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FBI denies editing Oklahoma City bombing tapes

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The FBI says it did not edit videotapes of the aftermath of the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building before turning them over to an attorney who is conducting an unofficial inquiry into the bombing.

The FBI turned over more than two dozen tapes taken from security cameras on buildings and other locations around the federal building to Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue, who obtained them through the federal Freedom of Information Act. Trentadue said the tapes are blank at various times in the minutes before the blast.

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“They have been edited,” Trentadue said Wednesday.

The soundless recordings show people rushing from nearby buildings immediately after a 4,000 pound fertilizer-and-fuel-oil bomb detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people, including 19 children, and injuring hundreds more.

Some show people fleeing through corridors cluttered with debris. None shows the actual explosion that ripped through the federal building.

Trentadue said the absence of footage before the blast indicates something was on the tapes that the FBI did not want to make public.

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“They don’t do anything by accident,” he said.

A spokesman for the FBI in Washington, Paul Bresson, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the agency did not edit the tapes before turning them over to Trentadue.

Bresson said the FBI identified 26 videos in its files in response to an April request by Trentadue for video from security cameras in 11 different locations. FBI agents did not report finding any security tapes from the federal building itself.

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“The FBI made no edits or redactions in the processing of these videos,” Bresson said. “The tapes are typical security cameras — the view switches camera to camera every few seconds.”

Bresson declined to expand on the FBI’s e-mail statement when contacted Wednesday.

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