- Interview Broadcast On '60 Minutes'
- Says Gulf War, Ruby Ridge Deepened His Anger
- Does Not Claim Innocence In OKC Bombing
Timothy McVeigh, in federal prison, talks to Ed Bradley
(CBS) For convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the Gulf War and clashes at
Ruby Ridge and Waco loom large. Watching those confrontations, he said, deepened his anger
at the federal government.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS News' 60 Minutes, McVeigh said that
he was angry and bitter after fighting in the Gulf War, where he won several medals for
"I went over there hyped up, just like everyone else," he said. "What
I experienced, though, was an entirely different ballgame. And being face to face close
with these people in personal contact, you realize they're just people like you."
His anger deepened when Randy Weaver's wife and son were shot and killed in a standoff
with federal agents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and dozens of members of the Branch
Davidian sect died in a fire after a 51-day standoff with federal officers in Waco, Texas,
eight months later.
Jim Denny, whose children Brandon and Rebecca were hurt in the Oklahoma City bombing, said
he didn't understand McVeigh's Gulf War comparison.
"We went over there to save a country and save innocent lives. When he compared
that to what happened in Oklahoma City, I didn't see the comparison. He came across as
'the government uses force, so it's OK for its citizens to use force.' We don't believe in
using force," Denny said.
McVeigh did not say he was innocent of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal
Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The explosion killed 168 people.
His lawyers filed an appeal last week claiming pretrial publicity and defense attorneys'
alleged leaks of inflammatory stories to the press deprived him of a fair trial.
McVeigh said that if his latest appeal fails, he is prepared to die.
"I came to terms with my mortality in the Gulf War," McVeigh said during
the Feb. 22 interview with CBS News Correspondent Ed Bradley at the federal
maximum-security prison in Terre Haute, Ind.
In his only other interview since his 1997 conviction, that same year with the Buffalo
News in New York, he also refused to say if he was the bomber or knew who was.
Asked if it is acceptable to use violence against the government, McVeigh said: "If
government is the teacher, violence would be an acceptable option.
"What did we do to Sudan? What did we do to Afghanistan? Belgrade? What are we doing
with the death penalty? It appears they use violence as an option all the time,"
One of the claims in McVeigh's motion for a new trial is that images of him in an orange
jumpsuit, leg irons and handcuffs two days after his arrest prejudiced the jurors. He said
the pictures were "the beginning of a propaganda campaign."
Jurors who were interviewed by CBS News, however, denied they were influenced by
the pretrial publicity. "He's the Oklahoma City bomber, and there is no doubt
about it in my mind," John Candeleria said.
Asked if he would do anything differently if he could relive his life, McVeigh said: "I've
thought about that quite a few times. And I think anybody in life says, `I wish I could
have gone back and done this differently, done that differently.'
"There are moments, but not one that stands out."
At his trial, evidence detailed how Timothy McVeigh spent nine months meticulously
planning the attack on the federal building. He amassed fuses, fuel oil, ammonium nitrate
and other materials for his homemade bomb. He rented a Ryder truck under an assumed name,
and loaded it with 4,800 pounds of explosives. He then drove the truck to the federal
building, lit a fuse and walked away, leaving the nine-story structure in ruins.
Among the dead were 19 children, most of them playing at a day-care center inside. Also
dead were eight federal law enforcement agents, 35 employees of the Department of Housing
and Urban Development, 16 employees of the Social Security Administration and more than 80
other people who just happened to be in the building that morning. More than 600 others
Oddly, one of McVeigh's former neighbors on the cell block, in a prison in Colorado where
he was held until last summer, was another notorious criminal: Ted Kaczynski, the
They found they had a lot in common although, as McVeigh says, Kaczynski is "far
left" while he is "far right" politically. "I found
that, in a way that I didn't realize, that we were much alike in that all we ever wanted
or all we wanted out of life was the freedom to live our own lives however we chose
to," McVeigh told Bradley.
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