NEW YORK (Reuters) - Convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh
explicitly admitted for the first time
to causing the blast that killed 168 people and said it was a revenge attack for two FBI raids, according to a new book.
McVeigh told the authors of ``American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and
the Oklahoma City Bombing,'' to be published
on Tuesday by Regan Books/HarperCollins, that he alone conceived and executed the plan to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah
federal government building on April 19, 1995.
The authors, two reporters for the Buffalo News daily newspaper, said
on ABC News' ``Primetime Thursday'' TV program
that McVeigh showed limited remorse and referred to the 19 children killed in the bombing as ``collateral damage.''
But the authors also quoted McVeigh as saying that he had not realized that the building housed a day-care center and
might have chosen a different target if he had known. ABC News released excerpts of its interviews with Buffalo News reporters Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck before their scheduled broadcast at 10 p.m. EST Thursday. McVeigh was raised
in Pendleton, N.Y., outside Buffalo and over the last six years, has written letters and granted interviews to the Buffalo News.
Michel told ABC News that McVeigh quoted from the movie ``A Few Good
Men.'' ``He said to me, 'You can't handle the truth,'
and then Tim added his own line, 'because the truth is I blew up the Murrah building, and isn't it kind of scary that one man could
reap this kind of hell?''' Michel said.
The Buffalo News said in an article published Thursday that McVeigh,
perpetrator of the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil,
wrote a separate letter to the newspaper this week, explaining why he was telling his story.
``For six years, I have listened to various lies, attacks, distortions
and other assorted inaccuracies,'' McVeigh wrote.
``It is time to set the record straight.''
Attorney Disputes Claim
Stephen Jones, an attorney who represented McVeigh at his 1997 trial,
told Reuters that he believed ``several'' people
were involved in the bombing and McVeigh was claiming sole responsibility ``to draw attention to himself.''
Jones, who is based in Enid, Oklahoma, told Reuters: ``In my opinion,
that statement was made for its sensational value,
and it is not necessarily the truth. I don't think it is the truth.''
McVeigh, 32, is set to be executed by lethal injection on May 16 in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana.
According to Michel, McVeigh admitted that his army buddy Terry Nichols
helped him build the bomb, but he insisted
that the attack was his idea and said he carried it out in revenge for FBI raids in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and at
Waco, Texas, two years to the day before the Oklahoma blast.
Nichols is serving a life term for his role in the bombing.
Paul Heath, a survivor of the blast and founder of the Murrah Building
Survivors Association, said he believed that
the evidence presented at McVeigh's trial showed that he did not act alone.
``To say that one man brought that kind of hell is stretching the truth,''
Heath told Reuters in Oklahoma City.
For McVeigh to ''take credit and crow'' is simply to ``feed his own ego,'' Heath said.
``This kind of bragging I anticipated, but for other family members
and survivors, this will regenerate anxiety in them,''
For ``Primetime Thursday,'' Michel described McVeigh's reaction to television
footage of the destruction he had caused.
``Damn, I didn't knock the building down. I didn't take it down,'' he quoted McVeigh as saying.
Michel and Herbeck told ABC News that after the bomb blast, McVeigh
recited to himself a phrase from the song
``Dirty for Dirty'' by Bad Company. The writers said McVeigh explained: ``What the U.S. government did at
Waco and Ruby Ridge was dirty. And I gave dirty back to them at Oklahoma City.''
Prosecutors said McVeigh bombed the federal building out of anger at
the FBI-led siege that ended with a fire that
killed about 80 members of the Branch Davidian cult on April 19, 1993. A federal jury last year cleared the FBI
and the Department of Justice of blame for those deaths.
In 1992 at Ruby Ridge, the wife and son of white separatist Randy Weaver
were killed by federal agents during
Michel said McVeigh told them he did not know there was a day-care center
in the Murrah building and that was
a cause of regret to him.
McVeigh was quoted as saying: ``I recognized beforehand that someone
might be bringing their kid to work.
However, 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.''