A Reason to Reopen OKC Bombing Invesigation?

This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, Feb. 25, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Timothy McVeigh (search) was executed two years ago for the Oklahoma City bombing. His friend, Terry Nichols (search), could end up being put to death, as well.

But are there other conspirators out there who are not paying for the crime?

Heather Nauert is here were that story.

HEATHER NAUERT, FNC CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, John.

Well, according to the new report, the FBI believed that white supremacists may have plotted with Tim McVeigh.

Joining me now from Dallas is the retired FBI chief for the Oklahoma City investigation, Dan Defenbaugh (search).

Today's big question, Dan, should the Oklahoma City bombing (search) investigation be re-opened?

DAN DEFENBAUGH, RETIRED FBI CHIEF: I think with regard to those three issues that are mentioned in that article, that were profound. They are at least an indication that those items should have come to the Oklahoma City bombing task force, those items should have been compared with the blasting caps that we know that were utilized...

NAUERT: Dan, let me just interrupt you for a second. I want to back up real quick for our viewers who are not yet familiar with this story and are hearing it for the first time.

You were in charge of the Oklahoma City bombing investigation for the FBI. Now you are retired. There was also some sort of parallel investigation going on into a group of American — actually white supremacists for a string of bank robberies. And it's believed that those robbers could have been involved with Timothy McVeigh.

Can you tell me what new evidence has come to light that could connect the two?

DEFENBAUGH: Well, Heather, it wasn't actually a parallel investigation. Those robbers were utilizing bombs and were robbing banks.

They were a white supremacist group. And we had conducted investigations on both sides to see whether or not McVeigh and Nichols had any involvement with those bank robbers and vice versa. Throughout this project, we worked together.

Now the writer of the article has come up with some additional information about certain items that were taken and seized at that time that actually didn't go even to the FBI laboratory. They were not compared and, quite frankly, they should have been compared with the Oklahoma City bombing case.

NAUERT: But of all the people that should have known that there was another investigation — we won't call it a parallel investigation — but that there was another investigation going on, you should have known about that, but you weren't told about this.

That's got to make you pretty angry because that is information you could have used and certainly the defense could have used.

DEFENBAUGH: We knew about the investigation. We had an agent on the project unit and a number of people assigned to work with them.

That evidence that you're reading there in that article did not come to light to us. That's correct. And it should have been compared.

NAUERT: So, some of this information that has come forward, it includes the following.

Some of the white supremacists claim that they were involved in the Oklahoma City bombing. Some of the same evidence was found in Timothy McVeigh's van, as was found in the supremacist's apartment. What does that tell you?

DEFENBAUGH: I think that your use of "same" is not completely accurate. It appears that there was blasting caps and there was news — excuse me, Christmas wrapping paper.

If you'll recall during the testimony, Timothy McVeigh at one time had Maury Fortier (ph) wrap some blasting caps in Christmas wrapping paper in a box. So therefore, that kind of information, if we would have known that, we would have certainly taken and conducted an additional investigation to either prove or eliminate any association with the Oklahoma City bombing case.

NAUERT: Naturally, Timothy McVeigh's former defense attorneys have so far come forward, and they have said something along the lines of this completely closes the circle, basically trying to say that there was somebody additional involved in this. Not just Timothy McVeigh. And not just Terry Nichols.

Was the wrong guy possibly put to death? In your opinion?

DEFENBAUGH: No. There's no question whatsoever in my mind that Timothy McVeigh was involved and that's a gigantic leap for the defense attorneys to make.

I think that what this shows is that those items should be compared. I think that what you're looking at right now, because of all the evidence that we had and particularly if you'll recall the Daryl Bridges (ph) calling card that was utilized by McVeigh and Nichols totally to assist them with the conspiracy to commit that bombing.

NAUERT: OK. Dan?

DEFENBAUGH: None of the evidence we have so far has compared and has been able to identify or associate those individuals. All that's come forward right now is additional evidence that was recovered there, that was never compared to the Oklahoma City bombing case.

NAUERT: OK. Great. Dan Defenbaugh, thank you so much for joining us.

By the way, some of that evidence was since destroyed. And so everybody knows, Terry Nichols will stand trial next week in Oklahoma City on state charges that carry the death penalty — John.

GIBSON: Heather Nauert, thank you very much.

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