Oliver Revell

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Person.png Oliver Revell C-SPAN PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(“terror expert”)
Buck Revell.jpg
Born14 December 1938
Alma materEast Tennessee State University, Temple University
Founder ofInstitute for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence
Member ofInstitute for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence
Prescient in respect of terrorist attacks, or was he in the deep state loop?

Employment.png FBI/Assistant Director

In office
1 June 1980 - 31 August 1994
BossDavid Binney

Oliver 'Buck' Revell is the FBI's former Assistant Director who spent 30 years working his way up to the highest rank in career government service. Upon Buck Revell's retirement in 1994, he founded Revell Group International (RGI), a global network of former senior FBI, security service, intelligence, diplomatic, law enforcement and military officials with a broad range of international business and technical experience.[1] Revell graduated from East Tennessee State University and got his Masters from Temple University in Public Administration. He served four years in the Marines as an aviator and left as a Captain.[2]

FBI career

Buck Revell began his career in the FBI in November 1964. He recently published a book entitled G-Man's Journal to chronicle his experiences in the FBI from the Kennedy assassination to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing from an insider's point of view. Revell served in the Kansas City, Philadelphia and Tampa Divisions of the FBI and at FBI Headquarters (FBIHQ) in the Organized Crime Section, the Inspection Division and the Office of Planning and Evaluation. In January 1975, Revell was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in charge of the Chicago Division, and later as Acting Special Agent in Charge. In October 1976, Revell was promoted to Senior Executive Service (SES) rank and designated Inspector and Executive Assistant to the Associate Director at FBIHQ. In November 1977, he was designated Special Agent in Charge of the Oklahoma Division. In August 1979, Revell was designated Deputy Assistant Director, Criminal Investigative Division, FBIHQ, where he directed the FBI's programs in Organized Crime, White Collar Crime, Official Corruption and Undercover Operations. In June 1980, he was promoted to Assistant Director and placed in charge of the Criminal Investigative Division, making him responsible for the criminal investigative and counter-terrorism programs and operations of the FBI.

In January 1981, FBI/Assistant Director Revell was placed in charge of the Administrative Services Division where he was responsible for Personnel, Budget, Finance and Physical and Personnel Security Operations of the FBI. In May 1982, Revell was again placed in charge of the Criminal Investigative Division and given the additional responsibility of planning and implementing the FBI's newly acquired drug enforcement jurisdiction. In July 1985, Revell was promoted to Executive Assistant Director - Investigations (SES-6) the highest rank in career government service. He was the Director's deputy in charge of Criminal Investigative, Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Intelligence activities. He was also responsible for international investigative and liaison activities of the Bureau, including its Legal Attaché and INTERPOL operations.[3]

Senior positions

In July 1989, his title was changed to Associate Deputy Director - Investigations and oversight of the Training and Laboratory Divisions of the FBI were added to his responsibilities. As a member (1982-1991) of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, he was Chairman of the Council's Committee on Integrity and Law Enforcement. He served on the Attorney General's Economic Crime Council and as Chairman, INTERPOL Conference on International Financial Crime in Cannes. He was a member of the National Foreign Intelligence Board, the Terrorist Crisis Management Committee and the Group on Narcotics. He was Vice Chairman of the Interagency Group/Counterintelligence. In 1985, he was a member of the Senior Review Group of the Vice President's Task Force on Terrorism. He was a U.S. delegate to the United Nations International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Vienna.

Revell was a member of the Senior Policy Group of the Vice President's Task Force on Border Control Issues in 1988; he also served as an Adviser to the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism which was established in 1989 "to investigate the events surrounding the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103". He was a member of "The Executive Session on Policing", Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 1987-1991.

Lockerbie bombing

Disaster warning

On 21 December 1988, shortly before Pan Am Flight 103 took off from London's Heathrow airport at 18:25 hours, FBI Assistant Director Oliver "Buck" Revell reportedly rushed out onto the tarmac and pulled his son and daughter-in-law off the plane. The Lockerbie bombing was not the first time authorities were warned of an impending terrorist attack. The situation would repeat itself five years later in New York City, and seven years later in Oklahoma. It was an all too eerie coincidence.

Typically, U.S. authorities disingenuously denied receiving any warnings, as they would later do in New York and Oklahoma. Yet, as in those cases, evidence of prior knowledge would eventually become known. "It subsequently came to me on further inquiries that they hadn't ignored [the warnings]," said a Pan Am security officer. "A number of VIPs were pulled off that plane. A number of intelligence operatives were pulled off that plane."

Due to the warnings posted in U.S. embassies by the State Department (but not forwarded to Pan Am), many government employees avoided the flight. In fact, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet was only two-thirds full that busy holiday evening. South African president P W Botha and several high-ranking officials were advised by state security forces to change their reservations at the last hour. The South African State Security forces have a close relationship with the CIA.

Just as they would do in Oklahoma, government officials promised a complete and thorough investigation. Stated Oliver "Buck" Revell, who headed up the Bureau's Lockerbie investigation:

"All of us working on the case made it a very, very personal priority of the first order."

Fronting for the CIA, Vincent Cannistraro chimed in:

"I had personal friends on that plane who died. And I assure you that I wanted to find the perpetrators of that disaster as much as anyone wanted to."

As in Oklahoma City, this would become the catch-all phrase that would set everything right and prove the government had no involvement. Of course, this would be somewhat difficult in Revell's case, since he pulled his son and daughter-in-law off the plane minutes before it took off. (This was suspiciously reminiscent of the ATF agents who were paged not to come into work on April 19.)

Interestingly, Revell was the FBI's lead investigator in the crash of an Arrow Air DC-8 which exploded on 12 December 1985 in Gander, Newfoundland, with the loss of all 248 personnel. As in Oklahoma City, that site was quickly bulldozed, destroying crucial forensic evidence, with an Army official maintaining a watchful eye at all times. Hiding behind the cover-up was the same cast of characters — Oliver North, Duane Clarridge, and Vince Cannistraro — who was North's deputy at the NSC during Iran-Contra, and would later appear in Lockerbie. The same cast of characters that lurked behind the scandals in Nicaragua and Iran, and would appear like ghostly apparitions in the smoldering ruins of Oklahoma City.

It was also an act that the U.S. Shadow Government, responsible for precipitating, was anxious to cover up. Had the true cause of the crash — North's double-dealing with the Iranians — been revealed, the Iran-Contra scandal would have surfaced two years before it did.

Oliver "Buck" Revell would be on hand to make sure it didn't.

Three years later, in Lockerbie, the government was still claiming its hands were clean. Yet it vigorously protested Pan Am's attempts to subpoena warning memos and other documents that would have revealed the government's foreknowledge, just as it did in Oklahoma.

Simply stated, the attack on Pan Am 103 was in retaliation for the downing of the Iranian airbus.[4]

FBI on the case

Assistant Director Oliver "Buck" Revell oversaw the FBI's Lockerbie investigation until 1991, when Special Agent Richard Marquise took charge.

Interviewed in March 2000, two months before the start of the Lockerbie trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands of the two Libyans Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, Buck Revell said:

"I believe it is an absolutely airtight case. The panel of judges will clearly see that the evidence is compelling and overwhelming and could only lead to one conclusion."

The conclusion, according to the indictment: that on the morning of 21 December 1988, the two Libyans entered Luqa airport on the Mediterranean island of Malta. They placed a brown Samsonite suitcase, with a bomb hidden inside, on an Air Malta jet bound for Frankfurt. That suitcase was then transferred to Pan Am flights in Frankfurt and London before blowing up over Lockerbie. Libyan leader Gaddafi is not named in the indictment, but former investigators say they believe he personally ordered the bombing of Pan Am 103.

David Shayler, who headed the Libya Desk for Britain's intelligence service, MI5, in the mid-1990s said:

"There's a lot of evidence, as well as intelligence ... which indicates that the regime was involved."

Gaddafi's motive, according to Shayler: revenge. In April 1986, two-and-a-half years before the downing of Pan Am 103, US warplanes bombed Libya's two largest cities, Tripoli and Benghazi, to punish Gaddafi for alleged terrorist attacks in Europe. An estimated 100 Libyans died in the attack, including Gaddafi's 2-year-old adopted daughter.[5]

Fabricated evidence against Libya

Pierre Péan says that the FBI fabricated the bomb-timer evidence against Libya

In September 2018, a Facebook post reprised French investigative journalist Pierre Péan's long-standing accusation that the FBI had fabricated the evidence against Libya in respect of both the Pan Am Flight 103 and UTA Flight 772 bombings:[6]

In March 2001, Le Monde Diplomatique published Péan's article entitled "Les preuves trafiquées du terrorisme libyen" just after the Lockerbie bombing trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands had ended with the conviction of Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on the strength of just one piece of hard evidence: a tiny fragment of a timing device manufactured by the Swiss firm MEBO.

Two years earlier, Abdullah al-Senussi and five other Libyans were tried and convicted in absentia by a Paris court for the UTA Flight 772 bombing. Péan claimed there was something wrong:

"It is striking to witness the similarity of the discoveries, by the FBI, of the scientific proof of the two aircraft that were sabotaged: the Pan Am Boeing 747 and the UTA DC-10. Among the thousands or rather tens of thousands of pieces of debris collected near the crash sites, just one printed circuit board (PCB) fragment was found in each case, which carried enough information to allow its identification: MEBO for the Boeing 747 and 'TY' (from Taiwan) for the DC-10."
Péan went on to accuse Juge Jean-Louis Bruguière of ignoring the results of an analysis by Claude Colisti of the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire (DCPJ) – one of the world's foremost explosives experts – that the 'TY' timer fragment had no trace of explosives residue, and could not therefore have been connected to the bomb that destroyed UTA Flight 772. Furthermore, neither a forensic inquiry by the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST) nor an examination by the scientific laboratory of the Préfecture de Police (PP) could make any connection between the timer fragment and the bomb. According to Péan, Juge Bruguière had therefore taken at face value the word of an FBI political operative (Thomas Thurman), who had been discredited in 1997 by the US Inspector-General, Michael Bromwich, and told never again to appear in court as an expert witness, rather than accept the findings of French forensic experts.
Pierre Péan was interviewed on French TV channel ARTE info on 28 August 2007 following the admission by MEBO engineer Ulrich Lumpert that he had handed over a prototype MST-13 timer to Lockerbie investigators in 1989.[7]
It was revealed at the Lockerbie bombing trial that the British scientist, Dr Thomas Hayes, had also failed to test the MEBO timer fragment for explosives residue. Such reckless disregard for the integrity of forensic evidence would have had the most profound effects upon the Scottish judicial process in relation to Megrahi's second appeal against conviction.[8] However, in August 2009 Megrahi agreed to abandon his second appeal, was granted "compassionate release" by Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, and flew back to Tripoli. Thurman's fabricated evidence has never therefore been exposed in court.[9]

Buck Revell gave this deadpan response to the Facebook post:

"This is pure B.S. Tom Thurman was a respected Special Agent of the FBI and highly regarded Explosives examiner."[10]

Friends on Facebook

Among Buck Revell's friends on Facebook are Emeritus Professor of Lockerbie Studies and former British diplomat, Patrick Haseldine,[11] and Mark Zaid, one of the American lawyers who successfully sued Libya for US$2.7 billion compensation on behalf of the Lockerbie relatives.[12][13]


In September 1987, Revell was placed in charge of a joint FBI/CIA U.S. military operation (Operation Goldenrod) which led to the first apprehension overseas of an international terrorist. President Reagan commended him for his leadership of this endeavour. In 1989, President Bush awarded Revell the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Senior Executive and in 1990 the President conferred upon Revell the Meritorious Senior Executive award. In May 1991, he was awarded the FBI Medal for Meritorious Achievement and the following month received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal by the Director of Central Intelligence, William H. Webster.

On May 28, 1991, Revell assumed the position of Special Agent in Charge, Dallas Division (covering the northern half of Texas). On 1 May 1992, the Attorney General of the United States ordered Revell to Los Angeles and placed him in command of joint Federal law enforcement efforts to suppress the riots and civil disorder. He was also assigned responsibility to coordinate the law enforcement activities of military forces assigned to combat the riots in Los Angeles. Attorney General William Barr presented Revell the Attorney General's Special Commendation Award for "outstanding leadership in overseeing Federal law enforcement agencies response to civil disorder in Los Angeles". He retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on 31 August 1994 with the restored rank of Associate Deputy Director.

In October 1994, Revell was awarded the Albert J. Wood Public Affairs Award by the Middle East Forum "for his efforts in the fight against International Terrorism." During his career as a FBI Official and subsequently as an International Security Consultant, Revell has authored numerous articles on Terrorism, Counter-Intelligence and Organized Crime. He has spoken and lectured at the national and international level on these and other criminal justice and National Security subjects on a frequent basis.

He was an advisor on International Organized Crime to the National Security Council in 1996 and as a consultant to the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection in 1997. He has been interviewed or served as a commentator on numerous national television news and commentary programs.[14]