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OKC- New Theory with Old Facts

Media Bypass
 Pat Shannan © 1998


....We are talking about the "pineapple bomb" which had been brought to our attention by Ted Gunderson months before we began shooting the video in mid-August of 1995.

While in Las Vegas filming Gunder-son, we got more details about this super bomb from a former CIA operative who understood how it worked and knew where it had been used in the past. He had only high praises for its inventor, Michael Riconosciuto, and lamented the fact that Michael had been "railroaded into prison to shut him up," and referring to the former child prodigy as "by far, the smartest man I ever met."

Michael Riconosciuto had literally grown up in the CIA. His father was an operative in the 1950s and '60s. Michael was recruited for duty before he entered college at Cal Poly at age 17 and remained with "the company" for 25 years. Ted Gunderson had worked with him in the solving of no fewer than five murder cases during the 1980s. Much of Michael's research efforts since the mid-1970s had been spent on developing a super bomb. Immediately upon seeing the results of the Murrah explosion on television, he called his old friend Ted Gunderson in Las Vegas and said, "That was not ANFO. That was our bomb!"

The "Barometric Bomb"

According to Riconscuito, the type bomb detonated was an Electro-Hydro-dynamic Gaseous Fuel Device, otherwise known in the inner circles as a Barometric Bomb. It has been classified as Top Secret due to the ease with which the bomb can be created. A piece to fit the confusion puzzle at Murrah might be found in the fact that the explosive is ammonium nitrate, which is detonated approximately 10 seconds later in a secondary blast.

The complete assembly resembles a propane tank with a zig-zag shaped wedge surrounding the outside diameter of the tank. When the primary initial blast takes place, the top of the tank flies upwards and the bottom of the tank opens up into a flower petal shape. Immediately, the ammonium nitrate mixes with the shattered micro-encapsulated aluminum silicate to create an even more devastating explosion fuel cloud. This cloud is then energized with a high-potential Electrostatic Field re-sulting in the creation of millions of microfronts. The cold cloud is then detonated a second time with another PETN charge, which was previously cushioned from the first blast due to a shock-absorbing cavity. This time the cold cloud ignites -- creating a shock wave surpassing the traditional effects of TNT. The most astounding effect of this type of detonation is the immediate atmospheric overpressure, which has a tendency to blow out the windows of any structure within the vicinity of the blast.

(There were many survivors inside the Murrah Building who first felt a slight rumble, alerting some to take cover. The Water Board tape recording, made directly across the street from the explosions and replayed on our documentary video [and during the McVeigh trial], depicts a definite "pop" some five seconds prior to the eruption.)

After the Las Vegas visit, I decided that the video of the Murrah Building mystery could not be complete without an interview with Michael Riconosciuto. Ted Gunderson agreed and set up the appointment. I met him at the Atlanta airport in September of '95, and we drove together to the federal lockup in South Carolina where Riconosciuto was being held on a 30-year sentence for drug-possession -- a charge which he, too, complains of being a phony one created only to remove him from circulation.

Meanwhile, Partin and Gunderson were in the midst of a talk-show feud. Partin resented the intrusion into his bailiwick by a neophyte touting some unknown super weapon, while Gun-derson, admittedly operating on limited and second-hand information, was convinced his sources were legitimate and that the CIA certainly could be harboring a secret weapon about which even the top brass of the USAF would not be aware. They reached a stalemate when Partin refused to go on the air anymore with Gunderson.

Could Both Have Been Correct?

I was dumbfounded as everyone else. After talking with a dozen or more highly experienced munitions and detonation personnel -- from farmers who had blown away stumps to Navy Seals who had sunken ships -- I knew that a simple ANFO bomb had not wreaked this kind of havoc. General Partin's facts in evidence served to confirm what had been only theories of many others such as this writer who barely passed high school chemistry. But even those who flunked Physics and Logic could understand the Partin report. Apparently this group did not include the some 60 congressman and senators to whom Partin hand-delivered his eight-page letter on Capitol Hill. Only one had the courtesy to respond, said "It's too deep for me," and passed it on the FBI.

What if both Partin and Gunderson were right? How would it mesh? During our prison interview, I asked Michael Riconosciuto: Could there have been four of the super bombs placed at the strategic third-floor columns pointed out by General Partin?

"No way!" Michael responded un-hesitatingly. "I was surprised there was so little damage as it was." His experience had taught him that a simultaneous detonation of four of the Barometric Bombs would have made downtown Oklahoma City look like a post-war Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He admitted on camera that the CIA had used one in Beirut in 1984.

"Okay," I said. "Then let's say a single super bomb was on the third floor in between the front column damage and the center column damage pointed out by General Partin. How do you account for the numerous columns left standing, some even between the bomb [wherever you place it] and the collapsed columns?"

His reply was sincere but failed to convince me. "That's indicative of our bomb. It skips around and passes over. It also can be omnidirectional or set low enough to encompass only a 15 degree pattern." In fact, we believed this revelation to be so confusing that to use it in the documentary would serve more to dilute than enhance his theory. We left it in the can.


Gunderson and Partin: Both Were Right!

Michael Riconosciuto was right about the super bomb but wrong about its placement. It was not in the building but in the truck. With its direction reduced to 15 degrees and aimed directly out the right hand side of the truck toward the Murrah Building, we have the answer to why several witnesses saw what they described as "a rocket being launched upwards through the Murrah Building " (African witnesses described the same scene in August of 1998).

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