McVeigh originally agreed to a televised interview request by Cosby, ultimately rescinded by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, and instead responded to seven or eight questions from a list of about 50 Cosby sent by letter.
In the four-page letter, McVeigh said he waited two years to respond to the attack near Waco, Texas, in which scores of members of the Branch Davidian sect were killed in a hostage standoff with federal law enforcement in 1993.
McVeigh said: "I waited two years from 'Waco' for non-violent 'checks and balances' built into our system to correct the abuse of power we were seeing in federal actions against citizens. ... [They] not only concluded the government did nothing wrong ... they actually gave awards and bonus pay to those agents involved."
The first options McVeigh considered included assassinating those he called "eligible targets," including Reno, federal Judge Walter Smith, who presided at the Waco trial, and Lon Horiuchi, the "FBI sniper at Ruby Ridge." McVeigh wrote that he wanted to make Reno "accept 'full responsibility' in deed, not just word." In response to the outrage over his characterization of the deaths of children in the blast as "collateral damage" in another interview, McVeigh attempts to pin blame on the U.S. government and culture.
"As an American news junkie, a military man and a Gulf War veteran, where do they think I learned that? (It sure as hell wasn't Osami Bin Laden!)," the letter said.
In an exclusive interview with United Press International, Cosby said she was shocked to receive the letter.
"I heard I might be receiving a letter from him," she said. "But to get it is stunning and chilling. ... There is a numbness that sort of comes over you. ... It's like getting a letter from Ted Kaczynski."
Cosby found McVeigh's tone particularly upsetting, as it reflects a sense of calculation in his dealings with the media and the public.
"The letter is pensive, articulate and well thought out," she said, adding that he sounded "extremely intelligent" but also "very casual about how he had thought out his steps" in planning his actions.
Cosby, the youngest senior correspondent in network news, has previously conducted exclusive interviews with James and Robert Nichols, father and brother of McVeigh's convicted accomplice, Terry Nichols, as well as the Montana Freemen, an extremist anti-government group with views similar to McVeigh's.
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