American Scandal

Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.

Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.

New episodes come out every Tuesday for free, with 1-week early access for Wondery+ subscribers. Get all episodes - including exclusive seasons - ad-free on Wondery+ or on Amazon Music with a Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.

Oklahoma City Bombing | No Backing Out | 3

Oklahoma City Bombing | No Backing Out | 3

Tue, 28 Feb 2023 08:01

Timothy McVeigh hatches a plot to attack the federal government, and begins building a bomb.

Binge all episodes of this and all seasons of American Scandal right now, ad-free, with Wondery+. Join Wondery+ for exclusives, binges, early access, and ad free listening. Available in the Wondery App

Support us by supporting our sponsors!

WOOGA - June's Journey: Find your first clue by downloading June's Journey today! Available on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as on PC through Facebook Games.

AUDIBLE: New members can try Audible free for 30 days! Visit or text AS to 500500.

See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Listen to Episode

Copyright © © 2018 Wondery, Inc.

Read Episode Transcript

Hey, prime members, you can listen to American Scandal add-free on Amazon music, download the app today. A listener note, this episode contains graphic details and may not be suitable for a younger audience. It's late afternoon in September 1994. In a mobile home in Kingman, Arizona, Michael Fortier is bouncing his newborn on his lap, nuzzling her with his nose and enjoying her delightful giggles as they peel through the house, when suddenly a car starts honking out in the front yard. Fortier sits up, he wasn't expecting anyone, but the horn keeps honking, sounding more and more urgent. So Fortier hands his newborn over to his wife and heads outside to see what's going on. When he steps out onto the front porch, Fortier can see where the commotion is coming from. His friend Timothy McVeigh is sitting in his car, laying his hand on the horn over and over. Something must be up. McVeigh is one of Fortier's best friends and usually treats this place like a second home. He doesn't understand why McVeigh is parked in the road, summoning Fortier in the loudest way possible. But then again, there's a lot that's unusual about Timothy McVeigh. The two men met each other about six years ago, back when they were in basic training in the army. They bonded over their shared political views, and especially their adamant belief in the right to bear arms, and they're worried that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Fortier and McVeigh have also grown concerned about the new world order, the idea that an elite group within the United Nations is trying to control the world. And with their fears escalating, Fortier and McVeigh took on a risky mission. They broke into the National Guard Armory in Kingman, looking for evidence of UN activity, proof that the new world order was mobilizing. It wasn't Fortier's idea to break into a military depot, but McVeigh had a manic idea when he laid the plan out, and Fortier wasn't wanting to disagree or push back. And now, as Fortier crosses the front yard, he can see McVeigh has the same wild look in his eyes. He's not sure what's on his friend's mind, but with his baby girl approaching nap time, he needs to get McVeigh to calm down and stop making so much noise. Fortier steps through the front gate and approaches McVeigh's car. Tim, what is going on? We gotta talk, Mike. Okay, but first lay off the horn. Come on in. No, we gotta talk out here. Tim, it's hot. I'm frying already. Come inside. Laurie will be glad to see you. And I'd be happy to see her, but what we gotta talk about has to stay private. Here, I'll get out. Pop over to the shade of that tree. Fortier shrugs. Sometimes when McVeigh gets like this, it's just easier to give in. So McVeigh gets out of the car and the two of them head over to a patch of shade under a tree. All right, Tim, what's going on? You gotta look. What I've got is a plan. All right? Well, what? You know my buddy, Terry? Terry Nichols? Army? Yeah, that's the one. We go back a few years. Anyway, Terry and I, we got to talking the other day. And we were of the same mind. We're tired of sitting around and doing nothing. Just complaining all day about the government. Well, we've all got grievances. We do. The grievances isn't enough. Talking isn't enough. We gotta do something. Okay, Tim, what are you cooking up? Well, we're going to bomb a federal building and we need your help. For your stairs at his friend, unsure what to make of this. Blow up a building? You're joking, right? No, I'm serious. You don't start a revolution by thinking small. But... What? You're going to do this at night when the building's empty? No. The plan is to do it during prime working hours. Jeez, Tim, I mean, look, I don't like what's going on with the government, but the people who work in those buildings there... They're just trying to get a paycheck, man. No, Mike. It's not like that. In fact, it's no different than Star Wars, right? When they blew up the Death Star, they killed all sorts of people, secretaries, mechanics, not just stormtroopers, not just officers. But those nobody's were still supporting the Empire. That made them evil. It's the same thing here. No, it's not the same thing. This is not Star Wars. It's real life. Look, I'm not opposed to using force. I mean, if there were a UN tank, you're here on my front yard. Yeah. But... this is different. It's unprovoked. Mike, man, I thought you were a real warrior. All right. Why don't you just go head back in, play with your wife and kid. Tim, don't be like that. Now go on. We'll catch up another time. Or maybe we won't. Fortier Nons, he can see the conversation is over. So he just watches as McVeigh walks back to his car, hops in and drives off down the road. Fortier can't imagine his friend would actually do this, blowing up a building, tacking innocent people. McVeigh has had wild notions before, and they always seem to pass. So Fortier has to assume this time is no different. And Timothy McVeigh is just a guy who likes to talk. American scandal sponsored by sleep number. It's been a question asked since the beginning of time. What happens when we sleep? Modern science is still working on it, but for you, maybe your bed can tell you. Sleep number beds already adjust from soft to supportive on both sides, but sleep numbers sleep IQ technology also tracks how well you're sleeping to improve your sleep and energy and find your ideal schedule. I know my sleep number. It's 45. Why should you discover yours? So you can be at your best for yourself and those you care about most. And now it's sleep numbers lowest price ever. Save $1200 on the sleep number 360 i10 smart bed, plus special financing for a limited time. Only at sleepnumberstores or slash AS. Are you looking to straighten your teeth? But the thought of monthly dentist visits or a mouthful of metal has you rethinking it? Transform your smile with bite clearer liners. Bite clearer liners are doctor directed and cost thousands less than braces. Skip the traffic to the dentist and straighten your teeth from the comfort of home. Bite has had over a quarter of a million people use their clear liners already. And they have both daytime and nighttime options, depending on what's most convenient for you. Plus, their MyBite app can help you track your alignment progress, do check-ins, and connect with us at any time. Visit to order your at-home impression kit today for just $14.95 using code Wondery. Start your clear liner journey with Bite. That's code Wondery to get your impression kit for just $14.95. From Wondery, I'm Lindsey Graham. And this is American Scandal. From the outside, Timothy McVeigh didn't seem like someone who should cause serious alarm. As a boy growing up outside Buffalo, New York, McVeigh had been taught to follow the rules and obey the law. He served in the Gulf War, becoming a decorated veteran and working to earn a spot in the Army's elite special forces. But as his military career came to an end, McVeigh's political beliefs grew increasingly radical. He was bitter about what he saw as the federal government's overreach into citizens' private lives. And McVeigh's resentment reached a tipping point in 1993 when federal agents clashed with the religious group near Waco, Texas. The branched dividends had been charged with stockpiling illegal weapons. But when they refused to surrender, government agents laid siege to the group's compound. Dozens of branched dividends died in the conflict, and McVeigh was shaken by the event. He was now certain that the government was at war with its American citizens. And he believed that it was his patriotic duty to fight back. So in the coming months, McVeigh began to hatch a plot. He enlisted help from his old friends from the Army. And together, the men worked to assemble a bomb, one powerful enough to take hundreds of lives. This is Episode 3, No Backing Out. It's October 1st, 1994. In a rock quarry in Marion, Kansas, Terry Nichols stands watching as metal shavings come drifting to the ground. The shards reflect the yellow beam from Nichols' flashlight and land in small puddles of water that shimmer in the moonlight. Nichols brushes back his thinning brown hair and wipes his glasses. It's 2 a.m. and Nichols is cold and wet. It's been raining all night. He's tired and wants to get out of here. But he has to finish what he started. A few feet away, Nichols' friend Timothy McVeigh is drilling the padlock on a storage compartment. Inside the unit are cases of an explosive gelatin, which the men are going to use to build a bomb, one capable of destroying an entire building. It's all part of their plan to wage a war against the federal government to punish federal officials for restricting Americans access to guns and for taking actions that Nichols believes represent the first step toward tyranny. Nichols doesn't like the idea of trespassing on this rock quarry or committing theft. If they get caught, they'll probably go to jail. But Nichols believes tonight's crime and the larger mission are morally justified. For most of his life, Nichols has distrusted the government. He's always seen himself as an independent thinker, one who doesn't take orders, a man who was not a sheep. Two years ago, he and his brother even renounced their American citizenship. Nichols did serve in the army. It was a desperate attempt to restart his life after a series of disappointments, failed business ventures and a messy divorce. After he left the military, Nichols returned home to rural Michigan. For the most part, he was content to remain living off the grid, leading a quiet existence far from the prying eyes of the government. But everything changed when Timothy McVey came back into his life. The two men served together in the army and were good friends. And when McVey said he needed a place to crash, Nichols was more than happy to offer up a spot at his farmhouse. But as the two sat together night after night, talking politics and the future of America, a crisis broke out in Waco, Texas. Nichols and McVey watched government agents lay siege to the branch Davidians compound on TV. They saw the armed agents, the tanks, and the fire that killed dozens. He was horrifying sight. Both Nichols and McVey grew concerned that their biggest fears about the government were coming true. So when McVey said he had a plan to strike back, that he wanted to build a bomb and attack a federal building, Nichols was all in. He'd do whatever he could to help, even if that meant breaking into a rock quarry and stealing explosive gel. So Nichols stands shivering in a light drizzle, trying to keep his flashlight steady, as McVey drills a hole in the padlock. Soon the lock pops off, and McVey swings open the door to the storage unit. It's stacked high with wooden crates, full of blasting gel. Nichols begins reaching for the crates closest to the door. He wants to move as quickly as he can, but McVey tells him to slow down. They have to look at the expiration dates printed on every crate. The more recently the explosives were packed, the more powerful they'll be. And just like shopping for milk at the grocery store, the best material is probably going to be at the back. Nichols stare at the rows of heavy crates. It's going to take all night if they want to get to the back. So Nichols tells McVey it's not a good idea. They're exposed, and if they spend too much time here, they could get caught. But McVey refuses to hear it. He says if Nichols is concerned about making time, he should stop arguing. Start moving. Nichols knows McVey is as stubborn as a mule. And arguing isn't going to get him anywhere. So he nods and gets to work, digging through crates of explosive materials, slowly and carefully, making his way to the back. Getting closer to what McVey says, will likely be the key ingredient to a perfect bomb. Later that month, Timothy McVey parks his car outside a racetrack just south of Dallas, Texas. McVey steps out of his car and checks his reflection in the window. He's clad in black leather and looks just like a guy who rides a motorcycle. He feels embarrassed though, looking like this. But if playing dress up is what's necessary to complete the mission, McVey can deal with it. As McVey begins walking through the parking lot, he reviews everything that led him to this bizarre moment. Just a month ago, the federal government put him place a ban on assault weapons. As far as McVey could tell, the government was becoming more and more tyrannical, bent on depriving American citizens of essential rights. While some people might say McVey sounds conspiratorial, he saw what the feds did in Waco, Texas. They laid siege to a compound full of religious people, killing women and children. All because the group refused to give up their guns and surrendered to the government. So McVey has grown certain the government is getting ready to take more of those kinds of actions, punishing American citizens for exercising their constitutional rights. To combat that, in an effort to strike back, McVey and his friend Terry Nichols had begun planning an attack. The men now have all the key materials necessary to build a bomb. They have thousands of pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, plus the blasting gel they stole from the quarry. But to complete the bomb, they still need liquid fuel. And that's been the hardest part to get hold of. McVey needs barrels and barrels of it. But whenever he calls a distributor and asks for a large supply, they grow suspicious, and the deal falls through. But recently, McVey stumbled into what seemed to be a lucky break. He had a good phone call with the manager of a racetrack. And McVey thinks he's come up with a good cover story. One that should allow him to purchase a large supply of fuel without raising any red flags. McVey steps into the racetrack's store. The walls are decorated with posters for high performance tires and engine parts. Behind the counter is a thin man and a faded baseball cap. McVey approaches and gives a curt wave. Hey, are you the manager? I'm Darryl, the guy who called the other day. Darryl, right? Called about the Nitro Methate. What, racing motorcycles? Yeah, yeah, I run a club not too far from here. I mean, the guys, we're starting now, but I figured it'd be easier if we have our own supply of fuel. Instead of buying it in retail, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah, make sense. Save money, you know? But you're the president of the club? Yeah? Huh? Something wrong? No, no, yeah. Well, most clubs I know, the guys got patches all over their vests. You know, you got nothing. McVey glances at his black leather vest, suddenly feeling self-conscious. Manager is right. He doesn't look much like an actual biker, but McVey can't give up now. Yeah, well, I guess some guys like to dress up, but, you know, I never fell in for that costume stuff. I like the bikes. You know, not the uniforms or whatever. Anyway, we got a deal or what? Well, it's a lot of fuel, and I'm willing to pay for it. You can transport it? I'm not giving you any sort of volume discount, and I'm not delivering. No, that's all fine. Just ring me up. The manager nods and begins feeling out the paperwork. And after McVey hands over the cash, he begins planning for the days and weeks ahead. McVey and Terry Nichols are going to have to work carefully to assemble the final bomb. But now they have everything they need. And six months from now, on the anniversary of the siege at Waco, they're going to launch an attack unlike anything the country has ever seen. Several weeks later, Timothy McVey's father, Bill, kicks up his feet on the coffee table and grabs the TV remote. He flips the channel to a football game and lets himself sink back into the couch, relaxing before what sure to be another long night. Soon, Bill McVey is going to have to turn off the TV and head to his job at the radiator factory. He's working the graveyard shift and won't get home until the morning. There's nothing pleasant about working through the night. And while Bill knows how to push through these kinds of discomforts, recently, it's been feeling harder than usual. A few weeks ago, Bill's father died after a short illness. He worked at the same radiator factory, and every time Bill goes to work now, he's reminded of his father. The loss has been hard enough on its own. But Bill's son Timothy hasn't been making things much better. Tim came back home to help Bill sort through his father's belongings, and Bill was grateful for the help. But it seems like he can't get Tim to stop talking about politics or his anger at the federal government. Tim has been especially fixated on the events in Waco. Bill knows that dozens of people died after that standoff with the government. And there's no question it was a tragedy, but that was over 18 months ago. Bill doesn't understand why his son won't stop talking about it. Why he's angry all the time. But if he's being honest with himself, there's a lot about his son that Bill doesn't understand. There's a gulf between them, one that only seems to be growing. But he isn't ready to give up on Tim. He still believes he can reconnect with his son, and maybe steer him away from some of his dangerous views about politics and government. So when Tim walks in the front door, Bill invites him over to watch the football game. He'll be a nice chance to kick back before Bill has to head to work. But Tim says he isn't interested in games. Instead he walks over to a cabinet and pulls out a video cassette. He says this is what they should watch, a documentary, one about Waco. It shows why federal agents should be charged with murder. Bill tries to hold back his frustration, but he's tired of all the talk about Waco and the government. And for a moment, he loses some of his self-control, telling his son that he's not in the mood for some movie filled with conspiracy theories. But Tim is adamant, telling his father that he needs to give the documentary a try. Just watch it for a few minutes, because if he gives it a chance, he won't be able to look away from the truth. Bill doesn't want to have this conversation again, but he also doesn't want this to escalate into another full-blown fight. So regaining his composure, keeping his voice measured, he says he's sorry, but he's watching the football game. And if Tim wants to join, he's more than welcome. Tim looks disappointed, but he doesn't push things any further. He just sits down on the recliner, and together, father and son, watch the football game. This is all Bill wanted, a little time with Tim. After all the weeks of grief, all the feelings of loss after his own father passed away. But when the game goes to a commercial break, Tim suddenly gets angry again. There's an ad showing President Bill Clinton speaking at a press conference. And before it finishes, Tim slams his fist into the recliner's armrest, and says that if he ever got close enough to the President, he put a bullet right in his head. Bill turns to a son shocked. He knows Tim has his beliefs, but this is a first. Bill McVeigh has never heard Tim say that he wants to commit violence, that he would assassinate the President. As Bill gazes at his son, he gets a shiver of fear. There is an intense look of hatred in his son's eyes. And for a second, Bill wonders if this isn't just talk, that Tim might actually do something. But Justice Quakerlty build dismisses the idea. He knows he's still grieving the loss of his father, trying to work out how to connect with his son. His judgment is clouded. And while Tim may have changed, and developed some firm political beliefs, Bill is still looking at his son. The same boy who refused to be the bad guy when he was a kid playing cops and robbers. Now, Bill tells himself, there's nothing to worry about. Everyone goes through a phase, and this one will pass soon enough. Tim will get back to being the boy you always used to be, a nice kid, one who follows the rules, someone who volunteer to serve in the army, a normal person, one who would never do something dangerous or violent. American scandal is sponsored by the Free to Download mobile game, June's Journey. You're in a hotel. It's late, and as you wander back to your room, you hear a muffled scream, and then a heavy thud. You're not sure where to come from, but almost simultaneously, a man dashes from one room down to the hall to the elevators, while a woman hurries the other way to the stairs. What do you do? Well, if you love murder mysteries as much as I do, you'll shrug your shoulders, head back to your room, and keep playing June's Journey. The hidden object game that has you searching for clues needed to solve mystery after mystery. And with new chapters every week, there's always a new case waiting to be cracked. Plus, build your own island estate with expansive gardens and beautiful buildings, collect scraps of information to fill your photo album, and learn more about each character. Chat and play with, or against other players, join Contest for short stories, Island decoration, and more to win big in-game prizes. But most of all, do what I do whenever there's a bit of free time. Put your perception and awareness to the test. Find your first clue by downloading June's Journey today, available on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as on PC through Facebook games. American scandal is sponsored by Honorable. Recently, my wife decided she couldn't listen to any more of her audio book, but it wasn't because it was bad. She just didn't want it to end. Good books are like that. But thankfully, with Honorable and their Premium Plus catalog, there's an almost boundless world of audio entertainment waiting for my wife when she does finish it. You've got all the classics and bestsellers, but there's a lot more, too, a giant selection of podcasts like this one and ad-free. There's also a bunch of audible originals. Stuff you can't find anywhere else, including a whole series of stories, soundscapes, and meditations to allow you to sleep. Plus, audible members get full access to all of these and more, and their audible app makes it easy to listen anytime, anywhere. And like all audible members, I get one credit every month, good for any title, and the entire Premium selection of bestsellers and new releases regardless of price to keep forever. By the way, my wife is listening to the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Read. Listen with her. New members can try audible free for 30 days. Visit slash AS, or text AS to 500-500. It's mid-December 1994. There's a bump in the road, and Michael Fortier wakes with a start. For a moment, Fortier feels completely disoriented. His forehead is pressed up against a car window, and when he looks outside, he sees a wide city street surrounded by tall buildings. Fortier doesn't know exactly where he is, but when he glances over and sees his friend behind the wheel, Fortier begins to regain his bearings. For the last two days, Fortier and Timothy McVeigh have been road-tripping from Arizona all the way to Kansas. The plan was to pick up some stolen guns that were stashed away in a storage unit, and then head back home so Fortier could sell them. It was supposed to be a simple drive, there and back. But somewhere along the Texas Panhandle, Fortier must have fallen asleep. It was probably out for hours, and in that time, McVeigh seems to have taken them on some kind of detour, because they weren't supposed to be passing through a big city on this leg of the trip. Fortier sits up and rubs his eyes. So I was out, no kidding, snoring too. Right, well, where are we? Well, I decided to take a little drive through downtown Oklahoma City. There's a building down here I wanted to show you. Fortier shuts his eyes, wishing he was back asleep. Now he gets it. This has to do with McVeigh's plan. He's been talking about it for months. Fortier had hoped that McVeigh was just full of talk. But now McVeigh has brought them to downtown Oklahoma City, and Fortier can see this is becoming much more real. There it is, the target. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Whatever, man. Whatever. What the hell, Mike? Took him months to find the perfect spot. This building has the offices for the ATF. Yeah, same bastards who murdered those men and women in Waco. What do you think? Honestly, Tim, it's stupid. Killing innocent people isn't going to change anything. I told you they're not innocent. They're federal employees. That makes them complicit. Tim? You know I'm with you, in principle. I'm scared about what's happening in this country. I'm scared about the way the government is coming for us. How they want to control us. And what's the hang-up? The hang-up is that setting off a bomb isn't going to do anything. It won't change people's minds, and they'll think you're a monster. It doesn't matter what they fake. I've spent years trying to warn people about what was happening. I handed out pamphlets, I shared copies of movies, books, articles, all of it. I talked to people who told them the truth. And that did nothing. You have to be patient, man. I have been patient. But at a certain point, words don't cut it. Hmm. No, Tim, this is wrong. The whole thing is wrong. McVeighleene's close. Stairs forward your dead in the eyes. Well, Mike, here's the thing. I'm doing this, okay. I'm not going to let anyone stop me. Four-year freezes in a sudden panic. He's known Timothy McVeigh for years. McVeighleene's one of his closest friends was even the best man at his wedding. But there's no mistaking the meaning behind those words. That was a threat. And four-years got a family. It's a risk that he just can't take. It's late in the afternoon of April 14, 1995. About five months later. Timothy McVeighle pulls into the parking lot of the Dreamland Motel in Junction City, Kansas. The Dreamland is one of many nondescript motels along the highway. It's drab and looks completely anonymous. Exactly the kind of place McVeighneeds for the final stretch of the operation. In only five days, McVeighleene's going to attack a federal building in downtown Oklahoma City. He's finished with almost all the preparations, though there are still a few things he needs to take care of. McVeighle's old friend, Michael Fortier, appears to have backed out of the mission. It's not a fatal blow. But now McVeigh's other partner, Terry Nichols, seems to be getting cold feet too. McVeighneeds said at least one other person in order to carry out this attack. It's a two-man job just loading the bomb materials onto the truck. So McVeighle is going to have to think of some way to pressure Nichols to prevent him from backing out. And although he isn't happy to do it, McVeighle might have to resort to threats. Then there are a few final logistics to take care of. McVeighle has to drop off his getaway car in Oklahoma City and pick up a rental truck. He's going to have to load the truck with explosives, and he's going to have to make all of these final moves without raising anyone's suspicions or getting caught. It's all enough to make his head spin, but McVeighneeds can't let himself feel overwhelmed. He has to remain diligent and focused, and to do that, he needs to get some rest. So McVeighle parks his 1977 mercury in front of the Dreamland motel and heads inside. It's going to feel good to finally get some shut-eye. McVeighle enters the lobby and approaches the counter. He rings a metal bell for service, and when a middle-aged woman comes hustling in from the back, McVeighle says he'd like a room for four nights. The woman nods and hands over a registration card, asking McVeighle to fill it out. McVeighle doesn't give it much thought. He scribbles down his information, including his name. But as he continues filling out the card, he stops, suddenly realizing he's made a huge blunder. He can't use his real name. He needs to use nailies. And McVeighle can't ask the motel clerk for a different registration card. Not at this point, it would be too suspicious. Frozen, McVeighle can't see any other options. So he fills out the rest of the card, listing Terry Nichols' farm in Michigan as his home address, and then slanted across the counter. The motel clerk reviews the card and then glances out at the parking lot. She points out that McVeighle's car has an Arizona license plate, but McVeighle listed a home address in Michigan. What's going on there, she asks. McVeighle gives the clerk a charming smile and explains that he works the gun show circuit. He doesn't really live anywhere. The Michigan address is just a friend's place where he gets his mail. The woman purses her lips, looking unconvinced. Then she points out that what McVeighle filled out on the card isn't the license plate number she sees in the parking lot. McVeighle doesn't understand what's going on. He didn't expect this kind of interrogation from a highway motel clerk. Still, he can't afford to cause a scene. So McVeighle apologizes and says he just bought the car and hasn't memorized the license plate number. It was a simple mistake. The clerk nods and grunts and fixes the registration card. Then she tells McVeighle that she needs one last thing, his driver's license. McVeighle hesitates. After all the questioning, he's now nervous to hand over an actual ID, but he can't back out now. So he pulls his license out of his wallet and gives it to the clerk. The woman seems to take forever as she stands staring at his ID. But finally she hands it back over and says he'll be in room 25, the one right next door to the office. McVeighle nods and grabs the key. He'd bet good money she chose that room in order to keep an eye on him. But the fact is this nosy clerk is the least of his concerns. McVeighle has a big to-do list over the next few days. One perilous risk after another. McVeighle knows that pulling this all off is by no means guaranteed. So he needs to get some rest and then get back to work, preparing the bomb. And making sure his partner, Terry Nichols, doesn't have a change of heart. Two days later, Terry Nichols sits down to a plate of ham and potatoes alongside his family and herrington cancels. It's Easter Sunday and it should be a day of celebration and relaxing with his wife and kids. But as he glances around the table, Nichols can tell his sour mood is having an effect on the family. An hour ago, Nichols was supposed to meet his friend Timothy McVeigh at a nearby pizza place. The idea was to caravan to Oklahoma City, where McVeighle was going to park a getaway car, one he could use after pulling off this attack. But Nichols got cold feet. He has a toddler and a 12-year-old son. And just this morning, as Nichols sat gazing at his two kids, he realized he's making a mistake. He had to get out of this mission completely. Nichols wants to be here to watch his son and daughter grow up. He wants to go to their weddings, meet his future grandkids. And even if he's angry at the federal government and wants to fight for change, Nichols doesn't want to risk spending the rest of his life in prison. But Nichols knows McVeighle was depending on him. He's just three days out from the day of the attack. Disappearing now at such a critical moment, must have left McVeigh furious. Nichols also knows that McVeighle is going to lay on the pressure and try to convince him to change his mind. But Nichols so far has stuck to his guns. He won't be giving in. So Nichols takes another serving of ham when the phone rings in the other room. His son gets up to answer it, but Nichols tells him to stay at the table. Nichols himself rises and grabs the phone. After picking up the receiver, he doesn't even get to finish saying hello before McVeighle starts yelling, telling Nichols to get in his truck and get to the pizza place. They have to go park the getaway car. McVeigh screams that Nichols is a coward, but even cowards have to follow through with their commitments. Nichols waits for McVeigh to finish his tirade. And when he finally lets up, Nichols tells McVeigh that there's no changing his mind. He's not coming. But that only prompts another cycle of rage and insults. Nichols holds the phone away from his ear, weighing from McVeighle to run out of steam and hang up. Finally, McVeigh grows quiet, and it seems possible he wore himself down, that he'll finally leave Nichols alone. But instead, with his voice steely and monotone, McVeighle issues a threat. He tells Nichols if he does not show up. McVeighle is going to come after his entire family. Nichols looks over at his 12-year-old son, sitting in the dining room. There's just a hint of peach fuzz on his upper lip, sign that he's growing up. But at the same time, all Nichols can really see is the tiny baby he loved more than anything. Nichols won't let anything happen to that boy. He also has no doubt McVeighle would kill his family and call it collateral damage. That's the kind of person McVeigh has become. He has the intensity of a religious zealot, an unwavering commitment to this war against the government. McVeighle would not hesitate to commit a heinous crime, especially if it helped him carry out his mission. So Nichols lowers his voice, and tells McVeighle fine, he'll do it. He's still in. Then Nichols hangs up. It tells his family that he's sorry, but he has to go. He makes an excuse about having to help McVeighle with the television set, something that can't wait. His wife begins to protest, but Nichols just repeats the apology. He's sorry. He wishes he didn't have to do this. He wishes somehow. Everything could be different. Love can take many forms. Love can be the comfort you feel around the person you call your soulmate, or the heart-pounding thrill of a passionate trust with a mysterious stranger. From Wondery, true love is a fictional series of scandalous love stories, ranging from soul-treat to lustful, funny to heartbreaking. With each episode, you'll bear witness to another installment of an epic love story that can only be described as the marriage of your favorite daytime soap opera, with a juicy romance novel. With all six seasons now available on Wondery Plus, there's a storyline for every taste and preference. These stories are grounded in the cold truth. Love is hard and messy, and sometimes you just can't make it work. But at least you still had that one special night. Listen to all six seasons of true love, ad-free, and exclusively on Wondery Plus. Find Wondery Plus on Apple Podcasts or The Wondery App. It's the morning of April 18, 1995, about 10 miles south of Junction City, Kansas. In a dry patch at the edge of the woods, Terry Nichols is standing in a moving truck, pouring liquid fuel into a 55-gallon draw. It's a breezy spring morning, and pale sunlight is dancing through the trees. Nearby, the waves of a fresh water lake are lapping against the shore. It's night-dilic setting, but Nichols can't give any of his attention to the scenery. He has to keep his head down, make sure he doesn't spill an ounce of this nitro-methane. Nearby, Timothy McVey is marking fill lines on the remaining barrels. All around him are buckets of fuel and bags of fertilizer, long with boxes of explosive gel. All the components necessary to transform this moving truck into a bomb. And when Nichols thinks about what he's doing, he begins to wish he could be anywhere but here. He doesn't want to get caught and go to prison, and he doesn't want to be involved in building this bomb. But Nichols doesn't have a choice. McVey made it clear he would kill Nichols' wife and children if he didn't help out. So when he finishes pouring out the liquid fuel, Nichols takes a quick break and then gets back to work. They have a lot more to do before this bomb is ready. Nichols reaches for another bucket of fuel when he notices something out of the corner of his eye. A man and a young boy have just launched a fishing boat, not far from where the truck has parked. It doesn't look like they've noticed McVey or Nichols, but it's only a matter of time before the boat drifts around, and the father begins wondering what a moving truck is doing parked at the edge of the woods. So Nichols quickly rolls down the back door of the moving truck, letting in only a sliver of natural light at the bottom. McVey stalks over, looking furious. What the hell are you doing, Terry? Tim, there's a man and his kid fishing on the lake. We gotta go. We can't go. We're pulling this off tomorrow. We still got a lot to do. What if that guy gets curious? I mean, a moving truck in the middle of the woods? Look, we're near Fort Riley. Right? You'll probably assume the truck has something to do with the base. Lots of guys moving in and out, right? Let's just wait for them to leave. Terry, you said they're fishing. They'll be here all day. It's risky. Open the door back up. We can't lose any more time. And if he comes over, I'll say I'm a soldier. Then I'm resting up after a long move, okay? If he doesn't believe you, then I'll take care of him. What do you mean by that? McVey's eyes suddenly grow cold. It means I'll take care of him. You understand? I'm not letting one guy with a fishing rod get in the way of what we're doing. But the boy... Fine, we'll time up. Throw him in the back of his dad's car. At the time anyone finds him, we'll be gone. Look, stop talking. Open the damn door and get back to work. Nichols gives a weak nod. At this point, there is no arguing with Timothy McVey. Nichols has no doubt that if he becomes any kind of obstacle, McVey won't hesitate to kill him. So Nichols will follow orders and keep working. Until McVey says it's time to stop. It's April 19th, 1995, the next day. Helena Garrett hoists her toddler into the air, making him soar through the room like an airplane. Her son, Tevin, is 16 months old with dark curly hair and a beaming smile. He giggles as Garrett flies him through the room and then plants a series of kisses on the top of his head. As Garrett nuzzles her son, she catches the glimpse of the clock. It's almost seven. Garrett mutters a curse, somehow times gotten away from her. Garrett now has to scramble, getting ready for the day. She worked for the government agency running Oklahoma's colleges, and her boss doesn't tolerate people who show up late. And as a single mother, Garrett can't afford to make her boss unhappy. So she quickly puts together an outfit and hurries to wake up her daughter, Shoranda. She's gonna have to hustle, getting Shoranda to kindergarten and dropping off Tevin in daycare in the Murrah federal building, which is luckily only a block away from her office. Garrett is rushing to put on her makeup when she hears a thud and sees her toddler Tevin knocking over bottles of shampoo and moisturiser. He has on a big grin and looks like he's having a lot of fun. Normally Garrett would scoop him back up and lay another round of kisses on his forehead while giving him a playful eyed management. She has boundless love for her kids and wishes they could spend the day forcing around. But that'll just have to wait. It's a work day. They've only got about an hour. And while it's gonna be tight, Garrett knows they can still make it downtown without being late. About two hours later, Timothy McVeigh turns the steering wheel of a moving truck driving past a sign, welcoming him to downtown Oklahoma City. McVeigh scans his surroundings, looking for any law enforcement. But all he sees are men and women in suits sipping coffee from paper cups and making their way into office buildings. So far, everything is going according to plan. In a few minutes, McVeigh is going to reach the Alfred P. Murrah federal building. His truck is loaded with 4,800 pounds of explosives. And if he built this enormous bomb correctly, it should be enough to destroy the entire building. Hundreds of people could die in the blast. But McVeigh believes the attack is morally justified. The Murrah building is home to the offices of federal agencies. And McVeigh feels certain that killing federal employees is a righteous cause, a way to strike back against the government that is teetering on tyranny. McVeigh drives a few more blocks before approaching the Murrah building, a nine-story concrete structure with large glass windows. Seeing it in front of him, he realizes that now is the time. McVeigh pulls out a lighter and lights a fuse behind his right shoulder. It leads to the explosives in the back. And now lit, McVeigh has only two minutes to park the truck and get out before the whole thing explodes. McVeigh waits for a stoplight to turn green and begins counting down the seconds. But before he realizes what's happening, the truck cabin starts filling with smoke. It's a sharp chemical smell, and McVeigh starts coughing uncontrollably. He might have made a mistake, lighting the fuse too early. But McVeigh knows he's going to be in trouble if he doesn't let out some of the smoke. So he rolls down a window, hoping no one sees the gray plumes drifting from his truck. Finally, the light changes, and McVeigh eases forward, trying his best to restrain himself, to drive at a normal speed and avoid any unwanted attention. A moment later, McVeigh pulls in front of the mirror building and feels a wave of relief. The loading zone is empty. McVeigh was fully prepared to have to drive the truck right into the building and sacrifice his own life to detonate the bomb. But with the loading zone open, McVeigh is going to be able to simply park the truck and walk away. So McVeigh pulls over and kills the engine. Before stepping out, he checks the bomb fuse one last time. It's burning at a slow but steady clip. Everything is working. Now McVeigh has to move fast. He hops out, pulling his black baseball cap over his eyes. He locks the door and then begins walking away from the truck at a regular pace, trying to appear just like any other pedestrian. As he heads to the getaway car, McVeigh keeps counting down, waiting for the bomb to explode. Which should happen any second now. But for some reason, nothing happens. He waits a moment longer and still nothing. McVeigh grows agitated, now aware that he may have to take some kind of drastic action. He may have to go back to the truck, shoot the explosives with a gun. That would cause the bomb to ignite, but McVeigh would die in the explosion. Still, if that's what's necessary, McVeigh will do it. McVeigh's mind keeps racing, and he's about to turn on his heels, when suddenly, there is a deafening roar. A shockwave lifts McVeigh and inch off the ground, and he comes tumbling forward, as shards of glass and concrete begin raining down from above. McVeigh is stunned. He did it. He carried out his attack on the federal government. But McVeigh doesn't have time for whisperal thoughts. He has to get to his car, and get out of here. It won't be long before law enforcement descends on downtown Oklahoma City. But Timothy McVeigh has no intention of getting caught. This was just the first shot fired, and McVeigh is already gearing up for a much bigger war. From Wondering, this is episode three of the Oklahoma City bombing from American scamp. In our next episode, law enforcement closes in on Timothy McVeigh, and federal prosecutors prepared to seek justice for those killed in the attack. Hey, prime members. You can listen to American Scandal Add Free on Amazon Music, download the Amazon Music Camp today, or you can listen Add Free with Wondering Plus and Apple Podcasts. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at slash survey. If you'd like to learn more about the Oklahoma City bombing, we recommend the book's American Terrorist by Lou Michelle and Dan Herbeck, one of ours by Richard A. Serrano, Oklahoma City, what the investigation missed and why it still matters by Andrew Gumball and Roger Cheat Charles, and the documentary American Experience, Oklahoma City, directed by Barrett Goodman, airing on PBS. This episode contains reenactments and dramatized details. And while in most cases, we can't know exactly what was said. All our dramatizations are based on historical research. American Scandal is hosted, edited, and executive produced by me Lindsay Graham for airship, audio editing by Molly Vock, sound design by Derek Barons, music by Lindsay Graham. This episode is written by Austin Rackless, edited by Christina Malsberger. Our senior producer is Gabe Ribbon, executive producers, our Stephanie Chennes, Jenny Lauer Beckman, and Marsha Louis for Wondering. Our story begins with a phone call. Boys on the phone said, oh, sexy. He had made literally thousands of those types of calls. He follows the women, gets to know them, and then hits them. Then, no recording of body that I found. Everything. There are a lot of missing girls. Escalades. She was beaten, stabbed until the night broke, and then shot twice in the head. Sheree Warren disappeared in the fall of 1985. Her friends and family say she's not the type to just run away. No one can say just what happened to Sheree. No one's faced charges for her disappearance. Not her ex-husband, Chuck Warren, and not Sheree's boyfriend, Carrie Hartman. Yeah, two dispositions. Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, you could be the nicest guy you ever wanted to meet. But he also had that sinister sight. Cold, season three. Hey, prime members, you can binge all 10 episodes of Cold, the search for Sheree, add free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today.