OKLAHOMA CITY – The special agent in charge of the Oklahoma FBI office defended it Wednesday from allegations that it mishandled evidence in the Oklahoma City bombing case.
"We do the right thing day in and day out for the people of Oklahoma and the people of the United States," special agent Richard Marquise said.
Four FBI agents who worked on the bombing investigation in the Oklahoma City office appeared on a segment of CBS' "60 Minutes II" Tuesday night, claiming evidence in several cases, including the bombing, was ignored or not documented.
The FBI acknowledged on May 10, six days before the scheduled execution of bomber Timothy McVeigh, that it had failed to turn over thousands of documents related to the bombing investigation. Attorney General John Ashcroft rescheduled the execution to June 11.
One of the agents, Ricardo Ojeda, wrote Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in March 2000, saying evidence he gathered was not followed up on.
But Marquise said that's not surprising since there were about 30,000 interviews conducted in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation and Ojeda was not a key part of the investigation.
"Mr. Ojeda played a small role in the bombing (investigation). He did conduct an investigation and it would not be not unusual that his investigation would not be used by the prosecution or the defense," Marquise said.
A 1999 audit of the Oklahoma City FBI office's evidence room cited evidence strewn about on the floor and incorrect or missing documentation, but Marquise said evidence related to the Oklahoma City bombing is kept at a separate, secret site.
He said the FBI asked for the audit of its evidence room and was moving into a new office at the time it was conducted.
"They were in the process of boxing it up to move to a new office," Marquise said of the evidence.