Andrew Gumbel and Roger G. Charles
Sheer bureaucratic incompetence does a lot to drive conspiracy thinking. We like to think that the professionals know what they’re doing, and can be trusted to do a responsible job. This trust is often misplaced. A case in point is the investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which was sloppily handled throughout mainly due to petty inter-departmental squabbles, careerism, and the sort of tunnel vision that so often accompanies such things. “Conspiracy” is then invoked to explain the muffed job, while at the same time helping to fill in the spots left blank. I still think Timothy McVeigh did most of this one alone, but it seems likely that a number of other people were loosely in the know. Conspiracy is a hard legal case to make, and the evidence here was murky, but there’s no denying a lot was missed and even deliberately ignored.