by Edmund H. Mahony
The Hartford Courant
June 7, 2001
A Connecticut lawyer representing victims of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City asked the Justice Department Wednesday for any evidence that suggests federal agents received advance warning of the attack from their informants.
Richard A. Bieder, a principal of Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder in Bridgeport, said he based his written request to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft on legal arguments filed by convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh, as well as thousands of reports the FBI failed to provide to McVeigh in a timely manner.
During a press conference in Hartford Wednesday, Bieder said he has no evidence that federal law enforcement agents were tipped by informants before the deadly explosion. But he said McVeigh's lawyers, who have access to more information than he, have theorized in their legal filings that "federal informants had advised federal law enforcement officers of the bombing several days or weeks before it occurred."
Wednesday in Denver, U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch rejected arguments by the McVeigh team and refused to further delay McVeigh's execution, saying newly released FBI documents do not change the fact that he is guilty. The government said the documents were inadvertently withheld from McVeigh until last month because of FBI record keeping errors.
Bieder represents 213 bombing victims or their relatives. He has filed a notice of intent to sue various government agencies for failing to prevent the explosion, but said he so far lacks the evidence required to file a suit.
In his request for information, Bieder asked Ashcroft for copies of all sworn statements from current and retired FBI agents disclosing whether the agents received any information before the bombing that it would occur on or around April 19, 1995 -the anniversary of the destruction of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas.