And the journalists might not be alone. FBI informants might also be found on the White House staff, in the offices of U.S. congressmen, in the courts and among the clergy.
The allegations stem from Trentadues ongoing legal battle with the FBI and the Department of Justice over the August 1995 death of his brother Kenneth Trentadue, who died under mysterious circumstances in Oklahoma Citys transfer center for federal inmates.
Jesse Trentadue has long scoffed at federal authorities explanation that his younger brother killed himself. According to Jesse Trentaude, Kenneth died as the result of an interrogation prompted by his resemblance to an early suspect in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.
Then-Chief Medical Examiner Fred Jordan, following a contentious investigation, determined the death a suicide but later claimed he had been pressured by the FBI and state prosecutors to make that ruling.
In Trentadues latest attempt to gather information on the bombing and its possible connection to his brothers death, he filed a federal lawsuit Oct. 18 demanding the DOJ and the FBI surrender unredacted manuals that reveal the existence of a government program for recruiting and training informants.
Trentadue said he has proof that the manuals exist as well as government documentation on an ABC News executive identified by an FBI informant number. His lawsuit states: FBI defendants disturbing practice of using private citizens as spies in the media, on defense teams, in religious organizations as well as state and federal government is designed to and does result in the circumvention of the protections guaranteed to American citizens by the Bill of Rights and the Separation of Powers Doctrine.
Trentadue said he does not want the names of the informants.
I know Ill never get that, he said. But were entitled to know who theyre targeting to become informants.
An informant at ABC?
Trentadue said he first became aware that some journalists were working for the FBI when he filed a Freedom of Information Act request for surveillance videotapes of the Murrah bombing. During his exchange with the bureau, the government released
some documents referring to a tip from an informant identified as NY
29000- SI-DT. The informant had contacted Supervisory Special Agent
Thomas E. Nicoletti the evening of April 19, 1995, with information
about who might have carried out the attack.
Late morning, on April 20, NY 29000-SI-DT met with ASAC (Assistant Special Agent in Charge) Andrew,
SSA Thomas Lang, and SSA Nicoletti, read the document, which was
stamped secret. It went on to state the informant is a senior
official employed by ABC News for over 15 years.
When questioned on
April 20, 1995, NY 29000-SI-DT would not reveal the identity of his
source; but advised that this information was also being provided to FBI
HQ or WMFO (Washington Metropolitan Field Office) by someone connected
to ABC News.
to Trentadues FOIA request filed this past March, the FBI provided
documents indicating that the SI on the informants identity number
stood for Sensitive Informant and DT for Domestic Terrorism.
April, the bureau acknowledged receipt of Trentadues request for
records related to FBI Recruitment/ Management of Confidential Sources
Within the Media.
made separate requests for records pertaining to the bureaus
recruitment of confidential sources on the staff of U.S. senators and
representatives, the clergy, staffers for state and federal judges, and
those on criminal prosecution defense teams.
April, the FBI and DOJ denied Trentadues request for records related
to the informant, saying it could neither confirm nor deny the existence
of such records.
the FBI did release 205 pages of a Corporate Policy Directive, the
Confidential Human Source Validation Standards Manual. Most of the
manual was redacted; the FBI cited an exemption under FOIA pertaining to
documents classified as involving national security.
Its unconstitutional as hell, Trentadue said. But I couldnt believe they admitted it. Maybe theyre just that arrogant.
An FBI spokesman declined comment on the latest lawsuit in light of the bureaus policy not to remark on pending litigation.