Stephen Ernest “Steve” Stockman

As the air is filled with more stories of his current antics, I thought a little refresher on Texas congressman Steve Stockman’s history might be in order.

You see, Stockman was a congressman nineteen years ago, too. He’d just been elected to his first term, and was a darling of the far-right Bircher-birthed militia movement, the ancestors of today’s Tea Party twits. Because he was so close to the militia types, he was the congresscritter whose office received a fax on the morning the Murrah Building was blown up in Oklahoma City:

About 45 minutes before the bomb went off on 4/19/95 in front of the Murrah
Building, this idiot’s office got a fax that the sender (who turned out to be one of
the “Michigan Militia” who knew McVeigh) had tried to make look like it came
from a Federal agency, warning of a bomb threat to a Federal building in Oklahoma City.

As the writer goes on to mention, all Federal employees and all congressional staffers are taught that whenever any sort of bomb threat is received, even if you think it’s a joke, it is to be reported, immediately, to Federal Protective Services and the FBI. Stockman’s people threw the fax into the recycling bin.

Eventually, after the bombing, somebody in Stockman’s office finally made the connection, retrieved the fax from the recycling bin, and told the FBI. (But not without passing it along to the National Rifle Association.)

There has been confusion about when the fax was actually sent. Stockman has claimed for years that his office received the fax after the bombing occurred, yet a Christian Science Monitor article written shortly after the blast shows that the issue of timing isn’t that cut-and-dried:

Less than four hours after the bombing, a woman in the Wolverine Productions office who called herself ”Libby,” told the Monitor that she had sent the fax to Rep. Stockman’s office, but that neither she, nor anyone else at Wolverine, had written the note.

Libby, whose full name is Libby ”Malloy,” according to Stockman’s office, explained that the message arrived first on her fax machine. She says she then made a copy of the note, wrote ”Wolverine” on it, and forwarded it on to Stockman.

[...]

According to Rep. Stockman, the fax his office received bore a time stamp of 8:59 Eastern time, suggesting it was sent well before the 10:04 Eastern time bombing.

WHEN asked why the fax she sent Stockman was timed before the bombing, Libby and Mr. Stadtmiller said they had neglected to set their fax machine clock forward an hour for daylight savings time earlier this month.

But on the day of the bombing, when asked to read the time stamp on the fax she received from the unidentified source in Oklahoma city, Libby said it read 8:48 a.m. Central time, 12 minutes before the bomb exploded.

In explanation, Libby said that the person who sent the fax must also have forgotten to change his or her clock. Libby added that she always sends relevant ”intelligence” to Stockman’s staff, whom she considers ”friendly.”

Now, if Libby was telling the truth about the timing, why in the world would she have sent that weird fax to Stockman’s office after the bombing?

On the other hand, it would make a lot more sense if, say, Libby and whoever sent her that fax were starting to feel guilty about a bomb plot they knew was about to be brought to deadly fruition, yet they didn’t want to rat out their fellow travelers in the militia movement, so they came up with this cockamamie plan to try and create a warning that looked like it was issued by a Federal agency and then pass it along to somebody who they figured was sympathetic to the movement yet would feel duty-bound to notify the proper authorities in time to avert the bombing.

(Crossposted from Mercury Rising.)