April 20, 2012: Transcript of an interview by Charlie Rose of Peter Griffith, spokesman for the FBI, on the Tryon Controversy.
ROSE: On April 4, only a few weeks ago, an event occurred that some are calling the biggest government conspiracy since Watergate. 237 people were lost in one or more massive explosions that leveled the town of Tryon, Nebraska, and the nearby Great Plains Cruciform Array. Families of the victims have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the official investigation, saying that its speed has made a true discovery of the facts impossible. Tonight we have with us Peter Griffith of the FBI, who will help us untangle these mysterious threads. Special Agent Griffith, good evening.
GRIFFITH: Good evening, Charlie. I’m happy to be here.
ROSE: A massive explosion of fertilizer?
ROSE: You seem very certain.
GRIFFITH: I am. Like the President and most of the American public, I believe in the hard work of our investigative agencies, among them the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the ATF—as well as local law enforcement and the Nebraska Bureau of Investigation. All are in agreement on the facts.
ROSE: Which are?
GRIFFITH: As we’ve stated. A large chemical explosion resulted in the loss of 237 lives, the town of Tryon, and the Great Plains Cruciform Array.
ROSE: Is that possible?
GRIFFITH: It is, Charlie, it happened. I know that families…
ROSE: Who says so?
GRIFFITH: Well, let me tell you. We have spared no expense or resource in our attempt to find the cause of this horrible tragedy. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. But the consensus of all of our science right now is that this was a simple, avoidable accident. I know that victims’ families and loved ones are grieving, and looking for answers, and we want to help them find closure as much as we possibly can.
ROSE: Is this a rush to judgment?
GRIFFITH: Not in our opinion. Listen, we have people who are very, very good at their jobs. The best in the business. And they have been unanimous.
ROSE: I have here a joint statement by the Osborne and Arnold families.
ROSE: (reading) “We reject categorically the notion that this horrible event was any kind of accident. We do not know why the government still is not allowing anyone near the site almost three weeks after the event. The entire site has been bulldozed under, preventing the collection of any evidence. There are no bodies for us or any of hundreds of other grieving families to touch or identify. We are told that the explosion destroyed everything, and what was left was so dangerous that it had to be plowed under. What we and the other members of the Commission for Truth in the Tryon Disaster are demanding are full and complete explanations, and we are demanding them now.”
GRIFFITH: I hear a lot of grief, and a lot of anger, and I understand both. I lost a few friends on 9/11, and I’ve lost friends in Iraq. I know what it’s like to grieve for someone you won’t get to see again, and I know what it’s like to have to trust the word of people you don’t know about the fate of people you love. But, Charlie…
ROSE: I have a USA Today Poll. On the question, ‘Do you believe the government’s narrative on the Tryon Disaster’, 88% report yes, and 12% report no. Is that a high number of people who don’t trust the government’s word?
GRIFFITH: Charlie, I don’t know how USA Today conducted their poll. And I want to be clear that our sympathy, all of our sympathy and thoughts and prayers, are with these families. But there’s another side to this.
ROSE: What is it?
GRIFFITH: You know as well as I do that there are people out there, fringe groups and such, that make a living doubting the government.
ROSE: You mean, Alex Jones, Saucerwatch, Phenomen-X…
GRIFFITH: And a million others on the net, on YouTube, who have authored these videos we’ve seen that are calling it a coverup of alien involvement or something.
ROSE: So they’re all crackpots.
GRIFFITH: Charlie, all I’m saying, and this is a tough thing to have to say, is that these families should be trusting some more reliable folks. Do I even have to explain why? Alex Jones thinks every mass shooting is some sort of staged black op. We wish they were, we could put a stop to them. Phenomen-X has been sued fifteen times for libel, slander, character assassination, and defamation of character. Saucerwatch…
ROSE: Now hold on. I understand about Phenomen-X, it’s trash TV, everyone knows that. Alex Jones, I hear you. But you have to say that Saucerwatch is in a different class.
GRIFFITH: If they are, they’re not showing it these days. We know they have a lot more money now, and their production values have gone up accordingly. We know they have that hit show on the History Channel. What they have to do with history is anyone’s guess, but…
ROSE: You’re saying that they’re hustling for ratings.
GRIFFITH: I wouldn’t say that, but it is unfortunate that they want to automatically believe the opposite of our investigation.
ROSE: What do you say about the other phenomena that were observed in the area in the weeks prior to the event?
GRIFFITH: Such as?
ROSE: The earthquakes, the strange noises, the animal behavior, the dreams that some were reporting, the storms…the Osborne murder…
GRIFFITH: (laughs) I have to explain all of that.
ROSE: Is there an explanation?
GRIFFITH: There probably is.
ROSE: But not from you.
GRIFFITH: I’m not a seismologist. I’m not a zoologist. I’m not a psychologist or dream interpreter. I think it’s strange that we expect all of these various strange phenomena—if they happened at all…
ROSE: Now come on. Many independent witnesses have signed affidavits about seeing unusual activity in the weeks before it happened. The storms and quakes are a matter of scientific record.
GRIFFITH: Let me finish, Charlie. You know how people can get carried away with things. I have friends who think I know something about the Kennedy assassination, for goodness’ sake. All I’m saying is that coincidences happen. Weird animal behavior has been noted around the time of earthquakes for centuries. If you’ve never seen a freak storm suddenly blow up, you’ve never spent a summer in the Midwest.
ROSE: And the music?
GRIFFITH: Of course, the music.
GRIFFITH: Charlie, let’s get back to things we know about. Things we can measure and verify. Things we can investigate and examine. The agencies I’m speaking for tonight, Homeland Security, the FBI, the ATF…these are serious people. They have serious jobs they take very seriously. They know about investigating, solving, and preventing crime. They’re not trained to address the Earth speaking, or singing, or whatever it is.
ROSE: Any final words for the doubters?
GRIFFITH: We’re sorry you don’t trust us. But we’re people like you, and we’re passionate about the truth. If we’ve violated your trust in some way we apologize. But our focus is on safety and closure. Not rumors and wild internet speculation.
ROSE: There you have it. Special Agent Peter Griffith, thank you.