Carol Howe: Where is ATF Informant Now?

With Showtime’s ‘Waco: The Aftermath‘ living up to its title in every way imaginable, we get a true insight into the incidents following the horrific early 1993 federal siege in the titular Texan city. After all, even though this is a drama miniseries, it examines the complete gravity of the possibly avoidable, controversial, and ruinous FBI standoff against individuals with far-right core beliefs. It thus comes as no surprise Carol Howe (Abbey Lee) also plays an integral role throughout this narrative as an extremist turned informant — she is also mentioned in HBO’s ‘An American Bombing: The Road to April 19th.’

Carol Howe is Inspired by a Real ATF Informant

Well, the short answer is definitely yes — the character of Carol has been inspired entirely by real-life Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) stoolie Carol Elizabeth Howe. The truth is she was actually adopted at birth by an affluent family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her mother being a tireless philanthropist while her father served as an energy conglomerate’s CEO. However, none of it was enough for the once-debutante, champion horsewoman, as well as impressively articulate Christian as she grew older because her mind had started drifting elsewhere.

In fact, as implied in the original, Carol had graduated from the renowned Tulsa Metro Christian Academy as an honor student in the late 1980s, only to then struggle at a series of colleges. She hence gave up and began working a variety of small jobs like those as an entertainment dancer before steadily becoming involved with White Aryan Resistance member Dennis Mahon. It was in 1994 when their relationship reportedly began, soon driving her to embrace white supremacist ideology, join the enclave of Elohim City, Oklahoma, and get a swastika tattoo on her arm.

Though it’s imperative to note this was all ostensibly easy for Carol to accomplish since she’d recently suffered a traumatic attack by a small yet powerful group of local African-American men. Nevertheless, everything changed in August 1994 once she filed a restraining order against Dennis following alleged physical and sexual abuse, which caught the eye of federal authorities. The ATF was actually already investigating her then ex-beau’s radicalism, so Agent Angela Graham (not Gary Noesner) didn’t hesitate prior to approaching her with an offer of being an informant.

Carol was thus employed by the agency to actively monitor Elohim City from August 1994 to March 1995, during which she purportedly made it clear to her handlers that militants were on the go. In fact, she’d explicitly stated Chief of Security Andy the German (Andreas Strassmeir) frequently spoke of “blowing up federal buildings” and using “direct action against the US Government.” But alas, not only did the ATF fail to prevent the heinous April 19, 1995, domestic Oklahoma City Bombing, but they also soon let the identity of their confidential informant slip through the cracks.

Carol Howe is Possibly Living With a New Name Today

The truth is Carol was instructed to return to Elohim City after the brutal attack in order to attain further insight, but leader Robert “Pappy” Millar grew suspicious and banned her on May 18. Yet instead of returning to a life of normalcy, she reportedly donned the name Freya before forming a far-right group of her own in Tulsa alongside her then-fiancée, James Dodson Viefhaus Jr. Therefore, once it came to light that her organization supposedly advocated the destruction of Blacks, Jews, homosexuals, and federal law enforcement agents while also operating a hotline, she was arrested.

Carol actually stood trial for the charges against her in 1997, where she asserted she’d set up this extremist alliance in 1996 to enhance her cover after agents had mistakenly disclosed her identity. She was hence found not guilty of conspiracy, making a bomb threat, or possessing an unregistered destructive device, but her then-fiancée was unfortunately convicted of all the same counts.

“When I got home, I couldn’t even believe [my freedom] was real,” Carol said back then. “I’ve been like the government’s indentured servant for three years.” She thus made up her mind to leave Oklahoma as well as her past behind for good, change her identity, and work towards obtaining a law degree, which she likely has. We say “likely” because there is no public record of Carol Elizabeth Howe anywhere anymore, despite the fact she should only be in her early 50s at the moment — she has definitely since taken on a new name.

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