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Government had missile in Murrah building
The Oklahoman ^ | 2002-09-26 | Associated Press

Posted on 09/26/2002 6:10:37 PM PDT by tomball

WASHINGTON — 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: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: extended; fredthompson; okcbombing
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1 posted on 09/26/2002 6:10:37 PM PDT by tomball
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To: tomball
"One military expert told the FBI that even an inert missile could pose dangers." One of these dangers is to the credulity of the general public, who might start thinking that they have not been given the full story.
2 posted on 09/26/2002 6:18:45 PM PDT by BlackVeil
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To: BlackVeil
What it makes you wonder, is what else were we not told about. I support the death penalty. But when evidence starts surfacing after the execution of a perp, it's very damning whether it was directly related or not. Is this the tip of the iceburg or the whole enchelada? Heaven only knows. I sure as hell hope so.
3 posted on 09/26/2002 6:22:15 PM PDT by DoughtyOne
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To: tomball
That missle was mentioned on Dallas radio stations the day of the bombing. I heard it myself and I seem to remember more explosive devices were recovered from inside the building. The government lies.
4 posted on 09/26/2002 6:27:18 PM PDT by Abcdefg
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To: tomball
It certainly took them a long time to think up this story.

I can't believe they wouldn't have said something right away if it was a dead missile. It would have corrected at least one of the dozens of discrepencies between the government's story and various news releases, and it would have been reassuring to the public.
5 posted on 09/26/2002 6:31:21 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: Cicero; DoughtyOne
It certainly took them a long time to think up this story. Yes, it did. And there is something awkward and contrived about the story. I must remember that line if ever I am sprung hiding a missile ... oh that missile - I was just keeping it by me, not to use or anything like that, just to give someone a fright ...
6 posted on 09/26/2002 6:33:52 PM PDT by BlackVeil
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To: tomball
I know some things about TOW missiles (having fired about 100 of them at Graf). It sounds like a "Blue Spear", a training round. By itself, it is NO big deal .... BUT ... it is very WEIRD that it was in a Federal Building, most 11Hs (TOW trained infantryman) I know, would consider that unsafe ....
7 posted on 09/26/2002 6:52:49 PM PDT by Yasotay
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To: tomball
Funny the tow is approximately 50 inches long which means it 14 inches longer that three feet.

Wonder what kind of missle it really was?

If they can't get basic facts correct why should we believe them any further?

8 posted on 09/26/2002 6:56:24 PM PDT by dts32041
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To: *OKCbombing; glorygirl; OKCSubmariner
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
9 posted on 09/26/2002 7:07:08 PM PDT by Free the USA
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To: dts32041
I think that depends on which model it was... TOW ... TOW II ... TOW IIA... but a very good observation.
10 posted on 09/26/2002 7:07:55 PM PDT by Yasotay
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Yasotay
Went to global security.org and got the dimmenstions for the Tow IIB, acutally sounds like they might have had a dragoon, which to the untrained and stupid such as ATF they might actually think was a TOW.
12 posted on 09/26/2002 7:20:02 PM PDT by dts32041
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To: tomball
Government had missile in Murrah building

come on nothing to see here. who in this forum doesnt have a tow missle in their garage i keep mine right next to the weedwhacker
13 posted on 09/26/2002 7:25:09 PM PDT by irradiateiraq
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To: tomball
Doesn't everyone have one of these laying around?
14 posted on 09/26/2002 7:27:17 PM PDT by Khurkris
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To: tomball
gotta say, when things like this are brought out, first thing I wonder is what made them finally admit it, second, who the hell thought this cover story up, things sure don't look kosher for the gvmnt.
15 posted on 09/26/2002 7:30:02 PM PDT by Naplm
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To: Conservative_Dr.Pepper_Drinker
OKC Submariner is no more.

What happened to him?

16 posted on 09/26/2002 7:35:23 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: tomball
The missile was going to be used in a sting. Since the stinging agency was Customs, the sting probably targeted some furriners.
17 posted on 09/26/2002 7:36:38 PM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Yasotay
What possible use can the FBI or ATF have with a TOW missile in an office buiding? Maybe they had a couple of laws (sub caliber training devices of course) and a few MILES Stingers in there as well.
18 posted on 09/26/2002 7:37:46 PM PDT by Eagle Eye
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To: Eagle Eye
What possible use can the FBI or ATF have with a TOW missile in an office buiding?

Word is that Customs was using it as bait in a sting.

19 posted on 09/26/2002 7:39:23 PM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Poohbah
Good answer, or at least one I can accept.

(Shoot, man, you just dented my tinfoil.)

20 posted on 09/26/2002 7:48:51 PM PDT by Eagle Eye
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To: Eagle Eye
Maybe Customs was setting up some EE-VIL FURRINERS.
21 posted on 09/26/2002 7:59:20 PM PDT by Poohbah
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: Conservative_Dr.Pepper_Drinker
Where'd he go?
23 posted on 09/26/2002 8:56:31 PM PDT by Pushi
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To: Poohbah
WASHINGTON — 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
24 posted on 09/26/2002 8:57:33 PM PDT by USA21
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To: USA21
Yup. If you read all of the reports, the missile was inerted as much as possible (no warhead, very little fuel). Meanwhile, Timmy's bomb had a HELL of a lot more OOMPH! than the TOW ever would have had, and it was twice as close to the daycare center.

So, of course, the reason the kids died in the daycare center was the massive damage inflicted on the building by the inert TOW missile.

25 posted on 09/26/2002 8:59:42 PM PDT by Poohbah
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To: Alamo-Girl; Gary Aldrich; amom; archy; aristeides; anymouse; AtticusX; backhoe; Betty Jo; ...
More proof that the full story isn't being told ping.
26 posted on 09/26/2002 9:00:58 PM PDT by glorygirl
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To: glorygirl
BBTTT !!!!
27 posted on 09/26/2002 10:32:06 PM PDT by lawdog
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To: tomball; Jim Robinson; All
The ramifications of this story are almost beyond comprehension.

So, after all these years, we find out there WAS GOING TO BE A STING after all. But the government"would not discuss the details of the planned sting."

Before I say anything else, please notice that NOWHERE IN THE STORY DID THE CUSTOMS SERVICE DENY THE EXISTENCE OF LIVE ORDNANCE ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE MURRAH BUILDING.

But it "would not discuss the details of the planned sting."

So, let's see. We know there have been rumors for years that various government officials whispered about a "sting gone wrong" in the immediate aftermath of the bombing.

We know that McVeigh was a soldier who wanted to very much to get into the special forces.

We know there are a lot of questions about where he was and what he did between the time he was supposedly released from the military and the time of the OKC Bombing.

We know he hated the government.

We know about the missing documents.(Too bad the AP did not detail the source of the "documents" used for this story)

With all of this, when the government releases this information, it makes the point that the "inert missile" was "several floors away" from the daycare center. I wonder if this information makes the parents of the kids killed in the daycare center feel any better, seven and a half years after the fact.

It also has the gall to suggest that "a handful... of conspiracy theorists" knew about an "inert missile" for all that time, but didn't bother to tell anyone. Right.

This is a huge insult to the people of Oklahoma, and especially to those directly impacted by the OKC Bombing. I hope a lot of phones are ringing off the hook in Washington D.C. and Oklahoma later today.

I suppose OKCSubmariner and others were threatened simply because of concerns about the existence of an "inert missile." Right.

IMO, Bush and the rest of the feds should get this story out in the open, and get past it, quickly. Whatever the truth,it can't be as bad as it could be made to look if it is revealed by someone outside the federal government.

Also, on the strength of this story alone, OKCSubmariner should be reinstated to Free Republic as quickly as possible.

28 posted on 09/26/2002 11:20:27 PM PDT by glorygirl
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To: glorygirl; All
Also, on the strength of this story alone, OKCSubmariner should be reinstated to Free Republic as quickly as possible.

I agree.

...and I need to ask everyone's help--

Are you tired of this ___?

Then send this story far & wide across the web, contact letters to editors, let people like Rush & Hannity know about it- look here and follow the links for tools and instructions:

Ignorance Making You Ill? Cure It!

29 posted on 09/27/2002 1:03:12 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: USA21
I figure that missile was only as inert as the Feds involved desired for it to be for publishing purposes. Makes some people here look laughable or maybe the word is in-credible.
30 posted on 09/27/2002 1:12:13 AM PDT by Spirited
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To: Free the USA
Bookmark Bump
31 posted on 09/27/2002 2:13:59 AM PDT by ActionNewsBill
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To: Pushi
I think you can post to OKCSubmariner,but I think he is not allowed to post on FR.
32 posted on 09/27/2002 4:10:53 AM PDT by Donald Stone
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To: backhoe; OKCSubmariner; Joe Montana; Uncle Bill; mssnoop; Travis McGee; Askel5
BIG BUMP !!!!!!!

I'd certainly like to hear OKC's ongoing commentary on this issue's !!!!!!
33 posted on 09/27/2002 4:13:56 AM PDT by Donald Stone
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To: tomball; glorygirl; OKCSubmariner; Joe Montana; Uncle Bill; backhoe
I wonder what type of group or individual would buy a missile, terrorist or bank robbers?

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.

34 posted on 09/27/2002 4:18:10 AM PDT by Donald Stone
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To: Donald Stone
I'd certainly like to hear OKC's ongoing commentary

Agreed, it would be very interesting... FWIW, I sent this story- twice- to the usual suspects out on 'netland.

We'll see what develops...

35 posted on 09/27/2002 4:24:21 AM PDT by backhoe
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To: glorygirl
It could be that missile fell off a plane that was just passing by . . . .
36 posted on 09/27/2002 4:25:37 AM PDT by TiaS
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To: Abcdefg
"The government lies."

Yup. All the time.

Carolyn

37 posted on 09/27/2002 4:33:50 AM PDT by CDHart
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To: tomball
I recall now the police officer who tried to get this information into his police report, but the higher-ups forced him to edit it out - according to his wifes story. The officer, I do not remember his name, was murdered shortly thereafter and there are a lot of questions still about motive and suspects of the murder.

There is whole lot more to the bombing story. I am not a tinfoil hat person yet. But I believe this and flight 800 were two acts of terrorism in this country that our government just would not admit to.

38 posted on 09/27/2002 5:14:16 AM PDT by Woodstock
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To: Woodstock
That was Officer Terrence Yeakey of the OKC PD, just one of 24 witnesses to the blast or the early search and rescue events to die since the bombing. Additional info *here*.

-archy-/-
39 posted on 09/27/2002 7:18:49 AM PDT by archy
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To: Woodstock
That was Officer Terrence Yeakey of the OKC PD, just one of 24 witnesses to the blast or the early search and rescue events to die since the bombing. Additional info *here*.

-archy-/-
40 posted on 09/27/2002 7:19:06 AM PDT by archy
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To: Jim Robinson
Also, on the strength of this story alone, OKCSubmariner should be reinstated to Free Republic as quickly as possible. I agree. ...and I need to ask everyone's help-- Are you tired of this ___? Then send this story far & wide across the web, contact letters to editors, let people like Rush & Hannity know about it- look here and follow the links for tools and instructions: Ignorance Making You Ill? Cure It! 29 posted on 9/27/02 3:03 AM Central by backhoe

I agree with Backhoe, OKSubmariner should be restored

41 posted on 09/27/2002 7:28:36 AM PDT by WhirlwindAttack
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To: tomball
...but its existence has remained mostly a secret to the public — except for a handful of conspiracy theorists and government critics.

Sounds like this AP writer is tacitly admitting that 'conspiracy theorists' and 'government critics' are more well informed and more on the ball than AP is.

42 posted on 09/27/2002 7:29:10 AM PDT by TigersEye
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To: tomball
Why can't news people learn to spell ordnance?
43 posted on 09/27/2002 7:33:39 AM PDT by rabidralph
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To: Yasotay
It sounds like a "Blue Spear", a training round. By itself, it is NO big deal ....

It is good to hear from someone with actual experience that can comment on this. When you say "NO big deal" can you give us your take on what might happen if a missile like this, sans live warhead, were to be accidentally fired inside a building? Could it do as much damage as an acetylene tank with a broken neck? Or would it just sit there and fizzle like a 4th of July sparkler?

44 posted on 09/27/2002 7:36:01 AM PDT by TigersEye
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To: dts32041
Either missile is unless without the "launcher". A Dragoon would make more sense then a TOW ... for a "sting". BUT still it is VERY weird to have a live training round in a Federal Building. Those rounds still had to be kept in an ASP/AHA SEPARATED from other buildings WITH an armed guard.
45 posted on 09/27/2002 7:43:14 AM PDT by Yasotay
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To: Poohbah
The missile was going to be used in a sting. Since the stinging agency was Customs, the sting probably targeted some furriners.

That sounds like a good thing. I have no problem with LEA's on any level using a dummy rocket to catch a theif, a terrorist or a gun runner.

But couldn't something, shouldn't something like this be stored in a locker away from the office? I can't quite picture them bringing the perps to a Federal building to play out their sting.

46 posted on 09/27/2002 7:44:16 AM PDT by TigersEye
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To: Eagle Eye
NONE!!!
47 posted on 09/27/2002 7:44:38 AM PDT by Yasotay
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To: Yasotay
Those rounds still had to be kept in an ASP/AHA SEPARATED from other buildings...

You have answered part of my question that I posed to Poobah. Forgive my ignorance...but what is an 'ASP/AHA'? Just for clarity for those of us who are military acronym challenged. ; )

48 posted on 09/27/2002 7:48:15 AM PDT by TigersEye
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To: Jim Robinson
I also would like to see OKCSubmariner reinstated.

As far as I know he has reported honestly and faithfully on this subject. He has spent a great deal of time and effort researching this and I would be surprised and disappointed to learn that he had posted information irresponsibly.
49 posted on 09/27/2002 7:55:54 AM PDT by TigersEye
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To: TigersEye
You have a launch motor and a flight motor with fuel ... with the TOW you keep a large area, to the rear, clear for the back blast. I have never seen an acetylene tank go off but I would think that a blue spear accidently going off would be worse then that ...
50 posted on 09/27/2002 7:58:04 AM PDT by Yasotay
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