FBI: McVeigh knew children would be killed in OKC blast
DALLAS (CNN) -- The lead FBI investigator of the Oklahoma City bombing says no matter what Timothy McVeigh says in coming days and weeks, he had to have known that children would be victims if he succeeded in bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
A bomb ripped through the building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people in the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Fifteen children inside a day-care center were killed when the bomb ripped through the building; four others elsewhere in the building were killed.
FBI agent Danny Defenbaugh says he has no doubt McVeigh knew the day-care center was there.
"No matter what ... if you look at the building, you're going to see all the little cut-out hands, all the little apples and flowers showing that there's a kindergarten there -- that there are children in that building," Defenbaugh told CNN Correspondent Susan Candiotti in an exclusive interview.
In excerpts from a book that were distributed to newspapers and broadcasters by the Associated Press, McVeigh for the first time told his story of what he did and why.
McVeigh expresses no remorse and calls the children killed in the bombing "collateral damage." He was even angry that he didn't destroy the whole building. "Damn, I didn't knock the building down," he said.
"I understand what they felt in Oklahoma City. I have no sympathy for them," McVeigh told the authors of "American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing."
The authors Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, reporters for The Buffalo News, said in a taped interview for "PrimeTime Thursday" that McVeigh told them he did not know there was a day-care center inside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
"If I had known there was an entire day-care center, it might have given me pause to switch targets. That's a large amount of collateral damage," McVeigh said, according to the ABC interview.
More targets planned?
Defenbaugh, the lead FBI agent, said within the first days after McVeigh's arrest the FBI turned up information that more attacks might be planned.
"There were other federal buildings that were mentioned," he said, referring to potential targets in Dallas and Omaha.
And when the FBI found McVeigh kept his bomb ingredients in Kansas storage lockers, agents worried he might have more stockpiled elsewhere.
"We sent out, within two weeks of that, letters to every storage facility in the United States," he said.
They found nothing more, and added the episode to a case file that now holds 1 billion records from checking out various leads.
"It was, and still is, probably, the largest, most labor-intensive investigation ever conducted by the FBI," said Defenbaugh, a career agent for more than 30 years.
He said he's asked most frequently about whether others were involved.
Even though witnesses first said there was a John Doe #2 suspect, the FBI concluded McVeigh acted largely alone. Key evidence for that conclusion was McVeigh's purchase of a hot apple pie at a McDonald's in Junction City, Kansas, minutes before renting the bomb truck. A security camera caught McVeigh on film.
"There was no one else who came in with him, who was involved with him, who sat with him, who talked with him, who left with him, no indication whatsoever that there was anyone else," he said.
His only accomplice was ex-Army buddy Terry Nichols, since convicted of helping plot the bombing.
The FBI found a getaway map in a garbage can at Nichols' home, and because of markings on that, Defenbaugh thinks McVeigh may have stopped along the escape route to watch the bomb go off.
"My personal opinion is that, to build a bomb that big, to do that type of devastation, that you'd actually want to watch it," Defenbaugh said.
McVeigh has given up all his appeals. He is scheduled to be executed May 16 at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Defenbaugh said McVeigh is a pariah, even to anti-government militia groups.
"He's not a martyr. He's a cold-blooded killer," the FBI official said.
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