A Brief History
On May 27, 1998, Michael Fortier was fined $200,000 and sentenced to 12 years in prison for failing to warn authorities about the conspiracy to blow up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Fortier’s wife, Lori, was also named as an accomplice, but escaped prosecution and was given immunity in exchange for her testimony against bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.
On April 19, 1995, Nichols and McVeigh carried out a domestic terrorist plot in which they blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma city by means of a rented truck filled with explosives, killing 168 people in the process. McVeigh was sentenced to death, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison, while the Fortier’s were treated more leniently due to their having testified against the other 2 (main) conspirators.
McVeigh knew Michael from their Army days, and McVeigh served as the best man at the Fortier’s wedding. They remained friends after leaving the Army, and apparently abused drugs while discussing their shared anti-government views. Fortier was released from prison in 2006, 4 years early, for good behavior. He was enrolled in the Witness Protection Program and his whereabouts are unknown. Fortier had told investigators that he knew nothing of the plot, and bragged that he would pick his nose and wipe it on the judge’s desk if called to testify. The drug using coward changed his tune when faced with possible life in prison or execution, and made the deal for his wife and himself to testify against his erstwhile friends.
McVeigh was executed by lethal injection in 2001, while Nichols is being held without the possibility of parole. In a bizarre turn of events, the death count might actually be 169 people, as a dismembered leg was found in the rubble that has never been matched to any of the known dead or injured victims, implying that there is another unidentified victim, perhaps even another conspirator that was killed in the blast.
In spite of persistent conspiracy theories to the contrary, no other conspirators have ever been identified, and McVeigh claimed all the way to his death that no other persons were involved. McVeigh’s motivation for the attack was revenge against the United States Government for the perceived atrocities of the mass deaths at the Branch Davidian complex in Waco Texas in 1993 and the shootout with the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992.
Since the Oklahoma City bombing Federal Buildings and facilities have been fortified with anti-terror measures designed to keep potential car or truck bombs farther from the buildings. Antiterrorism laws were changed in the wake of the attack, and a new Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 was enacted.
Our hearts and best wishes go out to the families of those killed and injured in the terrible bombing of April 19, 1995.
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you believe any current conspiracy theories? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Herbeck, Dan and Lou Michel. American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing. BookBaby, 2015.
Heymann, Philip B. Terrorism and America: A Commonsense Strategy for a Democratic Society (BCSIA Studies in International Security). MIT Press, 2000.