McVeigh Considered Killing Reno

The Associated Press/April 27, 2001
By Karen Gullo

Washington -- Before bombing the Oklahoma City federal building Timothy McVeigh considered killing former Attorney General Janet Reno, a federal judge and an FBI agent to get back at the U.S. government which he believed had become violent against citizens.

In a letter to Fox News, McVeigh said "eligible" targets included Reno, "making her accept 'full responsibility' in deed, not just word," for the deaths resulting from the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.

"I considered, among other things, a campaign of individual assassination," McVeigh said.

Other targets included federal Judge Walter Smith, who presided over the Waco trial, and Lon Horiuchi, an FBI agent involved at a shootout at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

McVeigh said he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City as a retaliatory strike against a government that he believed had waged violence against its citizens.

"I decided to send a message to a government that was becoming increasingly hostile, by bombing a government building and the government employees within that building who represent that government," McVeigh said in the letter released Thursday.

McVeigh, 33, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on May 16 for the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, 19 of them children.

The bombing occurred on April 19, 1995, the second anniversary of the fire that ended the 51-day standoff at the Waco compound, where sect leader David Koresh and some 80 followers died.

Until recently, the former Gulf War veteran had not admitted his involvement in the bombing or explained his reasons for doing it. Last month, though, in a book about the bombing written by two reporters who interviewed him, McVeigh admitted his actions. He called the children killed in the blast "collateral damage."

Asked about the passage, McVeigh told Fox: "Collateral Damage? As an American news junkie; a military man; and a Gulf War Veteran, where do they think I learned that (It sure as hell wasn't Osami Bin Laden!)" - he wrote, misspelling the name of a suspected terrorist.

As in the book, McVeigh said he bombed the federal building to avenge the deaths at Waco and contended his actions were justified.

"Bombing the Murrah Federal Building was morally and strategically equivalent to the U.S. hitting a government building in Serbia, Iraq or other nations," McVeigh wrote. "Based on the observations of the policies of my own government, I viewed this action as an acceptable option."

He denied that he was seeking publicity by writing to Fox. "I explain this not for publicity. ... I explain so that the record is clear as to my thinking and motivations in bombing a government installation."

News organizations are barred from interviewing McVeigh on camera or on audiotape under federal prison rules recently announced by Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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