TRAIL OF TERROR
'Incendiary Charges'


     EDITORIAL February 16, 2003 * Washington Times

       It was the ghastly prelude to our new time of terror. In a searing second on April 19, 1995, a truck bomb parked by Timothy McVeigh exploded in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 innocents. It now appears that two federal agencies had advanced warning of that attack, specific enough to suggest Oklahoma City as a likely target and April 19 as a probable date.

     According to an Associated Press report last week, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had an informant from the Oklahoma-based white supremacist group Elohim City, who told them before the bombing that individuals were "preparing for war against the U.S. government." One of Elohim City's heroes, Wayne Snell, was scheduled for execution April 19, and as that date approached, he began making threats to FBI agents and prison officials about a bombing to avenge his death. FBI agents were so concerned about the possibility that a month before the blast, they questioned an associate of Snell, who had, with him, made a bomb plot against the same building.

     Tragically, the information was apparently not given to other federal authorities, in a failure of intelligence and communications reminiscent of those before the September 11 attacks. However, as far as we can tell, not a single Republican accused then-President Clinton of advanced knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing.

     They probably didn't have time to do so, since practically before the dust from the explosion had settled, they were defending themselves from the loathsome charges that they had had something to do with it. Scarcely a week passed before Mr. Clinton was blaming talk radio denouncing the "loud and angry voices" rising from the airwaves. Within that same time frame, then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich was asked by a Newsweek reporter whether he thought the "anti-government climate" he and his cohorts had created had contributed to the bombing. Other attacks followed.

     So, perhaps it shouldn't have come as such a surprise that similarly shocking, outrageous charges were raised by Democratic partisans after September 11. Numerous Democratic leaders called for an investigation into what President Bush knew before the attacks, including House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and Sen. Hillary Clinton. Sen. Tom Daschle went even further, telling reporters he was "gravely concerned that the president received a warning in August about the threat of hijackers by Osama bin Laden and his organization." Rep. Cynthia McKinney went further, claiming that the administration failed to act for the crassest of financial motives.

     Most of those members of Congress have since retracted their remarks, and the point is not to question the FBI's judgment before the Oklahoma City bombing. Regrettably, those things happen. However, the pattern of hypocrisy is breathtaking.

     Given what we know now about the Oklahoma bombing, it will be interesting to see if those partisans who accused Mr. Bush of having advanced notice about the September 11 attacks demand that Mr. Clinton reveal how much he knew beforehand about the Oklahoma City bombing.


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by: Charles Key