Saturday, June 22, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: Notorious ‘Andy the German’ Responds to TV Series Depicting Him as OKC Terrorist

'If someone wants to sue Hollywood, call me...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Andreas Carl Strassmeir is a Hebrew-speaking, ex-military German who lived in a Nazi-infested religious compound during the 1990s, had dealings with Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and is rumored to have been involved in that attack—with some researchers going as far as to suggest that he was an agent provocateur.

Andy Strassmeir
The real-life version of Showtime’s “Andy the German” character. Photo: WIKIPEDIA

If those details sound like they belong in a Hollywood drama, now they are. Showtime released a series earlier this year that directly implicates Strassmeir in the OKC bombing, which remains the deadliest domestic terrorism attack in American history.

But Strassmeir says the show’s depiction of him and other Elohim City residents is a complete fabrication. In an exclusive interview with Headline USA, Strassmeir clapped back against those who have accused him of helping McVeigh, and discussed whether he’ll sue Showtime over what he considers to be defamation of character.

He also offered his own theory for what really happened on April 19, 1995.

Showtime Drama

The show, Waco: The Aftermath, casts as its protagonist the real-life former ATF informant Carol Howe, who helped the federal government spy on Strassmeir and other residents of the religious compound, Elohim City.

In the show, McVeigh travels to Elohim City and plots the OKC attack with “Andy the German,” as the show calls him, referring to Strassmeir only by his nickname.

The informant, Howe, sneaks into Andy the German’s trailer in dramatic fashion, finding apparent bomb-making materials and schematics.

After narrowly escaping Elohim City—fleeing from guard dogs and several pistol potshots from Andy the German—Howe and her agent handler have a meeting with a top FBI official and warn him about the impending bombing.

However, the FBI ignores her information, allowing McVeigh to carry out his dastardly deed and murder at least 168 people, including 19 toddlers, ostensibly as revenge for the Waco massacre exactly two years prior.

The show has received mixed reviews thus far, with Strassmeir giving perhaps the most negative feedback.

“It’s bullshit,” he said.

Strassmeir’s Response

For starters, McVeigh never visited Elohim City, according to Strassmeir, who spoke to Headline USA from his home in Berlin.

Strassmeir and McVeigh have each admitted to meeting each other once at a Tulsa, Oklahoma gun show more than a year before the bombing, with the German trading his knife for McVeigh’s military fatigues. But Strassmeir said he never saw McVeigh again—other than on the news in the wake of the bombing.

Strassmeir also disputed the characterization of Elohim City as a haven for white supremacists. He said people from all walks of life inhabited the property, which was founded by a Canadian immigrant and former Mennonite.

“I’m actually a very staunch Zionist, to be honest. I spent a lot of time in Israel, I have friends over there,” he said, adding that he’d discuss politics and philosophy with the Neo-Nazis who did inhabit Elohim City, such as Dennis Mahon, the former leader of the “White Aryan Resistance.”

Strassmeir, who was never a suspect in the FBI’s investigation of the bombing, said he knew Howe was a federal informant from the moment she stepped inside Elohim City. He tried to warn Elohim City’s spiritual leader, Robert Millar, but said Millar’s religious beliefs dictated that all of Christ’s children were welcome at his property.

“I was 99-percent she was an informant when she was there. She was such a dishonest person, and I caught her lying all the time. I said, ‘We shouldn’t allow her to be here.’ And they had a little meeting with the elders,” he said.

“But Millar said, ‘We’re not doing anything illegal here, so what harm is it for her to be here?’ I said, ‘I hope you don’t regret this situation.’ And I guess I was right.”

As for the show’s depiction of Elohim City residents throwing Howe in a pit, chasing her with dogs and shooting at her—Strassmeir called it “complete bollocks.” Indeed, Howe has never publicly accused Strassmeir of shooting at her, and the German said Millar “hated dogs.”

But why was Howe and the ATF spying on Elohim City in the first place?

Strassmeir told Headline USA he thinks the ATF was looking for revenge after its botched raid on another religious compound in Waco in 1993, which ultimately resulted in four dead ATF agents and 82 murdered civilians, including 25 children and two pregnant women.

Strassmeir said he thought that Howe and the ATF were targeting him in particular, because he was staying in the U.S. illegally. This would have given law enforcement the excuse it needed to raid Elohim City, he said.

Andy Strassmeir
A clipping of a 1997 Soldier of Fortune article about Andy Strassmeir.

In fact, the ATF had indeed been planning to raid Elohim City in February 1995.

But when the FBI learned of the ATF’s plans, the bureau stepped in and quashed the raid before it happened. Former FBI spokesman Bob Ricks later explained that the bureau interfered with the ATF’s plans because it didn’t want another Waco debacle.

Strassmeir agrees with Ricks.

“I think the FBI did not want the ATF to raid the place because the scenario would be Ruby Ridge and Waco—some agency, you know, attacks, gets their ass kicked and to then the FBI has to step in and solve the situation,” he said.

“They’re simply tired of that shit. Because in the end, it’s the FBI with egg all over their face at Waco, even though the ATF got them in that situation.”

In any event, the Oklahoma City bombing happened about two months after the ATF aborted its planned raid.

Carol Howe’s Warning

After the bombing, Howe was reactivated as an informant and sent back into Elohim City as part of the government’s investigation.

Somewhere along the line, she ran afoul with the ATF. Howe was arrested in 1997 for allegedly making bomb threats and having an explosive device at her home.

It was from Howe’s trial that many of her damning allegations about Elohim City’s connections to the OKC bombing came to light.

Carol Howe
Carol Howe, the former Tulsa, Okla. debutante, walks into the Tulsa Federal Courthouse Monday, July 28, 1997, for the start of her trial for bomb threats and conspiracy. She is a former ATF informant, who claimed she told federal officials of a bombing conspiracy before the Oklahoma City bombing. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

Howe’s allegations were corroborated by her former ATF handler, Angela Finley-Graham. The ATF agent testified that Howe had indeed warned the federal government that people from Elohim City had plans to attack federal buildings in early 1995.

“Ms. Howe told you about Mr. Strassmeir’s threats to blow up federal buildings, didn’t she?” said Howe’s attorney, Clark Brewster.

ATF agent Finley-Graham responded: “Yes.”

“And was this before the Oklahoma City bombing?” Brewster asked.

Again, agent Finley-Graham said, “Yes,” in response.

A jury exonerated Howe of all charges. The former informer went into hiding soon thereafter, and has been living under an assumed name ever since.

Strassmeir and Lyons maintain to this day that Howe is a serial liar who fabricated her claims for attention. Strassmeir said he fed Howe disinformation on purpose so he could prove she was an informant when she spread his fabrications.

“She’s making stuff up to give her handlers something, so she could stay employed as a snitch,” he said. “So what’s the most likely thing she’ll tell them? She’ll talk about assassinating federal agents, blowing up buildings—I mean, that’s the oldest trick in the book.”

Former FBI spokesman Ricks has also called Howe “crazy,” and says that all who were involved in the OKC bombing were brought to justice.

Neo-Nazi Bank Robbers

Along with the Howe trial, another major OKC-related case broke in 1996, when the FBI arrested several members of the Neo-Nazi bank robbing Aryan Republican Army—some who had lived at Elohim City.

Coupled with the fact that McVeigh had made a mystery phone call to the religious compound two weeks before his attack, and even mainstream outlets such as the Washington Post were struck by the series of coincidences.

“The robbers’ other hole-in-the-wall hideout was Elohim City, a heavily armed Christian Identity community in Oklahoma near the Arkansas border,” the Post reported in February 1997.

“One of the enduring mysteries of the Oklahoma City bombing investigation is why, two weeks before the blast, Tim McVeigh placed a 1-minute 46-second phone call to Elohim City. Whom was he calling?”

The Post never followed up on that question, concluding that “there is no proof that McVeigh knew the Aryan robbers.”

By then, Strassmeir had left the country and was back in Germany.

Strassmeir’s lawyer, Kirk Lyons, told Headline USA that he arranged for the German’s exodus to protect his rights.

Kirk Lyons
Andy Strassmeir’s attorney, Kirk Lyons. Photo: KEN SILVA

“We were not opposed to Andy talking to the FBI, but we worried that they might find some pretext for making him a material witness. We had experienced that in Waco,” said Lyons, who represented some of the Waco victims—as reported by Headline USA on the 30th anniversary of the FBI’s massacre.

“Material witnesses have fewer rights than criminals, and they can be put in jail until the trial. To avoid that, we decided it was time for Andy to leave.”

As for the Aryan Republican Army members who were living at Elohim City—including Kevin McCarthy, Scott Stedeford and Michael Brescia—Strassmeir said he didn’t know they were bank robbers until he was back in Germany.

Suing Showtime?

So will Strassmeir and Elohim City residents sue Showtime for defamation?

Strassmeir said he’s considering doing so, but thinks it would be a daunting task trying to take on a major American company from his home in Germany.

“I’m a freelance book author who barely survives. I don’t have the money to sue a production company. They’re prepared for that. They have their lawyers on standby,” he said, criticizing Showtime for being coy by not mentioning his full name.

“They might think they’re safe because they don’t mention my name, which I don’t think makes a difference because everyone knows Andy the German is my person. You Google that, and in one minute you know that’s the name they gave me.”

Lyons also said he’s consulting with Elohim City residents about the matter. He said the show is excellent in portraying government injustice in Waco. However, the series jumps the shark by delving into OKC conspiracy theories, Lyons said.

“The show counters a lot of federal mythology about the Branch Davidian assault and standoff, but then the show delves off into the bizarre by creating a Morris Dees white supremacy fantasy land out of Elohim City and its people, including ‘Andy the German,’” he said, referring to Dees, the founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Definitely defamatory. If someone wants to sue Hollywood, call me.”

Showtime did not respond to a media inquiry from Headline USA about the show and Strassmeir’s defamation claims.

Many researchers continue to harbor suspicions about Elohim City as it relates to OKC.

Retired FBI agent Danny Coulson heightened those suspicions in 2021, when he revealed on a podcast that McVeigh had indeed visited Elohim City.

“One of the theories was that [Strassmeir] may have been the instigation for McVeigh to blow up the Murrah building—to raise the consciousness level of Neo-Nazis. And he was at Elohim City, we know that McVeigh was there when he was there, and we know he was there with a woman named Carolyn Howe,” said Coulson, who initially helped lead the FBI’s investigation and has since called for it to be reopened.

Responding to Coulson’s claim, Strassmeir said it’s “amazing that this guy was a senior FBI agent.

“He has nothing more to contribute than reciting the most ridiculous conspiracy theories?” the German added. “This is all it is—nothing factual!”

Alternative Theories

While scoffing at the notion that Elohim City helped McVeigh with the bombing, Strassmeir and Lyons have their own theories as to what really happened on April 19, 1995.

Both accept that there was a “John Doe 2”—a mystery accomplice seen with McVeigh by at least 27 witnesses on the morning of the attack—who remains at large. Headline USA recently participated in an interview with one of those witnesses who saw John Doe 2.

John Doe 2
An FBI composite of John Doe 1 and John Doe 2, the latter subject who remains at large. PHOTO: FBI composite sketch

Lyons said he thinks there may have been a Middle Eastern connection to the attack. This theory is explained in more detail in a 2006 report from former Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

Strassmeir, for his part, said he thinks the bombing may have been a botched ATF sting operation.

“My most likely scenario—which matches all the circumstantial evidence—is that McVeigh was supposed to drive the Ryder van under the building in the garage, but it didn’t fit. And so he parked outside while the ATF was waiting inside to arrest him,” he said.

“They were waiting in the garage, but they [McVeigh and John Doe 2] didn’t come to the garage.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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