Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Vows `Swift, Sure and Severe' Justice

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Vows `Swift, Sure and Severe' Justice

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that the car bombing that killed children and federal employees in Oklahoma City was the work of "evil cowards." He vowed that those responsible would be tracked down and severely punished.

"The United States will not tolerate and I will not allow the people of this country to be intimidated by evil cowards," a grim-faced Clinton said.

At a news conference with Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno promised to seek the death penalty for those responsible.

Reno, a longtime opponent of capital punishment, said current law authorizes the severest penalty for attacks on a federal building in which people are killed. "The death penalty is available, and we will seek it," she said. But she refused to speculate about who was responsible, saying she did not want to hinder the investigation.

Clinton made his remarks at the White House as the administration rushed disaster and medical aid and a flood of law enforcement experts to Oklahoma City.

Clinton also declared an emergency to speed federal relief. In an exchange of letters with Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, Clinton said he was authorizing "the use of all federal resources necessary to meet urgent human needs and protect public health and safety." He said the federal government would pay all costs.

Teams of explosives experts, lab technicians and law enforcement agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Secret Service headed for Oklahoma City.

Reno said four FBI special agents in charge were setting up a 24-hour command post that will supervise the work of four FBI evidence response and explosive ordnance teams, bomb technicians and five of the bureau's most experienced investigators in bombings.

Thirteen members of the FBI's rapid start team will record evidence as it is collected and 50 more agents were scheduled to arrive today,Reno said. Four special agents-in-charge will supervise a 24-hour command post in Oklahoma City, as well as four evidence-gathering teams that flew in from Washington, she said.

The Pentagon dispatched medical-evacuation helicopters, search and rescue workers, bomb-sniffing dogs and ordnance experts, assisted by a robot. At the State Department, counterterrorism experts stood ready to chase leads around the world.

"All of us are very concerned this might be an incident of international terrorism," said an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Vowing that the world's best investigators would pursue the guilty, Clinton said: "Let there be no room for doubt, we will find the people who did this. When we do that, justice will be swift, certain, and severe. . . . These people are killers and must be treated like killers."

Threats were reported at federal facilities around the country, prompting a tightening of security at all federal offices and the evacuation of government buildings in many cities. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.