Patriot Act, they get all these other laws that take away our rights.
Horton: Well and there are plenty of indications that they really did want to stop it. I mean, there were plenty of reports, I guess, three or four different reports that said that the bomb squad showed up at the Murrah building at about 7 o’clock that morning and stuck around till about 8, 8:30, and then finally I guess shrugged and left. And then the bomb showed up at 9.
Trentadue: I’ve heard those reports and I have no reason to disbelieve them.
Horton: So, somebody was zooming somebody, and maybe it was McVeigh was, well, let’s go ahead, as long as we’re down the rabbit hole here, Jesse, you got any documents showing McVeigh continuing to work for the US military or the US intelligence agencies in any form after he supposedly dropped out of the Army?
Trentadue: He had… Two things. One is out and one, it’ll be certainly be coming out. The first one is Terry Nichols. I got in to see him. How I did I never understood, but he said that the FBI was work I mean, that McVeigh was an operative of the FBI. Now whether he went off the game plan or off the reservation, I don’t know, but Nichols swears he was working for the government. And there’s an inmate named David Paul Hammer who spent about two years on death row with Tim McVeigh, and I speak with Hammer on occasion and help him in some legal matters and we’ve become friends, I guess, over the years, and he has a book he’s coming out with here in the not too distant future, by the bombing anniversary, I think, where he just lays out everything McVeigh told him about the bombing, what McVeigh did, who was working with him, where the bomb was built.
Horton: A second book.
Trentadue: A second book.
Horton: Now what was the what’s the title of the first one? I forget, it’s been a couple years.
Trentadue: Secrets Worth Dying For.
Horton: And anybody, I think, can read that online. I read the whole thing in PDF format online. I’ll try to find the link for it. [Sorry, no luck. -editor.]
Trentadue: His new one is Deadly Secrets. And what he’s done is, a lot of the stuff he told me that he could not document that McVeigh told him, he never bothered to put in the first book as speculation, but since then he’s been able to confirm a lot of this stuff, and I think the approach he’s going to take is, he doesn’t know whether it’s true or not, but he does say, and I believe him, that this is what McVeigh told him he did and who all was involved, and it was much more than just Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh.
Horton: Well, sure, you know, JD Cash, I forget now, I’m going to have to go back and listen, Jesse, I forget whether he ever did name these guys. Um, I think he did actually Now I’m going to have to go back and look and maybe talk with his buddy Roger
Horton: Roger Charles, right. Um, but JD Cash before he died told me that the bomb was built not at Geary State Lake in Indiana, or if any bomb was built at Geary State Lake in In er, uh, in Kansas, pardon me, that if any bomb was built there it would have been a decoy or something, that the actual bomb that was in the Ryder truck that went off that morning was built in a garage in Oklahoma City that morning by two Arizona gold miners, one of whom was an FBI informant.
Trentadue: Well then that is highly likely, but I know David says it was built in a ware- it’s consistent, was built in a warehouse down on Meridian Boulevard in Oklahoma City that morning.
Horton: And do you know about the Arizona gold miner angle on that?
Trentadue: I know it was, he wasn’t a gold miner, he was a chemist, or he was a gold miner and a chemist too, I guess. It’s my understanding that he and McVeigh were hanging around in the desert near Kingman, Arizona, together.
Horton: All right, now, for anybody who remembers back then who paid attention and tried to have an unbiased eye to what was going on, I think it was pretty apparent that the trials of McVeigh and Nichols both in Denver were ridiculous sham fake trials, the kind that you would expect to see in some Third World dictatorship or something. They did nothing but bring witness after witness to talk about how sad they were and then they did nothing but exclude anybody who could shed light on what actually happened there. And in fact, I have the clip here, I guess I won’t play it now, I might try to stick it on the end of the interview here, but there’s a clip from "60 Minutes" where one of McVeigh’s jurors says, "Well, you know, if he didn’t do it, I would expect for someone to come in and testify that, you know, he was with me that day or something, and since that didn’t happen, I had to go ahead and convict." In other words, the state did not prove their case at all, the national government, the U.S. Attorney’s office, did not prove their case beyond saying we’re really, really sure it was McVeigh. Now, I don’t doubt that it was McVeigh, or not very much, I guess I got a 1% doubt, but maybe less than 1% but certainly there is no doubt whatsoever that they refused to put on a real trial because if they put on a real trial all this stuff about the prior knowledge and Andreas Strassmeir and Carol Howe and all the rest of it would have come out. In fact, you know, if I’m going to go as far as compare it to a Third World dictatorship, let me go ahead and add the detail, they indicted Carol Howe for having a pipe in her garage and white supremacist literature consistent with her costume as undercover informant and charged her with conspiracy to bomb people so that she would be under indictment at the time of the McVeigh trial and unable to testify. And then as soon as the trial was over they dropped the charges against her, they didn’t even try to prosecute her. It was just a scheme to keep her off the stand, even though Stephen Jones, the lawyer, tried to subpoena her over and over again, obviously.
Trentadue: And the thing to focus on is Carol Howe. There’s that field transcript in federal court in Oklahoma where the ATF agent, I think her name was Finley Gram
Horton: Right, Angela Finley, and then I think there was a marriage thing with the two last names there.
Trentadue: who’s testifying about Howe had reported that the plan to bomb the Murrah building four months in advance, had gone with Strassmeir and others to scout the target the first thing the U.S. Attorney does when Graham stops testifying is ask the judge to seal the transcript, and the judge says why, and he says, "We don’t want it getting out and mucking up the McVeigh trial: the fact that here an ATF agent, an informant, had gone to Oklahoma City to scout the Murrah building to be bombed with people other than McVeigh four months in advance." And the judge granted the order, and he ordered the transcript sealed.
Horton: How do you like that? Now, you know, another thing was that there were videotapes that were seen by the Los Angeles Times and NBC News 4 in Oklahoma City, and I think I sent you that audio clip [.mp3], right? Where you were going to try to use that to prove to the judge that these tapes have been seen, the L.A. Times saw them, and they show McVeigh sit in the truck, according to the News 4 in Oklahoma City, and it’s John Doe 2 that gets out of the truck, opens the back, lights the fuse, and then they run away John Doe 2 that doesn’t exist.
Trentadue: …that doesn’t exist. And I have a tape, I have a fight now with the FBI over those tapes. I’d asked for the tapes taken on the morning of the 19th from the cameras located on the Murrah building and some of the buildings showing the access to the Murrah building. They produced tapes from the buildings around the Murrah building, but strangely between 8:52 and 9:02 on the morning of April 19th, 1995, these cameras at different locations go blank at different times as the vehicle passes.
Trentadue: But the one they never produced were the cameras, the tapes made from the cameras at the Murrah building, which were recorded off location, so they weren’t damaged in that blast. And so I now have a motion in front of the federal judge here in Salt Lake City to make them turn over those tapes. And those are the tapes, the reenactment that you had sent me. That’s where I think those tapes that these other people saw came from, the cameras mounted on the exterior of the Murrah building. And it gets…
Horton: All right, now. I’m sorry, go ahead.
Trentadue: And it gets more incredible, I mean, one of the things I have is I have affidavits from the people who knew how the surveillance system worked in the Murrah building including one from an Oklahoma City police officer who was on the scene immediately after the blast trying to find survivors and rescue them and they’re ordered out of the building and the FBI takes the cameras down. I mean…
Horton: Mmhmm. Well, and you know there were three different bomb scares after the bombing where they said "We found an undetonated bomb, everybody run." And I guess I used to just be convinced that that meant that they found an undetonated bomb, but maybe there was something else going on there. I guess JD Cash thought that there were not internal explosives but that the ATF, for example, had a tow missile up in their offices that they had to get rid of and maybe some other things. And I guess you’re saying it sounds like one of these bomb scares was about getting rid of the security cameras.
Trentadue: It was. They went in immediately and took the cameras down off the building. And why, within minutes of the blast, when people are searching frantically due to rubble trying to rescue the people and save lives, would the FBI order the rescuers out and then remove the cameras?
Horton: Well and we also know that, and this, you know, was all over the Associated Press and everything else at the time, that when the ATF showed up in full battle gear a few minutes after the thing happened and admitted to people on scene that they had been warned on their pagers not to go to work that day, and when they got called out for that, they tried to lie, and one of the ATF agents said made up this whole story about how he was in the elevator and it free fell and then he rescued a bunch of people and was a big hero, and the elevator repair companies, I think it was both elevator companies in Oklahoma City, came out and said that never happened. And one of the elevator repair guys or the contractor said that is "pure fantasy" that this elevator was in free fall, whatever, and in fact that agent was not in the building. That’s why he had to make up the story.
Trentadue: There is so much about this tragedy that’s unknown, and yet 15 years later more and more comes out, and as you said, it’s pretty clear now that the United States government had prior knowledge and failed to stop it, whether that was intentional or a screw-up, I don’t know if we’ll ever know, but they knew.
Horton: How unprecedented is it, do you think, in a case like this well I don’t know how many cases there are like this, but one of the things that the judge wrote in his opinion rejecting your Freedom of Information Act suits against the CIA was, he really seemed to go to lengths to document the fact that they helped, the CIA helped the Department of Justice prepare their case, this is worse than the kangaroo trial or two that took place in Denver back in 1997.
Trentadue: I think he wanted people to know that, and see the CIA is not a law enforcement agency. They don’t have the right to prosecute anyone. They have no right to charge anyone. Now they may torture and murder people abroad, but they’re not law enforcement, so they should not be involved at all in the prosecution. Yet the judge makes it clear they were all over that prosecution.
Horton: Well and you are a lawyer, you’re not just a brother. You, you know, have actual legal experience, so I mean, is this, this kind of, I mean well look, let’s say if it was the Moussaoui case, right, you’d have the CIA helping the Department of Justice with that, right, because they got…
Trentadue: Because there was a foreign involvement.
Horton: Although probably not helping them build the case, right, they would just give them intelligence maybe, but
Trentadue: This looks like that what the judge says they were helping make the case.
Horton: What do you know about current Attorney General Eric Holder and his involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing and/or the cover-up thereof?
Trentadue: Well I know Holder was the one in charge of covering up my brother’s murder. He put together what they call a roll-out plan called the Trentadue mission, and it was to prevent any kind of inquiry into my brother’s murder, no hearings in Congress. I mean, he strong-armed Senator Hatch, Senator Dorgan, every other senator he could get a hold of to stop any kind of investigation into my brother’s murder. He did that personally.
Horton: And how do you know that?
Trentadue: Because I have a whole bunch of e-mails back and forth involving Holder and implementing "the Trentadue mission" he called it, documenting what he did and what his role was as Deputy Attorney General. And I suspect he played the same role in keeping a lid on the bombing.
Horton: So all those years that I was scratching my head trying to figure out how it could possibly be that Congress never convened a single hearing on any subcommittee in either house when it was run by either party on this case, it was because Eric Holder was doing the shuttle diplomacy there between branches of government preventing Dan Burton, Orrin Hatch, Arlen Specter, Patrick Leahy, people like that, from investigating this case.
Trentadue: Both my brother’s murder and the bombing. It’s my understanding there’s never been a hearing on the bombing.
Horton: Now, you mentioned Dana Rohrabacher before and how he was trying to do something and it’d been shut down. Has he given up?
Trentadue: I don’t know.
Horton: Because he was going to hold hearings I think.
Trentadue: He tried to, but the FBI ignored his subpoenas and refused to produce documents, refused to produce witnesses, just told him to go pound sand.
Horton: And I guess he would need a majority to vote to hold them in contempt of Congress, or something like that, is that how that works?
Trentadue: It would, and he would not get that vote, because I suspect that the others in Congress, the ones who chair the committees, knew very well that this story would go right to the highest levels of Justice in the administration. And they were not going to let that happen.
Horton: All right, now, what do you have, and you know, I just, I shouldn’t make this personal, but I guess I kind of am making it personal. Every day I turn on TV and somebody from the Southern Poverty Law Center is saying that anyone who does not approve of whatever the administration is doing at any given time is basically a neo-Nazi, basically responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. If you’re a member of the Tea Party movement, which I am certainly not and have not much in common with, but according to them, if you’re a member of the Tea Party movement, then, well, you’re basically John Doe No. 2. And, you know, it’s extra frustrating to me since John Doe 2 apparently was an undercover FBI informant and they get to go ahead and continue to, you know, beat any dissent against a Democratic [Party] controlled government over the head with this bombing. Um, but it’s always somebody from the Southern Poverty Law Center who is the guest, the expert guest, who gets to tell us how many hate groups there are in America at any given time and conflate basically anybody to the right of Rachel Maddow together with Timothy McVeigh. And so I’m kinda curious to know what evidence you have, Jesse, that the Southern Poverty Law Center was in any way involved with the neo-Nazi/cops who did the Oklahoma bombing.
Trentadue: Well it appears, and first of all, I agree with you, it’s a sad state in our country’s history where to voice an opinion means you’re attacked from one side or the other. It means you no longer discuss things as a nation or a people. That we’ve become so divided now that you’re either one side or the other or forced into one side or the other. But for the Southern Poverty Law Center, they had, and they’ve had they had apparently informants, another level of informant, at Elohim City at the same time that Strassmeir and Carol Howe and the other government informants were there. These documents that I’ve had them produce, and not widely reported on, refer to the Southern Poverty Law Center reporting to the FBI the information it was receiving from its informants at Elohim City about the bombing.
Horton: Now do you know who those informants were?
Trentadue: I do not.
Horton: Are there any indications whether…
Trentadue: The names are blacked out. The FBI pleaded with the judge not to turn over any of the documents because they said they had guaranteed five or six people anonymity and confidentiality and it would expose them to risk of their life if their names were disclosed, and the judge said "Well, black out the names but turn the documents over." So I have documents talking about the informants, but the informants’ names are redacted or blacked out. By their own admission they’ve had five or six there that they had promised protection.
Horton: Hmm. But I guess, are there any other… because, you know, I remember JD Cash talking about this back in the day and I forget whether he said there was any other indication as to the identities of the informants that were working with Morris Dees.
Trentadue: I suspect that Strassmeir was reporting to the Southern Poverty Law Center too.
Horton: See that was something about this, right? was Janet Reno’s order restricting, I think this is what JD Cash told me, that there was a guideline from the Justice Department that went down that said or that in some way restricted the authority of the FBI to infiltrate groups.
Trentadue: A religious compound. I talked to JD about that and he’s absolutely right. He believed that it was a cutout operation that the FBI was, that the Southern Poverty Law Center was a straw man being run by the FBI in this operation because the FBI could not, because it was a governmental entity, invade this religious compound. And Elohim City claimed to be a right-wing Christian fundamentalist compound.
Horton: Well but there’s all kinds of other evidence that any number of these guys were actually working for the FBI as either cops or like perhaps Strassmeir paid informants, people who’ve been, you know, threatened with prosecution and then turned state’s witness and, you know, should we go down the list here? I mean there’s quite a bit of FBI work going on at Elohim City. Was it all being outsourced through the SPLC?
Trentadue: I don’t know, but I think a large part may have been, at least from the documents that I’ve been given, I mean, or that the judge has ordered released. They were very active there. But I don’t think it was all run through them. The ATF for example had Carol Howe and probably others.
Horton: Well that was certainly separate, yeah, the ATF’s thing with Carol Howe. Well now have you sued for any records of Andreas Strassmeir in any possible spelling inside FBI or CIA databases?
Trentadue: They take the position that it would be an invasion of his privacy to turn ’em over.
Horton: Well, but can’t…
Trentadue: I am in contact actually Strassmeir contacted me.
Trentadue: Once the documents were starting to come out, and it was obvious to me he was worried about what I was receiving, and I didn’t hide anything from him. I said sure, I’ll send you the copies, but he was worried that there was something going to come out with his name on it. And it did, ironically.
Horton: Well, now, you’re the lawyer here, so that’s the it’s the government that says, oh, it would violate his privacy, but then you get to say, "No, but judge, that doesn’t mean anything because we have this guy’s name in these other documents, and so, come on!" Right?
Trentadue: Right, the judge ordered one of them produced and it does have Strassmeir’s name in it, for that very reason, he’d already…
Horton: But that’s it, though. You can’t use that and say, but look, so we want the rest, because look how important this one is?
Trentadue: Well, it didn’t work that way. But I asked Strassmeir if he would give me a waiver of his privacy right so I could get the documents, and he said no.
Horton: Interesting. Well he certainly did plead his innocence to the BBC report that they did a couple of years back, I’m not sure how convincing it was. I’ll tell you what is convincing to me. Well, first of all, reading this pile of PDF files, which I promise to the audience I’m going to try to get all of these titled without spaces so they can be easily linked to and get them all uploaded and continually update my stash of Trentadue documents, but kind of the, I guess the icing on the cake for me here is the fact that Rick Ojeda, a former FBI agent, told me on KAOS Radio that he was looking into leads that led him straight to Elohim City, the neo-Nazi compound there in eastern Oklahoma, and that his bosses called him off. As far as he knows, nobody was ever assigned to follow up any more, that he knew that even after they admitted that they had withheld boxes and boxes of evidence from McVeigh’s attorneys that the stuff he reported still was not in there. And then also in that BBC special, Danny Colson, one of the five FBI agents running the case, says he wants a new grand jury. He thinks that there’s a lot more to this. Which is amazing to me, how could he not know for a fact there’s more to it if these guys were all FBI informants, like it seems. But still.
Trentadue: I think it was run at a very high level. People say how would you keep a lid on a conspiracy like this, and I think it’s easy when only the people at the very highest levels of the Department of Justice know about it. It’s easy to do it then.
Horton: All right, well, uh, listen, I really appreciate you joining us on the show today, Jesse, and I wish you the best of luck in your continuing efforts to uncover the truth. I mean, you still don’t know who killed your brother, do you?
Trentadue: No. No I don’t.
Horton: And, uh…
Trentadue: But I think I’m closer now than I’ve ever been. This ruling puts this out there too, I mean, people are not paying attention to this but this judge made it clear that there was a foreign element involved in that attack and one the government has worked very hard to keep secret.
Horton: Well, I noticed, uh, well I guess you sent me this, Homeland Security Today, hstoday.us, I guess, you know, this is basically read by cops throughout our country. "CIA Aided DOJ Prosecutors in 1995 Oklahoma Bombing Case, Secret CIA Documents Withheld in FOIA Suit Raise More Questions Than They Answer," is this headline, so let’s… Come on, Washington Post and Associated Press! Yeah right, let’s see. We’ll wait and see.
Trentadue: Don’t hold your breath.
Horton: All right, well listen, best of luck to you, and I really appreciate you forwarding on all these documents too. I’m going to do my best to get a single folder uploaded where everyone can have access to these documents, and I hope we can talk about this again as the case develops further.
Trentadue: I appreciate you having me on.
Horton: All right. Thank you very much.
Trentadue: Thank you.
Horton: Everybody, that’s Jesse Trentadue. He’s an attorney in Salt Lake City.