Timothy McVeigh

Timothy McVeigh
Timothy McVeigh

FBI mugshot of McVeigh
Born April 23, 1968(1968-04-23)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Died June 11, 2001(2001-06-11) (aged 33)
USP Terre Haute
Terre Haute, Indiana, U.S.
Cause Execution by lethal injection
Alias(es) Tim Tuttle[1]
Darel Bridges[2]
Robert Kling
Motive Retaliation for the Waco Siege, Ruby Ridge, other government raids, the Turner Diaries, as well as general U.S. foreign policy
Conviction(s) Use of a weapon of mass destruction
Conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction
Destruction with the use of explosives
8 counts of first-degree murder
Penalty Death by lethal injection
Status Executed
Occupation U.S. Army soldier, security guard
Parents William McVeigh
Mildred Noreen Hill[1]

Timothy James McVeigh (April 23, 1968 – June 11, 2001) was a United States Army veteran and security guard who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. Commonly referred to as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the attack killed 168 people and injured over 800 people,[3] and was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks.[3] McVeigh, a militia movement sympathizer, sought revenge against the federal government for its handling of the Waco Siege, which had ended in the deaths of 76 people two years earlier, as well as for the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992, and conducted the bombing exactly two years after the Waco Siege ended. McVeigh hoped to inspire a revolt against what he considered to be a tyrannical federal government. He was convicted of 11 federal offenses and sentenced to death. His execution took place on June 11, 2001 at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier were also convicted as conspirators in the plot.



McVeigh was born in Lockport, New York, the only son and the second of three children of William and Mildred "Mickey" McVeigh. His parents divorced when he was 10 years old and he was raised by his father in Pendleton, New York.[1][4]

McVeigh claimed to have been a target of bullying at school and that he took refuge in a fantasy world where he imagined retaliating against those bullies.[5] At the end of his life he would state his belief that the United States government is the ultimate bully.[6] Most who knew McVeigh remember him as being withdrawn, with a few describing him as an outgoing and playful child who withdrew as an adolescent. McVeigh is said to have had one girlfriend during his childhood, later stating to journalists he did not know how to impress girls.[7] According to his authorized biography, "his only sustaining relief from his unsatisfied sex drive was his even stronger desire to die."[8]

While in high school, McVeigh became interested in computers and hacked into government computer systems on his Commodore 64, under a handle – "The Wanderer" – borrowed from the song by Dion DiMucci. In his senior year, McVeigh was named Starpoint Central High School's "most promising computer programmer,"[9] but maintained relatively poor grades up until his 1986 graduation.[1]

McVeigh was introduced to firearms by his grandfather, and told people he wanted to be a gun shop owner and sometimes took firearms to school to impress his classmates. McVeigh became intensely interested in gun rights after he graduated from high school, as well as the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, and read magazines such as Soldier of Fortune. He briefly attended Bryant & Stratton College before dropping out.[10][11]

Military life

At age 20, in May 1988, McVeigh enlisted in the United States Army.[12] While in the military, McVeigh used much of his spare time to read about firearms, sniper tactics, and explosives.[13] McVeigh was reprimanded by the military for purchasing a "White Power" T-shirt at a Ku Klux Klan protest against black servicemen who wore what he viewed as "Black Power" T-shirts around the army base.[14]

McVeigh was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in the first Gulf War. He had been a top-scoring gunner with the 25mm cannon of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles used by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division to which he was assigned. He served at Fort Riley, Kansas, before Operation Desert Storm. At Fort Riley, McVeigh completed the Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC). McVeigh later would say that the Army taught him how to switch off his emotions.[7] He had special lifesaving training and may have saved the life of a comrade who had life-threatening shrapnel wounds.[15]

McVeigh aspired to join the United States Army Special Forces (SF). After returning from the Gulf War, he entered the selection program to become an SF soldier, but he quit after his psychological profile categorized him as very unsuitable for SF.[16] Shortly thereafter, McVeigh decided to leave the army. He was discharged on December 31, 1991.[17] McVeigh was given an honorable discharge from the Army Reserve in May 1992.

Post-military life

After leaving the army in 1992, McVeigh grew increasingly transient. At first he worked briefly near his hometown of Pendleton as a security guard, where he sounded off daily to his co-worker Carl Lebron, Jr. about his loathing for government. Deciding the Buffalo area was too liberal, he left his job and began driving around America, seeking out his old friends from the Army.[18]

McVeigh wrote letters to local newspapers complaining about taxes:

Taxes are a joke. Regardless of what a political candidate "promises," they will increase. More taxes are always the answer to government mismanagement. They mess up. We suffer. Taxes are reaching cataclysmic levels, with no slowdown in sight. [...] Is a Civil War Imminent? Do we have to shed blood to reform the current system? I hope it doesn't come to that. But it might.[19]

McVeigh also wrote to Congressman John J. LaFalce, complaining about the arrest of a woman for carrying mace:

It is a lie if we tell ourselves that the police can protect us everywhere at all times. Firearms restrictions are bad enough, but now a woman can't even carry Mace in her purse?

It is claimed that while visiting friends in Decker, Michigan, McVeigh complained that the Army had implanted him with a microchip into his buttocks so that the government could keep track of him.[1]

The long hours in a dead-end job, the feeling that he did not have a home and his failure to establish a relationship with a woman brought McVeigh to the breaking point. He sought romance, but was rejected by a co-worker and still felt nervous around women. He felt he brought too much pain to his loved ones.[20] He grew angry and frustrated at his difficulties in finding a girlfriend and took up obsessive gambling.[21] Unable to pay back gambling debts, he took a cash advance and then defaulted on his repayments. He then began looking for a state without heavy government regulation or high taxes. He became enraged when the government informed him that he had been overpaid $1,058 while in the army and he would need to pay back the money. He wrote an angry letter to the government inviting them to:

Go ahead, take everything I own; take my dignity. Feel good as you grow fat and rich at my expense; sucking my tax dollars and property.[22]

McVeigh introduced his sister to anti-government literature, but his father had little interest in these views. He moved out of his father's house and into an apartment that had no telephone, which had the advantage of making it impossible for his employer to contact him for overtime assignments. He also quit the NRA, viewing its stance on gun rights to be too weak.[23]

1993 Waco siege and gun shows

In 1993, he drove to Waco, Texas during the Waco Siege to show his support. At the scene, he distributed pro-gun rights literature and bumper stickers, such as "When guns are outlawed, I will become an outlaw." He told a student reporter:

The government is afraid of the guns people have because they have to have control of the people at all times. Once you take away the guns, you can do anything to the people. You give them an inch and they take a mile. I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control.[24]

For the five months following the Waco Siege, McVeigh worked at gun shows and handed out free cards printed up with Lon Horiuchi's name and address, "in the hope that somebody in the Patriot movement would assassinate the sharpshooter." (Horiuchi is an FBI sniper and some of his official actions have drawn controversy) He wrote hate mail to the sniper, suggesting that "what goes around, comes around," and later considered putting aside his plan to target the Murrah Building to target Horiuchi, or a member of his family instead.[25]

McVeigh spent more time on the gun show circuit,[when?] traveling to 40 of the 50 states and visiting about 80 gun shows in all. McVeigh found that the further west he went, the more anti-government sentiment he encountered, at least until he got to what he called "The People's Socialist Republic of California."[26] McVeigh sold survival items and copies of The Turner Diaries. One author said:

In the gun show culture, McVeigh found a home. Though he remained skeptical of some of the most extreme ideas being bandied around, he liked talking to people there about the United Nations, the federal government and possible threats to American liberty.[27]

Arizona with Fortiers

McVeigh had a road atlas with hand-drawn designations of the most likely places for nuclear attacks and considered buying property in Seligman, Arizona, which he determined to be in a "nuclear-free zone." McVeigh lived with Michael Fortier in Kingman, Arizona, for a spell and grew so close to him that he served as best man at Fortier's wedding. McVeigh experimented with cannabis and methamphetamine, after first researching their effects in an encyclopedia;[28] but he was not as interested in drugs as Fortier. One of the reasons they parted ways was McVeigh's boredom with Fortier's drug habits.[29]

McVeigh defended the practice of owning multiple guns, saying it was like the common practice of keeping an assortment of screwdrivers in one's toolbox; one needed to be sure of having the right tool for the job. He said that five particular guns were essential: a semiautomatic, magazine-fed rifle (for defending against large mobs); a bolt-action hunting/sniper rifle (for killing large game or defending against an entrenched marauder); a shotgun (for fowl hunting); a .22 caliber rifle (to hone shooting skills and bag small game); and a pistol (for close-in self defense). He viewed guns as the first tool of freedom, necessary to protect supplies in the event America fell into chaos.[30]

With Nichols, Waco siege, radicalisation and first explosives devices

In April 1993, McVeigh headed for a farm where co-conspirator Terry Nichols lived. In between watching coverage of the Waco siege on TV, Nichols and his brother began teaching McVeigh how to make explosives out of readily available materials; specifically, they combined household chemicals in plastic jugs. The destruction of the Waco compound enraged McVeigh and convinced him that it was time to take action. The government's use of CS gas on women and children angered McVeigh; he had been exposed to the gas as part of his military training and thus was familiar with its effects. The disappearance of certain evidence,[31] such as the bullet-riddled steel-reinforced front door to the complex, led him to suspect a cover-up. He believed that even if David Koresh had committed crimes, his followers did not deserve to be executed.

McVeigh's anti-government rhetoric became more radical. He began to sell ATF hats riddled with bullet holes and a flare gun, which, he said, could shoot down an "ATF helicopter."[32][33] He produced videos detailing the government's actions at Waco and handed out pamphlets with titles like "U.S. Government Initiates Open Warfare Against American People" and "Waco Shootout Evokes Memory of Warsaw '43." He began changing his answering machine greeting every couple of weeks to various quotes by Patrick Henry such as "Give me liberty or give me death."[34] He began experimenting with pipe bombs and other small explosive devices for the first time. The government also imposed new firearms restrictions in 1994 that McVeigh believed threatened his livelihood.[29]

McVeigh dissociated himself from his boyhood friend, Steve Hodge, by sending a 23-page farewell letter to him. He proclaimed his devotion to the United States Declaration of Independence, explaining in detail what each sentence meant to him. McVeigh declared that:

Those who betray or subvert the Constitution are guilty of sedition and/or treason, are domestic enemies and should and will be punished accordingly.

It also stands to reason that anyone who sympathizes with the enemy or gives aid or comfort to said enemy is likewise guilty. I have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic and I will. And I will because not only did I swear to, but I believe in what it stands for in every bit of my heart, soul and being.

I know in my heart that I am right in my struggle, Steve. I have come to peace with myself, my God and my cause. Blood will flow in the streets, Steve. Good vs. Evil. Free Men vs. Socialist Wannabe Slaves. Pray it is not your blood, my friend.

McVeigh felt the need to personally reconnoiter sites of rumored conspiracies. He visited Area 51 in order to defy government restrictions on picture-taking and went to Gulfport, Mississippi to determine the veracity of rumors about United Nations operations. These turned out to be false; the Russian vehicles on the site were being configured for use in U.N.-sponsored humanitarian aid efforts. Around this time, McVeigh and Nichols also began making bulk purchases of ammonium nitrate, an agricultural fertilizer, for resale to survivalists, since rumors were circulating that the government was preparing to ban it.[35]

Plan against federal building or individuals

McVeigh told Fortier of his plans to blow up a federal building, but Fortier declined to participate. Fortier also told his wife about the plans.[36] McVeigh composed two letters to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the first titled "Constitutional Defenders" and the second "ATF Read." He denounced government agents as "fascist tyrants" and "storm troopers" and warned:

ATF, all you tyrannical people will swing in the wind one day for your treasonous actions against the Constitution of the United States. Remember the Nuremberg War Trials.[2]

McVeigh also wrote a letter of recruitment to a customer named Steve Colbern:

A man with nothing left to lose is a very dangerous man and his energy/anger can be focused toward a common/righteous goal. What I'm asking you to do, then, is sit back and be honest with yourself. Do you have kids/wife? Would you back out at the last minute to care for the family? Are you interested in keeping your firearms for their current/future monetary value, or would you drag that '06 through rock, swamp and cactus...to get off the needed shot? In short, I'm not looking for talkers, I'm looking for fighters...And if you are a fed, think twice. Think twice about the Constitution you are supposedly enforcing (isn't "enforcing freedom" an oxymoron?) and think twice about catching us with our guard down – you will lose just like Degan did – and your family will lose.[37]

McVeigh began announcing that he had progressed from the "propaganda" phase to the "action" phase. He wrote to his Michigan friend Gwenda Strider, "I have certain other 'militant' talents that are in short supply and greatly demanded."[38]

McVeigh later said he considered "a campaign of individual assassination," with "eligible" targets including Attorney-General Janet Reno, Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. of Federal District Court, who handled the Branch Davidian trial and Lon Horiuchi, a member of the FBI hostage-rescue team who shot and killed Vicki Weaver in a standoff at a remote cabin at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992.[39] He said he wanted Reno to accept "full responsibility in deed, not just words."[40] However, such an assassination seemed too difficult,[41] and he decided that since federal agents had become soldiers, it was necessary to strike against them at their command centers.[42] Moreover, according to American Terrorist, ultimately he decided that he would make the loudest statement by bombing a federal building. After the bombing, he would come to have some ambivalence about his act, as expressed in letters to his hometown newspaper that he sometimes wished he had carried out a series of assassinations against police and government officials instead.[43]

Oklahoma City bombing

Timothy McVeigh about to be led out of a Perry, Oklahoma courthouse two days after the Oklahoma City bombing

Working at a lakeside campground near McVeigh's old Army post, he and Nichols constructed an ANNM explosive device mounted in the back of a rented Ryder truck. This site was regarded as suitable because a moving truck would not seem out of place, given the transient population of the area.[citation needed] The bomb consisted of about 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of ammonium nitrate and nitromethane, a motor-racing fuel.

On April 19, 1995, McVeigh drove the truck to the front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building just as its offices opened for the day. Before arriving, he stopped to light a 5 minute fuse. At 09:02, a large explosion destroyed the north half of the building. The explosion killed 168 people, including nineteen children in the day care center on the second floor, and injured 450 others.[44][45]

McVeigh noted that he had no knowledge that the federal offices also ran a daycare center on the second floor of the building, and noted that he might have chosen a different target if he had known about the daycare center.[46][47] According to Michel and Herbeck, McVeigh claimed not to have known there was a daycare center in the Murrah Building and said that if he had known it, in his own words:

It might have given me pause to switch targets. That's a large amount of collateral damage.

Michel and Herbeck quote McVeigh, with whom they spoke for some 75 hours, on his attitude to the victims:

To these people in Oklahoma who have lost a loved one, I'm sorry but it happens every day. You're not the first mother to lose a kid, or the first grandparent to lose a grandson or a granddaughter. It happens every day, somewhere in the world. I'm not going to go into that courtroom, curl into a fetal ball and cry just because the victims want me to do that.

According to the Oklahoma City Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), more than 300 buildings were damaged. More than 12,000 volunteers and rescue workers took part in the rescue, recovery and support operations following the bombing. In reference to theories that he had assistance from others, McVeigh responded:

You can't handle the truth! Because the truth is, I blew up the Murrah Building and isn't it kind of scary that one man could wreak this kind of hell?[48]

Arrest, trial, conviction and sentencing

By tracing the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of a rear axle found in the wreckage, the FBI identified the vehicle as a Ryder Rental box truck rented from Junction City, Kansas. Workers at the agency assisted an FBI artist in creating a sketch of the renter, who had used the alias "Robert Kling". The sketch was shown in the area. Lea McGown, manager of the local Dreamland Hotel, identified the sketch as Timothy McVeigh.[49][50]

Shortly after the bombing, while driving on I-35 in Noble County, near Perry, Oklahoma, McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper Charles J. Hanger from Pawnee, Oklahoma.[51] Hanger had passed McVeigh's yellow 1977 Mercury Marquis and noticed that it had no license plate. McVeigh admitted to the police officer (who noticed a bulge under his jacket) that he had a gun and McVeigh was subsequently arrested for having driven without plates and illegal firearm possession; McVeigh's concealed weapon permit was not legal in Oklahoma. McVeigh was wearing a T-shirt at that time with a picture of Abraham Lincoln and the motto: sic semper tyrannis ('Thus always to tyrants'), the state motto of Virginia and also the words shouted by John Wilkes Booth after he shot Lincoln.[52] On the back, it had a tree with a picture of three blood droplets and the Thomas Jefferson quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."[53] Three days later, while still in jail, McVeigh was identified as the subject of the nationwide manhunt.

On August 10, 1995, McVeigh was indicted on 11 federal counts, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, use of a weapon of mass destruction, destruction by explosives and eight counts of first-degree murder.[54]

On February 20, 1996, the Court granted a change of venue and ordered that the case be transferred from Oklahoma City to the U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado, to be presided over by U.S. District Judge Richard Paul Matsch.[55]

McVeigh instructed his lawyers to use a necessity defense, but they ended up not doing so,[56] because they would have had to prove that McVeigh was in "imminent danger" from the government. (McVeigh himself argued that "imminent" did not necessarily mean "immediate.") They would have argued that his bombing of the Murrah building was a justifiable response to what McVeigh believed were the crimes of the U.S. government at Waco, Texas. The 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian complex resulted in the deaths of 76 Branch Davidians.[57] As part of the defense, McVeigh's lawyers showed the jury the controversial video Waco: The Big Lie.[58]

On June 2, 1997, McVeigh was found guilty on all 11 counts of the federal indictment.[59]

McVeigh tried to calm his mother by saying, "Think of it this way. When I was in the Army, you didn't see me for years. Think of me that way now, like I'm away in the Army again, on an assignment for the military."[60]

On June 13, 1997, the jury recommended that McVeigh receive the death penalty.[61] The U.S. Department of Justice brought federal charges against McVeigh for causing the deaths of eight federal officers leading to a possible death penalty for McVeigh; it could not bring charges against McVeigh for the remaining 160 murders in federal court because those deaths fell under the jurisdiction of the state of Oklahoma. Because McVeigh was convicted and sentenced to death, the State of Oklahoma did not file murder charges against McVeigh for the other 160 deaths.[62] Before the sentence was formally pronounced, McVeigh addressed the court for the first time and said simply:[63]

If the Court please, I wish to use the words of Justice Brandeis dissenting in Olmstead to speak for me. He wrote, 'Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.' That's all I have.

During his time in prison, McVeigh wrote various essays. An Essay on Hypocrisy describes the U.S. Government as hypocritical for justifying its attack on Iraq by stating that Iraq should not be allowed to stockpile weapons of mass destruction because it had used them in the past. He cited Hiroshima and Nagasaki as examples of the U.S. using nuclear weapons in the past.[64] On April 26, 2001, he wrote a letter to Fox News, I Explain Herein Why I Bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which explicitly laid out his reasons for the attack.[65] McVeigh read Unintended Consequences and noted that if it had come out a few years earlier, he would have given serious consideration to using sniper attacks in a war of attrition against the government instead of bombing a federal building:[66]

If people say The Turner Diaries was my Bible, Unintended Consequences would be my New Testament. I think Unintended Consequences is a better book. It might have changed my whole plan of operation if I'd read that one first.

Incarceration and execution

Florence ADMAX USP, where McVeigh was incarcerated

While incarcerated, Timothy McVeigh had the Federal Bureau of Prisons register # 12076-064.[67] McVeigh's death sentence was delayed pending an appeal. One of his appeals for certiorari, taken to the Supreme Court of the United States, was denied on March 8, 1999. McVeigh's request for a nationally televised execution was also denied. An internet company also unsuccessfully sued for the right to broadcast it.[68][69] At ADX Florence, McVeigh was housed in the same cell block as Ted Kaczynski, Luis Felipe and Ramzi Yousef. Ramzi made frequent, unsuccessful attempts to convert McVeigh to Islam.[70]

McVeigh said:

I am sorry these people had to lose their lives. But that's the nature of the beast. It's understood going in what the human toll will be.[71]

He said that if there turned out to be an afterlife, he would "improvise, adapt and overcome",[71] noting that:

If there is a hell, then I'll be in good company with a lot of fighter pilots who also had to bomb innocents to win the war.[72]

He also said:

I knew I wanted this before it happened. I knew my objective was state-assisted suicide and when it happens, it's in your face. You just did something you're trying to say should be illegal for medical personnel.[73]
United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, the site of the federal death row for men and the federal execution chamber

The BOP moved McVeigh from ADX Florence to the federal death row at United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1999.[74]

McVeigh dropped his remaining appeals, giving no reason for doing so.[75] On January 16, 2001 the Federal Bureau of Prisons set May 16, 2001 as McVeigh's execution date.[76] McVeigh stated that his only regret was not completely leveling the federal building.[77] Six days prior to his scheduled execution, the FBI turned over thousands of documents of evidence it had previously withheld to McVeigh's attorneys. As a result, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced McVeigh's execution would be stayed for one month.[75]

The execution date was reset for June 11, 2001. McVeigh invited California conductor/composer David Woodard to perform pre-requiem Mass music on the eve of his execution. He also requested a Catholic chaplain. His last meal was two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

McVeigh chose William Ernest Henley's poem "Invictus" as his final statement.[78][79] Jay Sawyer, relative of one of the victims, noted, "Without saying a word, he got the final word." Larry Whicher, whose brother died in the attack, described McVeigh as having "A totally expressionless, blank stare. He had a look of defiance and that if he could, he'd do it all over again."[80] He was executed by lethal injection at 7:14 a.m. on June 11, 2001, at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, the first convicted criminal to be executed by the United States federal government since Victor Feguer was executed in Iowa on March 15, 1963.

On November 21, 1997, President Bill Clinton signed S. 923, special legislation introduced by Senator Arlen Specter to bar McVeigh and other veterans convicted of crimes from being buried in any military cemetery.[81][82][83] His body was cremated at Mattox Ryan Funeral Home in Terre Haute, Indiana. The cremated remains were given to his lawyer, who scattered them at an undisclosed location. McVeigh had earlier written that he considered having his ashes dropped at the site of the memorial where the Murrah building once stood, but decided that would be "too vengeful, too raw, cold." He had expressed willingness to donate organs, but was prohibited from doing so by prison regulations.[43]

"Psychiatrist John Smith concluded that [McVeigh] was a decent person who had allowed rage to build up inside him to the point that he had lashed out in one terrible, violent act."[7] McVeigh's IQ was assessed at 126.[84]

Political views and religious beliefs

McVeigh was a registered Republican when he lived in Buffalo, New York in the 1980s, and had a membership in the National Rifle Association while in the military.[85]

McVeigh was raised Roman Catholic.[86] During his childhood, he and his father attended Mass regularly.[87] McVeigh was confirmed at the Good Shepherd Church in Pendleton, New York, in 1985.[88] In a 1996 interview, McVeigh professed belief in "a God", although he said he had "sort of lost touch with" Catholicism and "I never really picked it up, however I do maintain core beliefs."[86] In the 2001 book American Terrorist, McVeigh stated that he did not believe in Hell and that science is his religion.[89][90] In June, 2001, a day before the execution, McVeigh wrote a letter to the Buffalo News identifying as agnostic.[91] Before his execution, McVeigh took the Catholic sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.[92]

Motivations for the bombing

"Why? McVeigh told us at eloquent length, but our rulers and their media preferred to depict him as a sadistic, crazed monster ... who had done it for the kicks".

Gore Vidal, 2002[47]

McVeigh claimed that the bombing was revenge for "what the U.S. government did at Waco and Ruby Ridge."[93] McVeigh visited Waco during the standoff, where he spoke to a news reporter about his anger over what was happening there.[85]

McVeigh frequently quoted and alluded to the novel The Turner Diaries, while rejecting the book's racism,[32][47] he claimed to appreciate its interest in firearms. Photocopies of pages sixty-one and sixty-two of The Turner Diaries were found in an envelope inside McVeigh's car. These pages depicted a fictitious mortar attack upon the U.S. Capitol in Washington.[94]

In interviews before his execution, documented in American Terrorist, McVeigh stated he decapitated an Iraqi soldier with cannon fire on his first day in the war and celebrated. But he said he later was shocked to be ordered to execute surrendering prisoners and to see carnage on the road leaving Kuwait City after U.S. troops routed the Iraqi army. In interviews following the Oklahoma City bombing, McVeigh said he began harboring anti-government feelings during the Gulf War. In 1998, while in prison, McVeigh wrote an essay that criticized US foreign policy towards Iraq as being hypocritical:

The administration has said that Iraq has no right to stockpile chemical or biological weapons (“weapons of mass destruction”) – mainly because they have used them in the past.

Well, if that’s the standard by which these matters are decided, then the U.S. is the nation that set the precedent. The U.S. has stockpiled these same weapons (and more) for over 40 years. The U.S. claims that this was done for deterrent purposes during the “Cold War” with the Soviet Union. Why, then is it invalid for Iraq to claim the same reason (deterrence) — with respect to Iraq’s (real) war with and the continued threat of, its neighbor Iran?

If Saddam is such a demon and people are calling for war crimes charges and trials against him and his nation, why do we not hear the same cry for blood directed at those responsible for even greater amounts of “mass destruction” — like those responsible and involved in dropping bombs on the cities mentioned above.

The truth is, the U.S. has set the standard when it comes to the stockpiling and use of weapons of mass destruction.[95]

McVeigh had contemplated suicide on many occasions. Anticipating that he would probably be caught and executed, he referred to the bombing as "state-assisted suicide".[95]


In addition to McVeigh, Terry Nichols was convicted and sentenced in federal court to life in prison for his role in the crime. At Nichols' trial, evidence was presented indicating that others may have been involved. Several residents of central Kansas, including real estate agent Georgia Rucker and a retired Army NCO, testified at Terry Nichols' federal trial that they had seen two trucks at Geary Lake State Park, where prosecutors alleged the bomb was assembled. The retired NCO said he visited the lake on April 18, 1995, but left after a group of surly men looked at him aggressively. The operator of the Dreamland Motel testified that two Ryder trucks had been parked outside her Grandview Plaza motel where McVeigh stayed in Room 26 the weekend before the bombing. Terry Nichols is currently incarcerated at the Federal Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado.

An ATF informant, Carolyn Howe, told reporters that shortly before the bombing she had warned her handlers that guests of Elohim City, Oklahoma were planning a major bombing attack. McVeigh was issued a speeding ticket there at the same time. Other than this speeding ticket, there is no evidence of a connection between McVeigh and members of the Midwest Bank Robbers at Elohim City.

Oklahoma City journalist Jayna Davis, in her 2004 book The Third Terrorist, alleged that McVeigh and Nichols had significant ties to Islamic terror groups, and called into question the FBI's rejection of eyewitness testimony suggesting McVeigh had a Middle Eastern accomplice. Davis wrote that McVeigh was associating with Hussain Al-Hussaini and other agents of Saddam Hussein[96], and that McVeigh and Nichols had been picking up advanced bomb-making skills from Iraqi operatives[97].

In February 2004, the FBI announced it would review its investigation after learning that agents in the investigation of the Midwest Bank Robbers (an alleged Aryan-oriented gang) had turned up explosive caps of the same type that were used to trigger the Oklahoma City bomb. Agents expressed surprise that bombing investigators had not been provided information from the Midwest Bank Robbers investigation. McVeigh was given a one-week delay prior to his execution while evidence relating to the Bank Robbers' gang was presented to a court.

McVeigh declined further delays and maintained until his death that he had acted alone in the bombing.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Russakoff, Dale; Serge F. Kovaleski (July 2, 1995). "An Ordinary Boy's Extraordinary Rage". The Washington Post: p. A01. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/oklahoma/bg/mcveigh.htm. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Ottley, Ted. "Imitating Turner". Timothy McVeigh & Terry Nichols: Oklahoma Bombing. TruTv. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/mcveigh/turner_7.html. Retrieved April 10, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Shariat, Sheryll; Sue Mallonee and Shelli Stephens-Stidham (December 1998). "Summary of Reportable Injuries in Oklahoma". Oklahoma State Department of Health. Archived from the original on January 10, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080110063748/http://www.health.state.ok.us/PROGRAM/injury/Summary/bomb/OKCbomb.htm. 
  4. ^ "Ancestry of Tim McVeigh". Wargs.com. http://www.wargs.com/other/mcveigh.html. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  5. ^ "McVeigh author Dan Herbeck quizzed". BBC News. June 11, 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/forum/1378651.stm. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Inside McVeigh's mind". BBC News. June 11, 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1382540.stm. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Profile: Timothy McVeigh". BBC News. May 11, 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/1321244.stm. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  8. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 371. ISBN 0060394072. 
  9. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 31–32. ISBN 0060394072. 
  10. ^ Chase, Alston. A Mind for Murder. p. 370. ISBN 0393325563.  found at Google Books. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
  11. ^ Smith, Brent L., Damhousse, Kelly R. and Roberts, Paxton, Pre-Incident Indicators of Terrorist Incidents: The Identification of Behavioral, Geographic and Temporal Patterns of Preparatory Conduct, Document No.: 214217, May 2006, p. 234, found at NCJRS Government website, Scribd website and DHS Government website. Retrieved July 22, 2009.
  12. ^ Douglas O. Linder, "The Oklahoma City Bombing & The Trial of Timothy McVeigh,", online posting, University of Missouri–Kansas City, Law School faculty projects, 2006, accessed August 7, 2006 feb 17; cf. People in the News: Timothy McVeigh: The Path to Death Row, transcript of program broadcast on CNN, June 9, 2001, 11:30 p.m. ET. [Specific citations to both of these sources and other unidentified sources are still needed throughout the above article.]
  13. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 61. ISBN 0060394072. 
  14. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 87–88. ISBN 0060394072. 
  15. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 73. ISBN 0060394072. 
  16. ^ Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior, Dick Couch / Crown Publishers, NY 2007
  17. ^ See Hoffman, "'The Face of Terror'"; Hoffman finds many speculations published in the media about this episode in McVeigh's life as a soldier inaccurate and based on false information.
  18. ^ Ottley, Ted. "Soldiers of Misfortune". Timothy McVeigh & Terry Nichols: Oklahoma Bombing. TruTv. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/mcveigh/misfortune_5.html. Retrieved April 10, 2010. 
  19. ^ "McVeigh 1st letter". CNN. Archived from the original on 2008-01-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20080119111020/http://www.cnn.com/US/OKC/faces/Suspects/McVeigh/1st-letter6-15/index.html. 
  20. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 102. ISBN 0060394072. 
  21. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 114. ISBN 0060394072. 
  22. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 117–118. ISBN 0060394072. 
  23. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 111. ISBN 0060394072. 
  24. ^ "Domestic Terrorism 101 – Timothy James McVeigh". Eyeonhate.com. http://www.eyeonhate.com/mcveigh/mcveigh6.html. Retrieved 2010-06-04. 
  25. ^ Michel, Lou. "American Terrorist", 2001.
  26. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 121. ISBN 0060394072. 
  27. ^ Handlin, Sam (2001) "Profile of a Mass Murderer: Who Is Timothy McVeigh? Court TV Online.
  28. ^ Thomas, Jo (November 14, 1997). "Jury Hears of McVeigh Remarks About Nichols and Bomb Making". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9802E3DA1438F937A25752C1A961958260. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  29. ^ a b Ottley, Ted. "Tim In Transit". Timothy McVeigh & Terry Nichols: Oklahoma Bombing. TruTv. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/mcveigh/transit_6.html. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  30. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 125–126. ISBN 0060394072. 
  31. ^ Robert Bryce (2000-08-18). "Prying Open the Case of the Missing Door". The Austin Chronicle. http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2000-08-18/pols_feature9.html. 
  32. ^ a b "Timothy McVeigh: Convicted Oklahoma City Bomber". CNN. March 29, 2001. http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/03/29/profile.mcveigh/. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  33. ^ Editors (2000) "Gun Shows in America." Violence Policy Center.
  34. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 136–140. ISBN 0060394072. 
  35. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 156–158. ISBN 0060394072. 
  36. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 161–162. ISBN 0060394072. 
  37. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 184–185. ISBN 0060394072. 
  38. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 195. ISBN 0060394072. 
  39. ^ "Timothy McVeigh's Letter to Fox News". Digital-Exp.com. http://www.digital-exp.com/doco/TimothyMcVeigh.html. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  40. ^ "McVeigh Considered Assassinating Reno, Other Officials". Kuwait News Agency. April 27, 2001. http://www.kuna.net.kw/newsagenciespublicsite/ArticleDetails.aspx?Language=en&id=1160520. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  41. ^ "McVeigh 'wanted to kill US attorney general'". The Daily Telegraph (London). April 28, 2001. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1317593/McVeigh-'wanted-to-kill-US-attorney-general'.html. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  42. ^ Saulny, Susan (April 27, 2001). "McVeigh Says He Considered Killing Reno". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D04E2DC1339F934A15757C0A9679C8B63. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  43. ^ a b http://newsok.com/article/700006/
  44. ^ Global Terrorism Database
  45. ^ Romano, Lois and Tom Kenworthy."Prosecutor Paints McVeigh As 'Twisted' U.S. Terrorist", The Washington Post, April 25, 1997, Page A01
  46. ^ See Michel and Herbeck; cf. Walsh:
  47. ^ a b c Gore Vidal, "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace", pages 1 & 81
  48. ^ Thomas, Jo (March 29, 2001). "'No Sympathy' for Dead Children, McVeigh Says". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E3DB173FF93AA15750C0A9679C8B63. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  49. ^ Collins, James; Patrick E. Cole; Elaine Shannon (April 27, 1997). "Oklahoma City: The Weight Of Evidence". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,986240-5,00.html. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  50. ^ Ottley, Ted. "License Tag Snag". Timothy McVeigh & Terry Nichols: Oklahoma Bombing. TruTv. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/mcveigh/snag_2.html. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  51. ^ See "Officer of the Month – October 2001: Second Lieutenant Charles J. Hanger, Oklahoma Highway Patrol," National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, copyright 2004–2006. Retrieved August 8, 2006.
  52. ^ "The Timothy McVeigh Story: The Oklahoma Bomber". Crime Library. http://www.crimelibrary.com/serial_killers/notorious/mcveigh/turner_7.html. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  53. ^ "'Turner Diaries' introduced in McVeigh trial". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/US/9704/28/okc/. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  54. ^ *Count 1 was "conspiracy to detonate a weapon of mass destruction" in violation of 18 USC § 2332a, culminating in the deaths of 168 people and destruction of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
    • Count 2 was "use of a weapon of mass destruction" in violation of 18 USC § 2332a (2)(a) & (b).
    • Count 3 was "destruction by explosives resulting in death", in violation of 18 USC § 844(f)(2)(a) & (b).
    • Counts 4 through 11 were first-degree murder in violation of 18 USC § 1111, 1114, & 2 and 28 CFR § 64.2(h), each count in connection to one of the 8 law enforcement officers who were killed during the attack.
  55. ^ Romano, Lois (May 12, 1997). "Richard Matsch Has a Firm Grip on His Gavel in the Oklahoma City Bombing Trial". National Special Report: Oklahoma Bombing Trial (Washington Post). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/oklahoma/stories/judge.htm. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  56. ^ "People In The News". CNN. February 7, 2001. http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0106/09/pitn.00.html. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  57. ^ Douglas O. Linder, "The Oklahoma City Bombing & The Trial of Timothy McVeigh,", online posting, University of Missouri–Kansas City, Law School faculty projects, 2006, accessed August 7, 2006. [Specific citations to this source are still needed throughout the above article.]
  58. ^ "People in the News: Timothy McVeigh: The Path to Death Row", transcript of program broadcast on CNN, June 9, 2001, 11:30 p.m. ET. [Specific citations to this source are still needed throughout the above article.]
  59. ^ Mark Eddy, George Lane, Howard Pankratz and Steven Wilmsen, "Guilty on Every Count," Denver Post Online June 3, 1997, accessed August 7, 2006:
    Although 168 people, including 19 children, were killed in the April 19, 1995, bombing, murder charges were brought against McVeigh only for the eight federal agents who were on duty when the bomb destroyed much of the Murrah Building.
    Along with the eight counts of murder, McVeigh was charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, using a weapon of mass destruction and destroying a federal building.
    Oklahoma City District Attorney Bob Macy said he would file state charges in the other 160 murders after McVeigh's co-defendant, Terry Nichols, was tried.
  60. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 347. ISBN 0060394072. 
  61. ^ See "Sentenced to Die," The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Online NewsHour, PBS, June 13, 1997. Retrieved August 8, 2006.
  62. ^ People in the News: Timothy McVeigh: The Path to Death Row, transcript of program broadcast on CNN, June 9, 2001, 11:30 p.m. ET.
  63. ^ Hunt, Gary. "What did Timothy McVeigh really say?". Outpost of Freedom. http://www.outpost-of-freedom.com/mcveigh/okc0814mv.htm. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  64. ^ "An Essay by Timothy McVeigh". Outpost of Freedom. http://www.outpost-of-freedom.com/mcveigh/okcaug98.htm. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  65. ^ "McVeigh's Apr. 26 Letter to Fox News". Fox News. April 26, 2001. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,17500,00.html. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  66. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 304. ISBN 0060394072. 
  67. ^ "Timothy James McVeigh." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on May 19, 2010.
  68. ^ Williams, Dave (April 5, 2001). "Internet firm sues to broadcast McVeigh execution". CNN. http://archives.cnn.com/2001/LAW/04/05/mcveigh.internet/index.html. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  69. ^ Mieszkowski, Katharine; Standen, Amy (19 April 2001). "The execution will not be webcast". Salon (Salon Media Group). http://www.salon.com/technology/feature/2001/04/19/mcveigh. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  70. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 360–361. ISBN 0060394072. 
  71. ^ a b Borger, Julian (June 11, 2001). "McVeigh faces day of reckoning". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/jun/11/mcveigh.usa4. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  72. ^ McVeigh, Tracey (May 9, 2001). "Dead man talking". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/apr/22/mcveigh.usa. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  73. ^ Mieszkowski, Katharine; Standen, Amy (19 April 2001). The execution will not be webcast. Salon Media Group. http://www.salon.com/technology/feature/2001/04/19/mcveigh. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  74. ^ Huppke, Rex W. "EXECUTION: Terre Haute, Ind. dreads execution of Timothy McVeigh." Associated Press at the Southeast Missourian. Friday April 6, 2001. 2A (continued from 1A). Retrieved from Google News (2/16) on October 14, 2010. "The planning for this day began when McVeigh was moved to the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana along with the 19 other federal death row inmates in 1999[...]"
  75. ^ a b "Bush calls McVeigh execution delay necessary". CNN. May 11, 2001. http://archives.cnn.com/2001/LAW/05/11/mcveigh.evidence.06/index.html. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  76. ^ "FEDERAL EXECUTION DATE SET FOR TIMOTHY JAMES McVEIGH." Federal Bureau of Prisons. January 16, 2001. Retrieved on May 29, 2010.
  77. ^ Borger, Julian (March 30, 2001). "McVeigh brushes aside deaths". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/mar/30/julianborger. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  78. ^ Catherine Quayle (2001-06-11). "Execution of an American Terrorist". Court TV. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/12/17/court.archive.mcveigh5/index.html#cnnSTCText. 
  79. ^ Rita Cosby (2001-06-12). "Timothy McVeigh Put to Death for Oklahoma City Bombings". FOX News. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,26904,00.html. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  80. ^ Ottley, Ted (June 7, 2001). "Pre-Execution News: McVeigh's Stay Request Denied". Timothy McVeigh & Terry Nichols: Oklahoma Bombing. TruTv. http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/mcveigh/updates.html. 
  81. ^ Gottman, Andrew J (Spring 1999). "Fair notice, even for terrorists: Timothy McVeigh and a new standard for the ex post facto clause". Washington and Lee Law Review. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3655/is_199904/ai_n8846061/pg_43. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  82. ^ "Bill Summary & Status, 105th Congress (1997 - 1998), S.923". Library of Congress. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d105:SN923:. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  83. ^ "Hearing on S. 923 and H.R. 2040, to deny burial in a federally funded cemetery and other benefits to veterans convicted of certain capital crimes". U.S. House of Representatives. July 9, 1997. http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/vets/hvr070997.000/hvr070997_0.htm. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  84. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. p. 288. ISBN 0060394072. 
  85. ^ a b Profile of Timothy McVeigh, CNN, March 29, 2001. Retrieved August 8, 2006.
  86. ^ a b Patrick Cole, "A Look Back in TIME: Interview with Timothy McVeigh," March 30, 1996. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  87. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (April 23, 1995). "Terror in Oklahoma: The Suspect; One Man's Complex Path to Extremism". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1995/04/23/us/terror-in-oklahoma-the-suspect-one-man-s-complex-path-to-extremism.html?pagewanted=2. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  88. ^ "Fellow inmate counsels McVeigh". Associated Press. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001-05-07-mcveigh-fellow.htm. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  89. ^ "The McVeigh Tapes" Rachel Maddow Show, aired April 19, 2010, pt. 1 at 2 min. 40 sec.
  90. ^ Michel, Lou and Herbeck, Dan. American Terrorist. pp. 142–143. ISBN 0060394072. 
  91. ^ Julian Borger,"McVeigh faces day of reckoning: Special report: Timothy McVeigh,", The Guardian Online, June 11, 2001. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  92. ^ "McVeigh took last rites before execution". CNN. June 11, 2001. http://articles.cnn.com/2001-06-11/justice/mcveigh.03_1_timothy-mcveigh-first-federal-execution-mcveigh-attorney?_s=PM:LAW. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  93. ^ See "McVeigh Remorseless About Bombing," newswire release, Associated Press, March 29, 2001, reposted on rickross.com. Retrieved August 8, 2006.
  94. ^ Michel and Herbeck; cf. Walsh.
  95. ^ a b "An Essay by Timothy McVeigh". Outpost of Freedom. March 1998. http://www.outpost-of-freedom.com/mcveigh/okcaug98.htm. Retrieved April 12, 2010. 
  96. ^ http://www.patriotledger.com/features/x1777801225/Author-links-man-arrested-in-Quincy-to-the-subject-of-her-book-on-Oklahoma-City-bomb-ing#axzz1GN83iIaW
  97. ^ http://www.jaynadavis.com/highlights.html

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