Small Paper Focused Hard on Okla. Bombing

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(AP) Long after the national limelight faded on the Oklahoma City bombing, a small newspaper in the southeast part of the state kept pressing for answers about what the government learned about Timothy McVeigh’s attack and when it knew it.

The McCurtain Daily Gazette in Idabel, circulation 8,000, wrote scores of stories about what it learned, and it filed a Freedom of Information Act request that made public previously unseen and heavily censored government documents about the case in 2001.

Some of those documents were used by The Associated Press for a series of stories moving this week examining what the government learned about prior threats against federal buildings and what efforts were made to link McVeigh to the white supremacists who made the threats. AP obtained many of the documents without deletions.

“They called us conspiracy theorists,” Bruce Willingham, publisher of the Gazette, said Tuesday. “But over the years, Mr. Cash has done an unbelievable job.” Willingham referred to J.D. Cash, the reporter who wrote most of the stories and dogged federal agencies for answers.

“The problem was there were questions that no one else seemed to be asking,” said Willingham. “There have been some people carrying around boatloads of guilt over this, but they were afraid to come forward. I think they will now.”

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