Published April 17, 2005
Officials said the implosion was a necessary part of the psychological recovery for the citizens of Oklahoma City. But critics question the FBI’s tactics and argue the building came down too soon and the implosion is one piece of a government cover-up.
Survivor VZ Lawton remembers the events after the attack.
“I was in my office at my desk signing papers and all of a sudden the building began to shake,” said Lawton. “The lights went out, debris started falling and then something hit me on the head and knocked me out before the truck bomb ever went off.”
Lawton and some others believe Timothy McVeigh (search) — who was convicted of federal conspiracy and murder charges in the bombing and executed in 2001 — and convicted conspirator Terry Nichols (search) weren't alone in plotting the attack.
During the investigation the FBI circulated sketches of “John Does” and in response received thousands of conflicting tips from across the country.
Editor's Note: Watch the FOX News Channel on Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT for "The Oklahoma City Bombing: Unanswered Questions." And check out FOXNews.com on Monday for a story showing how FBI agents are convinced they got the right men.
The FBI quickly identified Timothy McVeigh as John Doe No. 1 — the man who rented the Ryder Truck used in the deadly plot. But, the FBI discounted dozens of eyewitness statements about a John Doe No. 2. And some ask why.
"The government tried to tell us that there was no John Doe 2 in the truck with McVeigh," Lawton said. "We got witnesses that saw him in the truck, saw him get out of the truck, walk across the street and get into a brown Chevrolet pickup with two more John Doe 2's. That makes three."
A number of eyewitnesses said they saw McVeigh with other men at a variety of locations in Oklahoma and Kansas before the attack. Some accounts put McVeigh with other men on the morning of the bombing — but the FBI has ruled them out.
Pictures made from surveillance video at the Regency Tower Apartments are the only images related to the attack that have been released to the public.
Oklahoma City attorney Michael Johnston said the FBI was not given all the tapes from as many as twenty-five cameras that he says were in and around the Murrah Building.
“If they're really non-consequential, it wouldn't hurt anything. If indeed they show something I think the American public, after a decade, has the right to know,” he said.
Johnston, on behalf of twenty-five victims’ families, filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for all of the surveillance videos. FOX News also filed a FOI request. The FBI has denied both cases on account that the case is still open.
"We can’t expect to get that footage until after that case is closed and then I think you will," said FBI agent Jon Hersley.
Racial Tie to Bombing?
Another surveillance tape of interest might have shown McVeigh with some notorious bank robbers, but the FBI admits the video was destroyed.
“There's also some bank robbery surveillance tapes that were disposed of in some way that could've involved McVeigh with the Midwest robbery gang. There's just a lot of unanswered questions there,” former FBI agent Danny Coulson said.
Between the years of 1992 and 1996, a gang of white separatists who called themselves the Aryan Republican Army robbed banks throughout the Midwest and stole nearly $500,000 before being caught. Rumors have persisted that the ARA was tied to McVeigh.
“The Midwest bank robbers of course are somebody that should be looked at. Terrorists historically finance their operations through bank robbery, armored car robbery,” Coulson said. “Coincidences just aren't coincidences, there's some reason for it.”
Peter Langan, one of the gang’s leaders who is serving a life sentence for his role in the robberies, told FOX News in an exclusive interview that some of the Midwest bank robbers were involved in the Oklahoma City bombing.
“Yes I do [believe members of the Aryan Republican Army were involved],” Langan said. “No doubt whatsoever.”
McVeigh's sister, Jennifer, in her own sworn deposition said: "My brother remarked that the money he had in his possession represented his share of the bank robbery proceeds."
Some argue the FBI should have looked harder at phone records they used to track McVeigh and Nichols. The records might hold ignored or missed clues that call for a wider investigation, especially the number of calls McVeigh made to the Philippines.
“It's amazing to me that not more has been made of those phone records,” Johnston said.
Repeated calls were made from Terry Nichols' home to a place called Star Glad Lumber in the Philippines.
“Star Glad Lumber is operated by a man whose brother and cousin were both notorious terrorists, splinter groups of the Abu Sayyaf terror group in the Philippines,” according to Johnston, the attorney.
Nichols also repeatedly called a boarding house in Cebu City, an establishment that has been linked to 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef (search). The same kind of ANFO fertilizer fuel bomb was used in New York and in Oklahoma City.
Finally, in McVeigh's trial the prosecution alleged that the bombing was financed by a robbery of an Arkansas gun dealer named Roger Moore. But Langan doesn't agree.
"Moore had himself robbed ... so he could put firearms in the black market without having liability himself," Langan said.
Asked if he believed Moore was not a victim, but part of the scam, Langan told FOX News: "Correct."
FOX News' Rita Cosby, Clay Rawson and Peter Russo contributed to this report.