James G. “Bo” Gritz does not condone the bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building, and he plans to sue ABC for leaving the impression he does, an associate says.
“ABC has defrauded the American public and defamed Bo,” former Arizona state Sen. Jerry Gillespie said Monday from Kamiah, Idaho.
“The little segment they took led the public to believe he was glorifying the act and he was not.”
On the television network’s program “20/20” Friday night, Michigan Militia Corps Commander Norman Olson said he did not know any of the Michigan men who are suspects in the bombing.
According to the program’s transcript, Brian Ross of ABC News said Gritz gave a startling insight into the thinking of people joining the militia movement in Dallas.
“The destruction in Oklahoma City of a nine-story government building was a Rembrandt,” Gritz was quoted as saying based on the program’s transcript. “It was a masterpiece of science and art put together.”
However, Gillespie said Gritz indicated the bombing was such a masterpiece or Rembrandt that no military personnel such as Timothy McVeigh, who was arrested, would have the knowledge or skill to build such a weapon.
“Gritz believes nobody in the militia has the skill to devise the bomb and does not believe the Islamic Jihad could be responsible either,” he said.
Gritz indicated the bomb was extremely sophisticated, Gillespie said, and could have the trademarks of a journeyman Central Intelligence Agency contract blaster.
A spokesman for ABC’s “20/20” said program officials have not had time to compare what was aired with what was taped.
Samuel Sherwood, president of the Blackfoot-based U.S. Militia Association, said the group has no ties with the Michigan Militia Corps other than the shared belief that armed conflict with the federal government may take place within the next 50 years.
He said there are no ties between the U.S. Militia Association and Gritz, and in fact, the group has been picking on Gritz since he ran for president on the Populist Party ticket.
Sherwood said the U.S. Militia Association has 5,000 members nationwide, including about 1,000 members and 12 local groups in Idaho.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.