Way of the Gun

In the beginning, the cops claimed Bari and Cherney had themselves put the bomb in the back seat, where it accidentally went off. However, files released during the court proceedings revealed that when supervisory special agent David R. Williams—the FBI crime lab's top explosives expert—inspected the car, he pointed out to special agent Frank Doyle evidence clearly showing the device had been stowed under the driver's seat. Yet Doyle continued to tell the press that Bari and Cherney were the only suspects.

Throughout their sworn testimony, the FBI agents repeatedly said that they never heard of Bari or Cherney before the bombing and that they were not investigating Earth First!, to which the activists belonged.

But an FBI field report, written minutes after the bomb exploded, states that Bari and Cherney were "the subjects of an FBI investigation in the terrorist department." Cherney/Bari lawyers used these facts to argue that the FBI agents lied in their sworn testimony before the court.

The history of the FBI's involvement with Earth First! is lengthy and disgusting. FBI records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the FBI had been spying on Earth First! since the group started in 1981. Local law enforcement has been just as invasive. In his deposition, Oakland Police Department intelligence chief Kevin Griswold revealed that the cops maintain files on 300 political organizations and individuals. He said the Oakland cops had been spying on Earth First! since 1984.

Additional reporting by Cassandra Lewis, Gabrielle Jackson, Joshua Hersh and Caroline Ragon.
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