308: Barry Black – Accountant to Master Bomb Tech

In this episode, retired agent Barry Black, an FBI accountant turned bomb tech, reviews an investment fraud and the initial investigative steps he took when responding to the Oklahoma City Bombing.

He investigated the medical supply investment fraud case as a special agent accountant, arresting two men who were found guilty of operating a scam that duped investors nationwide out of more than $1.43 million. The case was highlighted on an episode of the TV show Unsolved Mysteries.

Barry was also part of the task force that investigated the Oklahoma City Bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, where the lives of 168 people, including 19 children, were senselessly taken. He reviews the initial investigative steps he took when responding to the OKBOMB crime scene, his first as a newly certified bomb tech. He knew many of the victims and his wife, who worked in the building and had been parked in the basement, had driven out just two minutes before the blast. Barry shares how that tragic event shaped the rest of his career as a bomb tech.

Special Agent (Retired)

Barry Black

1988 – 2019

 

 

 

 

 

“The transition from white collar to SWAT to explosives was just a strange timing event. I got in the Bureau pretty young because of my accounting background. Tried out for the SWAT team, was able to get selected for that. Somehow made it to sniper school, which was sort of my dream, what I wanted to do. So I worked white collar and did the SWAT part. I asked the bomb tech, Jim Norman, who was a good friend of mine, what do you do? He said, well, we train, we travel the world, we blow stuff up. I thought that sounds like something I want to do.”—Retired Agent Barry Black

Barry Black served in the FBI for 31 years. He was assigned to the Oklahoma City Division where he primarily investigated complex financial crimes for the first half of his Bureau career and was a sniper on the SWAT team for several years before being certified as a Special Agent Bomb Technician (SABT) at the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School.

Barry was later assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, where he worked with international partners in the global war on terror and trained highly specialized military and counterterrorism units in hostile regions around the world.

Domestically, Mr. Black responded to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing, the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, the 2005 bombing at the University of Oklahoma, the bombing of a U.S. Air Force recruiting station, and in a complex undercover operation, helped thwart a 2017 truck bomb attack targeting a financial center in Oklahoma City. He has provided expert testimony in criminal and civil matters, technical support for numerous National Special Security Events, and received a U.S. patent as co-inventor of a specialized counter-IED tool.

Barry received the FBI’s Master Police Instructor Award and was recognized as a Master Bomb Technician. In 2014, state and local law enforcement inducted him into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame and presented him with the Bill Tilghman Public Service Award. In 2019, he was awarded the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Group Achievement Award.

He was named as an Honorary U.S. Air Force Commander in 2022 for his work with Security Forces, military working dogs, and other specialized units. During his 31-year career, Mr. Black served as an Adjunct Faculty Member at the FBI Academy, a subject matter expert for the U.S. State Department, and an instructor for NATO “Centres of Excellence.” He has been a guest lecturer at FBI headquarters, Scotland Yard, the Department of Justice National Advocacy Center, numerous universities, as well as police and military academies around the world.

After retiring in 2019, Barry became an adjunct faculty member at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Forensic Science Institute. He has served as a consultant and provided commentary on national and international events for media outlets such as the BBC, The History Channel, FOX News, CNN, Oliver North’s Real American Heroes, and True FBI.

The following are links to articles and documents about the medical supply investment scam case Barry worked early in his career, and articles and videos about his bomb tech work on the OKBOMB case:

The Oklahoman – 12/19/1992: Two Sentenced to Prison in Medical Supply Investor Scam

November 21, 1994: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE, v. THOMAS ALFRED FLANAGAN

Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack – Season 4, Episode 21 (The medical scam case starts at about 41 minutes & 35 seconds)

FBI Website – 4/15/2020: Retired FBI Agent Reflects on Tragic Day and How it Shaped the Bureau

FBI Website (VIDEO): Barry Black, Special Agent, Oklahoma City FBI

FBI Website – History Artifacts: Special Agent Barry Black’s Hard Hat

Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame: BARRY BLACK – Year Inducted 2014

The Redstone Rocket – 5/24/2023: Retired FBI bomb technician has eventful career

To learn more about the Oklahoma Bombing investigation, listen to these FBI Retired Case File Review episode:

Episode 061: Jon Hersley and Larry Tongate – Oklahoma City Bombing (Part 1)

Episode 062: Jon Hersley and Larry Tongate – Oklahoma City Bombing (Part 2)

To learn more about the being a Special Agent Bomb Tech (SABT), listen to this FBI Retired Case File Review episode:

Episode 086: Kevin Miles – Master Bomb Technician, Khobar Towers Attack

Photos from Barry Black’s career as an FBI accountant turned bomb tech.

Barry Black (center) on-site during the search of the Fidelity National Medical Supply offices.
Brochures and documents given to victims who invested in the medical supply scam.
Barry speaking via a headset to a caller during the filming of the Unsolved Mysteries TV show.
Barry on-site as a first responder bomb tech with the wall of debris caused by the bombing behind him.
On-site at the OKBOMB crime scene.
Standing in front of the flowers and mementos left as a memorial for the OKBOMB victims.
Barry and wife with FBI Director Wray at the 2023, 9/11 Honor Ceremony in New York.
During a K9 training session to acclimate the dogs to travel onboard a Blackhawk helicopter.
In Brazil with members of the Brazil BOPE “Special Police Operations Battalion”, the police tactical unit.
At NATO conducting Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT) tasks.
Barry with Saudi Security members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 250 episodes available for free on all popular podcast apps.

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