- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

FBI agents searching the former home of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols found explosive materials, including blasting caps, that appear to date before the deadly 1995 attack, agency officials said yesterday.

FBI agent Gary Johnson said that the discovery was prompted by a recent tip and that preliminary information unearthed with the explosives at the Kansas home indicated that the material had been there a long time.

“The information so far indicates the items have been there since prior to the Oklahoma City bombing,” Mr. Johnson said.

The discovery could prove an embarrassment to the FBI and other federal authorities who had searched the Nichols’ property in Herington, Kan., extensively during the original investigation a decade ago.

Nichols, who is serving multiple life prison sentences, hasn’t lived there for years.

Mr. Johnson said the FBI was still searching the property and trying to determine whether the explosive materials might be connected to the bombing.

He said that FBI officials received recent information that led to the search, but that the source and origins of the information were still being investigated.

FBI agents went to the property Thursday night, bureau spokesman Jeff Lanza said in Kansas. After finding something in the house near downtown Herington, agents backed out and decided to wait for a bomb squad, he said.

FBI officials said the subsequent search uncovered various explosive components, including blasting caps.

Nichols and Timothy McVeigh, who was put to death June 11, 2001, for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing, had used blasting caps, fertilizer and fuel to make the bomb that killed 168 persons on April 19, 1995.

The search and discovery comes less than three weeks from the 10th anniversary of the attack, which was the deadliest terror attack in American history before September 11, 2001.

Georgia Rucker has owned the home since 1997 and rented it several times. She said Thursday that the last tenant was evicted in October and that she had been preparing the home for sale.

Miss Rucker said she was contacted by two FBI agents Thursday and gave permission for authorities to search the premises. She said she was told that authorities had information that explosive material was in a crawl space of the house, which has a half-basement.

She said she had noticed a small door to the crawl space was ajar in recent days but wasn’t concerned because someone had been working on the furnace system.

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