Strassmeir still mystery man in Oklahoma City bombing
By Roger G. Charles and J.D. Cash
McCurtain (Okla.) Daily Gazette (www.mccurtain.com)
IDABEL, Okla. -- A retired, senior officer of the nation’s intelligence community has confirmed to this newspaper that the German military-intelligence operative, Andreas Strassmeir, was in fact “working for the German government and the FBI” while residing at the neo-Nazi compound known as Elohim City. Strassmeir resided at this compound for four years and closely associated with members of the neo-Nazi group that planned and conducted the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City.
This intelligence officer identified a specific document, a post-bombing report, that listed Strassmeir’s role as an agent reporting on neo-Nazi activities as part of a campaign being waged by both German and American governments against such activities. (This newspaper is involved in legal efforts to obtain a copy of this report.)
Twelve years after the April 19 bombing in America’s heartland, this and other recently obtained and compelling evidence confirms what had long been suspected – the bombing was the result of a bungled “sting” operation that sought to disrupt international ties between German and American neo-Nazis. It was a sting operation that went bad, horribly bad.
Strassmeir’s role as a possible German military-intelligence operative in the center of neo-Nazi group responsible for this deadly attack had long puzzled Danny Coulson, one of the three most-senior FBI supervisors in charge of the immediate post-bombing investigation.
In a documentary television program aired by the British Broadcasting Corporation on March 4 of this year, Coulson described how unusual it was, based on his own 31 years in the FBI, that Strassmeir was never interviewed by the FBI before he was allowed to return to Germany in January 1996.
“To my knowledge, he was never interviewed by any FBI agents. He was interviewed [in a trans-Atlantic telephone call] by two Assistant United States Attorneys with an FBI [agent] present on the phone but taking notes. But there was never a face-to- face, sit-down, come-to-Jesus meeting with the FBI. That never occurred.”
In the same BBC program, Strassmeir repeated his oft-repeated denial of any knowledge of or role in the bombing plot.
Coulson was not impressed with Strassmeir’s responses.
“Yeah, well a person can claim a lot of things. But, you are known by the company you keep... if you are hanging out with some Aryans [neo-Nazis] and the Aryans are involved in criminal activity, it’s kind of hard to say you know nothing about it. It’s like hanging out with the choir [and you] didn’t know they sang. It’s exactly the same type of thing. He knew what they were up to. He knew what he was doing there. And we should have interviewed him.”
In November 2003, this newspaper obtained a Jan. 4, 1996, teletype from then-Director of the FBI Louis Freeh that contained information about a telephone call from Tim McVeigh to Strassmeir at Elohim City. While federal prosecutors had admitted that McVeigh called Elohim City on April 5, 1995, asking to speak with Strassmeir, the evidence of this second phone call on April 17 was withheld from McVeigh’s federal trial and from both federal and state trials of Terry Nichols, McVeigh’s co-defendant.
This document contains these two other key facts.
One, this source reported to the FBI that McVeigh had a “lengthy relationship” with Strassmeir. Not only was this document withheld from the defense teams, but the federal prosecutors claimed repeatedly that the largest FBI investigation in the nation’s history up to this time had discovered that McVeigh’s and Strassmeir’s direct contacts consisted only of a short encounter at a Tulsa gun show two years before the bombing. (McVeigh’s phone call of April 4 had been for Strassmeir, who had not been present to take the call.)
And, two, this source reported that Strassmeir was (as of Jan. 4, 1996) residing in North Carolina and had plans to “leave the U.S. via Mexico, in the near future.” The source specified where Strassmeir was staying, and with whom.
No action was taken by the FBI to intercept Strassmeir, who walked across the Texas border into Mexico on or about Jan. 10 in route to his home in Germany.
The above revelations were discovered in November 2003 when this newspaper found a copy of the explosive teletype among more than 300,000 pages of FBI records that were supposedly not directly related to the Oklahoma City bombing, known inside the FBI as “OKBOMB.” Yet, the Oklahoma City bombing case number is clearly shown as being the case under which the teletype was drafted, transmitted and filed.
From this same 300,000 pages is a never-before-disclosed FBI teletype dated December 6, 1995, from the FBI office in St. Louis to the Director and 11 other FBI offices. It contains conclusive proof that the FBI actively investigated connections between the neo-Nazi gang of bank robbers and the Oklahoma City bomb team. (Three of the bank robbers lived with Strassmeir at Elohim City at various times.)
This teletype announced a meeting to be hosted by the St. Louis FBI office on Jan. 9 and 10, 1996, for the purpose of exchanging information about the neo-Nazi bank robbers (know in FBI shorthand as the “BOMBROB” major case).
It further stated that, “... this investigation has been featured on the Oct. 28, 1995 segment of America’s Most Wanted (AMW), which resulted in a possible connection between BOMBROB and OKBOMB.”
The teletype lists nine items to be covered in the Jan. 9-10 meeting. Two of the agenda items are particularly relevant.
“6)Presentation from OKBOMB investigator on status of possible connection with BOMBROB.
“7) Explanation of specifics of possible military connection.”
Following the late-December 1995 interviews of a neo-Nazi leader (who was serving as a sergeant in the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Georgia) and his wife, the FBI used this sergeant to lure the leaders of the BOMBROB gang to meetings in the Cincinnati, Ohio area where they were arrested. (Richard Lee Guthrie on January 15, and Peter Langan on January 18, 1996.)
An FBI teletype dated Jan. 3, 1996 announced that, “In view of recent developments in the Cincinnati Division [of the FBI]...,” the planned meeting of members of the BOMBROB and OBKBOMB investigation teams in St. Louis on January 9 and 10 was “postponed indefinitely.”
The Army sergeant and his wife received an undisclosed award for their roles in supporting the FBI’s arrests of the BOMBROB leaders in Ohio.
And, whether it was coincidence or not, Strassmeir – “Andy the German” to his neo-Nazi associates – left the United States on January 10.
Recent documents and other information obtained by this newspaper have also confirmed long-held suspicions about Strassmeir’s immigration records, a few of which were released for the federal trials of McVeigh and Nichols.
Specifically, in Strassmeir’s visits to the United States, dating back to 1988, his immigration records listed him with a coded designation that meant he traveled in a special diplomatic status which carried with it diplomatic immunity.
When retired senior FBI official Coulson was asked in the BBC documentary about his continuing suspicions regarding Strassmeir, Coulson replied:
“There is (sic) lots of questions who he is. Who he works for? And does he work for... for someone in the United States? Does he work for the federal government, or does he work for a government overseas? Did he work for the Israelis? The Israelis certainly have an interest in looking at neo-Nazis because of their history. The Germans have a significant problem with neo-Nazis in their country and they were not happy with our investigation here. And, was he working for them? I don’t know the answer to it. What I do know is he wasn’t just bumming around.”
Twelve years after the worst incident of domestic terrorism in the nation’s history, hard evidence continues to surface that directly contradicts the federal government’s claim that all those who perpetrated that horrible crime have been caught, convicted and sentenced.
Strassmeir, for one, is safe from having to answer official questions about his role in OKBOMB. The German government does not extradite German citizens to countries where they could potentially face the death penalty for their criminal conduct.