BUFFALO, N.Y. — A remorseless Timothy J. McVeigh calls the children killed in the Oklahoma City bombing "collateral damage," regretting only that their deaths detracted from his bid to avenge the Branch Davidian raid and Ruby Ridge, according to a new book.
Details in the book mark the first time McVeigh has publicly and explicitly admitted to the crime and given his reasons for the attack.
"I understand what they felt in Oklahoma City. I have no sympathy for them," McVeigh told the authors of "American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing." He had no control over the book's content.
McVeigh told Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck, reporters for the Buffalo News, that he did not know there was a day-care center inside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the authors say on ABC-TV's "PrimeTime Thursday," to be broadcast tonight.
"I recognized beforehand that someone might be . . . bringing their kid to work," McVeigh said. "However, if I had known there was an entire day care center, it might have given me pause to switch targets. That's a large amount of collateral damage."
Michel said McVeigh's only regret was that the children's deaths were a public relations nightmare.
CNN on Wednesday quoted Danny Defenbaugh, the FBI's lead investigator in the case, saying he had no doubt McVeigh knew before the bombing that children would be among his victims.
The April 19, 1995, bombing killed 168 people, including 19 children.
Fleeing, he thought of the song "Dirty for Dirty" by the group Bad Company. "What the U.S. government did at Waco and Ruby Ridge was dirty. And I gave dirty back to them at Oklahoma City," he said.
In 1992 at Ruby Ridge, Ida., the wife and son of white separatist Randy Weaver were killed by federal agents during a standoff.
He said he cried when he saw the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, burned to the ground during an assault by federal agents, killing about 80 members of the cult.
McVeigh, 32, is scheduled to be executed May 16.