A 1995 issue of the Ron Paul Survival Report, a newspaper published by the future presidential candidate, speculates that the federal government bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
The previously unreported newsletter, part of a series which Paul began publishing early in his congressional career in the late 1970’s, was part of a trove this reporter discovered when originally breaking the story for The New Republic in 2008. Full of racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic statements, not to mention a variety of quack science and conspiracy theories, the newsletters have once again become an issue as Paul seeks to stay in the Republican presidential primary for the long haul.
“We’re far from knowing everything, or even many things, about the horrific bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building,” the newsletter item begins.
As was sometimes the case in the newsletters, the author then put the theory in the mouth of anonymous sources.
“Some people even think that the government itself could have been responsible,” the newsletter states. “The government would not use its own agents, these people say. Spy agencies frequently use ‘false-flag’ recruitment. That is, the crazed men recruited into a ‘right-wing’ terrorist cell would not know they were actually working for the BATF, for example.”
“False-flag” is a term of art in the intelligence community and in spy novels, and one term frequently employed by various stripes of conspiracy theorist. It’s currently much used by 9/11 Truthers, who argue that it was in fact the Bush administration or the Israeli Mossad which perpetrated the attacks — the “false-flag” being the notion, an elaborate hoax, that it was in fact al Qaeda — in order to justify the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Timothy McVeigh, a sympathizer of the militia movement, was convicted and executed for setting off the bomb, which killed 168 people and wounded over 800. McVeigh was seeking revenge for the 1992 federal siege in Waco, Texas of the Branch Davidians, whose leader, David Koresh, the newsletter referred to as “a reasonable person.” Paul’s concern at the time was that the Oklahoma bombing would be used to target far-right, anti-government militias, whose ideology and activities Paul frequently praised in the newsletters, likening them to the American revolutionaries who fought for independence against Great Britain.
Bill Clinton and other national figures did, indeed, turn the bombing against the far right, driving the militia movement further out to the fringes.
Paul has long cultivated the support of conspiracy theorists, as evidenced by the content of the newsletters and his frequent appearances on the radio program of Alex Jones, perhaps the most listened-to conspiracy theorist in America. A former aide, Eric Dondero, recently claimed that Paul told him, after 9/11, that the CIA or Bush administration officials might have known about the attacks. (Paul has dismissed Dondero as a disgruntled former employee.)
When Jake Tapper of ABC News asked Paul about this allegation earlier this month, Paul cut him off. “Now, wait, wait, wait! Don’t go any further on that. That’s complete nonsense!” he shouted.
Though Paul at one time said he wrote some of the newsletter material, he now denies not only writing anything, but also knowledge of who did.