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Tag: Oklahoma City

Jim Norman, Lead FBI Agent in Oklahoma City Bombing Investigation, Dies

Former FBI agent Jim Norman. Screenshot via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Jim Norman, the FBI case agent who helped lead the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, died from a heart attack last week. 

Norman retired from the bureau in 2016 after more than 30 years of service and later joined the Tulsa County Cold Case Task Force in Oklahoma. 

“Jim Norman brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to our Cold Case Task Force,” the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said in a social media post. “He will be missed by all of us here, as well as by his family and friends.”

Members of the task force recalled Norman’s hard work and attention to detail. 

“He brought such an air of knowledge and confidence, and he had a great sense of humor, and you could count on him for that,” task force member Mike Huff told News9.

A memorial service is scheduled for July 8 in California. 

“We’re going to miss him on the job, and we’re going to miss him in our lives,” task force member Doc Shannon said. 

On the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, Norman described his experience and said he’d never forget that fateful day. 

“Five years after the bombing, I brought my wife and children to the dedication ceremony of the memorial. We could have gone in with (President) Clinton, but we chose to go in with the victims and I wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact that hit me when we walked in there and I saw the people who had lost kids, putting stuffed animals and flowers on the little seats,” Norman said in an interview posted on the FBI’s website. 

“There’s big seats for adults and little seats for the kids. And when they went in there and put the stuffed animals and the flowers on the little seats, I couldn’t talk. I said I can’t talk and I just walked on the hill for a few minutes until I kind of composed myself. It was so sad what happened with those kids.”

Family: FBI Manipulated Schizophrenic Son to Inspire Bomb Plot in Oklahoma City

Bombing suspect Jerry Drake Varnell

Bombing suspect Jerry Drake Varnell

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The family of a man accused of trying to detonate what he believed was a bomb outside of a bank in downtown Oklahoma City said the suspect is a paranoid schizophrenic and was manipulated by the FBI.

The mother and stepfather of 23-year-old Jerry Drake Varnell said undercover agents took advantage of their son’s mental condition and that he was incapable of carrying out an attack without additional help.

Varnell lived at home and was jobless because of his mental illness, Clifford and Melonie Varnell, of Oklahoma, said in a statement picked up by the Associated Press

“The FBI came and picked him up from our home, they gave him a vehicle, gave him a fake bomb, and every means to make this happen,” the statement said, adding that authorities “should not have aided and abetted a paranoid schizophrenic to commit this act.”

The FBI declined to comment this week.

Varnell faces up to 20 years in prison on a charge of attempting to use explosives to destroy a building in interstate commerce.

Varnell “has suffered through countless serious full-blown schizophrenic delusional episodes and he has been put in numerous mental hospitals since he was 16 years old,” the family’s statement said. 

The Varnells said their son is easily manipulated and that they believe the confidential informant who tipped off the FBI may have inspired the attempted attack.

FBI: Man Tried to Detonate Bomb in Oklahoma City, But It Was Fake

Bombing suspect Jerry Drake Varnell

Bombing suspect Jerry Drake Varnell

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 23-year-old Oklahoma man after the FBI said he tried to detonate what he thought was a vehicle bomb targeting a bank in Oklahoma City.

Jerry Drake Varnell was arrested Saturday morning in Oklahoma City following a long-term FBI investigation into domestic terrorism, the Justice Department announced Monday.

The FBI was tipped off that Varnell hated the federal government and originally wanted to bow up a building in Washington D.C.

An uncover FBI agent was in contact with Varnell via encrypted texts and Facebook messages and offered to help him assemble a bomb in downtown Oklahoma City.

Feds said Varnell was arrested after he parked a van with what he thought was an explosive device near BancFirst and dialed a number on his cell phone to detonate the “bomb,” which was inert and couldn’t explode.

Terry Wade Named Top FBI Agent in Albuquerque

Terry Wade

Terry Wade

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Terry Wade, a special agent in charge of the Criminal Division of the Los Angeles FBI, has been named the top FBI agent in the Albuquerque Division.

Wade joined the FBI in 1996 and was first assigned to Helena, Mont. He transferred to the Oklahoma City division, where he worked violent crimes, drug and white-collar violations.

In 2001, he was promoted to a supervisory position in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in  D.C. In 2003, he was promoted to supervisory special agent of the Flagstaff Resident Agency of the Phoenix Division, according to an FBI press release.

In 2007, Wade was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Albuquerque Division, where he was responsible for the counterterrorism, counterintelligence, cyber, and intelligence programs, as well as the crisis management program and SWAT team.

Between December 2008 and April 2009,  Wade served as the deputy on-scene commander in Baghdad, Iraq.

Before joining the FBI, he began his law enforcement career  as an agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation,

 

Terry Nichols Wants His Seized Guns Returned to His Family to Help His Children

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Terry Nichols, who helped in the Timothy McVeigh bombing in Oklahoma City, wants his seized guns turned over to his family.

Information disclosed in federal court reveals that the FBI has most of the guns, the Oklahoman reports. 

Nichols is serving life in prison and wants the guns turned over to one his sister or one of his two ex-wives so that the weapons can provide financial support for some of his children.

The guns were seized from his home in Herington, Kansas.

Judge Halts Case Amid Claims FBI Threatened Witness in Oklahoma City Bombing Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge has postponed a civil case involving the Oklahoma City bombing following claims that the FBI had threatened a witness in an attempt to keep him from testifying, Fox 13 Salt Lake City reports.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups appointed a “special master” to monitor the investigation, which is looking into allegations that agents instructed a witness not to show up in court in a lawsuit over documents from the 1999 bombing.

The judge also wants to see an unredacted copy of a report about potential witness tampering.

 

FBI Agent: Divine Intervention Led to Arrest of Timothy McVeigh 20 Years Ago

Timothy McVeigh

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A retired FBI agent who played a key role in the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing credits more than talent or good training on capturing Timothy McVeigh.

In an interview with the Oklahoman, Special Agent R. Scott Crabtree said divine intervention played a role in McVeigh’s capture.

“At the risk of sounding a little corny, it’s like I was supposed to be there at that time,” Crabtree told The Oklahoman in a telephone interview for the 20th anniversary of the tragedy.

Crabtree’s idea to quickly get a sketch of the person who had picked up the bomb truck led to McVeigh’s arrest two days after the bombing. And Crabtree was the lead interviewer of McVeigh’s close friend, Terry Nichols.

“I believe to a great degree there was some guidance from somewhere, some divine power or fate — whatever you want to call it — that had me there,” Crabtree said.

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New ‘One-of-a-Kind’ Homeland Security Policy Center to Open in Oklahoma City

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Oklahoma law school is creating a national center for homeland security law and policy, the Associated Press reports.

The new Judge Alfred P. Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law and Policy is being established at the Oklahoma City University of Law.

“This will be a one-of-a-kind center that will be a national resource for legal analysis and policy for our country’s homeland security issues, especially in regard to domestic terrorism,” Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said.

The center’s advisory board will be chaired by former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and John Whitley, a former general counsel for Homeland Security.

The center’s launch will take place on the 20th anniversary of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in April.

“Because of this event in our history and the way in which our city has rebuilt in these two decades since, we are uniquely positioned to help our nation and members of the private sector confront these issues,” said Josh Snavely, dean for advancement and external relations at the law school.

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