An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident

Subject: [conservativefriends] An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 20:51:31 PDT
From: carl william spitzer iv <cwsiv_2nd@juno.com>
Reply-To: conservativefriends@yahoogroups.com
To: conservativefriends@yahoogroups.com



   
                       Source: Cato Institute
                            No Confidence
                           by Timothy Lynch
                          Executive Summary

          On  February  28, 1993, a force of 76 agents  from  the
     Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms tried to storm  the
     residence  of  a religious group known as the   Branch  Davi-
     dians.   A  firefight broke out, and there were   deaths  and
     injuries  on both sides.  The ATF maintains that its   agents
     were ambushed while the Davidians claim that they were fired
     upon  without provocation, feared for their lives and   acted
     in self-defense.

          The  Branch  Davidian residence was  subsequently  sur-
     rounded  by  federal and state authorities and   the  Federal
     Bureau of Investigation assumed control.   Weeks went by  as
     the FBI and the Davidians engaged in negotiations to resolve
     the standoff peacefully.  

         
reno_b.jpg (8904 bytes)

     On April 19, 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno gave the    
     FBI  permission  to flush the Davidians out of   their  resi-
     dence.  FBI agents used tanks to smash holes in the walls of
     the  building and then sprayed tear gas into the   residence. 
     Agents  also used hand-held grenade launchers to  fire   more
     than  350 "ferret" rounds into the windows of the   building,
     but  none of the Davidians obeyed the FBI's command to   exit
     the  residence.   A fire then broke out, and   76  Davidians,
     including 27 children, perished.

          That  incident--  which is now referred  to  simply  as
     Waco--has  become  the most  controversial   law  enforcement
     operation in modern American history.   Although the   "offi-
     cial"  investigation of the incident now places all   of  the
     blame  for the carnage on the Branch Davidian leader,   David
     Koresh,  numerous  crimes by government  agents   were  never
     seriously  investigated or prosecuted.  If those   crimes  go
     unpunished,  the Waco incident will leave an  odious   prece-
     dent--that  federal agents can use the "color of   their  of-
     fice" to commit crimes against citizens.  

                             Introduction

          On  April  19, 1993, agents of the  Federal  Bureau  of
     Investigation  used  tanks to assault a building   that  con-
     tained 76 men, women, and children.  The tanks rammed   holes
     through  the  walls  of the building and   sprayed  tear  gas
     inside.   Because the adults in the building had gas   masks,
     the  FBI's tactical objective was to gas the children so   as
     to prompt the parents to gather them up and flee the  struc-
     ture.1 After several hours of gassing, a fire broke out  and
     almost everyone in the building died.  That incident,   which
     is now commonly referred to as Waco because it took place  a
     few  miles outside of Waco, Texas, has become the most   con-
     troversial  law  enforcement operation  in   modern  American
     history.

tankgas.jpg (32299 bytes)

          For  years  questions have lingered about  whether  the
     federal  government  was completely  forthright   about  what
     happened  at  Waco.  Did the people in the   building  really
     commit mass suicide? Or was it closer to murder, with feder-
     al  agents  abusing their power and then covering   up  their
     misdeeds? The "official" investigation of the Waco   incident
     was  headed  by former Missouri senator John  C.    Danforth,
     whose  report essentially exonerated the federal   government
     of  wrongdoing.2 The factual record, however, does not   sup-
     port  Danforth's sweeping exoneration.  On the contrary,  it
     raises deeply disturbing questions not only about the  tact-
     ics  used  at Waco but, more generally,  about   the  mindset
     often  found in America's increasingly militarized  law   en-
     forcement agencies.

          Because  several federal agencies were involved in  the
     Waco incident and because eight years have passed since  the
     primary  events took place, I will begin by chronicling   the
     federal government's actions and related events to provide a
     frame of reference for the conclusions that follow.  I   will
     then  identify serious crimes that I believe were   committed
     by  government agents at Waco--crimes that have  never   been
     thoroughly  investigated or prosecuted.   My   identification
     of  crimes  is  not based on conspiracy   theories  or  newly
     discovered evidence.  Rather, I identify crimes on the basis
     of  the  undisputed actions of  high-ranking   officials.   I
     conclude by indentifying questionable conduct that  warrants
     further investigation.

                         Chronology of Events

          An exhaustive chronology of the events that have  taken
     place over the past eight years is beyond the scope of  this
     study.   The  chronology that follows should   suffice  as  a
     frame  of  reference for the findings and   conclusions  that
     follow.3

       

     *    June 4, 1992: After receiving a tip about the   possible
          manufacture of illegal firearms, the Bureau of Alcohol,
          Tobacco,  and  Firearms   opens an  investigation  of  a
          religious sect, known as the Branch Davidians,  located
          at  the  Mt.    Carmel complex near  Waco,  Texas.4  Mt. 
          Carmel is a 77-acre ranch with several buildings.   The
          main residence houses approximately 100 men, women, and
          children.    

branch_baby13.jpg (12845 bytes)   branch_baby7.gif (6819 bytes)     mother&child2.JPG (24571 bytes)  lady5.JPG (26212 bytes)  lady4.JPG (28515 bytes)  child11.JPG (25851 bytes)

     *    July  30,  1992: ATF agents   interview  Texas  firearms
          dealer  Henry McMahon about his business dealings  with
          Branch Davidian leader David Koresh.  During the inter-
          view, McMahon telephones Koresh.   Koresh tells  McMahon
          that if the ATF agents perceive any legal problem, they
          can  come  to Mt.   Carmel and check his  inventory  and
          paperwork.  ATF agents decline the invitation.5   

     *    November  1992: Producers of CBS's 60   Minutes  contact
          ATF  officials about sexual harassment in  the  agency,
          requesting an interview with the director, Stephen Hig-
          gins.  ATF officials brace themselves for an unflatter-
          ing report on national television.6    

     *    December  1992: On the basis of   information  developed
          through its investigation, ATF concludes that there  is
          probable  cause  to   believe that David  Koresh  is  in
          violation of federal firearms regulations.  ATF  begins
          to  develop  a plan to search Mt.   Carmel  and  arrest
          Koresh.7   

     *    January  10,  1993:  60 Minutes  airs  a  story  titled
          "Alcohol,  Tobacco, Firearms and Harassment," a  devas-

          tating  report  on sexual harassment  within  the  ATF. 
          Several  female agents describe how they were  sexually
          harassed  by  fellow agents and  further  describe  the
          retaliation they received after they lodged  complaints
          with  their supervisors.   Agent Bob Hoffman,  who  cor-
          roborated  on of the female agent's  complaints,  tells
          Mike Wallace: "In my career with ATF, the people that I
          put in jail have more honor than the top administration
          in this organization.   I know it's sad commentary, but
          that's my experience with the ATF."9   

     *    January 21, 1993: ATF solicits military assistance  for
          its planned raid.  Among other things, the ATF requests
          use of the Military Operations in Urban Terrain facili-
          ty at Fort Hood, Texas.9  

agent2.jpg (12992 bytes)

  

     *    February 25, 1993: ATF agents seek and obtain an arrest
          warrant  for David Koresh and a search warrant for  the
          Mt.  Carmel complex.10    

     *    February 26-27, 1993: U.S.  Army Special Forces at Fort
          Hood  assist  ATF agents in rehearsing a  raid  on  the
          Branch Davidian residence.11    

     *    February  28,  1993:  The ATF tries to  storm  the  Mt. 
          Carmel complex.  At about 9 a.m., National Guard  heli-
          coptors  carrying  ATF   agents arrive  and  circle  Mt. 
          Carmel  in  an attempt to divert the attention  of  the
          Branch  Davidians.    Moments later, two  pickup  trucks
          hauling  covered  cattle   trailers pull  into  the  Mt. 
          Carmel  driveway.  The trucks and trailers  contain  76
          heavily armed ATF agents.

  

          As the agents exit the trailers and approach the  front
          door  of the complex, shots are fired and a fierce  gun
          battle  ensues.  The ATF and the Davidians  accuse  one
          another  of firing the first shot.  After  an  hourlong
          firefight,  a  ceasefire is  arranged.   The  Davidians
          agree to hold their fire in return for the ATF's  prom-
          ise to leave the property.   

          During  the raid, ATF agents shoot and kill  two  Davi-
          dians  and wound five others.   The Davidians shoot  and
          kill four ATF agents and wound 20 others.  Measured  in
          casualties, it is not only the worst day in the history
          of the ATF but the worst day in the history of  federal
          law enforcement.12

          That  afternoon, ATF agents and Texas  police  surround
          Mt.   Carmel,  and telephone negotiations  begin.   The
          standoff will last another 51 days.      

     *    March 1, 1993: ATF relinquishes jurisdiction to the De-
          partment  of  Justice and, in particular, to  the  FBI. 
          (The ATF is a component of the Department of the Treas-
          ury;  the FBI is a component of the Department of  Jus-
          tice.)13   

     *    March  2, 1993: David Koresh promises to   surrender  to
          the authorities if they agree to facilitate a  national
          radio  broadcast for him.   A cassette tape is  recorded
          and  played on the Christian Broadcasting Network,  but
          Koresh  does not surrender.   Koresh tells the  FBI  and
          his followers that God has told him to "wait".14

          Within a week, however, 23 Davidians leave Mt.  Carmel. 
          The  adults  are immediately arrested and  jailed;  the
          children are turned over to Texas authorities or  rela-
          tives.      

     *    March  8, 1993: ATF agents execute another search  war-
          rant  for a property approximately five miles from  Mt. 
          Carmel.   The break into a garage rented by one of  the
          Davidians  in  the hope   of  discovering  incriminating
          evidence.  The owner of the garage, who is not a Branch
          Davidian, is outraged by the property damage and  tells
          reporters:   "The   feds  have  torn  the  building   to
          pieces....  I don't understand why they had to do that. 
          I offered yesterday to give them a key."15

          That evening, the Davidians send out videotapes of  the
          children within Mt.  Carmel.   The FBI had video  camera
          equipment  sent in and asked the Davidians to film  the
          children  to  reassure the bureau that  they  were  all
          right.   After   reviewing the  videotapes,  FBI  agents
          conclude  that  it would not be in  their  interest  to
          release  the tapes to the media.  A notation in an  FBI
          logbook cautions that, because Koresh shows his  bullet
          woulds  and explains the circumstances in which he  was
          shot  on February 28, he would gain much  "sympaty"  if
          the tapes were ever disclosed.16    

     *    March  15, 1993: ATF headquarters in Washington,  D.C.,
          orders its agents in Texas not to discuss the  February
          28th  raid publicly.  The message implies  that  anyone
          who violates the order will be disciplined,  dismissed,
          and possibly prosecuted.17    

     *    March  26, 1993: David Troy, chief of intelligence  for
          the ATF, defends his agency's February 28th raid.  Troy
          tells reporters, "We feel confident that there were  no
          mistakes made on our part."18 Troy dismisses critics of
          the  raid as "second guessers and Monday morning  quar-
          terbacks who do not have access to the facts."19

     *    March  28,  1993: ATF field agents   begin  speaking  to
          reporters--on  the condition that their identities  not
          be revealed.  

          The New York Times reports that the ATF agents involved
          in  the  February   28th raid have likened  it  "to  the
          Charge  of  the   Light Brigade,  laden  with  missteps,
          miscalculations  and unheeded warnings that could  have
          averted  bloodshed."20   One of the  unexplained  issues
          raised by the New York Times report is why the ATF  did
          not  try  to arrest Koresh when he was  away  from  Mt. 
          Carmel:  "At first, [ATF officials] said they  believed
          Mr.   Koresh remained in the compound for months  at  a
          time and could be captured only there, but many  people
          in  Waco  insisted that they had seen him at  bars  and
          jogging in the weeks before the raid.  Then in response
          to the apparent discrepancy, the [ATF] conceded that it
          never  conducted   round-the-clock surveillance  of  Mr. 
          Koresh, so that it did not know whether or how often he
          left the compound."21

          Another  issue  is whether the ATF had given  the  news
          media advance notice of the raid.   According to the New
          York Times, ATF officials "initially insisted that  the
          raid had been conducted under the strictest secrecy and

          that  no members of the news media had been  given  any
          information  that could have been construed as  a  tip-
          off.   But later, when questions arose,  they  conceded
          that some news organizations had been called."22   

     *    March 30, 1993: The FBI allows criminal defense  attor-
          ney Dick DeGuerin to enter Mt.   Carmel, unescorted,  to
          meet with David Koresh to discuss his legal defense and
          to negotiate a peaceful settlement.23   

     *    April 19, 1993: After 51 days of negotiations, Attorney
          General  Janet  Reno and the FBI decide  to  flush  the
          Davidians out of Mt.  Carmel.   

          At  approximately  6:00 a.m., FBI agents  approach  the
          residence  in  tanks that are specially  equipped  with
          giant  booms, which can insert a chemical agent  called
          CS  gas.  As the booms on the tanks smash  through  the
          walls  of  the  Mt.   Carmel residence  and  CS  gas  is
          sprayed inside, the FBI repeatedly broadcasts a message
          over  loudspeakers.    Among other things,  the  message
          says,  "This is not an assault" and "This  standoff  is
          over."24

          Some  Davidians  shoot at the tanks, but  no  Davidians
          exit Mt.  Carmel.

          At  6:47  a.m., the FBI tactical commander  orders  his
          field  agents  to use their grenade launchers  to  fire
          "ferret" rounds through the windows (a ferret is a  40-
          mm  canister that discharges tear gas on  impact).   At
          7:10 a.m., field agents report that ferret rounds  have
          been  fired  into all of the windows  at  Mt.   Carmel. 
          Some  389  ferret rounds are fired into  the  residence
          throughout the morning.25

          At approximately 12:00 p.m., a fire breaks out and  the
          Mt.   Carmel complex is engulfed in flames.  FBI  offi-
          cials  do  not let fire trucks approach  the  residence
          because of the risk of hostile gunfire.

waco_fire.jpg (4144 bytes)

          Nine  Davidians survive the fire; seven of them  manage
          to  get  out of the complex on their own, and  tow  are
          aided  by FBI field agents.   The surviviors  are  imme-
          diately  arrested and turned over to ATF  for  booking. 
          One  ATF  agent sees to it that his  agency's  flag  is
          hoisted to the top of the Davidians flagpole.

          Seventy-six Davidians die, including 27 children.  Most
          die from smoke
          inhalation  but  at   least 20  Davidians  have  gunshot
          wounds.26

          In  Washington,  D.C., Reno holds  a  news  conference,
          telling reporters       that the tear gas was  necessary
          because  she  had received reports  taht  "babies  were
          being  beaten."27 Reno nonetheless recognizes that  the
          FBI  operation  was an abject failure  and  offers  her

          resignation to President Bill Clinton.  

          President Clinton tells reporters that he has no inten-
          tion of asking for or accepting Reno's resignation just
          "because      some    religious    fanatics      murdered
          themselves."28    

     *    April 28, 1993: The Judiciary Committee of the House of
          Representatives  holds  a one day hearing on  the  Waco
          incident.  

          Reno admits that she had no evidence that any child was
          being beaten at any time during the standoff.29

          Reno  and FBI officials testify that they did  not  use
          any  pyrotechnic devices, that they were surprised  and
          saddened  that the Davidians started a fire,  and  that
          their  field  agents   did not fire their  guns  at  the
          Davidians on April 19th.      

     *    May  23,  1993:  60 Minutes   rebroadcasts  its  January
          report  about sexual harassment within the ATF.   After
          the  rebroadcast, Mike Wallace reports that almost  all
          of  the  ATF agents that he talked to  said  that  they
          believed  the initial raid on the Branch  Davidians  in
          Waco "was a publicity stunt, the main goal of which was
          to improve the ATF's tarnished image."30   

     *    August 6, 1993: The Department of Justice seeks and ob-
          tains  a grand jury indictment against 12 Branch  Davi-
          dian  survivors.  The Davidians face  various  charges,
          including conspiracy to murder ATF agents.31   

     *    October  1,  1993: The Treasury Department  issues  its
          report  on the ATF's handling of the Waco raid.   Among
          other  things,  the   report says  that  "senior  agency
          officials went to even greater lengths than  previously
          believed  to  deceive investigators and  Congress.   It
          said officials had changed a written record of the plan
          after  the  raid in a self-serving way, and  then  lied
          about  the  alterations.   It also  concluded  that  the
          officials had tried to pin blame for the failure on  an
          undercover  agent  who in fact had tried  to  stop  the
          raid."32

          After  issuing  the report,  Treasury  Secretary  Lloyd
          Bentsen announces that he is replacing the head of  the
          ATF,  Stephen  Higgins, and is  suspending  five  other
          officials who misled Congress, the Clinton  administra-
          tion, and the press about what had occurred.33   

     *    October  8,  1993: The Justice   Department  issues  its
          report  on  its   handling of the  Waco  incident.   The
          report  finds that neither Reno nor any  official  with
          the FBI engaged in misconduct or made any mistakes.34   

     *    January  10,  1994:  The criminal trial  of  11  Branch
          Davidian survivors begins (one survivor pled guilty and
          did not stand trial).   Prosecutors with the  Department
          of  Justice claim the Davidians ambushed  and  murdered
          ATF  agents who were attempting to execute lawful  war-
          rants.   Lawyers for the Branch Davidians maintain that
          their clients feared for their lives and acted in self-
          defense.35   

     *    February 26, 1994: The jury returns its verdict in  the
          criminal case.   Eleven Branch Davidians are  acquitted
          of  all the conspiracy charges.   Seven of the  11  are
          convicted of lesser charges, and 4 are acquitted of all
          charges.   The New York Times reports that "the  jury's
          verdict amounted to a stunning defeat not only for  the
          Justice Department, which prosecuted the case, but  for
          the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms."36



          Reno issues a statement that says the jury's verdict is
          actually  a  vindication of  the  federal  government's
          version  of  events.   Because the jury did  not  reject
          every  single allegation made by the prosecutors,  Reno
          claims  the  jury was sending "a message that  we  were
          justified in our actions."37    

     *    March  21, 1994: The surviving Davidians and  relatives
          of  deceased  Davidians file a  $100  million  wrongful
          death lawsuit against the federal government.38

     *    June 17, 1994: U.S.  District Court Judge Walter  Smith
          metes  out stiff prison sentences to the Davidians  who
          were convicted by the jury in the criminal case.   Five
          Davidians  receive  the maximum sentence  of  40  years
          imprisonment.  Three Davidians receive sentences  rang-
          ing from 5 to 20 years.39

          The  jury  forewoman,   Sarah Baine,  wept  outside  the
          courtroom.  After the trial, but before the  sentencing
          hearing,  Baine  sent Judge Smith a letter  that  said,
          "Even  five years is too severe a penalty."  Baine  at-
          tended  the  sentencing hearing in the  hope  that  her
          presence  in the courtroom would remind Judge Smith  of
          her request for leniency.40    

     *    July-August  1995: The House of   Representatives  holds
          extensive hearings on the Waco incident.  

          Justice Department and FBI officials testify that  they
          had no warning that the Davidians were preparing to set
          a  fire  and that no agent fired a gun  at  the  Branch
          Davidians on April 19, 1993.   

          Reno defends her decision to have the FBI tanks  attack
          Mt.  Carmel and blames David Koresh for the  disastrous
          results.  This is a new development.  In 1993 Reno  ac-
          knowledged  that the April 19th assault was  a  mistake
          and  tried to demonstrate that there would be  account-
          ability for that mistake by offering to resign.41

          The House committee subsequently issues a finding  that
          Attorney  General Reno "knew or should have known  that
          the  plan to end the standoff would endanger the  lives
          of  the Davidians inside the residence,  including  the
          children."42  Her   decision  to approve  the  FBI  tank
          assault  was "premature, wrong, and highly  irresponsi-
          ble."43 

reno_b.jpg (8904 bytes)

Janet Reno gave her approval and admitted responsibility

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Janet Reno on CNN 04/19/93
http://www.apfn.org/wacoinfo/WACO_RENO_04_19_93.WMV



     *    January  18, 1997: A new film, Waco: The Rules  of  En-
          gagement, is released at Robert Redford's Sundance Film
          Festival in Park City, Utah.   The most dramatic conten-
          tion  in the film comes from the technical  expert  who
          examines  the  FBI's aerial  Forward  Looking  Infrared
          (FLIR) film from April 19, 1993.   The FBI used the FLIR
          film  at  the Davidians' criminal trial in 1994  in  an
          attempt  to show that the Davidians started  the  fatal
          fire.  The technical expert in The Rules of  Engagement
          claims that FLIR film shows numerous gunshots  directed
          at  the Mt.  Carmel complex.  This documentary film  is
          subsequently nominated for an Academy Award and wins an
          Emmy for investigative reporting.44    

     *    July 1, 1999: Judge Smith denies a pivotal legal motion
          filed  by  the   Department of Justice  to  dismiss  the
          wrongful  death lawsuit.   The ruling paves the way  for
          Branch Davidian lawyers to question under oath  govern-
          ment witnesses about their conduct and to demand physi-
          cal evidence from the federal government.45   

     *    July 28, 1999: The Dallas Morning News reports that the
          Texas Rangers have discovered evidence that calls  into
          question the federal government's claim that its agents
          used no incendiary or pyrotechnic devices on April  19,
          1993.   Myron Marlin, a spokesman for the  Justice  De-
          partment,  tells the newspaper that the  allegation  is
          "nonsense."46    

     *    August 25, 1999: The FBI issues a statement saying that
          "pyrotechnic  devices may have been used in  the  early
          morning of April 19, 1993."47    

     *    August  30, 1999: The federal prosecutor in Waco,  Bill
          Johnston,  bypasses  the chain of command and  sends  a
          letter directly to Attorney General Reno.  Among  other
          things, the letter says, "I have formed the belief that
          facts  may have been kept from you--and quite  possibly
          are  being kept from you even now by components of  the
          Department  [of Justice]."48 Sen.  Phil Gramm of  Texas
          tells the press: "I hope [Johnston] is not punished for
          that.  There's a long history in the federal government
          of  hostility toward people who come forward  with  bad
          news."49   

     *    September  1, 1999: The Justice   Department  dispatches
          U.S.  marshals to FBI headquarters to seize  previously
          undisclosed videotapes containing footage of  pyrotech-
          nic  tear  gas rounds being fired at  the  Mt.   Carmel
          complex.  The videotapes also contain radio traffic  of
          an FBI commander authorizing the use of the pyrotechnic
          rounds.   FBI officials had previously submitted  sworn
          affidavits that they had no videotape before 10:42 a.m. 
          on  April 19, 1993.  And, in a Freedom  of  Information
          Act  lawsuit, FBI officials told a federal judge  under
          oath  that  the bureau had no  recorded  radio  traffic
          during  the entire tear gas assault.50 The bureau  does
          not  explain  how the evidence in  its  files  remained
          unnoticed.      

     *    September 9, 1999: Reno appoints former Missouri  sena-
          tor  John  C.     Danforth as a  special  prosecutor  to
          investigate  whether the federal government engaged  in
          misconduct  at  Waco   and then tried to  cover  up  its
          actions.51  Danforth says he will  investigate  allega-
          tions of "bad acts" but will not prosecute any  govern-
          ment employee for "bad judgement."52

          In Texas Judge Smith becomes furious when he learns that
          the local U.S. marshal has delayed executing his order to
          seize  any evidence relating to the Waco incident  from
          the  local  ATF   office.  Smith  issued  his  directive
          quietly under a court seal when he learned that the ATF
          was closing its office.  The local U.S.  marshal  spent
          hours consulting with both his agency's headquarters in
          Washington  and  the U.S.    attorney's  office  in  San
          Antonio before taking any action.   It is unclear wheth-
          er  any evidence from the ATF office was  removed,  al-
          tered, or destroyed.53    

     *    September  15,  1999: The   Justice  Department  removes
          federal  prosecutor Johnston from the Waco case.   Jus-
          tice  Department officials say the move has nothing  to
          do with Johnston's public comments suggesting a  possi-
          ble government cover-up.54    

     *    September 20, 1999: Judge Smith postpones the   wrongful
          death  trial and related depositions so  that  Danforth
          can  interview   witnesses.  In a  letter  to  Danforth,
          Smith writes, "It is my fervent hope that your investi-
          gation,  and  certainly to a lesser  extent,  the  civl
          procedings  here, will help restore the  public's  con-
          fidence in its government."55    

     *    October  5,  1999:  An expert in  thermal  imaging  and
          videotape  analysis tells the Washington Post  that  he
          has spent hundreds of hours reviewing various tapes  of
          the  Waco  siege and has concluded that the  FBI  fired
          shots  that day." The expert, who had  previously  been
          retained  by the FBI as a thermal  imaging  consultant,
          says, "The gunfire from the ground is there, without  a
          doubt."56   

     *    October  8, 1999: U.S.  Army Col.   Rodney L.   Rawlings
          tells  the Dallas Morning News that the FBI  knew  that
          David  Koresh and his followers were preparing  to  set
          fires on April 19, 1993.57 Rawlings was in Waco assist-
          ing the FBI during the siege.   On the morning of  April
          19th,  he  was in an FBI monitoring room  where  voices
          from within the Mt.  Carmel complex could be overheard. 
          FBI  "bugging"   devices  allowed the  colonel  and  law
          enforcement officials to "hear everything from the very
          beginning,  as  it   was  happening."58  Rawlings  says,
          "Anyone who says you couldn't [hear what was  happening
          at  the time] is being less than truthful."59  The  FBI
          has always maintained that it was unaware of any  Davi-
          dian plan to set fires.      

     *    October 9, 1999: Newly released documents from the  FBI
          show  that  agents asked for permission  to  shoot  any
          unarmed  Branch Davidians who left Mt.  Carmel and  ap-
          proached  their armored vehicles.  The request  to  use
          illegal  deadly  force was denied by FBI  officials  in
          Washington.    The   documents also outlined  seven  in-
          stances  in which FBI agents threw or  launched  "flash
          bang"  grenades  at   Davidians  who  were  exiting  Mt.  
          Carmel earlier in the standoff.   The documents contain-
          ing  this information were not turned over  to  lawyers
          representing  the Davidians at the 1994 criminal  trial
          or  to Congress as it was preparing for the 1995  hear-
          ings on the incident.  Bureau officials said the  docu-
          ments were either overlooked as the responded to previ-
          ous inquiries or that such information was not specifi-
          cally sought by Congress.60    

     *    October 14, 1999: The Dallas Morning News reports  that
          the  FBI  had   closed-circuit cameras  around  the  Mt. 

          Carmel complex throughout the 51-day siege.  No  video-
          tape from those surveillance cameras has ever been made
          public  by the federal government.  Lawyers who  repre-
          sented  the Davidians in bothe the criminal  trial  and
          the pending wrongful death lawsuit are outraged by  the
          newspaper  report.  The Davidian lawyers  suspect  that
          the  FBI  withheld the information  about  the  cameras
          because of the images they captured on April 19,  1993.  
          References  to those cameras were blackened out on  the
          documents  that  the Justice Department  has  thus  far
          disclosed to the Davidians in the civil lawsuit.61  FBI
          and Justice Department officials have no comment on the
          leaked documents.      

     *    November  1, 1999: Justice Department lawyers  acknowl-
          edge  that about 10 individuals from the  U.S.   Army's
          Special Forces were at Waco during the siege but insist
          that  they were only providing technical assistance  to
          FBI agents.  Lawyers for the Branch Davidians are  told
          that  they cannot question those soldiers face to  face
          and  cannot  have   their names.   The  Branch  Davidian
          lawyers are told that, if they want to persist in their
          claim that the soldiers had a more active role at Waco,
          they  should  sumbit written questions  and  they  will
          receive anonymous answers.62    

     *    November 2, 1999: Judge Smith warns Justice   Department
          officials  that he will hold them in contempt of  court
          if  they do not surrender all of the Waco  evidence  in
          their possession.  The judge's order complains that the
          Justice Department has unnecessarily delayed and possi-
          bly  even deliberately stalled making arrangements  for
          the transfer of classified documents.63   

     *    November  3, 1999: A new documentary film, Waco: A  New
          Revelation, is shown in Washington, D.C., to  reporters
          and  researchers.  Among other things, the  film  shows
          several  ATF  agents kicking and punching  a  cameraman
          from a local TV station on February 28, 1993.  The  ATF
          agents  were  angry because the cameraman  was  filming
          their humiliating retreat from the Mt.  Carmel ranch.     

     *    January 24, 2000: Federal prosecutor Bill Johnston  an-
          nounces  that he is leaving the Department of  Justice. 
          Johnston tells the Dallas Morning News that he has been
          ostracized by the Department of Justice since he  wrote
          Attorney General Janet Reno about the possibility of  a
          cover-up.64   

     *    January 25, 2000: 60 Minutes airs a story titled, "What
          Really  Happened at Waco?" Dan Rather reports  that  60
          Minutes  has  hired an expert in  infrared  imagery  to
          examine  the   controversial FBI FLIR tape.    The  only
          thing plainly visible to the naked eye on the FLIR tape
          is  a series of flashes.   Some experts say the  flashes
          represent  gunfire,  but   the FBI  maintains  that  the
          flashes  are "reflections of sunlight." As  the  expert
          view  the  FLIR tape on a television  monitor,  he  ex-
          claims: "It's not the sun striking something, It's  not
          swamp  gas  reflecting off the planet Venus.   This  is
          somebody shooting [at the Mt.   Carmel complex]."65   

     *    February  1,  2000: In response to questions  posed  by
          lawyers for the Branch Davidians in the pending  wrong-
          ful death lawsuit, Pentagon lawyers file a sworn denial
          that there was any military gunfire on April 19,  1993. 

          But  the formal denial includes a caveat: the  Pentagon
          denial  is based on "currently available  information."
          This  response  confounds   Davidian  lawyers,  who  are
          seeking  to identify key witnesses before the  upcoming
          trial.66   

     *    March  15, 2000: Branch Davidian lawyers file a  formal
          legal  motion  with Judge Smith  accusing  the  federal
          government  of mishandling and tampering with key  evi-
          dence in the wrongful death case.   Among other  things,
          the motion notes that an FBI aerial photographer testi-
          fied in a deposition that he shot 10 rolls of film, but
          only 7 rolls of film now exist.67

     *    March  19, 2000: An elaborate reenactment of the  FBI's
          tactical operations of April 19, 1993, is conducted  at
          Fort  Hood, Texas.  Judge Smith ordered the  experiment
          to  help  resolve the disputed question of  gunfire  on
          April 19th.  The FBI has long maintained that no  agent
          fired any gun at the Davidians during the entire stand-
          off.   But the Davidians' lawyers and  others  maintain
          that the FBI's own FLIR film shows numerous individuals
          shooting at Mt.  Carmel, preventing the Davidians  from
          escaping the burning structure.   

          Judge  Smith and Special Presecutor John  Danforth  are
          witnesses  to the reenactment, and both say  they  will
          rely  on  an   analysis of the filmed  experiment  by  a
          British firm, Vector Data Systems.   The news media  are
          not permitted to witness the reenactment.68   

     *    May  18, 2000: Judge Smith rules that the Branch  Davi-
          dians'  lawyers have failed to prove that  the  federal
          government intentionally altered or destroyed evidence. 
          Although  some evidence may have been  mishandled,  the
          judge sees no reason to impose sanctions on the federal
          government.70   

     *    July  14,  2000: The jury returns its  verdict  in  the
          civil wrongful death case.   The jury finds that federal
          officials  are not liable for the deaths of the  Branch
          Davidians who were killed at Mt.   Carmel in 1993.   The
          Justice  Department releases a statement saying,  "This
          terrible tragedy was the responsibility of David Koresh
          and    the    Branch   Davidians,   not   the     federal
          government."71>    

     *    July 21, 2000: Danforth issues an "Interim Report" that
          exonerates federal officials and agents of  wrongdoing. 
          Danforth tells reporters: "I give you these conclusions
          with  100 percent certainty.   The blame rests  squarely
          on the shoulders of David Koresh.   This is not a  close
          call."72  Although his investigation is not  yet  over,
          Danforth  tells reporters that it is "95  percent  com-
          plete."

          Justice  Department officials release a statement  say-
          ing,  "We  join Senator Danforth in wishing  that  this
          report begins the process of restoring the faith of the
          people in their government."73    

     *    September 20, 2000: Judge Smith formally dismisses  the
          wrongful  death  civil lawsuit brought  by  the  Branch
          Davidians.   Smith rejects all of the Davidians'  legal

          claims  and  finds that "the entire  tragedy  at  Mount
          Carmel  can  be laid at the feet"  of  one  individual,
          David Koresh.74   

     *    November  8, 2000: Danforth seeks and obtains  a  grand
          jury  indictment  of   former  federal  prosecutor  Bill
          Johnston.   The five-count criminal indictment  accuses
          Johnston  of concealing his knowledge that  pyrotechnic
          devices  were being used by the FBI at Waco.   Johnston
          tells reporters that he is being made into a  scapegoat
          because  he undermined the legal stance of the  Justice
          Department  in the then pending wrongful death  lawsuit
          by  raising the possibility of a  cover-up.    Danforth
          maintains that Johnston is being prosecuted because  he
          broke the law.75   

     *    February 6, 2001: Former federal prosecutor Bill  John-
          ston  pleads guilty to a single felony count.   In  ex-
          change  for Johnston's guilty plea, Danforth agrees  to
          drop a five-count felony indictment and to recommend  a
          sentence  of probation.76 Johnston, the only person  to
          be  criminally prosecuted by Danforth, is scheduled  to
          be sentenced on June 7, 2001, in St.  Louis,  Missouri.  
          Danforth's   Office   of  Special   Counsel   officially
          closes.77

               Unofficial Findings of Crimes at Waco

          In  a free society a person who commits a crime is  not
     exempt  from investigation or prosecution merely because   he
     works  for  the government, wears a uniform, and   carries  a
     badge.  If that basic legal principle is taken seriously, it
     is  not  extraordinarily difficult to identify   crimes  that
     were committed by government agents at Waco in 1993.        

          ATF Agents Attacked TV Cameraman Dan Mulloney

          On  February  28, 1993, several ATF  agents  physically
     attacked  a local television cameraman named  Dan   Mulloney. 
     Mulloney  was on the scene at Mt.   Carmel covering the  ATF
     raid for KWTX-TV.  After the firefight, Mulloney was filming
     the  ATF  agents as they were retreating from  the   Davidian
     property.    When  several ATF agents noticed   what  he  was
     doing, they screamed obscenities at him and actually punched
     and  kicked  him  while others tried to   steal  his  camera. 
     Because  Mulloney kept his camera rolling during the   entire
     episode,  this  assault, battery, and  attempted   theft  are
     captured on film.  The evidence is thus overwhelming.   It is
     a crime for an ordinary citizen to punch and kick a  camera-
     man.   It  is no less a crime for ATF agents to do   so,  yet
     they were never criminally prosecuted.  

          Although  this  incident lasted for  approximately  one
     minute, the film footage is telling because it clearly shows
     that certain ATF agents felt perfectly justified in breaking
     the law.78   

          ATF Agents Lied to Federal Investigators

          To  avoid an actual or perceived conflict of  interest,
     Texas  Rangers  were asked to conduct  an   investigation  of
     possible  criminal  wrongdoing by ATF agents.    The  Rangers
     were deputized as U.S.  marshals and were asked to look   for
     possible  federal criminal violations.  In  sworn   testimony
     before Congress, one of the investigating Rangers said  that
     the  two ATF commanders, Phil Chojnacki and  Chuck   Sarabyn,
     lied  to him about what had happened on February  28,   1993. 
     Because  ordinary  citizens are sent to jail  for   lying  to
     federal investigators, the Ranger recommended that Chojnacki
     and  Sarabyn be indicted and prosecuted.79 The  Ranger   gave
     his  recommendation  to federal  prosecutor   Bill  Johnston. 
     Johnston, in turn, referred the matter to the Department  of
     Justice in Washington, which took no action.80

          In  October  1994 the Treasury Department  did  suspend
     Chojnacki  and  Sarabyn from active duty  for   making  false
     statements, but they were subsequently reinstated with  full
     back  pay  and had the entire Waco  incident   expunged  from
     their personnel records.81   

          FBI  Agents Fired More Than 350 Ferret Rounds into  Mt. 
     Carmel

          The FBI has always admitted firing more that 350 ferret
     rounds at the Davidians on April 19, 1993.  The ferrets were
     fired  into the residence from hand-held grenade   launchers. 
     Ferret  rounds are fired at such a speed that they are   cap-
     able  of causing serious injury or death.  Government   docu-
     ments and testimony euphemistically refer to the   "delivery"
     of  tear gas into the residence--as if the the ferrets   were
     delivered  by United Parcel Service.   Firing ferret  rounds
     into a building without knowing which adults are threatening
     and  which are not--and without knowing where  children   are
     located--manifests  an extreme indifference to  human   life. 
     Such indifference is not only unconscionable but criminal.   

          Special Prosecutor Danforth's investigation of the Waco
     incident tried to draw a distinction between "bad judgement"
     and  "bad acts." When he was appointed   special  prosecutor,
     Danforth promised that he would not file charges against any
     government  employee for exercising bad judgement.  But   the
     firing  of  ferret rounds on April 19th  cannot   be  brushed
     aside  as simply bad judgement.  A police officer   exercises
     bad  judgement  if  he uses the siren on his   car  to  speed
     through  traffic to a dental appointment.  What happened  at
     Waco was far more serious.  

          An  ordinary citizen would not be accused of mere  "bad
     judgement"  if  he used a grenade launcher   to  fire  ferret
     rounds  into a nursery school.  If a child were   struck  and
     killed by one of the ferrets, the citizen could face  murder
     charges.  Even if the citizen intended only to scare people,
     he could be held liable for second degree murder because his
     actions consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifi-
     able risk of harm to others.82

          FBI  agents might have been justified in firing  ferret
     rounds into all of the windows of the Mt.  Carmel complex if
     they  had reasonably believed the children were going to   be
     killed  in a mass suicide.  Attorney General Janet Reno   has
     already admitted, however, that no such exigency existed  on
     the day of the assault.  

          Government  officials cannot use color of their  office
     to  commit  crimes against citizens.83 Since  at   least  one
     child  was  struck by a ferret round, second   degree  murder
     charges  may be appropriate.84 Note that such  charges   have
     been  leveled against law enforcement officers  after   other
     controversial incidents.  In 1999, for example,   prosecutors
     in  New  York charged the police officers   involved  in  the
     Amadou  Diallo killing with "depraved indifference to   human
     life," a second degree murder charge that carried a sentence
     of 25 years to life.85

          Whether  or  not sufficient proof can  be  mustered  to
     sustain  a second degree murder charge, charges relating   to
     the  reckless  endangerment of human life are   certainly  in
     order.  

          FBI  Agents  Used   Tanks to Demolish  Sections  of  Mt. 
     Carmel

          The  FBI has always admitted that its tear gas  "inser-
     tion"  plan called for tanks to smash holes in the walls  of
     the Mt.  Carmel complex.  Government documents and testimony
     employ  euphemisms  to describe what  happened.    Reno,  for
     example,  referred to the tanks as "good   rent-a-cars,"  and
     FBI  supervisor Larry Potts spoke of "poking holes"  in  the
     building--as  if nails, instead of tanks, were being   driven
     into  the walls of Mt.  Carmel.86 Because federal   officials
     and  agents  did not know where the Davidian   children  were
     located, it was both unconscionable and criminal to have the
     tanks smash into the residence and knock down walls.  

          Does anyone doubt that, if the Davidian adults had been
     holding children of senators and congressmen hostage  within
     the Mt.  Carmel buildings, the FBI's tank assault plan would
     have  been  rejected out of hand? Is it  not   equally  clear
     that,  if an ordinary citizen were to drive a car  into   the
     side of someone's home--indifferent to what might be on  the
     other  side of the wall--he would be prosecuted  for   second
     degree  murder  should someone be killed? The   driver  would
     also  face lesser charges, such as reckless endangerment   of
     human life.  

          The  FBI's use of tanks on April 19, 1993,  evinced  an
     extreme  indifference  to human life.  While it   is  unclear
     whether  any Davidan was actually killed by the   destructive
     activity  of the tanks, the law pertaining to  the   reckless
     endangerment of human life was once again violated.87       

          Conduct That Warrants Further Investigation    

          Whether  the  National Guard  Helicopters  Strafed  Mt. 
     Carmel

          The  Texas National Guard, the ATF, and the  Department
     of  Justice  have always maintained that no one   aboard  the
     National Guard helicopters fired on the Davidians on  Febru-
     ary  28,  1993.  The pilots and ATF field   agents  have  all
     given sworn statements that no person fired on Mt.  Carmel.   

          There  is evidence to the contrary,  however.   Several
     Branch Davidians claim they received fire from the  helicop-
     ters.   Davidian Wayne Martin called 911 soon after the   ATF
     arrived  in  a  frantic attempt to end  the   gunfight.   His
     recorded  phone call includes a statement about  shots   from
     the  helicopters.    Federal officials have scoffed  at  the
     recorded  statements,  calling them   "self-serving."  (While
     that is possibly true, the same can be said about the  deni-
     als from the ATF agents.)

          Catherine  Matteson,  a 72-year-old Davidian,  who  was
     never  accused of any crimes, told reporters that the   heli-
     copters  fired on the residence.88 Another  Davidian   woman,
     Rita  Riddle,  told  the Los Angeles Times,   "I  heard  [the
     helicopters] spraying the building when they went over."89
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [conservativefriends] WS>>(3)An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 20:52:29 PDT
From: carl william spitzer iv <cwsiv_2nd@juno.com>
Reply-To: conservativefriends@yahoogroups.com
To: conservativefriends@yahoogroups.com

          In  a phone conversation recorded a few days after  the
     initial  raid,  ATF agent Jim Cavanaugh tried to   get  David
     Koresh  to acknowledge that the helicopters did not fire   on
     Mt.  Carmel.  When Koresh called the ATF agent a liar, Cava-
     naugh backed off and said he was not disputing the fact that
     there was fire from the helicopters, only that the  helicop-
     ters  did not have outside "mounted" guns, to   which  Koresh
     offered no objection.  

          The criminal defense attorneys who went into the  resi-
     dence  during the siege saw bullet holes in the   ceiling  of
     Mt.   Carmel  with splinters of wood  punched   inward.   The
     Davidians explained that those were some of the shots  fired
     from the helicopters.  

          Special  Prosecutor Danforth brushes all of those  wit-
     nesses  aside and concludes that there was no  gunfire   from
     the helicopters on February 28, 1993.90

          The ATF agents aboard the helicopters were supposed  to
     divert  the attention of the Davidians at the outset of   the
     raid, film the raid as it unfolded, and, finally,  transport
     the wounded (if any) to a nearby hospital.  As the raid went
     awry,  however,  it is certainly plausible that   the  agents
     aboard the helicopters wanted to assist their fellow  agents
     on the ground who were under heavy fire.  

          Understandable  as that may be, National Guard  regula-
     tions prohibit guard personnel from active participation  in
     law enforcement activity.91 But if there was strafing of the
     roof  of  the Mt.  Carmel residence, an  even   more  serious
     allegation  arises.  Indiscriminate firing into the roof  or
     walls of a building known to contain innocent people  (e.g.,
     children)  could  result  in possible  murder   and  reckless
     endangerment charges.  Because of the conflicting   testimony
     and the gravity of the allegations, further investigation of
     this matter is warranted.    

          Whether FBI Agents Knew about Any Davidian Fire Plan

          FBI  officials have always maintained that they had  no
     prior  knowledge  of  the Davidian plan to   set  fires.   In
     testimony  before Congress, Jeff Jamar, the  FBI's   on-scene
     commander at Waco, said: "If I knew about his plans to   burn
     the place, we would have had another approach....  We   would
     not  even  come close to approaching the  place   [e.g.,  the
     Branch Davidian residence]."92 Larry Potts, who was   Jamar's
     supervisor  in Washington, D.C., testified, "Any   indication
     about  danger to those children, the rule was--back   off."93
     The  veracity of those high-ranking officials has  now   been
     directly  challenged by a U.S.  Army colonel who was at   Mt. 
     Carmel on April 19, 1993.  

          According  to the Dallas Morning News, Col.  Rodney  L. 
     Rawlings was assisting the FBI during the Waco siege.  Rawl-
     ings told that newspaper that FBI "bugs" had been placed  in
     Mt.  Carmel during the standoff and that on April 19 he   was
     present  in an FBI monitoring room where the voices  of   the
     Davidians  could be clearly heard.94 As the FBI tanks   began
     to  ram  holes in Mt.   Carmel, Rawlings   said  the  bugging
     devices picked up the voices of David Koresh and his follow-
     ers as they were preparing to start, and then starting,  the
     fires.95

          Those  audio  recordings have been part of  the  public
     record  for  years.  The FBI has used them in an   effort  to
     prove that the Davidians, not the bureau, started the  fire.  
     What  is  significant is that bureau officials   have  always
     maintained  that  the voices on the tapes were   not  clearly
     audible in "real time." The tapes had to be "enhanced" later
     to discover what was actually being said.  Thus, the FBI did
     not have any advance warning of the Davidian fire plans.   

          Col.   Rawlings, however, claimed that "you could  hear
     everything from the very beginning, as it was   happening."96
     Rawlings  further stated that FBI officials were "using   the
     excuse  of technical difficulties to cover why  they   didn't
     react  to the information they had."97 When asked about   the
     bureau's  claim  that  it had no forewarning   of  the  fire,
     Rawlings said, "That is the worst lie of all."98

          Colonel Rawlings appears to be a credible  whistleblow-
     er.  He is a combat-decorated helicopter pilot and a 31-year
     veteran  who retired from the Army in  1997.    Inexplicably,
     the Waco report prepared by Special Prosecutor John Danforth
     does not discuss Colonel Rawling's allegations.  If the   FBI
     knew the Davidians were spreading fuel and making fire plans
     and  did  not  stop the tanks from  ramming   the  residence,
     murder,  manslaughter, and perjury laws, among  other,   were
     violated.     

          Whether Gunfire Was Directed at the Davidians on  April
     19th

          The  FBI  has always maintained  that,  throughout  the
     siege,  its agents never fired at the Branch Davidians   (The
     bureau  does  not deny firing the ferret  rounds,   however.)
     According  to  the FBI, the Davidians' gunshot   wounds  were
     either self-inflicted or inflicted by other Davidians.   

          Several  infrared experts have come forward to  contra-
     dict  the  FBI's claim.   The FBI's aerial   FLIR  film  from
     April 19, 1993, contains flashes of light.   Edward   Allard,
     a  former employee of the Defense Department and  a   thermal
     imaging  consultant for more than 30 years, appeared in   the
     documentary  film, Waco: The Rules of Engagement,  and   said
     those flashed were gunfire directed at Mt.  Carmel.   Maurice
     Cox,  a retired intelligence analyst who worked on   military
     satellite  operations,  appeared in the film,   Waco:  A  New
     Revelation  and said the flashes of light were  gunfire   di-
     rected  at  Mt.   Carmel.  Carlos Ghigliotti, an  expert  in
     thermal   imaging  and  videotape   analysis  who  once   did
     freelance  work  for  the FBI, examined the   FLIR  tape  and
     reached  the same conclusion as Allard and Cox.    Ghigliotti
     told the Washington Post, "The FBI fired shots that   day."99
     60  Minutes  hired a British army expert  in   infrared  from
     April 19, 1993.  That expert, Paul Weaver, said the   flashes
     "look exactly as if they're gunfire."100

          Special  Prosecutor John Danforth hired two experts  to
     analyze  the FLIR tape.  The concluded that the   flashes  on
     the film were reflections off debris on the ground.  Instead
     of  acknowledging the conflicting expert testimony  on   this
     important  issue and reporting that the evidence was   incon-
     clusive,  Danforth proclaimed with "100  percent   certainty"
     that  the analyses performed by his experts showed   that  no
     gunfire was directed at the Davidians from government  posi-
     tions.101

          Ordinary citizens can use deadly force to defend  them-
     selves and others from imminent harm.  But if someone   fired
     a  gun  to keep others from fleeing a burning   building,  he
     would  be subject to prosecution for murder.  Because   there
     is  conflicting expert testimony as to what appears  on   the
     FLIR  tapes, and because of the gravity of some of  the   ex-
     perts' allegations, further investigation of this matter  is
     warranted.   

             Whether Federal Employees Obstructed Justice

          When  Attorney General Janet Reno was asked in 1993  to
     identify  those at the FBI who participated in the   decision
     making  process regarding the April 19th assault  plan,   she
     mentioned, among others, (1) Assistant Director Larry Potts,
     (2) Deputy Assistant Director Danny Coulson, and (3) Michael
     Kahoe, chief of the FBI's Violent Crimes and Major Offenders
     Section.102 Those names should have set off alarm bells with
     Special Prosecutor Danforth's investigators.  

          Potts, Coulson, and Kahoe were suspended by the FBI  in
     1995  for their role in the controversial Ruby Ridge   incid-
     ent.   Danforth  does not mention that in his   Waco  report. 
     The suspensions were not obscure personnel decisions.    They
     were  reported on the front pages of the New York Times   and
     the Washington Post, among other newspapers.103

          Kahoe  was eventually sentenced to 18 months  imprison-
     ment  for  destroying evidence and  lying  to   investigators
     about  his  role in the Ruby Ridge  cover-up.    He  admitted
     boasting  to his subordinates that, when Justice   Department
     investigators asked him about his conduct in the affair,  he
     gave  them a bunch of "[expletive]."104 (That   admission  is
     itself a damning indictment of the FBI's internal  culture.)
     Kahoe's  defense  attorney told the  sentencing   judge  that
     Kahoe committed crimes to protect "what he wrongly perceived
     as  the institutional best interest of the   bureau."105  De-
     partment  of Justice prosecutors told reporters  that   there
     was   "insufficient   evidence"   to  prosecute   Potts   and
     Coulson.106  Although FBI director Louis Freeh and  the   De-
     partment  of Justice condemned Kahoe's crimes, they   allowed
     him  to remain on the federal payroll until he  reached   his
     50th  birthday--thus ensuring his eligibility for a   federal
     pension.107  Potts  and Coulson  presumably   received  their
     pensions as well.  

          A  serious  probe into obstruction of  justice  by  the
     bureau  with respect to Waco would have  quickly   identified
     Potts,  Coulson, and certainly Kahoe as potential   suspects. 
     Danforth should have hauled those individuals before a grand
     jury  and questioned them about missing Waco  evidence.    He
     did not.  

          The FBI tactical commander at Waco, Richard Rogers, was
     also involved in the Ruby Ridge incident and was disciplined
     for  his conduct there.108 When Congress sought to   question
     him about his role at Ruby Ridge in 1995, Rogers declined to
     testify,  citing  his Fifth Amendment  right   against  self-
     incrimination.109

          In  the  summer of 1999, previously  undisclosed  audi-
     otapes  surfaced and revealed that Rogers actually gave   the
     order to FBI field agents to fire pyrotechnic devices.  That
     disclosure  raised  a deeply disturbing  question:   Why  did
     Rogers  sit passively behind Attorney General Reno when   she
     gave  sworn testimony to Congress in 1993  that   pyrotechnic
     devices were not used against the Branch Davidians on  April
     19,  1993? When Danforth's investigators asked Rogers   about
     the obvious discrepancy, Rogers said that he was not  paying
     attention to Reno's testimony.110 Danforth chided Rogers for
     dereliction  of  duty  but declined  to   prosecute  him  for
     "making  or  allowing  others to make   false  or  misleading
     statements."111 Danforth could have sent his dereliction   of
     duty  finding to the FBI and demanded  disciplinary   action,
     including revocation of Rogers's pension.  He did not.    And
     the  FBI  director Freeh, who tells Congress and   the  press
     that he takes any bureau controversy "with the most   extreme
     seriousness,"  has not taken any action on his   own  against
     Rogers.112

          It  is now clear that the FBI withheld  relevant  docu-
     ments  and videotapes from Congress, the  Davidian   lawyers,
     and citizens who filed Freedom of Information Act  requests.  
     The  only question is whether the evidence was   deliberately
     withheld  or  there was a series of  bureaucratic   "snafus."
     Special  Prosecutor Danforth did not investigate the   matter
     thoroughly.   Obvious investigative leads were not followed. 
     Indeed, with a convicted felon in a supervisory position  on
     the Waco case, obstruction of justice seems not only  possi-
     ble but probable.  Further investigation into tampering   and
     spoliation of evidence is warranted.           

                              Conclusion

          The Waco incident was the worst disaster in the history
     of federal law enforcement.  More that 80 people (agents and
     civilians)  lost their lives in 1993.  The   American  people
     are entitled to know exactly what happened and why.  

          Unfortunately,  the   "official"  investigation  of  the
     incident,  headed by former senator John Danforth, was   soft
     and incomplete.  Danforth's sweeping exoneration of   federal
     officials is not supported by the factual record.  

          It is certainly true that Branch Davidian leader  David
     Koresh  cannot  escape his share of responsibility   for  the
     tragedy.   Scores of lives could have been saved if   he  had
     simply walked out of Mt.  Carmel and surrendered peacefully.  
     But  his refusal to do so cannot absolve  federal   officials
     from what they did at Waco.  

          Danforth  hoped  his report would help to  restore  the
     American  people's "faith in government."   After  everything
     that has come to light in the years since the agents and the
     Davidians  perished,  it is difficult to  follow   Danforth's
     logic.  The ATF, the FBI, and Attorney General Reno exploit-
     ed  the  public's  faith in government when   they  tried  to
     deceive  everyone about what happened in Waco.  Recall,   for
     example, that Reno had to recant her statement that   "babies
     were being beaten" during the standoff.  

          Because  numerous crimes at Waco have gone  unpunished,
     the  people serving in our federal police agencies may   well
     come to the conclusion that it is permissible to  recklessly
     endanger  the lives of innocent people, lie  to   newspapers,
     obstruct congressional subpeonas, and give misleading testi-
     mony  in  our courtrooms.113 If such activity   becomes  more
     common  that it is today, those agencies will surely   become
     lawless  and  unaccountable.  The only way to   counter  that
     danger  is  for the American people to  distrust   government
     officials,  limit their powers, and  demand   accountability. 
     In  1997  FBI director Louis Freeh told  Congress,   "We  are
     potentially  the most dangerous agency in the country if   we
     are  not scrutinized carefully."114 The carnage at   Waco  is
     grisly testament to that.  


                                Notes

      1.  Harvard  law professor Alan Stone was retained  by  the
          U.S.  Department of Justice to review and critique  the
          government's  handling of the Waco  incident.   Despite
          the  government's   protestations  of  concern  for  the
          children, Stone found that the FBI's ultimate  strategy
          was  to try to force the Davidians out of  their  resi-
          dence  by  threatening   the lives  of  their  children. 
          According  to  Stone, one federal agent told  him  that
          they  were trying to stir up the maternal  instinct  of
          the  Branch Davidian mothers--that when they saw  their
          children suffering, they would come to their senses and
          leave  the  Mt.   Carmel residence.  See  Activities  of
          Federal  Law  Enforcement Agencies  toward  the  Branch
          Davidians,  Joint Hearings begore the  Subcommittee  on
          Crime  of the House Committee on the Judiciary and  the
          Subcommittee  on National Security,  International  Af-
          fairs,  and  Criminal Justice of the the  Committee  on
          Government  Reform  and   Oversight,  104th  Cong.,  1st
          sess.,  1995 (Washington: Government  Printing  Office,
          1996),  part 2, p.  424.   Cited hereafter as 1995  Con-
          gressional Hearings.  See also Stephen Labaton,  "Harsh
          Criticism  of FBI in Review of Cult Assault," New  York
          Times, November 16, 1993.   

      2.  See  Susan  Schmidt, "Investigation   Clears  Agents  at
          Waco," Washington Post, July 22, 2000, p.  A1

      3.  For  a good book-length treatment, see David B.   Kopel
          and  Paul  H.    Blackman, No More Wacos:  What's  Wrong
          with  Federal  Law Enforcement and How to Fix  It  (Am-
          herst,  N.Y.: Prometheus, 1997).  Note,  however,  that
          significant  events relating to Waco have  taken  place
          since the book was published in 1997.  

      4.  John C.  Danforth, Final Report to the Deputy   Attorney
          General  Concerning the 1993 Confrontation at  the  Mt. 
          Carmel Complex, Waco, Texas, November 8, 2000, photoco-
          py, pp.  120-25.  Cited hereafter as Danforth Report.  

      5.  Henry McMahon, Testimony, 1995 Congressional   Hearings,
          part 1, pp.   162-63.   

      6.  See Kopel and Blackman, p.  47.  

      7.  Danforth Report, p.  125.  

      8.  "Alcohol,   Tobacco,  Firearms   and   Harassment,"   60
          Minutes, January 10, 1993, transcript, p.  5.  

      9.  Danforth Report, pp.  127-131.  

     10.  Ibid., p.  132.  

     11.  Lee  Hancock,  "ATF Official   Defends  Raid  Planning,"
          Dallas  Morning News, March 27, 1993.  For more on  the
          militarization  of   police tactics, see  Diane  Cecilia
          Weber,  "Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of  Paramili-
          tarism in American Police Departments," Cato  Institute
          Briefing Paper no.  50, August 26, 1999.  

     12.  Kopel and Blackman, p.  16.  

     13.  Danforth Report, pp.  134-135.  

     14.  Ibid., p.  141.  

     15.  Quoted in Lee Hancock, "Koresh Trying to Provoke 'War,'
          Federal  Officials Say," Dallas Morning News, March  9,
          1993.  

     16.  See  Edward  S.   G.  Dennis Jr.,  "Evaluation  of  the
          Handling  of  the   Branch Davidian  Standoff  in  Waco,
          Texas," U.S.  Department of Justice, 1993, p.  9.  

     17.  See Stephen Labaton and Sam Howe Verhovek, "Missteps in
          Waco:  A Raid Re-examined," New York Times,  March  28,
          1993.  

     18.  Quoted   in   Hancock,   "ATF  Official   Defends   Raid
          Planning."

     19.  Quoted in ibid.  

     20.  Labaton and Verhovek.  

     21.  Ibid.  

     22.  Ibid.  

     23.  Danforth Report, p.  142.  

     24.  See  "Report  to  the Deputy Attorney  General  on  the
          Events at Waco, Texas" (February 28 to April 19, 1993),
          U.S.  Department of Justice, 1993, p.  286.  

     25.  Danforth Report, p.  157.  

     26.  Ibid., p.  178.  

     27.  Quoted in Sam Howe Verhovek, "Death in Waco: Scores Die
          As Cult Compound is Set Afire after FBI Sends in  Tanks
          with Tear Gas," New York Times, April 20, 1993, p.  A1

     28.  Quoted  in "Death in Waco: Excerpts from   Clinton  News
          Conference," New York Times, April 21, 1993.  

     29.  "I cannot tell you that a child was beaten after Febru-
          ary 28." Janet Reno, Testimony, Events Surrounding  the
          Branch  Davidian Cult Standoff in Waco, Texas,  Hearing
          before  the  House   Committee on  the  Judiciary,  103d
          Cong.,  1st sess., April 28, 1993 (Washington:  Govern-
          ment Printing Office, 1995), p.   53.  See also  Stephen
          Labaton,  "Reno Contradicted in New Report on  Decision
          to Attack Waco Cult," New York Times, October 9,  1993,
          p.  A1

     30.  "Alcohol,   Tobacco,  Firearms   and   Harassment,"   60
          Minutes, May 23, 1993, transcript, p.  19.  

     31.  Danforth Report, p.  181.  

     32.  Stephen Labaton, "Report on Initial Raid on Cult   Finds
          Officials  Erred and Lied," New York Times, October  1,
          1993, p.  A1

     33.  Ibid.  

     34.  Labaton,  "Reno Contradicted in New Report on   Decision
          to Attack Waco Cult," p.   A1

     35.  Sam Howe Verhovek, "Texas Sect Trial Spurs Scrutiny  of
          Government," New York Times, January 10, 1994.  

     36.  Sam  Howe Verhovek, "11 in Texas Sect Are Acquitted  of
          Key  Charges," New York Times, February 27, 1994.   See
          also  Paul  Craig Roberts, "Who  Holds  Federal  Agents
          Accountable?" Houston Chronicle, March 3, 1994.  

     37.  Quoted  in " A Jury Judges Waco," Editorial,  New  York
          Times,  March  1, 1994.   The editors of  the  New  York
          Times  respond  with the following  observation:  "Just
          about the only person who does not view the verdict  as
          a  rebuke to the massive and unnecessary police  action
          is Attorney General Janet Reno." Ibid.  

     38.  Danforth Report, p.  189.  

     39.  "5  Each  Get 40 Years in Waco Case," New  York  Times,
          June 18, 1994.   Although the jury acquitted all of the
          Davidians of the murder charges, the jury did return  a
          guilty  verdict  on the charge of "carrying  a  firearm
          during  the  course of a crime." That  charge  was,  in
          turn, tied to the murder counts.   Judge Smith initially
          decided to deal with the inconsistent verdict by throw-
          ing  out the weapons charge convictions, but  he  later
          changed  his  mind at the urging  of  the  prosecutors. 
          Davidian  Ruth Riddle was set free after trial but  was
          rearrested  after  Judge Smith changed his  mind.   See
          Kopel and Blackman, pp.   242-43.  

     40.  Quoted in "5 Each Get 40 Years in Waco Case." The Davi-
          dians  appealed their case all the way to  the  Supreme
          Court--and  prevailed.    On June 5, 2000,  the  Supreme
          Court  ruled  that the Davidians were  improperly  sen-
          tenced  to  30   years for possession  of  machine  guns
          because  the jury had not found specifically that  they
          had  possessed machine guns (as opposed to  some  other
          firearem).  See Castillo v.   United States, 121 S.  Ct. 
          114  (2000).  Judge Smith subsequently reduced from  30
          to 5 years the sentences he originally imposed in  June
          1994.  

     41.  Kopel  and Blackman, p.  260.  See also   James  Bovard,
          "Hearings  Show   Waco Defense is  Wacky,"  Wall  Street
          Journal, August 2, 1995.   

     42.  House Committee on the Judiciary, Materials Relating to
          the  Investigation into the Activities of  Federal  Law
          Enforcement   Agencies   toward  the  Branch   Davidians
          (Washington:  Government   Printing  Office,  1997),  p. 149.  

     43.  Ibid.  

     44.  See Terry Ganey, "Filmmakers' Tenacity Brought the Dark
          Questions  of  Waco Tragedy into the  Mainstream,"  St. 
          Louis  Post-Dispatch, October 17, 1999;  Richard  Leiby
          and Jim McGee, "Was Waco a Massacre? Four Years  Later,
          the  Question  Hasn't   Been  Extinguished,"  Washington
          Post, April 18, 1997, p.    C1; Stephen Hunter, "'Waco':
          Breaking the Rules of Disengagement," Washington  Post,
          June  20,  1997, p.   C1; and Sam Howe  Verhovek,  "Four
          Years after the Flames of Waco, a Film Keeps the Doubts
          Smoldering," New York Times, August 19, 1997.  


     45.  Richard Leiby, "Trial Set in Suit over Davidians' Fiery
          End," Washington Post, July 14, 1999, p.  A3

     46.  Quoted in Lee Hancock, "DPS Head Raises Questions about
          Davidian Fire," Dallas Morning News, July 28, 1999,  p.A1

     47.  Quoted in David Stout, "FBI Backs Away from Flat Denial
          in Waco Cult Fire," New York Times, August 26, 1999, p.A1

     48.  "Text of Johnston's Letter to Janet Reno,"

 

 

littlegirl6.JPG (24138 bytes)    mother&child2.JPG (24571 bytes)      branch_baby7.gif (6819 bytes)   child11.JPG (25851 bytes)  

Only battered shells of the children remained....after the "rescuers" left..... at Waco

 CS gas was banned for use
against foreign enemies by
an international agreement in 1969.
But our government is free
to use it on their
own citizens
 Usage of CS gas, is considered
a "crime against humanity"
and is punishable by prison
and severe
 penalties.

FBI/BATF Use Lethal CS Gas Against the Branch Davidians

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