Published April 27, 2001
Timothy McVeigh considered assassinating former Attorney General Janet Reno, a federal judge and an FBI agent before deciding instead to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the condemned killer told Fox News.
|Read the letter from Timothy McVeigh to Fox News' Rita Cosby|
"I considered, among other things, a campaign of individual assassination," with "eligible" targets to include: Federal Judge Walter Smith [Waco trial], Lon Horiuchi [FBI sniper at Ruby Ridge] and Janet Reno [making her accept "full responsibility in deed, not just word"], McVeigh states in a handwritten note to Rita Cosby, senior correspondent for the Fox News Channel.
McVeigh, 33, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection on May 16, said he considered the assassinations, and later the bombing, after waiting for the American justice system to "correct the abuse of power" by the federal government in incidents like the raid on Ruby Ridge and Waco.
In his seven-page response to Fox News, McVeigh also attempts to justify why he chose the bombing of the Murrah building over assassination or any other actions.
"Such an action served more purposes than other options," McVeigh claims, adding that the bombing was a retaliatory strike — a "counter-attack" — designed to punish federal agents who had taken part in the Waco raid and other incidents.
McVeigh goes on to say the bombing was also intended as a pre-emptive strike against further federal government offices "and their command and control centers within the federal building." He claims the bombing of the Oklahoma City building was "morally and strategically equivalent to the U.S. hitting a government building in Serbia, Iraq or other nations."
The letter also lashes out at current Attorney General John Ashcroft and the many others who commented on McVeigh's attempted justification of the bombing. McVeigh was interviewed at length for a book that was recently published, in which he describes the killing of 19 children in the bombing as "collateral damage."
"Collateral damage? As an American news junkie; a military man and a Gulf War veteran, where do they think I learned that? (It sure as hell wasn't from Osama bin Laden!)," he wrote.
Survivors of those killed at Oklahoma City reacted with disgust to McVeigh's latest comments.
"The man is delusional and he's trying to justify his actions with elaborate excuses," Marsha Kite, who lost her daughter in the explosion, said in an interview with Fox News on Friday morning.
Kite, who has spoken in the past of her opposition to the death penalty, said McVeigh's comments have tested her resolve on the issue. "It almost makes me want to walk in and witness the execution. But I wish that nobody would show up for the execution."
In total, 168 people were killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
McVeigh's letter also repeats his call for his execution to be televised. But a federal judge last week denied an Internet company's request to Webcast the execution, which will be broadcast to a group of victims and survivors of the bombing via closed-ciruit TV.
Federal law allows the media to be present at an execution, but does not allow any sound- or video-recording devices.