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Elohim City Leader Admits He Provided FBI With Information

Elohim City Leader Admits He Provided FBI With Information

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The revelation comes to light during testimony for James Viefhaus Jr. and Carol Howe, Tulsans who are charged with making bomb threats.

Elohim City leader Robert Millar confirmed Tuesday night that he has responded openly through the years to any law enforcement officials who had questions, including representatives of the FBI.

The revelation came in response to testimony from an FBI agent this week in federal court in Tulsa that Millar has provided federal authorities with information.

However, Millar said he objects to the term "informant" because he thinks that term implies that he is "running" to law enforcement officials to tell them things. He said he does not initiate contact with law enforcement officers but does cooperate if they contact him.

Millar said he has talked to the FBI, a local sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration. He said that although he doesn't remember providing information to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, he may have several years ago.

The agent's disclosure came during consecutive days of pretrial hearings in the government's case against former ATF informant Carol Howe and James Dodson Viefhaus Jr. Howe and Viefhaus were charged in March with willfully making a bomb threat, possessing a nonregistered destructive device and conspiracy. The charges arose in the aftermath of the FBI's learning of a statement on the couple's answering machine that 15 U.S. cities would be bombed beginning Dec. 15, 1996, unless action was taken by "white warriors" by that date.

Various materials found at the residence Howe and Viefhaus shared could have been converted into a bomb, according to the government. Howe's attorney, Clark O. Brewster, asserts that many of the items found at the house had been collected by Howe as part of her work as an ATF informant.

Several motions are pending before the court in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial July 21. Brewster called special FBI agent Pete Rickel to the witness stand Monday. During the course of that examination, Rickel said Millar occasionally provided information to the government.

Rickel did not divulge any specifics about what Millar allegedly has told the FBI through the years. He did say, however, that he is unaware of any information Millar has provided the FBI about Howe.

Millar, who has been described as a "guru" of the so- called Christian Identity movement, established Elohim City in 1973. The compound previously has been referred to as a white- separatist enclave.

Timothy McVeigh reportedly placed a phone call to Elohim City just two weeks before he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more.

Howe reportedly has maintained that she warned the government in advance of the Oklahoma City bombing by saying that local white separatist Dennis Mahon and German national Andreas Strassmeier, who was living at Elohim City, were casing the Murrah Building and two other buildings.

The government has denied this, saying Howe's role as an informant ended in March 1995 and that she told the ATF only that Mahon and Strassmeier had discussed bombing plans after the Oklahoma City blast occurred.

Howe was subpoenaed to testify in the McVeigh trial in Denver and even had the electronic monitoring aspect of her bond on the case here suspended so she could journey to Colorado.

However, U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch ruled that Howe's testimony would be "irrelevant" in the case against McVeigh.

One of the motions currently before the court in the case against Howe and Viefhaus is a defense request that Howe's statements to the FBI during the time the search warrant was served on her home should be suppressed because she was not read her Miranda rights. The government counters that Howe was not in custody and thus Miranda warnings were not necessary.

FBI agent Josh Nixon said Howe actually asked to be taken from the house she shared with Viefhaus because of the reporters and photographers who began to swarm the residence when the Tulsa Police Department Bomb Squad was called. An item that initially was thought to be a pipe bomb turned out not to be one.

Nixon said Howe told him she was an ATF informant who went to Elohim City after the bombing.

FBI agent D.J. Dunlap, who accompanied Nixon in the Dec. 13, 1996, interview with Howe, said Howe did not mention to her any ATF informant activity she had undertaken before the Oklahoma City bombing, only after the blast. Dunlap said Howe claimed that she went to Elohim City shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing as part of her ATF duties. Howe's cover as an informant apparently was blown in May 1996, and she was concerned about her safety, Dunlap said.

Rickel corroborated that Howe apparently was fearful about her safety in May 1996. Rickel, who said his role in the Murrah Building bombing investigation has been to cover "leads" and develop an intelligence base on the militia, said he talked to Howe to ask about Elohim City. Rickel said Howe did not mention being an ATF informant before the bombing, but he admitted that he didn't ask her about such a role directly.

ATF agent Angela Graham (known at one point as Angela Finley) said Howe kept tabs on Mahon, making tapes and collecting materials as part of her surveillance. Graham said Howe provided items such as black gunpowder, shrapnel and green cannon fuse allegedly obtained from Mahon on a piecemeal basis but said the objects were returned by the ATF because "in and of themselves none of it was illegal. There's nothing illegal about possession of those items by themselves."

Graham said she did not remember Howe providing a "joint of pipe" from a storage shed that belonged to Mahon. In fact, she said she couldn't remember anything about Mahon having a storage shed.

Howe also reportedly related a tale about Mahon allegedly exploding a "500 pound bomb" under a car in Michigan several years ago.

Millar said Howe stayed at Elohim City for about six weeks before the Oklahoma City bombing. He said he had heard that she might be an informant of some sort but that he didn't mind because Howe's reports might "do us some good."

Millar said he was disappointed, though, when he heard that Howe had tried to entrap some of Elohim City's younger residents into "something illegal." He said he doesn't think tax dollars should be spent like that.

The indictment against Howe and Viefhaus alleges that they possessed "Ragnar's Big Book of Homemade Weapons: Building and Keeping Your Arsenal Secure" and a Department of the Army Technical Manual, "Improvised Munitions Handbook." Brewster asked Graham if Howe had shown her those books as part of the large amount of documentation she apparently turned over during her surveillance. Graham said she did not recall those two titles being submitted.

Brewster asked Graham if she had heard about an alleged February 1995 meeting of federal authorities concerning Elohim City and whether that meeting led to Howe's ceasing to visit Elohim City in the weeks leading to the bombing. Graham said she had never heard of such a meeting.

Graham added that Howe's written reports about life in Elohim City were never verified. Graham said Howe did not wear a recording wire at Elohim City because of safety concerns.

Brewster and Viefhaus' attorney, Craig Bryant, again urged Burrage to toss out the bomb threat count under a variety of legal theories. Brewster said the answering machine message was political speech that was not a threat but instead was a description of what was contained in a letter from a "high- ranking revolutionary commander." Brewster said the alleged threat was also contingent on actions of third parties. He also pointed out that since Howe's voice was on the tape, she should not be charged under the specific language of the federal bomb-threat statute.

In Denver, Rob Nigh, an attorney for convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, said the disclosure that Millar had provided the FBI with information from time to time could affect McVeigh's appeal.

``It certainly could have an impact in that we tried to present evidence concerning Elohim City and threats against the Murrah Building,'' Nigh said. ``I can't say definitively, at this point, what this means to McVeigh.''

"This is the first public indication that we're aware of that Robert Millar was an informant for the FBI. It came from people other than Tim McVeigh. There still are a lot of unanswered questions. More information continually comes to light.''

Asked if the McVeigh defense knew of Millar's relationship with the FBI, Nigh replied: ``I'd rather not say.''

Nigh is preparing a motion for a new trial for McVeigh, who was condemned to death June 13.

Ken Blood, one of the people who petitioned for a state grand jury to investigate whether a broader conspiracy was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing, said that in light of Tuesday's revelation, he anticipates that Millar will be a candidate to testify before the grand jury. He said it will be up to Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy's office to call Millar and other people whom Blood and others who sought the petition think will prove their case. Blood said three to five FBI informants could be called before the grand jury if Macy agrees to it.

Millar said he would gladly cooperate with the Oklahoma grand jury, which began meeting Monday, if he is called.

He said he strongly opposes violence, except in cases in which his family might be threatened with attack. He said he would help authorities if people at Elohim City were planning violent actions against the outside world.

"Terrorism doesn't work," Millar said. "Violence begets violence. Anarchy is not good for anyone." Millar said that although the federal government

World staff writers Julie DelCour and Brian Ford contributed to this story.


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