Waco disclosure might have stopped McVeigh-lawyer

Reuters, September 10, 1999

TULSA, Okla. - The attorney for Timothy McVeigh said the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people might not have happened if the U.S. government had disclosed the truth about its handling of the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas, a newspaper reported Thursday.

In an interview published in the Tulsa World, attorney Stephen Jones said the bombing was "retaliation for what happened at Waco and the cover-up .

"Had the wheels of justice worked and there had been an independent investigation and the responsibility assessed, there would have been no reason for an attack on the federal government in Oklahoma City," he told the newspaper.

McVeigh was sentenced to die for using a powerful truck bomb to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.

The bombing, which left 168 people dead, came on the two-year anniversary of the fiery end of the 51-day standoff at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco in central Texas. An estimated 80 people died when the FBI moved in with tanks and the building erupted in flames.

McVeigh, a former U.S. soldier, blew up the Murrah building supposedly because of his anger at Waco, which became a rallying cry for right-wing extremists.

Controversy over Waco was rekindled in August when the Dallas Morning News revealed that government forces had used incendiary tear gas grenades at the Branch Davidian compound.

Reversing six years of denials, the FBI and the Justice Department then admitted the pyrotechnic rounds were fired at the roof of a concrete bunker but maintained that they could not have sparked the fatal fire.

Jones said he knew of the grenades as early as three years ago and said more such revelations were possible.

"I have had sort of a somber, deja vu attitude when I started to see this come out," he told the World. "I knew it was out there. It has been under seal. There is more out there."

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