In the first series of Headline USA’s investigative series, “Fed Files,” this publication reported on records that neo-Nazi inmate Bill White has been tortured in prison. Part three of this series examines White’s claim that he was tortured over a bogus tip from an FBI informant about an alleged bomb plot against Barack Obama.
(Ken Silva, Headline USA) It was a plot similar to the Oklahoma City bombing: neo-Nazi Bill White was said to have had plans in October 2008 to attack a Roanoke, Virginia federal building with a truck bomb in retaliation for legal proceedings taking place against him there.
Except this time, the “plot” was non-existent, coming from a dubious source in former FBI informant and convicted felon Hal Turner.
The U.S. Marshals investigated White over Turner’s tip and found no evidence, according to a previously unpublicized U.S. Marshals report in the “Fed Files”—a trove of FBI records and other documents filed from prison by White.
However, White claims to have been tortured over the incident. White further claims that agents interrogated him over planning to take out soon-to-be President Barack Obama with another truck bomb.
The evidence supporting White’s claims is incomplete, but it does corroborate certain parts of his story.
For instance, records show that in October 2008, White was being monitored by the FBI for threats against Obama while simultaneously being investigated by U.S. Marshals for his alleged plot to bomb a federal building—but there’s nothing to indicate that the investigations were related to each other. Records also show that White was tortured in prison in 2014, but Headline USA has not found clear proof that he was tortured in 2008.
The FBI and the Bureau of Prisons have both declined to comment about White’s allegations.
According to an October 2008 FBI memo, the bureau was concerned that White was circulating a Nazi publication displaying a lewd threat against Obama. Meanwhile, U.S. Marshals were also investigating him in October 2008 for the supposed plot to attack a federal building.
Court records indicate that the Marshals’ investigation was based on a dubious tip from then-FBI informant Turner.
U.S. Marshals report on phony truck-bomb plot.
At the time, White was already under yet another, separate investigation for alleged threats against a juror in the trial of Matthew Hale—a white supremacist who solicited an FBI informant to murder a federal judge.
Hale was convicted of soliciting the murder, and White was eventually convicted for threatening the juror, too.
But before White was arrested, the U.S. Marshals were reportedly worried that he was about to attack the Poff Federal Building in Roanoke, where his grand jury had convened.
“Witnesses in the Roanoke Grand Jury investigation against White are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 14. White states that [REDACTED],” said a heavily redacted Oct. 13, 2008, Marshals report. “Additionally, he plans on driving the truck himself, stating that there is no way that he will be able to spend 40 years in prison.”
White was arrested days later on Oct. 17, 2008. A follow-up January 2009 report from the Marshals cleared White of the bomb plot accusations.
U.S. Marshals report on phony truck-bomb plot.
“There has not been further information regarding the original allegation that White actually made the threat,” the Marshals report said.
“Special Agent [REDACTED] executed a search warrant of White’s residence and other properties to include a seizure [REDACTED],” the memo said. “Those searchers did not yield information of a threat to the Poff Federal Building, federal judiciary, and/or Western Judicial District of Virginia grand jury personnel or proceedings.”
But before that January 2009 report was issued, White claims that investigators tortured him to get him to admit to the bomb plot. And he claims that investigators also tortured him over an alleged plot against Obama.
According to White, he was left in a freezing-cold cell from Nov. 7 to Nov. 12, 2008. Then, he was transferred to a cell “flooded with 1-inch of human feces” from Nov. 28-29, he claimed in an October 2020 sworn declaration.
After that, he was housed in a cell “overrun by hundreds of cockroaches” from Nov. 29 to Dec. 29, 2008, he said.
“Throughout this period, efforts were made by BOP staff to question me about an alleged plot to assassinate Barack Obama with a truck bomb,” White said in his sworn declaration, which he filed in support of an unsuccessful application for compassionate release.
“I was released from the MCC-Chicago SHU to general population December 29, 2008,” he added.
White has consistently told this same story over the years, including in a 2016 psychological report written by Dr. Eric Ostrov.
“[The FBI informant Hal] Turner went to these two guys and told them to set me up so he could get his informant contract back … they concocted a story that I [planned to] blow up Barack Obama with a truck bomb,” White told Dr. Ostrov in 2016, according to the doctor’s report.
White also told his attorneys about the torture in 2009 during his criminal proceedings. But his attorneys didn’t believe him at the time, according to White.
But then, in 2010, FBI informant Turner admitted in court that he told the feds about the phony federal building bomb plot. Turner had been arrested for inciting violence against three federal judges, and he was testifying in court that he was an important asset to the FBI.
“I told the U.S. Marshal Service about a problem in a courthouse down in Roanoke, Virginia. Got information that a guy named Bill White was building a truck bomb because he was going to get indicted down there,” Turner said in 2010, according to a transcript from his trial proceedings.
“There was a little credibility issue. The U.S. Marshal service didn’t know that I had been working on national security so long with the FBI, I guess I had to try to rebuild a credibility level with them,” Turner said.
Turner also said he informed the FBI about a plot against Obama—though this plot supposed to have taken place after Obama was elected, which would have been after White was already incarcerated.
“I got a call from a fellow … He was going to lob mortars from a mile away into Grant Park where thousands of men, women and children were there to see the man they had just elected president,” Turner said, according to the court transcript.
“Now, I do not like Barack Obama. I do not subscribe to his politics, and I was not happy that he won, but he won. Like it or not, he was going to be my president too,” said Turner, who had previously called for Obama’s assassination.
“I would not sit by and let some maniac lob mortars into Grant Park and kill that man. That is not the way that we do things here. I called Marshal Elcik. Marshal Elcik called the FBI,” he said.
When White learned of Turner’s testimony, he sought records from the U.S. Marshals about the bomb-plot investigation. But he didn’t receive those records until November 2020—long after his convictions had been upheld on multiple appeals.
According to White, if he had the U.S. Marshals records during his 2009 criminal proceedings, it would have convinced his lawyers that he was indeed tortured.
First of all, the U.S. Marshal records showed the U.S. Marshals closed their bomb-plot investigation by Jan. 9, 2009, “which shows that the U.S. [Marshals] closed their investigation shortly after the BOP stopped torturing me and demanding that I confess to this phony bomb plot,” White said in a sworn declaration.
Moreover, White noted that the U.S. Marshals records described him as having “sociopathic tendencies with a complete lack of empathy and/or sympathy for life.” This is further evidence that he was tortured “because it shows the utterly false dehumanization of me which the Department of Justice has engaged in to justify its cruel and unusual punishment of me,” he argued in his sworn declaration.
“Statements like that I am a sociopath with no empathy for human life very likely appear there, because it is these kinds of lies that make the kind of people who work in law enforcement feel important,” White added.
“These lies, in turn, result in the kinds of crimes that I have had committed against me while in custody. Why would someone not torture a sociopath with no regard for human life?”
Despite the new documents White discovered—and despite records proving that he was tortured in prison in 2014, if not 2008—his application for compassionate release was ultimately unsuccessful.
In denying White’s application, various judges have noted his history of allegedly making violent threats against public figures.
White does have two other lawsuits open for similar torture and retaliation allegations.
The former FBI informant Turner, who was convicted of making death threats against three judges in 2010 and released from prison in 2012, could not be reached for comment.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.