The Oklahoma City Bombing: 25 Years Later

Twenty-five years after the deadly bombing that took the lives of 168 people, retired Special Agent Barry Black provides a firsthand account of investigating the Oklahoma City case.

Video Transcript

Barry Black: I'm Barry Black. I'm a retired master bomb technician with the FBI. 

I retired after a little over 31 years in the Bureau. 

Slide Text: Special Agent Barry Black was the newest bomb technician in the FBI’s Oklahoma City Field Office when an explosion rocked the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on the morning of April 19, 1995.

Black joined fellow investigators, evidence response teams, and first responders at the blast site to assess the damage and determine what happened.

Black: This was really the first bombing case I worked.

So I arrived on scene. I got as close as I could without getting into the debris field and started doing what we're trained to do, which is an initial assessment to try to determine if it was a bombing or in fact a plane crash or a gas main explosion. And of course the large crater and the debris field are immediate indications. 

Slide Text: Following that tragic day, Black and the OKBOMB task force uncovered more than three tons of evidence that ultimately led to the convictions of Timothy McVeigh and his co-conspirators.

Twenty-five years later, the nation still remembers the deadly act of homegrown terrorism that took lives of 168 people, including 19 children.

Black: This was a horrific event. This happened in my backyard. You know, literally my wife was in the building. She left two minutes before the detonation. I knew people that were killed and injured in the building. It's left a mark here, and the city has grown, but it's part of the history.

Slide Text: Although Black retired from the FBI in 2019, he continues to share his story and supports an active partnership between the FBI and the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

Well, this is a unique place. The FBI has partnered with this facility to make sure what happened here is remembered. We have engaged in an agreement where a lot of the displays, which still belong in the FBI, are available for the public to see.

And this is a beautifully done place in my opinion, and it shows that there is some resilience, and you can recover from horrific events such as this.

Slide Text: We will never forget the Oklahoma City bombing

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