The FBI has released long-secret security tapes that give new glimpses into the chaos during the minutes after the Oklahoma City bombing. None show the actual explosion outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building at 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995. The soundless recordings do show people rushing from nearby buildings in the minutes after the fertilizer bomb went off. In some, people flee their buildings through corridors cluttered with fallen debris. The FBI this summer released more than 20 recordings made from surveillance camera tapes recovered in downtown Oklahoma City. A Utah attorney, Jesse Trentadue, obtained the recordings through the federal Freedom of Information Act. He is performing his own inquiry into the bombing. Trentadue gave them to The Oklahoman because of their historical value. The Oklahoman agreed to provide copies to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Many of the released recordings are identified as coming from Southwestern Bell, which had security cameras in buildings both north and south of the Murrah Building. Others are from the Regency Tower, an apartment building west of the Murrah Building; the downtown public library, then southeast of it; and the Journal Record Building, directly north. Some images from those recordings have become public before. Prosecutors in 1997 introduced pictures of the bomb truck — seen from a Regency Tower camera — as evidence at bomber Timothy McVeigh’s trial. The Regency Tower tape turns to static at the moment of the explosion. Also, The Oklahoman in 2006 published images from inside the damaged Journal Record Building. The Oklahoman obtained the Journal Record Building videotapes from a source. FBI agents did not report finding any security tapes from the Murrah Building itself. Agents reported a cleaner, a loan company and another business in nearby buildings had surveillance cameras, but the buildings’ owner said "all ... are ‘dummy’ cameras and nothing is videotaped.” Agents also reported that security cameras at the federal courthouse directly south of the Murrah Building were connected to monitors only and had no tape backup. McVeigh was executed in 2001. Co-conspirator Terry Nichols is serving life in prison for his role. The FBI in the past refused to release the security camera recordings. Their refusal led some — including a U.S. congressman — to contend the government was hiding evidence that others were involved in the attack. Trentadue began a personal inquiry into the bombing after his brother died at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center in August 1995. He contends guards mistook his brother for a bombing suspect and killed his brother during an interrogation. The official cause of his brother’s death is listed as suicide.
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