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Gov't Had Missile in Okla. Building
Guardian ^

Posted on 09/26/2002 5:15:55 AM PDT by sonsofliberty2000

Gov't Had Missile in Okla. Building

Thursday September 26, 2002 7:50 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) - When Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, the government had a TOW antitank missile stowed in a locker several floors above the daycare center.

The missile, about 3 feet long, actually had an inert warhead and only a small amount of rocket fuel, and the government says it did not contribute to the massive explosion that day. Instead, it tumbled into the rubble of the Alfred P. Murrah building.

But its discovery prompted an evacuation that slowed rescue efforts April 19, 1995, in part because the missile had been marked as live ordinance to make it look believable to the targets of a planned law enforcement sting, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

``Tow Missile recovered from A.P. Murrah Building,'' states an Oklahoma County sheriff's department evidence form showing the missile was removed from the rubble by the department's bomb squad and examined by military ordinance experts.

Oklahoma City emergency personnel records show the rescue site evacuation lasted 44 minutes.

``People were scrambling in every direction,'' recalled Sgt. William Grimsley of the Oklahoma County sheriff's department bomb squad, who helped remove the missile during the evacuation. ``From the crate, we knew it was some kind of a missile. We were told to get it out of there and get it out of there as fast as we could.''

The missile was the subject of a lengthy FBI investigation and also was examined by a local grand jury in Oklahoma, according to documents and interviews, but its existence has remained mostly a secret to the public - except for a handful of conspiracy theorists and government critics.

``There was a gag order at the time, we just didn't talk about it at all. It was an ongoing investigation,'' Grimsley explained.

McVeigh was convicted and later executed for the truck bomb blast that killed 168 people, including 19 children - most of them in a day-care center on the second floor.

Though a sidelight in the Oklahoma City drama, the missile's unexpected appearance in the rubble of a federal building frequented by civilians - including children - raises broader safety issues, experts say.

``We have no idea of what the potential dangers are in federal buildings because there is no methodology'' for the General Services Administration, the government's landlord, to independently review what is stored in every building, said John Culbertson, a former congressional aide to expelled Rep. James Traficant, D-Ohio.

Culbertson investigated the Oklahoma City building and other federal building safety issues and testified before a House subcommittee.

The GSA says its security procedures have changed greatly since 1995. The changes ``include extensive exchange of information with local, state and federal law-enforcement organizations, designing federal buildings to incorporate security measures and using magnetometers, X-ray machines and other innovations, some not visible to the public,'' GSA spokeswoman Viki Reath said.

Just last summer, GSA implemented a new regulation requiring federal agencies to seek its authorization before bringing ``hazardous explosive or combustible materials'' into federal buildings.

Still, the TOW missile is among a growing number of recent examples of weaponry, ordinance and other potentially dangerous materials that have been involved in incidents in government buildings.

In December, an FBI agent suffered severe burns on his hands, arm and abdomen when a stun grenade accidentally exploded in a federal building in Buffalo, N.Y. Witnesses said the explosion shook the building and caused smoky haze to drift through the complex.

And shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, authorities divulged that a government office building that collapsed in a fiery heap near the World Trade Center had stored thousand of gallons of diesel fuel in tanks just above the ground floor. Investigators have examined whether the fuel could have contributed to the fire and collapse, and some insurance companies have sued the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for storing the fuel there.

The federal building in Baltimore was evacuated in 1997 when pepper gas was discharged, overcoming several workers.

Some potential perils have been known by the government for more than a decade.

In 1987, a fire inside an FBI crime laboratory in Washington set off ordinance stored casually in a cabinet. ``The detonation of ordinance stored in the lower area of the cabinet occurred late in the fire as the heat level approached the floor,'' an FBI investigative report said.

That report states that among the items to detonate were two rocket-propelled grenades and 30 Soviet-made detonating fuses.

Federal law enforcement officials say their agencies frequently must store weapons - everything from handguns and ammunition to semiautomatic rifles and flash grenades - inside buildings frequented by civilians, but that those who handle them are carefully trained and abide by existing laws.

The Customs Service acknowledged it possessed the TOW missile in the Murrah building. When its discovery in the rubble sparked alarm, a Customs agent attempted to assure rescuers the missile was unarmed and pleaded unsuccessfully not to delay the rescue efforts.

``The Customs agent offered to personally remove the inert TOW missile from the building,'' the service said in a statement to AP. ``Rescue officials did not take up the agent's offer.''

Customs said the missile was marked live because it ``must appear to be live in order to gain the confidence of suspected arms traffickers during undercover investigations.'' But the agency added it believes its storage in a ``reinforced strong room'' was legal.

``Customs' actions in possessing and storing this system were completely within the law,'' the agency said. It would not discuss the details of the planned sting.

The FBI eventually took custody of the missile and traced the weapon's history from its creation and initial firing at an Alabama Army depot to its reconfiguration with a dummy warhead.

One military expert told the FBI that even an inert missile could pose dangers. ``He stated that inert TOW missiles are still operational. ... These missiles are still fireable as they contain an engine which is propelled by rocket fuel,'' an FBI report said.


TOPICS: Extended News
KEYWORDS: johndoe2; josepadilla; okcbombing; oklahomabombing; terrynichols; timothymcveigh

1 posted on 09/26/2002 5:15:55 AM PDT by sonsofliberty2000
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To: dd5339
OKC ping
2 posted on 09/26/2002 5:23:57 AM PDT by Vic3O3
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To: sonsofliberty2000
I'm appalled....they stored weapons near an FBI office. The next thing you know they'll be telling me that the military, against all common sense, stores ammunition on military bases. Who in the world do they think they are?!!

And a building that heats with fuel oil had the audacity to store its fuel in fuel tanks in it's own building. I'll bet they even had electrically hot circuit boxes where dangerous electricity entered the building.
3 posted on 09/26/2002 5:28:49 AM PDT by xzins
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To: aristeides; thinden; honway; piasa
This is such an old story. Why are we seeing it now? The discussion of all the old incidents reads almost word for word of older versions I've seen.

I wonder if this recycling means they've been reduced to admitting the Iraqi involvement?

4 posted on 09/26/2002 5:30:20 AM PDT by Lion's Cub
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To: Lion's Cub
This is such an old story. Why are we seeing it now?

Since this is a British paper, it's news to them???

Your point on the Iraq involvement may be dead on. After all this is coming from the left wing Guardian.

US Government can't be trusted type of reasoning ???

5 posted on 09/26/2002 5:43:42 AM PDT by JZoback
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To: xzins
xzins, the point that is glossed over here is not that they had the weapon there, but why they had it there. Just exactly what kind of people are you setting up in a sting when selling rockets??? Could it be, oh, Idunno, terrorists???

TOW Weapon Systems are the preferred anti-armor systems of the U.S., NATO, the Coalition Forces, the United Nations, and many international peacekeeping operations.

TOW Weapon Systems are designed for anti-armor, anti-bunker, anti-fortification, and anti-amphibious missions. The TOW 2 family, currently in production, includes the multi-mission TOW 2A and TOW 2B missiles. The TOW 2A features a tandem warhead armament system to increase its lethality against tanks configured with explosive reactive armor. The TOW 2B is a fly-over, shoot-down missile with explosively formed penetrator warheads. It is designed to defeat advanced armor well into the 21st century.

The TOW 2 guidance system "hardens" the guidance link to defeat battlefield electro-optical countermeasures and infrared countermeasures. TOW 2 missiles can operate in daylight or darkness, and through smoke, haze, and other battlefield obscurants.

More than 40 international armed forces employ TOW Weapon Systems and they are integrated in more than 15,000 ground vehicle and helicopter platforms worldwide.


6 posted on 09/26/2002 5:44:02 AM PDT by sam_paine
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To: sam_paine
Maybe the sting target was just a golf course greenskeeper trying to get rid of that pesky gopher.
7 posted on 09/26/2002 5:50:10 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: sam_paine
good link up; I passed right over that line from the story "But its discovery prompted an evacuation that slowed rescue efforts April 19, 1995, in part because the missile had been marked as live ordinance to make it look believable to the targets of a planned law enforcement sting, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. "
8 posted on 09/26/2002 5:50:43 AM PDT by sonsofliberty2000
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: Poohbah
"So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one---big hitter, the Lama---long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consiousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. "
10 posted on 09/26/2002 5:59:27 AM PDT by sonsofliberty2000
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To: sam_paine
I agree with you more than I don't.

The Tow is our current SOLDIER-DEPLOYED anti-tank weapon....the descendant of the old bazooka. While it is more easily mounted on a Hummer, it is intended for individual use rather than team use. THEREFORE, it is deployable by an individual.

When most think of MISSILE the think of something large like an icbm. With a tow, however, You could easily carry it around with you. (The replacement for the Tow, the Javelin, will be even more deployable by an individual soldier. Javelin is a "fire and forget" missile whereas with the tow you have to guide it to its target with the optical guidance system. That makes the soldier vulnerable to return fire.)

There could be any number of folks who would want to buy a tow....survivalists, terrorists, gangs, crime syndicates, drug cartels, honest weapons collectors, etc. It doesn't require one to be a terrorist to want a tow missile. (The gov't shouldn't be in the business of entrapping exotic weapons collectors....the 2nd amendment doesn't say I can't have a tow missile.)
11 posted on 09/26/2002 6:02:22 AM PDT by xzins
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To: xzins; sam_paine
the 2nd amendment doesn't say I can't have a tow missile

I'm trying to imagine where you might be able to get a TOW that wasn't copped from a government ammo shed. That sorta precludes legitimate ownership, IMHO.

But I do have a question...

20 years ago when I was ROTC we got to load and 'launch' a dummy TOW. The TOW is not small enough for one person to deploy; the one we used was jeep-mounted and quite cumbersome. I'm curious if the old fly-by-wire is now laser guided...

12 posted on 09/26/2002 6:45:49 AM PDT by IncPen
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To: xzins
It doesn't require one to be a terrorist to want a tow missile.

Right on. Let's go through your list.

So for all except the gangs/mob/terror type investigations, I'd be very upset that the FBI were doing such work. So why can't we hear about which type of sting this was? They don't have to give dirt on the potential perps, but I wish our governement was open enough for me to feel comfortable about just what type of stuff they're doing behind closed doors. (A friend's husband works in the Treasury Dept/SS type and he scares the heck out of me. A devious person who would be at home interrogating me in Soviet Russia, yet he gets paid by MY tax dollars. Sad.)
13 posted on 09/26/2002 6:51:58 AM PDT by sam_paine
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To: IncPen
I'm trying to imagine where you might be able to get a TOW that wasn't copped

I don't think you can. UNLESS you can buy it from some of the overseas customers who will sell back to you what the US Gov sold to them. (There's probably laws against bringing them back into the country.....my point was that entrapping weapons collectors with FBI agents peddling Tow missiles is a violation of my 2nd amendment rights. Since I have a right to buy weapons, they shouldn't be enticing me with ones that they ALREADY know to be illegal. I don't mind them stinging gangs, terrorists, crime syndicates. I mind them setting up some poor yahoo who collects exotic weapons.)

The tow is cumbersome. But they really did intend it to be deployable by one guy (and his hummer.) Don't know about laser versus wire.

Have you seen the new javelin? It is a "soldier-carried" anti-tank, fire-and-forget missile. Awesome. Aim, pull the trigger, and run like hades. It will change the battlefield.

14 posted on 09/26/2002 6:55:17 AM PDT by xzins
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To: xzins
Actually, the Javelin is the replacement for the Dragon, which was a truly mediocre weapon, far more likely to hit the ground about 100 meters in front of the gunner instead of the intended target.

The TOW is a much larger missile, with longer range and a more powerful warhead. It needs a Humvee or a Bradley to have enough mobility to be useful.

15 posted on 09/26/2002 8:27:54 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Poohbah; Travis McGee
The TOW is a much larger missile, with longer range and a more powerful warhead. It needs a Humvee or a Bradley to have enough mobility to be useful.

I thought the tow's range was only like 3000 yards and actually that's hard because of the need to optically guide it -- you gotta keep your eyes on your target throughout the flight of the missile. You can't have trees or hills in between because of the gunner's need for line of sight.

Since the gunner has to have line of sight, that means he has to be out in the open and the backblast from the missile launch gives such a big signature that the gunner is a sitting duck.

The javelin (heat signature?) locks on and then ELEVATES and comes down on the target. In the meantime, the gunner who fired it is running away to fire again and/or hide. I believe the Javelin's effective range is further than the tow's supposedly was.

We need an infantry guy in here. Hey travis, can you help us out?

16 posted on 09/26/2002 9:45:48 AM PDT by xzins
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To: xzins
I thought the tow's range was only like 3000 yards and actually that's hard because of the need to optically guide it -- you gotta keep your eyes on your target throughout the flight of the missile. You can't have trees or hills in between because of the gunner's need for line of sight.

Actually, the range limit on the TOW is 3,750 meters. To give you an idea how far that is, it's over 2.3 MILES. The minimum range is 100-200 meters (to let the launcher acquire the missile). In open country, it kills tanks. It was an absolute gem in Operation Desert Storm.

Most manportable AT weapons only go about 200 to 1,000 yards effectively--and the really small ones (M72 LAW, AT4, Carl Gustav, RPG-7, and the Panzerfaust III) are at the low end of the spectrum. (When I was a young recruit, the LAW instructor told me "Close in on the target until you think you're too close--and then get even closer.")

Since the gunner has to have line of sight, that means he has to be out in the open and the backblast from the missile launch gives such a big signature that the gunner is a sitting duck.

True--but most enemy tanks can't engage past about 2,000 meters with the main gun, and returning fire with a missile means that it's a race between a missile on the way and a missile that's late leaving the launcher.

17 posted on 09/26/2002 10:07:23 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: xzins
I have to agree. I usually the firt to rip Keystone Kops a new one, but from the account it sounds as if the missile was specially prepared to be as safe as possible for use in sting operations. A non-event.
18 posted on 09/26/2002 10:14:08 AM PDT by eno_
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To: IncPen
I'm curious if the old fly-by-wire is now laser guided...

TOW II is still wire guided. The usual countermeasure is for artillery and battalion support mortar fire to lay screens of white phosphorous smoke preceeding a tank attack, which burns through the command guidance wires.


19 posted on 09/26/2002 10:59:41 AM PDT by archy
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To: archy
Two miles of wire coming out of that is pretty close to a miracle.
20 posted on 09/26/2002 11:08:52 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: eno_
"I have to agree. I usually the firt to rip Keystone Kops a new one, but from the account it sounds as if the missile was specially prepared to be as safe as possible for use in sting operations. A non-event."

Safe in case the "sting" "went bad" and the "stingee" escaped and evaded with the missile.

I do wonder which "militia" group they were hoping to ensnare with it.

21 posted on 09/26/2002 11:10:26 AM PDT by PLMerite
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To: harpseal
Hmmm ping.
22 posted on 09/26/2002 11:14:03 AM PDT by Black Agnes
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To: archy
OK...now I want one. :)
23 posted on 09/26/2002 11:31:55 AM PDT by gundog
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To: PLMerite
I do wonder which "militia" group they were hoping to ensnare with it.

I would like to know which militia group was in the market for a TOW missile.

24 posted on 09/26/2002 11:33:04 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Poohbah
"I would like to know which militia group was in the market for a TOW missile."

After Waco, I could imagine any number of groups wanting some kind of anti-armor capability.
25 posted on 09/26/2002 11:44:11 AM PDT by PLMerite
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To: PLMerite
After Waco, I could imagine any number of groups wanting some kind of anti-armor capability.

Mm-hmm. Anything to keep that standoff going, right?

26 posted on 09/26/2002 11:46:49 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Poohbah
"Mm-hmm. Anything to keep that standoff going, right?"

Hey, you plays the game, you takes your chances. Regardless of where one's sympathy lies, it's undeniable that Ruby Ridge and Waco begat OKC.

You can't expect people - good or bad - to not take steps they feel are necessary to defend themselves.
27 posted on 09/26/2002 12:12:51 PM PDT by PLMerite
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To: PLMerite
It was Customs, not ATF. So I assume the target was foreign.
28 posted on 09/26/2002 12:39:14 PM PDT by eno_
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To: gundog
OK...now I want one. :)

There may be some more attractive possibilities for you....


29 posted on 09/26/2002 1:23:29 PM PDT by archy
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To: eno_
"It was Customs, not ATF. So I assume the target was foreign."

Or they were going for a "two-fer," the foreigners already had a "domestic terrorist" buyer lined up and the Feds were going for the big sting.

30 posted on 09/26/2002 1:36:17 PM PDT by PLMerite
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To: PLMerite
"It was Customs, not ATF. So I assume the target was foreign."

Ollie North's pals peddling TOWS to the Iranians again?

Sounds like a Democratic Justice Department operation, all right....

31 posted on 09/26/2002 3:29:51 PM PDT by archy
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To: xzins
The Tow is our current SOLDIER-DEPLOYED anti-tank weapon....the descendant of the old bazooka. While it is more easily mounted on a Hummer, it is intended for individual use rather than team use. THEREFORE, it is deployable by an individual.

Nope. Think you're thinking of the dragon.

Tow missiles need a tripod/mount, and a bulky control unit- while a couple of guys can manhandle the components around, they were never intended to be carried/fired by one man.

32 posted on 09/26/2002 8:29:23 PM PDT by fourdeuce82d
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To: fourdeuce82d
I don't believe it was designed to be carried by one man....that's why the humvee mount. But isn't it designed to be fired by ONE INDIVIDUAL SOLDIER. If not, it's crew-served, and I didn't think it was in that category. In any case, I bow to your greater knowledge.

Have you seen the javelin perform yet? I was looking at an actions series of photos out at Marshall Space center, Huntsville about a month ago. It's pretty awesome. Maybe they had video, too. I don't remember.

In any case, I remember them saying it is something like 40 pounds or so and designed for an individual soldier. I think that includes the missile, but I'm not sure. Forty pounds is a lot of extra weight for a soldier to hump.
33 posted on 09/27/2002 5:13:39 AM PDT by xzins
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To: Poohbah
Anything to keep that standoff going, right?

Especially if the *police* involved are a death squad coming to murder as many of the witnesses as they can, using tanks and automatic grenade launchers in case the kids are still conscious enough to run out of the buildings the murderers torched.

34 posted on 09/27/2002 7:49:32 AM PDT by archy
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bttt
35 posted on 09/27/2002 4:42:45 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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