Carol Moore's Waco Pages: The Davidian Massacre
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DECEMBER 30, 1999

          FBI tactical missteps in the first weeks of the Branch Davidian siege hopelessly derailed negotiations, cementing the sect's "bunker mentality," top FBI negotiators and behavior experts told the Justice Department.
          Their assessments, detailed in previously undisclosed Justice Department memos obtained by The Dallas Morning News, faulted the FBI's reliance on punitive paramilitary actions, saying they doomed efforts to coax more Davidians out and escalated the magnitude of the tragedy. [Note: some of these memos were mentioned in 1993 Justice Deparment Report by largely ignored by the press. C.M.]
          "The negotiators' approach was working until they had the rug pulled out from under them" by aggressive tactical actions, Agent Gary Noesner, FBI negotiation coordinator for the first half of the siege, told a Justice Department investigator in August 1993.
          ...Lawyers representing Branch Davidians in a wrongful-death lawsuit said they had never received copies of the memos despite repeated requests for such documents.
...          Like other recent revelations, the confidential memos, other internal documents and interviews by The News raise questions about the official account of what happened. Among the revelations:
* Top negotiators and profilers said FBI missteps were driven by the apparent desire to intimidate and anger the Branch Davidians. FBI leaders thought that "these people were criminals, and you must punish criminals," Mr. Smerick said in a 1993 interview. "Punishment was not the way to get them out."
* The negotiating team warned in vain that escalating pressure would deepen the sect's "bunker mentality" and validate Mr. Koresh's doomsday prophecies.
* FBI Director William Sessions feared using tanks, but his early orders not to send them near the sect's home weren't heeded.
* Negotiators recommended using CS tear gas because they feared that FBI tacticians would be allowed to use it anyway. By endorsing incremental gassing, negotiators hoped to restrain those who "just wanted to throw the gas in."
* Negotiators and behavioral experts weren't consulted before the approved gas plan was abandoned and tanks began demolishing the compound.

For whole article go to:

Also see 12-30-99 story at:
          ...During the FBI's efforts in 1993 to force sect members to surrender, agents used loudspeakers to blast loud music and other ear-splitting noises into the compound.
          ...But FBI behaviorists, in recently disclosed confidential memos, argued that the noise broadcasts that began March 22 would backfire with such a committed religious group.

Also see 12-30-99 story at:
          Negotiators backed using tear gas against the Branch Davidians because they were powerless to prevent it and feared that tacticians would otherwise be allowed to "throw it in," a top negotiator said after the standoff.
          Internal records obtained by The Dallas Morning News indicate that the bureau's tactical experts began lobbying for the use of CS gas in early March, even sending a formal plan to the White House.

DECEMBER 29,1999

           An attorney representing the FBI agents union is openly questioning the intentions of a special counsel investigating the deadly siege at the Branch Davidian compound in 1993 near Waco, Texas.
          Richard Swick suggests that the probe was launched with a bias against federal law enforcement. He is demanding that the bureau provide written guidance to agents about the disclosure of possible classified information before they are called as witnesses in the investigation headed by former senator John Danforth, R-Mo.
          In a letter published by the FBI Agents Association, Swick stops short of accusing Danforth's staff of mistreating agents who have been cooperating in the investigation.
          However, ''the interviews have been described as aggressive and the agents have been left with the perception that there is an intention to build a case that parts of the FBI contingent present in Waco were out of control,'' Swick writes.
          ...In addition to Swick's open letter, association President John Sennett says allegations of misconduct have been largely misplaced and have only served to damage the bureau's credibility.
          ....Swick says that he is especially concerned that agents contacted by Danforth's investigators have been ''given no reliable guidance'' by headquarters about how to respond.
          ''Concerns about the permissibility of FBI personnel divulging classified information to the investigative team'' have not been adequately addressed, Swick says.
For whole story go to:

DECEMBER 29, 1999

          When lawyers for the Branch Davidians sat down recently to question a government witness about what happened at Waco, they found themselves looking at a black screen.
          The witness, a member of the Army's highly classified Delta Force, was hidden behind a screen that had been erected in a doorway of a room in a building in Washington.
          Four attorneys for the Defense Department and the Justice Department were positioned so they could see the witness's face and confer with him about his answers. But for the Branch Davidian lawyers asking the questions, the witness remained in a shadow world.
          ...The government says the precautions are necessary to ensure the safety of federal employees, especially those who participated in the final assault on the Branch Davidians' Mount Carmel complex near Waco, Texas. Justification for the precautions is demonstrated, the government adds, by the fact that some agents of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who have been linked to Waco have been threatened and harassed.  [Note: If only they were so careful for the safety of men, women and children inside Mount Carmel!!!]
          ...Branch Davidians who were injured during the government's assault and survivors of those who were killed have filed a wrongful death suit against the government. As the May 15 trial date approaches, their lawyers are collecting information through interviews and documents for use at the trial. Earlier this month, for example, Caddell and other lawyers for the plaintiffs interviewed 24 witnesses in Washington. It will be up to U.S. District Judge Walter Smith Jr., who is presiding over the trial, to determine how much of the information, if any, can become public.
          Under an order Judge Smith issued in October, Caddell is prohibited from disclosing what was said during the interviews. Additionally, many documents that the government has turned over to the plaintiffs have been stamped "confidential" or "attorney's eyes only," meaning that they cannot be made public. Under the court order, the plaintiffs can challenge the "confidential" designations, and Caddell has done so. He has also suggested disclosing the information from the documents and the interviews with the names of witnesses and identifying characteristics blacked out.
          "Recognizing the national importance of this matter and the substantial  public interest in having access to information concerning the events at Mount Carmel in 1993, the plaintiffs believe that all non-sensitive information concerning those events should be made publicly available," Caddell said in documents filed with the court.
...In documents to be filed in Waco today, the Post-Dispatch will seek to intervene in the case to oppose the government. The Post-Dispatch said the effect of the government's confidential designations is to deprive U.S. citizens with access to numerous documents of significant public interest.
          ...In addition, the Post-Dispatch argues there is no good cause for withholding complete documents simply because they may disclose the identity of a not previously disclosed governmental official or agent involved in the Waco siege, raid and aftermath, when through the relatively simple process of redaction, the concerns noted by the government could be satisfied.
          ...Caddell also said the depositions made him much more interested in the  activities of the Delta Force at Waco. Government documents indicate three Delta members were present as observers.
...Caddell said he expected to conduct two more rounds of depositions, including questioning of the third Delta Force member and other FBI hostage rescue team agents who were at the rear of the Mount Carmel complex. Investigators for Congress and Danforth's office are also expected to be interviewing into February.
For whole story go to:

DECEMBER 23, 1999

          The Justice Department has reversed course and agreed to a test that could help determine whether federal personnel shot at the Branch Davidian compound at the end of the deadly 1993 standoff, according to a Wednesday letter detailing the agreement.
          ...The agreement capped three weeks of negotiations with senior Justice Department and FBI officials, and it came after the special counsel office learned that the exact infrared camera needed for the test still exists and could be borrowed from another country, the letter to U.S. District Judge Walter Smith indicated.
          Mr. Dowd said all sides in the case hope to complete the infrared field tests by mid-March to allow at least two months before the start of a wrongful-death trial against the federal government in Waco.
          ...Mike Caddell, lead lawyer for the sect, said the field test outlined in the general counsel's letter is "everything the plaintiffs wanted.
          "It should answer once and for all whether there was government gunfire on April 19," he said. "There are people at the FBI who must be quaking in their boots. Given their performance in depositions in the last two weeks, they either have no idea what's on their own [infrared] tapes or they must know it's gunfire.
          "In either case, they have to be fearful of an independent investigation," he said. "The plaintiffs are gratified that the Justice Department has finally decided to join, perhaps kicking and screaming, in searching for the truth of what happened in Mount Carmel in 1993."
          The Branch Davidians' lawyers challenged the government in late October to a high-stakes field test, proposing that an airborne infrared camera be flown above a firing range to record test shots from weapons like those carried by government agents and Branch Davidians.
          ...Even if one of the cameras cannot be acquired, the letter said, Justice Department and FBI officials have conceded that the bureau's altered 1993 infrared camera "would provide valuable data for the parties and the court."
          ...Also Monday, The Dallas Morning News asked Judge Smith to reject the government's bid to block public disclosure of many of its documents being produced in discovery in the wrongful-death lawsuit..
          For whole article go to:
          More details are at a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article at:

DECEMBER 21, 1999

    Sworn testimony from two members of the Army's secret Delta Force unit raises questions about the actions of a third Delta soldier during the last hours of the Branch Davidian standoff, a lawyer for the sect said Monday.
    Two technical specialists from the classified anti-terrorist unit were among 24 government witnesses questioned in recent depositions by lawyers for the Branch Davidians, and their testimony indicated that "there's a combat guy [from the same unit] whose time is not accounted for on April 19," said Mike Caddell, lead lawyer for the Branch Davidians.
    Mr. Caddell said a protective order in the sect's wrongful-death lawsuit against the federal government prohibits divulging exact testimony of the government witnesses. They were questioned during two weeks of depositions in Washington that ended Friday.
    ...Mr. Caddell said the depositions left unanswered key questions about Delta Force's involvement in an FBI tank and tear-gas assault on the Branch Davidian compound. He said the questioning of FBI and military personnel also failed to resolve whether Delta Force soldiers or any other government agents fired guns into the building on April 19, 1993 - a charge that the government has denied.
    Pressed on the issue of government gunfire, the FBI's hostage rescue team members questioned during the depositions said they did not personally fire or witness any government gunfire April 19, Mr. Caddell said.
    But neither they nor FBI technical experts who operated FBI infrared cameras during the standoff could explain the origin of repeated flashes on an infrared videotape recorded by an airborne camera during the last hours of the tear-gas assault, Mr. Caddell said.
    ...."One thing that became clear from this first round of depositions: Whatever really happened on April 19, there's only a handful of people that really know," Mr. Caddell said. "This operation obviously proceeded on a need-to-know basis. I would say fewer than a dozen people really knew what was going to happen or what did happen that day."
    For whole story go to:

DECEMBER 17, 1999

        Government lawyers have asked a federal judge to block public release of hundreds of government documents recently surrendered to lawyers for the Branch Davidians, arguing that disclosure poses security risks for federal agents and military personnel.
    ...Two unnamed Defense Department employees have received recent threats because of their involvement in the incident, the motion stated. Threats to personnel reported by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI in December 1995 provide further justification for maintaining the secrecy of some documents, Justice Department lawyers argued.
    ..."The most compelling example of the need for security is the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, the purported motivation for which was the events at the Branch Davidian compound."
    The motion also dismissed arguments by the Branch Davidians' lawyers that many of the documents that have been marked confidential have already been released to congressional investigators and attorneys in earlier trials.
    Having to sort out what has been made public before designating documents confidential would take too much time and effort, Justice Department lawyers argued.
    For whole story go to:

DECEMBER 9, 1999

          Lawyers for the Branch Davidians began questioning FBI agents under oath in Washington Wednesday in the first of a series of depositions aimed at determining what happened on the tragic final day of the 1993 Waco siege.
          Justice Department lawyers imposed strict secrecy, using a court order to prohibit the release of even the names of witnesses being called for the series of depositions, scheduled to continue through next week. A department spokesman declined to comment.
          Lawyers for the Branch Davidian sect confirmed that agents to be questioned included several involved with the deployment of an airborne FBI infrared camera and a separate airborne still camera used to record the final hours of the standoff.
          Also to be questioned were FBI electronics experts assigned to help infiltrate the compound with tiny eavesdropping devices and maintain a system of closed-circuit television cameras outside the building. Although government documents include statements from FBI technicians that the cameras were running on the final day of the siege, no recordings have been released to lawyers who defended Branch Davidians in a 1994 criminal trial or to lawyers involved in the ongoing wrongful death lawsuit.
          Other witnesses to be questioned include members of the FBI hostage rescue team who bashed the rear of the compound with tanks and fired tear gas rounds during the final government assault on April 19, 1993.
          ...Michael Caddell, lead lawyer for the Branch Davidians, said last week that he planned to show agents being deposed segments of the FBI's infrared tape from April 19.
          He said he also planned to question FBI infrared operators and pilots and seek explanations for what appear to be gaps and erasures in infrared videotapes made on April 19. The tapes also captured repeated orders by FBI pilots to shut off the camera's audio recording capability.
          For whole story go to:

DECEMBER 9, 1999

          Attorneys for Branch Davidian survivors suing the government in a wrongful-death lawsuit have declined to nominate experts to participate in a court-ordered test of the FBI's infrared imaging technology.
          U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. has ordered a re-creation of the final day of the 1993 siege at Mount Carmel to determine whether flashes picked up by a Forward Looking Infrared, or FLIR, camera indicate gunfire. The re-creation was requested by both the Office of the Special Counsel (OSC) and the Davidian survivors.
          The plaintiffs have argued that shots were fired that may have prevented Davidian members from fleeing the burning building on April 19, 1993. David Koresh and 75 of his followers died in the compound blaze. The government has denied the FBI shot at the compound that morning.
          Last month, the government named three neutral experts, all of whom work for the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan.
          In a response filed in Smith's Waco court Thursday, lead plaintiff's attorney Mike Caddell questioned the neutrality of the three experts named by the U.S. Department of Justice lawyers because they are former colleagues of the government's own expert. He said the plaintiffs have decided not to propose any neutral experts to evaluate the re-creation.
          "The plaintiffs believe the court, utilizing the research of the OSC, can locate and retain (even share with the OSC if desired) an expert in FLIR technology without any ties to either side of the controversy," Caddell wrote. "That would be the best procedure for ensuring public confidence in this process."
            For whole story go to:

NOVEMBER 30, 1999

          Although the government opposes a proposed re-creation of the final day of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege, Justice Department officials on Tuesday submitted the names of three experts in the field of infrared imaging as potential participants in the test.
          U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. of Waco, who is presiding over the civil lawsuit filed against the government by Branch Davidian survivors, invited attorneys on both sides last month to nominate neutral experts to help recreate the final day at Mount Carmel.
          ...In the motion filed Tuesday, government attorneys nominated as neutral experts John Cederquist, Stephen R. Stewart and Timothy J. Rogne, all employees of ERIM International of Ann Arbor, Mich.
          ...Lead plaintiff attorney Mike Caddell of Houston scoffed at the nominations, saying, "I am shocked by the government's apparent belief that it could hoodwink the court this way."
          Caddell noted that the three are all former colleagues at ERIM of Irving William Ginsberg, who submitted an affidavit on the government's behalf last week claiming that there are "too many unknown variables" to accurately recreate the conditions of April 19, 1993.
          ..."These guys are supposed to be neutral?" Caddell asked. "They submit an affidavit from a hired expert, Ginsberg, who says the re-creation can't be done and then they propose three of his former cronies as so-called neutral experts? This is just more of the same from the government. These people are not interested in a legitimate test of what really happened on April 19, 1993. They are only interested in some rigged demonstration that will show what they want it to show."
          For whole story go to:

NOVEMBER 23, 1999

          The two special agents were assigned to a vehicle that tore down the back side of the complex in an attempt to roust the Branch Davidians. They may have been able to see if agents fired weapons.
          Investigators for special counsel John C. Danforth are preparing to question two FBI agents who drove a converted tank during the siege on the Branch Davidian complex in 1993 and who may have been in a position to see if agents fired weapons.
          The two are special agents James T. Walden and Gary Harris, who were assigned to a vehicle that tore down the back side of the complex in an attempt to roust the Branch.
          ... Michael A. Caddell, the lead attorney representing Branch Davidian survivors in a wrongful death suit, said he believes Danforth's investigators will question Walden and Harris sometime after Thanksgiving...He said the pair have not testified in court or before Congress about what happened at the Branch Davidians' Mount Carmel complex outside Waco.
          ..."When it was determined that the structure was empty, the vehicle was driven
through the structure from the black (back) to the white (front) side," the report said. "After moving into the room as far as was possible, Special Agent Walden reversed and removed the vehicle from the structure. As he was doing so, he observed smoke followed by flames from the kitchen area."
          Caddell believes the shooting came from agents who were on the ground around the tank to prevent Branch Davidians from attacking it. He said the after-action reports from Walden and Harris are silent on the issue of gunfire from other agents. The flashes that appear on the FBI's infrared tapes occur about the time that Harris and Walden's tank is demolishing the gym....
    [Note: Is he going to ask them if they themselves shot a pyrotechnic device into the back of the gym from their tank?)
For the whole story go to:

NOVEMBER 23, 1999

          Government lawyers argued Monday that field tests can't re-create the last day of the Branch Davidian siege and instead proposed that a judge commission studies of what gunfire might look like - or if would show up at all - on the infrared camera the FBI used that day.
          The kind of re-creation lawyers representing Branch Davidians have proposed would be unreliable and inadmissible in federal court proceedings, Justice Department lawyers argued in a pleading filed Monday. The federal judge overseeing the case and the special counsel investigating the siege, John Danforth, have already endorsed it.
          "In short, it would produce more confusion than clarity," the 10-page Justice Department pleading stated. "In contrast, the study of the spectral and temporal characteristics of muzzle blasts and accompanying demonstration of FLIR [infrared] technology would . . . help to resolve the issue with finality."
          ...At best, scientific testing could determine only "what gunfire should look like" or whether it could be captured by a camera deployed under the conditions that occurred in Waco on April 19, the government pleading argued.
          Mike Caddell, lead lawyer for the Branch Davidians, dismissed the pleading as a "weak" attempt to undermine what other experts have said could be a definitive and scientifically valid test. He said he believes that the FBI could easily restore its camera to its 1993 condition, a process he said would be akin to "changing from a DVD recorder to a VCR."
          "I haven't talked to anybody who said you can't re-create this. Soil-moisture conditions are not going to affect the detection of muzzle blasts from an M-16," he said. "The demonstration is not to determine what those flashes are. It is simply to determine whether those flashes could be gunfire."
          ...In a separate federal court filing Monday, the department said that an FBI technician conducting an ammunition inventory Friday found 20 envelopes with bullets test-fired from guns recovered from the Branch Davidian compound.
          ..."It was inadvertent. These were in a place that they simply hadn't looked before," a Justice Department official said.
          ...James J. Cadigan, chief of the lab's firearms unit, said in a sworn statement that 18 of the envelopes were discovered in an ammunition storage box, and that prompted a search that turned up the other two envelopes
          For whole story go to:

          ..."They operated the FLIR camera for three weeks," Caddell said. "Never once did it show any flashes other than from 11:20 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. on April 19, 1993. No flashes were seen on the FLIR until tanks started knocking down buildings. None of it explains why flashes were only seen in the back. Was the soil different in the back? This is really silly.
          ...."They've gone from sunlight to unexplained electrical anomalies to now saying that the flashes on the FLIR are debris from the collapsed gym ù which doesn't explain why you see flashes before the gym collapses," Caddell said.
        For whole story go to:

NOVEMBER 18, 1999

          Tests to find the cause of flashes on FBI infrared videotape shot in the final hours of the Branch Davidian siege will probably be meaningless because the camera used at Waco no longer exists, federal officials said Wednesday.
          Authorities have refused to release anything about the make or capabilities  of the FBI's infrared camera used to record the fiery end of the 1993 Davidian standoff. They cited national security and law enforcement secrecy rules.
          But an FBI official said Wednesday that the camera was a one-of-a-kind instrument extensively upgraded after the 1993 incident and had capabilities that probably couldn't be duplicated with any other camera.
          "It does not exist in the form that it was. It has been upgraded from analog to digital recording," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It's a significant change that is so fundamental to a re-creation, I don't know how we can ever say how experts will be able to agree to a test protocol."
          ...The officials noted that the testing will be hampered by not only the alteration of the FBI's camera but also by the difficulty in trying to duplicate environmental conditions from the spring of 1993.
          Mike Caddell, lead attorney for the sect, disputed that and called the FBI's claim about its camera equipment "absurd."
          "They're saying there's only one camera in the world like the one they used, and it doesn't exist anymore? What crock," Mr. Caddell said. "How did the FBI intend to do a valid test for Mr. Danforth? They told him they could do an accurate recreation."
          He said he was also disturbed that the government's position had shifted since the court order. "Before that, there was no mention that there was one piece of equipment in the world that could perform the test and it no longer existed," he said....
        For whole story go to:

NOVEMBER 17, 1999

          WASHINGTON (AP) - Over objections from Democrats, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved subpoenas Wednesday for dozens of officials and thousands of documents relating to the Waco siege and other Justice Department controversies.
          Democratic senators complained particularly that the information and testimony regarding the fiery end of the Branch Davidian compound in 1993 would impede the separate investigation of the same matter by former Sen. John Danforth, who was appointed by Attorney General Janet Reno.
          ....As the independent investigator reviewed evidence in Waco on Wednesday, the committee granted Specter's request for subpoenas of documents from Reno and Defense Secretary William Cohen. Also subpoenaed were 12 officials, including Texas Rangers and federal agents involved in the siege and its aftermath.
          ...On Waco, which Specter has deemed less a priority than the espionage question, the senator is seeking from Reno ``any and all documents relating to the actions of any department personnel, including the FBI, at the Branch Davidian compound'' during the 51-day siege, including forensic and ballistic tests.
          Specter will issue the request to Cohen on the role played by military personnel on the scene, including a list of ``major items of equipment or other types of support to law enforcement.''
          Also Wednesday, Danforth's investigators and the Texas Rangers began pouring over some 12 tons of evidence from the debris of the Davidians' compound.
          The evidence, which fills 11 large storage boxes in a Waco maintenance shed, reportedly includes hundreds of thousands of rounds of spent ammunition, tools and other machinery.
          Officials have said the evidence trove was never fully examined since much of was considered extraneous to the criminal case against surviving Branch Davidians.
...AP-NY-11-17-99 1636EST

NOVEMBER 16, 1999

          Turning aside prolonged federal objections, a U.S. district judge on Monday ordered independent field testing to help determine whether government agents fired at the Branch Davidian compound in the last hours of a 1993 siege. [Note: The government has since claimed he only recommended and did not order the tests since he did not write an official judical order.]
          U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. of Waco issued a three-page order late Monday saying that he was "persuaded" by arguments from Branch Davidian lawyers and the office of special counsel John Danforth that the tests are needed to resolve whether flashes of light recorded by FBI infrared cameras came from government gunfire.
          ...Mike Caddell, the Branch Davidians' lead lawyer, said the decision could prove key to the sect's efforts to prove the government should be held at least partially to blame for the tragedy.
          "It again demonstrates that Judge Smith wants to get at the truth," he said. "If they really believe that's not gunfire on that video, then the government's lawyers should embrace this test with open arms."
          ...Judge Smith's order gave both sides and Mr. Danforth 10 days to propose an expert to oversee the test. The judge set a Nov. 22 deadline for objections to a plan for experts from each side and one representing Mr. Danforth to help develop test protocols.
          ...Also Monday, federal lawyers told the court that they have surrendered to the Waco court all government siege records.
          More than a million pages of government materials have been turned over, including 7,000 pages of classified Defense Department documents, more than 3,000 pages of White House records and secret records from the CIA and the U.S. Commerce Department, government filings indicate.
          ...Previous government pleadings stated that the White House might try to withhold some records under executive privilege. Monday's filing said that the president's lawyers had sent all relevant records.
          ....It made no mention of a classified White House document described in earlier pleadings, which the president's lawyers had earlier suggested officials would withhold "until further notice."
ces commanders during the final days of the standoff...
    For more revelations and the whole story go to:

NOVEMBER 15, 1999
Special counsel wants ballistic tests of FBI firearms

          WASHINGTON (AP) -- The special counsel re-investigating the 1993 Branch Davidian siege has asked the FBI to turn over the firearms carried by its on-scene personnel to determine whether federal agents fired shots during the deadly standoff's waning hours... he is asking the FBI to turn over hundreds of firearms for ballistics tests.
          ...Lawyers for the surviving Branch Davidians say shell casings found inside a sniper outpost were from FBI sharpshooters' weapons. Government officials say the shell casings were fired during the Feb. 28 botched raid that triggered the 51-day standoff, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents sought to serve weapons warrants on the Branch Davidians.
          ...spokesman Mark Corallo of the House Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the government's conduct during the siege, said aides were told that weapons used by ATF and Branch Davidians also figured in Danforth's request.
          "The problem with the Davidian weapons is about 80 percent of them are severely damaged," Corallo said. "They melted in the fire."
          Houston attorney James Brannon, representing the estates of three of Koresh's children in the lawsuit, questioned whether ballistics tests would turn up evidence that federal agents fired shots on April 19, 1993.
          "If you've changed the barrel, if you've changed the firing mechanism, the firing pins and things ... then you look at the weapon, gosh, it's just not the same," Brannon said.
        For whole story go to:

NOVEMBER 9, 1999

    Special Counsel John C. Danforth is asking a federal court to appoint a neutral expert to "re-create" the conditions of the 1993 Waco assault to test the allegation that the government fired on the Branch Davidians.
    Danforth's deputy, Edward L. Dowd Jr., said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. that the simulation would serve both the "trust of the public and the truth-seeking process."
    ...Dowd called on Smith to "consider ordering a court-supervised test of Forward Looking Infra Red ("FLIR") technology in a manner that most closely approximates the conditions under which such technology was utilized at Mt. Carmel on April 19, 1993."
    ...Michael Caddell, the Houston lawyer for the Branch Davidians, said last month that he planned a re-enactment and asked the government to participate. But the Justice Department refused. It said the Branch Davidians could not conduct an accurate test without knowing what kind of FLIR equipment was used at Waco. And it refused to disclose that information in order to protect law enforcement and national security methods.
    ...Dowd disclosed that the FBI offered to conduct a nonpublic simulation for Danforth using the proper equipment. He said this put the special counsel in an "awkward position" for three reasons:
    First, two simulations - one conducted by the FBI and the other challenged by the FBI - would be confusing.
    Second, the special counsel's office might be accused of "bias" and "collusion" if the FBI conducted a closed simulation for Danforth without the presence of a disinterested observer.
    And, third, the Branch Davidians would have no incentive to conduct a test of their own if the Department of Justice has already dismissed it as unreliable.
    ...The simulation would be under court supervision and Danforth would have his people present. Each side [government and Davidian attorneys] would then receive the results and could use them as they saw fit. Neither side could challenge the protocol later if the test did not come out as hoped.
    ...Allard said Tuesday that Danforth's proposal "hits the nail on the head.  That would be a fair test. That will get to the truth." Allard said it would not be necessary to wait until April 19 to recreate the conditions. However, he said it would be best to do it in an area with a sandy soil background like Waco's and to conduct the test when the air and ground temperatures are similar to what they were on April 19, 1993.
        For full story go to:

NOVEMBER 3, 1999

Waco Movie Puts Blame on Feds
By Michelle Mittelstadt, Associated Press Writer Nov. 3, 1999; 6:39 p.m. EST
       A new film on the 1993 Waco siege suggests federal agents used an explosive charge to blast into the steel-reinforced concrete bunker where Branch Davidian women and children died.
      As evidence, the makers of "Waco: A New Revelation" present video footage shot after the violent end of the siege showing a gaping hole in the bunker's roof. The steel rods used to reinforce the concrete were bent inward – apparently, the film's analysts say, by a blast that would have been devastating to people inside.
      The movie also contends that cult members were pinned down by automatic gunfire as the compound was consumed by flames, cutting off their only route to safety.
       ...The documentary, which includes interviews with former FBI, CIA and military personnel as well as surviving Branch Davidians, also asserts:
 – Because of bugging devices in the compound, the FBI was aware of the Davidians' talk of setting the place aflame. Bureau officials have long denied that they had advance knowledge of the cult members' intent, saying the transmissions were too garbled to understand.
 – Federal agents fired from a helicopter at a Branch Davidian who ventured outside the compound three hours before the blaze began, according to a videotape analyzed by Edward Allard, a former Army night vision lab supervisor hired as an expert in the Davidian survivors' wrongful-death lawsuit against the government. "In our opinion, it's clearly machine gun fire from the helicopter," Allard says on the film.
 – Infrared surveillance videotape shot by an FBI plane shows two people rolling out from under a tank and firing dozens of rounds from a machine gun at the compound, Allard says. "I stopped counting after 62 individual shots," he says.
    Rep. Clifford Stearns, R-Fla., who attended one of two film screenings Wednesday, said the documentary should be seen by members of Congress and the public alike.
     As to those who might dismiss the film as biased, Stearns said: "I don't visualize it as propaganda. I visualize it as an attempt to bring questions to the American people."
      The documentary is narrated by Frederic Whitehurst, a former FBI scientist whose complaints about shoddy practices in the bureau's crime lab led to a scathing inspector general review.
Other, more critical reviews, at:


       White House officials have turned over 588 pages of materials but are withholding one classified document "until further notice," according to a memo from the White House counsel's office.
      (Note: Could that be a document where Clinton authorizes use of Delta Force?)
       None of those White House documents has been previously disclosed to Congress, the public or earlier reviews of the Branch Davidian siege by the Justice and Treasury departments, Monday's filing indicated.
       Lawyers for President Clinton also "have located materials that we believe re subject to executive privilege," the memo stated.
       Also Monday, the Justice Department told lawyers representing Branch Davidians and their families in a wrongful-death suit that they will not be allowed to directly question any special-forces military personnel involved in the Branch Davidian standoff.
For whole story go to:

       A Waco federal judge angrily warned Tuesday that the government faces contempt proceedings within two weeks if its lawyers do not surrender every federal document relating to the Branch Davidian standoff.
       "The court is not unmindful that the government waits not only until the last day, but until the last minute, to respond to every order this court has issued. That practice causes the court to be suspect of the government's desire to comply with its orders," Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. wrote in a four-page order rejecting a government plea for another month to complete the turnover.
       ...On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Mike Bradford of Beaumont said federal officials will "comply timely" with the judge's latest deadline of Nov. 15. One day earlier, he and other Justice Department lawyers filed a motion seeking to delay full compliance until Dec. 1. Mr. Bradford said more time was needed because of problems with duplicating videotapes and photographs from the Waco case for ongoing investigations by Congress and special counsel John Danforth.
       ...Judge Smith's Tuesday order complained that the Justice Department has unnecessarily delayed and possibly even deliberately stalled making arrangements for housing federal classified documents connected with the case in Waco.
        The order noted that government lawyers have tried to use the lack of proper facilities in Waco to delay sending secret military records and other classified materials related to the case.
        As a result, Judge Smith wrote, more than 7,000 secret Defense Department documents have not been produced, and the Justice Department "has done nothing to assure the transfer of those materials."
        ...At least some of the military's classified documents detail the deployment of soldiers from classified special operations units during the 51-day standoff,  according to government documents already made public in the case.
         ...Government lawyers have told lawyers for the Branch Davidians that national security restrictions will permit only written questioning of special forces personnel involved in the incident.
        For whole story go to:

OCTOBER 25, 1999

          ...[Judge Smith who sentenced nine Davidians to a total of 243 years] said he has been troubled by information surfacing six years after the government absolved itself of blame for the standoff's tragic end.
          "It has been something," he said. "If they had just been upfront with the things, that now are coming out like teeth are being pulled, there wouldn't have been a problem, I don't think."
          ...Eleven survivors were charged with conspiring to kill federal agents. Judge Smith moved their trial to San Antonio and presided over it for six weeks in early 1994.
          He appeared visibly upset when a jury acquitted sect members of conspiring to murder and found eight guilty only of voluntary manslaughter and weapons charges.
          His handling of the case was bitterly condemned by Branch Davidian supporters. But defense lawyers said the judge went out of his way to get an unbiased jury panel. Over vehement prosecution objections, Judge Smith allowed the defense to argue that the Branch Davidians acted in self-defense during the gun battle.
          In upholding the convictions, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the judge was not required to instruct jurors that the Branch Davidians could be acquitted of murder [actually, aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter; all were acquitted of murder] if they were defending themselves out of reasonable fear for their lives.
          ...Lawyers for the Branch Davidians first fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to get the judge removed. ..After appellate courts refused to remove Judge Smith, both sides filed reams of pre-trial pleadings.
          ...Even before his August order [taking possession of all evidence], the judge's writings in the case indicated a change in his view of what had transpired between the Branch Davidians and the government.
          When he sentenced the Branch Davidians to stiff prison terms in 1994, he wrote that they had started the firefight that began the incident.
          However, in a July 1, 1999, order refusing to dismiss the case, he wrote that how the gunbattle began is "a matter of great dispute."
          Asked about that shift, the judge said, "The focus of the criminal trial was just that - on whether or not one or more Branch Davidians were responsible for the deaths of the agents.
        For whole story go to:

OCTOBER 24, 1999

          One of the congressional committees investigating the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, may order ballistic tests on some bullet casings found at an FBI sniper position, according to a New Yorker magazine story to be published Monday.
          A report by the Texas Rangers subpoenaed by a House panel and made public last month said ammunition often used by snipers was found in a house used by both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
          The report said twelve .308-caliber shell casings and 24 .223-caliber shell casings were found at the house. The New Yorker story said the congressional panel, which was not named, wants to determine who fired the .308-caliber bullet and when they were fired.
          ...Attorneys for the surviving Davidians argue that the shots may have come later, from the gun of Lon Horiuchi, an FBI sharpshooter who was also involved in the 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
        For full story go to:

OCTOBER 21, 1999

          A lawyer for the Branch Davidians challenged the federal government Wednesday to join in scientific infrared field tests that he says will prove his experts' contention that agents fired guns at the group's compound on the last day of a 1993 standoff near Waco.
          "The results of this demonstration will prove conclusively that the only possible explanation for the flashes seen on FBI FLIR [infrared video] tapes from April 19, 1993, is gunfire," Michael Caddell of Houston wrote in a four-page letter to the Department of Justice. "The refusal of the FBI to participate will certainly be interpreted as an admission of liability."
          FBI and Justice Department officials didn't have much to say about the matter Wednesday night. "We're reviewing the letter," said Justice Department official Myron Marlin, declining further comment.
          ...In a time line sent to Justice Department lawyers along with his challenge Wednesday, Mr. Caddell indicated that his law firm has identified 32 separate "flash" events.
          Nine of those flash events appeared to come from government positions and 15 from the Davidians, he wrote. He contended that eight were of unclear origin but were probably caused largely by home-made Davidian hand grenades or the launching of government "flash-bang" distraction devices - ordnance that government officials have denied using on April 19.
          ...An expert for the House committee said last month that his preliminary evaluation of the infrared tape indicated that it did capture the thermal images of government gunfire. He was allowed on Friday to study the FBI's original copy of the tape for the first time and is still working on his final analysis, said committee spokesman Mark Carollo.
          ...Mr. Carollo said the committee "would welcome" such a test, adding that a "side-by-side analysis," of the FBI's recording and a test recording might help resolve the gunfire issue.
          If the field test did produce results matching what was recorded on FBI cameras, Mr. Caddell said, he would ask a federal judge overseeing the ongoing wrongful death case to impose "appropriate sanctions against the persons responsible for perpetrating this massive lie. . . ."
For whole story go to:
Note: On October 26 the government declined the invitation.

OCTOBER 18, 1999

    This is an action for injunctive relief brought pursuant to the  Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552. Plaintiff seeks an order of the Court mandating the production of documents contained in systems of records maintained by Defendants. To read the remainder, click here

OCTOBER 15, 1999
Senators agree on probe plan in Waco siege
Panel to investigate handling of case, other investigations

    Senate members... scrapped the idea of a special task force, instead assigning an existing subcommittee to review the department's investigations of the 1993 standoff near Waco, allegations of Chinese nuclear spying, and campaign fund raising...As for the Senate inquiry, Justice Department spokesman Myron Marlin said Congress has already been supplied with thousands of documents on Waco, campaign finance, and the China case but will cooperate with the Specter inquiry.
    ...But some congressional leaders said the revelation about FBI closed-circuit cameras at Waco is further proof that the bureau and the Justice Department have not given a full accounting of what happened in Waco.
    Closed-circuit cameras and any tapes recorded from them "would provide critical information in overseeing federal law enforcement and determining accountability," said U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a member of the subcommittee and frequent FBI critic.
    "So the question is, why would the FBI keep the existence of this evidence hidden from the public? . . . This report is one more reason why more expansive oversight of the bureau is needed," Mr. Grassley said.
    ...The House Government Reform committee has already issued broad subpoenas on the Branch Davidian case and repeatedly sent investigators to Texas to gather information.
    ... Mr. Specter said Thursday that he has agreed to defer issuing subpoenas or questioning witnesses until later this month at Mr. Danforth's request.
    ...Under the compromise worked out Thursday, Mr. Specter will have the authority to hire private attorneys and staff. He has already asked Philadelphia lawyer Michael Baylson to head the effort.
        For whole article go to:

OCTOBER 14, 1999

         The Branch Davidian compound was ringed with FBI closed-circuit cameras and secret government sensing devices during the entire 1993 standoff, and the cameras were used throughout April 19, the day federal agents launched a tank and tear-gas assault, government documents show.
         But despite written statements from FBI agents and technicians that recordings were made, no videotape from the surveillance cameras has ever been made public by the federal government. Critics of the government's actions in the standoff say their efforts to obtain such videos have been blocked for years by the FBI and the Department of Justice.
        Congressional investigators who recently began re-examining investigations of the standoff said Wednesday that they cannot say what Congress has been told about the use of closed-circuit cameras at the compound because the matter involves government secrets.
         "Until that information is declassified, we cannot discuss it," said Mark Corallo, spokesman for the House Government Reform Committee.
 An FBI spokesman said he would need to look into the matter further before commenting. A Justice Department spokesman did not return calls Wednesday night.
        Lawyers for surviving sect members who have filed a massive wrongful-death lawsuit against the federal government say they are outraged because they have been told repeatedly by government lawyers that the only FBI cameras in use on April 19 were infrared cameras deployed in airplanes high above the sect's compound.
        "We have asked for every possible form of recording known to man that could have been utilized at Mount Carmel," said the lead lawyer for the group, Michael Caddell of Houston. "We have been told that the only thing that exists are the [infrared] tapes and the surveillance tapes from FBI bugs inside the compound."...
        Mr. Caddell said he believes that FBI officials may have withheld information about the cameras because of the images that they captured on April 19. He noted that references to the closed-circuit television cameras were blacked out on the formal statements or FBI 302s that the Justice Department has so far disclosed in the civil wrongful-death lawsuit.
For the whole story go to:

OCTOBER 9, 1999
Siege tactics weighed by FBI detailed Davidian files reveal plan to drug water

    WASHINGTON - Thousands of recently disclosed internal FBI documents show that some bureau officials proposed drugging Branch Davidians' water supplies and faxed a formal assault plan directly to the White House in the first weeks of the 1993 siege.
          The documents reveal intricacies of the FBI's 51-day operation never previously made public in the six years since the nation's most deadly law enforcement tragedy.
          Among the thousand of pages of internal FBI tactical documents are notations indicating that tanks used by the hostage rescue team near Waco carried such military ordnance as high-explosive grenades, illumination rounds and pyrotechnic tear gas cannisters.
          The notes also indicate FBI tactical experts in Waco asked for permission to shoot any unarmed Branch Davidians who left the compound and approached their armored vehicles. That proposal was rejected by FBI officials in Washington, who ultimately imposed rules authorizing deadly force only if the Branch Davidians fired 50-caliber rifles capable of piercing the armor of tanks...
         A March 8 note states that a formal assault or "ops plan" had been faxed directly to the White House by FBI tactical officials.
         An FBI official in Washington said that was done at the direction of Assistant Attorney General Webster Hubbell.
         During 1995 congressional hearings, Mr. Hubbell said he often consulted with the White House counsel's office about the standoff. He said that the White House was not involved in decision-making during the FBI operation....
For full story go to:
Also see:

OCTOBER 8, 1999
Retired colonel says bugs showed sect's fire plans

          Bugging devices in the Branch Davidian compound clearly picked up voices of leader David Koresh and his followers preparing and starting fires that ended the deadly 1993 standoff, according to a now-retired U.S. Army colonel who assisted the FBI at the siege.
          Federal officials from Attorney General Janet Reno down have maintained for years that the FBI did not know that the Davidians were spreading fuel and preparing to set a fire throughout the FBI's six-hour tank and tear gas assault on the compound.
          But Col. Rodney L. Rawlings of Austin said in an interview that "you could hear everything from the very beginning, as it was happening."
          "I heard it," said Col. Rawlings, who heard bug transmissions from speakers in an FBI monitoring room.  "Anyone who says you couldn't at the time is being less than truthful."
          .....Jeffrey Jamar, the FBI's commander in Waco, told Congress that he and his agents "couldn't know that was happening. If we had heard 'spread the fuel,' we'd have stopped right there. We didn't hear. We didn't know that until those tapes [of recorded bug transmissions] were
          Col. Rawlings, a combat-decorated helicopter pilot and 31-year veteran who retired from the Army in 1997, said he clearly heard those preparations as they were broadcast from a monitoring-room speaker in at the FBI's main Waco command post.
          He said he was there as senior Army liaison to the FBI's hostage rescue team. Working in an area adjacent to the open door of the monitoring room, he said, he heard voices of Mr. Koresh and other Davidians praying, planning the fire and preparing to die during the FBI's tank assault.
          "They're using the excuse of technical difficulties to cover why they didn't react on the information they had..."
For full story go to:
NOTE: The full transcripts of what the FBI claims the Davidians were saying can be found at:
Those who have heard the tapes, including me, agree these tapes are open to interpretation–as are the meaning of what allegedly is said in the FBI's transcript.

OCTOBER 8, 1999

          (AP) House Majority Leader Dick Armey said Thursday he no longer sees a need for fresh hearings on the 1993 Waco siege, a new indication the GOP's zeal for reinvestigating the fiery end to the standoff is fizzling.
          Expressing confidence in independent investigator John Danforth, Armey told reporters, "I don't know that we will see any compelling need'' for House hearings.
"There's Waco fatigue,'' said Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., a member of the House panel investigating Waco. He prefers postponing hearings until spring. "There's a feeling that the political risk may be higher than the political gain of pursuing this subject at this time.''
          Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton, R-Ind., has promised to move aggressively with hearings. His investigators expect to receive more than a million Waco-related documents from the Justice and Defense departments within a week in response to a subpoena. Burton did not respond to a request for comment Thursday....
          The Senate's momentum also was stalled by a turf battle between Senator Specter and Danforth, a highly respected former GOP senator from Missouri.
          In two letters to Hatch and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the committee's ranking Democrat, Danforth complained that Specter's staff was interviewing witnesses in violation of an agreement Danforth had struck with the Judiciary Committee....
For whole story go to:

New Waco Revelations Stoke GOP Fears That Investigation May Backfire Politically
          ...Democrats need only pick up six seats in 2000 to win control of the House, leading some Republicans to speculate that yet another GOP-led investigation of the Clinton administration could backfire with voters.
          "There's a feeling that the political risk may be higher than the political gin of pursuing this subject at this time," House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said Thursday.
Excerpted from 10-8-99 Associated Press Story.

OCTOBER 7, 1999

          HOUSTON - High-quality copies of FBI infrared tapes released this week to Branch Davidian lawyers include repeated bursts of rhythmic flashes from both government positions and the sect's compound, and two experts hired by the sect's lawyer say the flashes must be gunfire.
          A third expert, retained by the House Government Reform committee, analyzed a lower-quality copy of the infrared tape, which was shot on the last day of a 1993 standoff with the sect near Waco. He also concluded that flashes visible on the tape had to be gunfire, a committee staffer confirmed Wednesday.
          ....Information that the Houston lawyers presented to Mr. Danforth's team included an expert's analysis that the FBI's infrared videotapes released to the public, Congress and the courts appear to have been altered, Mr. Caddell said.
          If the same gaps and electronic anomalies appear in original tapes still in Justice Department custody, Mr. Caddell said, he will use that to challenge the government's fire investigation as fatally flawed.
          "I think at this point, it's clear that the whole investigation, and particularly the fire investigation, was garbage in-garbage out," Mr. Caddell said.
          ...."There's so much editing on this tape, it's ridiculous," said Steve Cain, who spent more than 20 years as an audio and video expert with the U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service's national crime lab in Chicago.   Mr. Cain said his analysis is preliminary because he has not been granted access to the original tapes.
          ...Maurice Cox, a retired satellite imagery analyst and mathematician who worked for 33 years on secret government photo-reconnaissance projects said Wednesday that he shares many of Mr. Cain's concerns. He recently examined copies of the FBI infrared tapes released last month.
"There are things that I don't understand. I don't know what they mean, but I know that you need to go to the master tapes and find out what in the hell is going on," said Mr. Cox, who lives in California.... Mr. Cox recently posted his report on a Web site,
        For full story go to:

OCTOBER 4, 1999

          WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorneys for surviving Branch Davidians and relatives of those who died during the 1993 Waco siege contend the government is withholding important evidence by saying it is classified or falls under Privacy Act protection...
          ``There are a lot of documents which have been turned over to us, large portions of which have been blacked out,'' said lead counsel Michael Caddell, calling some of the evidence critical to his case. ``And that, we'll be taking up with the court.''
          Caddell said he anticipates filing motions asking U.S. District Judge Walter Smith in Waco, Texas, to examine the government's privilege claims and he intends to bring up the matter when the parties meet privately with the judge Oct. 15.
          Caddell's concern is shared by co-counsel James Brannon, who is representing the estates of the three children Davidian leader David Koresh had with his legal wife, Rachel Jones. The children, and others that Koresh fathered with different women, were among the approximately 80 people who died during the fiery end to the 51-day standoff on April 19, 1993....
          Caddell questioned the government's blacking out of passages from ``virtually every'' post-siege interview conducted with all FBI agents at Waco. ``We're entitled to know everything that they heard or saw or did on April 19,'' Caddell said....
          And Brannon is challenging the government's refusal to provide the names of certain participants in the final assault. ``They cannot hide behind any laws, any statutes to inflict wrongful deaths on American citizens and then say `You can't ever find out who these people were,''' Brannon said, vowing to take the matter to the Supreme Court if necessary....
    For the whole story go to:

OCTOBER 3, 1999

          Richard Rogers, once commander of the FBI's hostage rescue team, is at the center of its biggest crisis - the uproar over FBI actions in the 1993 Branch Davidian siege.
          A former U.S. Army tank officer described by supporters and critics as "intense" and "intimidating," the now-retired FBI agent led the team at Waco and gave the order to use tear gas canisters capable of sparking a fire on the day the sect's compound burned.
          Mr. Rogers is defended by some as a competent leader forced to make life-or-death decisions. He is blamed by others for two of the FBI's worst recent disasters: the Waco siege and the deadly 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
          "Richard Rogers epitomizes the extent to which the FBI's hostage rescue team became militarized and out of control," said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, a frequent FBI critic who participated in 1995 Senate hearings on both incidents.
          "You can see why disasters erupted at Waco and Ruby Ridge," Mr. Grassley said. "His legacy has been a trail of tragedies."...
          In a recent brief interview, Mr. Rogers declined to discuss Waco or his apparent approval of pyrotechnic grenades.
          "I want the truth to come out, because when it does, the American public is going to understand what happened. But this isn't the time to set the record straight," Mr. Rogers said...
        For the whole story go to:

OCTOBER 2, 1999

          (Waco Investigator John) Danforth's office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service have confirmed that a group of experienced federal postal inspectors will be tapped to investigate events that led to the deaths of about 80 followers of Branch Davidian cult leader David Koresh at their Texas compound on April 19, 1993.
          ... In 1996, postal inspectors were asked to help FBI agents look at a previous disaster for the Clinton administration -- the bureau's standoff with white supremacist Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. During several armed confrontations in 1992, one federal agent was killed and an FBI sniper fatally wounded Weaver's wife Vicki.
          Postal inspectors helped build a case against FBI official E. Michael Kahoe in the matter, who was alleged to have destroyed evidence and obstructed justice.
        For whole story go to:

SEPTEMBER 29, 1999

          WASHINGTON -- Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., is pressing ahead with his inquiry into Waco and other Justice Department controversies by hiring a former U.S. Attorney from Philadelphia to work on his task force. {Note: He plans a narrowly focused investigation that will look into whether the Justice Department fulfilled its responsibilities in investigating each of several matters, including Waco.]
          The selection of Michael Baylson of Philadelphia comes amid the misgivings of special counsel John Danforth and the opposition of Senate Democrats.
          Specter, in a brief interview yesterday, remained optimistic that Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee would ultimately participate in the task force investigating the federal actions in the standoff at the Branch Davidian compound at Mount Carmel near Waco that killed 80 people, as well as reports of Chinese espionage and abuses of campaign finance laws.
          (Senator) Lott said the task force would have five members: Specter, and Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Strom Thurmond, R-S.C. and two Democrats. But Democrats, upset that the task force would give Specter carte blanche to investigate the Justice Department, have dismissed the effort as partisan.
The whole article can be found at:

          According to a September 29 story by Laurie Kellman, Associated Press:
          ...  ``There's nothing we can do about Waco except correct procedures for the future,'' Sen. Arlen Specter, who will chair a task force into the agency's investigations on high-profile cases, said in an interview Tuesday.
          ....``Waco's history regardless of what we find out,'' agreed Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who will join Specter on the task force. ``In the case of the Chinese espionage and campaign
           .... The comments by Specter and Grassley marked a retreat for Senate Republicans, who thundered that revelations last month about the government's use of force while ending the standoff  with the Davidian cult demanded new investigations into the Justice Department. GOP lawmakers issued subpoenas and demanded Attorney General Janet Reno's resignation.
AP-NY-09-29-99 0334EDT

SEPTEMBER 29, 1999

          A Ryder truck pulled up to the loading dock at the Waco federal courthouse about noon Thursday, but the vehicle, which resembled the rental truck driven by Timothy McVeigh at Oklahoma City, didn't cause federal officials to panic.
          It was expected and its cargo was known -- tons of evidence from the Branch Davidian compound that has been stored by the Department of Public Safety since 1993.
          DPS officials asked U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. of Waco last month to determine who should have control and custody of the materials. Smith relieved the DPS from its duties to store the evidence and ordered that it be transferred to the custody of the federal court clerk in Waco.
          That was done Thursday, but not before DPS officials inventoried more than 1,800 items, packed them away in 214 boxes over a three-day period and loaded it all into the Ryder truck, according to DPS spokesman Tom Vinger.
          The truck then was driven to Waco under supervision of the U.S. Marshals Service. Jack Dean, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, declined to confirm that the truck contained evidence from Mount Carmel.
The whole Waco Tribune-Herald article can be found at:

SEPTEMBER 29, 1999

            WASHINGTON (AP) - The chief lawyer for Branch Davidian survivors and family members who are suing the government says he is wary of blaming the fiery end of the 1993 Waco siege on the military tear gas that the FBI belatedly admitted using.
          Attorney Michael Caddell calls the potentially incendiary canisters a possible ``red herring'' and is examining other ways federal agents could have triggered the inferno in which Davidian leader David Koresh and some 80 followers died.
          The alternate theories include that the fire started from contact between the compound's wooden walls and extremely hot exhaust - perhaps 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit - from military tanks used by the FBI in the final assault on April 19, 1993, Caddell said.
          A former government arson expert hired by the plaintiffs concluded that the fire started in one location, likely where a tank rammed the building.
          Caddell and others who accuse the government of a cover-up are examining theories that:
          -Military tanks that punched holes into the building to insert non-burning tear gas knocked over the lanterns that the Davidians relied on after the FBI cut off electricity.
          -Flash-bang devices used by federal agents ignited the building. Film maker Michael McNulty, who has espoused that theory, claims the devices were found near the fire's origins. The government disputes his assertions.
          -Heat from the tanks' exhaust could have ignited the dwelling's wooden walls, which were reinforced with makeshift barricades of hay bales.
          Caddell said a special forces operative told him of once trying to warm his gloved hands beneath such tanks' exhaust only to see his leather gloves ignite.
For the whole story go to:


          Like thousands of others, Sandra Connizzo wants answers.
          Many of her questions about the 1993 death of her son, Branch Davidian member Michael Schroeder, arose when she encountered what she described as a stone wall trying to learn what happened the day he was fatally shot by federal agents outside his Mount Carmel home near Waco....
          Schroeder died Feb. 28, 1993, the day agents of the Bureau of  Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the Davidian compound.  Federal officials have said Schroeder and two other Davidians were trying to sneak back into the compound when they were confronted by as many as 14 agents near an undercover house where snipers were positioned.
          Official reports say that a gun battle ensued and that Schroeder was shot nine times -- twice behind his right ear -- and fell dead in a gully at the edge of the property. A revolver was found near his body, but if the FBI performed ballistics tests to find out if it had been fired, those results have not been made public, Tarrant County Medical Examiner Nizam Peerwani said.
          Likewise, any tests on a blue stocking cap Schroeder was wearing that had bullet holes in it either were not done or have not been released, McLennan County Justice of the Peace David Peraya said.
          The cap was missing from his personal effects at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office, Peraya said. It turned up in Austin this year when film makers uncovered it among tons of evidence held by the Texas Rangers.
For the whole the article go to:

SEPTEMBER 27, 1999
Excerpted from story by Jerry Seper, The Washington Times.

          Sen. Arlen Specter's appointment to lead a task-force probe into the Justice Department's handling of three high-profile criminal cases has irked not only Democrats -- who have refused to participate -- but many Republicans who believe the inquiry may be on shaky ground.  "There are questions of whether Mr. Specter, without some bipartisan support, will have the power or the budget he needs to conduct a thorough investigation," said one high-ranking Republican source.
          "Without the ability to issue subpoenas and compel testimony, let alone offer grants of immunity if necessary, he might be nothing more than just another toothless tiger," added another GOP source, who noted that Senate rules require a vote from a committee's minority for subpoenas and immunity grants.
          Last week, the Judiciary Committee's chairman, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, said he wanted a more narrowly focused inquiry by the full committee and reluctantly signed off on Mr. Specter's appointment after it had been proposed by the majority leader.
          ...The task force has been tasked to investigate three areas:
* The 1993 FBI siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco,
* The suspected theft of nuclear secrets from U.S. weapons laboratories
* Plea bargains given to several defendants in the Justice Department's ongoing investigation into suspected campaign finance abuses

SEPTEMBER 26, 1999
David Koresh needed a drummer. David Thibodeau needed someone to believe in. The rest was tragedy.

          Back then he was just another drummer with huge hair who was heavily into metal. He dug Judas Priest, not Jesus Christ. Then one day in 1991 a guy in an L.A. guitar store handed him a business card--"Messiah Productions," it said--and before long David Thibodeau was jamming at a commune on the windswept Texas prairie with a band of true believers whose T-shirts proclaimed, "David Koresh: God Rocks."...
          "My friend and teacher," Thibodeau calls Koresh in his just-published memoir. Others may consider Koresh a depraved cult leader, but Thibodeau remembers him as a gentle and sincere man who preached "an incredible message that was 100 percent spiritual."...
          "A Place Called Waco: A Survivor's Story" is the first book on the standoff by an insider. Thibodeau is one of only nine Branch Davidians who staggered out of the inferno on April 19, 1993. His book arrives fortuitously, amid headlines suggesting an FBI or Justice Department
coverup, as the government line about the Waco tragedy is being challenged again--this time not by militia paranoiacs but by a well-respected special counsel, former senator John Danforth.
          Thibodeau, who was not indicted after the standoff and says he never fired a gun throughout, offers a captivating and often surprising portrait of Koresh, who he says was "either a genius or a loony . . . either inspired or nuts." He still isn't entirely sure which...
For the whole article go to:

SEPTEMBER 25, 1999
Critics call for inquiry of aircraft role in Davidian raid
  By Jennifer Autrey, Star-Telegram Staff Writer

          On a chilly February morning six years ago, a member of the Branch Davidians dialed 911 and began screaming that gunfire from military  helicopters was raking the sect's Mount Carmel compound....
          Now, John Danforth, a former U.S. senator from Missouri, is investigating the FBI's conduct on April 19, pledging to answer the "dark questions" of whether the government killed people and covered it up.
            But Branch Davidian survivors say the events of Feb. 28, 1993, deserve equal attention, particularly whether shots were fired from the helicopters into the compound.
            Government officials have never wavered from their position that no shots were fired from the helicopters that day....
            But the government's account of the events near Waco has taken a beating on several fronts.
            Critics of the government, as well as attorneys for the Branch Davidians, question whether officials are telling the truth when they say no shots came from the helicopters on the first day of the raid.
For the whole story go to:
For an extensive list of eye witness, documentary and forensic evidence of BATF shooting from helicopters, click here.

SEPTEMBER 21, 1999

           WACO - Special investigator John Danforth visited briefly Monday with parents of a man killed in the Branch Davidian standoff when he and three aides made an unannounced tour of the ruins of the sect's compound.
           "I'm real sorry about the loss of your son," he told Eugene and Filomena Hipsman of Chester, N.Y. The couple were visiting the compound for the first time since their 27-year-old son, Peter, died six years ago in the gunfight with federal agents that began the 1993 siege.
 Mr. Danforth's visit came the same day that U.S. District Judge Walter Smith authorized a four-week delay in depositions in a pending wrongful death lawsuit filed by Branch Davidians against the federal government, a delay that Mr. Danforth sought last week to allow time to gear up his investigation.
For the whole story go to:

SEPTEMBER 20, 1999
Group breaks ground for Branch Davidian church Davidians rebuilding near Waco
Supporters break ground for church
Associated Press, 09/20/99

          WACO, Texas - As grasshoppers flitted through 90-degree heat, workers as young as 4 and as old as 71 broke ground Sunday for a new Branch Davidian church at Mount Carmel.
          ..."It means a lot," said Mr. Koresh's stepfather, Roy Haldeman, 71, a retired carpenter who lives in Tyler, Texas. "I feel good about it."
          About 60 people dug holes on the old compound site Sunday to hold support beams for a 38-by-40-foot white frame church.
          ...Sunday's caravan of volunteers from Austin to Waco also included Mr. Koresh's mother and consisted of about 60 vehicles, including pickup trucks, motor homes and a luxury sedan. It arrived at Mount Carmel at 9:30 a.m.
          ...The project was organized and led by Austin radio talk show host Alex Jones, who has said the Branch Davidians were the victims of "a government cover-up of its violation of the First Amendment."
          "This is a statement," the 25-year-old Mr. Jones said. "This is about saying the witch hunt of 1993 is over." Mr. Jones called the church project a "healing process" for the Branch Davidians and the nation.
          Mr. Jones began the drive to rebuild the church during a broadcast on his KJFK-FM show Sept. 13.
          He said that he and others have been talking for three years about building on the site. Recent revelations about the FBI's use of incendiary tear-gas rounds and the escalating controversy over the government's conduct spurred him to act, he said.
          "All of it - it's all about public opinion. We know that now is the perfect time; that's why we're doing it," said Mr. Jones, who wore a pin with the message: "You burn it, we build it."
          "This is a monument to the First Amendment," he said. "You think about speech and the press, but it is also religion and the expression thereof."
          The project will include a memorial inside the church to those who died in the fire. The church will be built in two to three months, he said.
          ...[Clive] Doyle, 58, said Sunday that he has been leading about 12 to 20 congregants in Bible studies around Waco and probably will lead services at the new church. "I think it is a very magnanimous gesture. This to me shows care and concern," he said. "We will leave it in God's hands to increase our membership or not."

SEPTEMBER 17, 1999
Judge not removed in Davidian case
Associated Press, 9/17/99

           WACO - The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a motion to recuse U.S. District Judge Walter Smith from the trial of a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by survivors of Branch Davidians.  Plaintiffs' attorneys tried to have Judge Smith removed from the case, arguing that he was biased. In 1994, Judge Smith sentenced eight Branch Davidians to prison for various crimes, including weapons violations and [aiding and abetting] voluntary manslaughter.

SEPTEMBER 17, 1999
Jailed Branch Davidians wait, hope as Waco probe reopened
Excerpted from story by Tony Clark, CNN
September 17, 1999, web posted at: 8:22 p.m. EDT

          BEAUMONT, Texas (CNN) – At the U.S. Penitentiary outside Beaumont, Texas, Jaime Castillo waits and hopes that the renewed investigation into the Waco tragedy will bring what he terms "justice."
          Castillo, 31, is one of seven Branch Davidians still serving time for their involvement in the 1993 shoot-out with agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which precipitated a 51-day siege.
          Castillo and fellow inmate Brad Branch -- both convicted on weapons charges and [aiding and abetting] voluntary manslaughter -- were at the front door of the compound that the Davidians called Mt. Carmel with their leader, David Koresh, when the ATF raided the complex on February 28, 1993. They dispute the ATF's assertion that the Davidians fired first.
          ..."They fired first," says Branch. "David opened the door, and, to me, it was courageous. He opened the door, and he put his hand out."
          "I heard him say, 'Wait a minute, there are women and children here. Let's talk,'" says Castillo. "And then I heard a gunshot from the outside. He backed off, slammed the door and by then, there was sporadic gunfire everywhere."
          ..."What I remember of those days [the siege] is listening to radio news reports constantly and wondering when the American people were going to stand up," says Kevin Whitecliff, another Davidian who was convicted of weapons charges and [aiding and abetting] voluntary manslaughter.
          "I mean, I thought ... this has never happened in this country. I'm sure these people are going to come ... down and they're going to ask questions. Why? Why did this take place? Why are there tanks on this property?" he says.
          ..."A lot of individuals such as myself didn't want to leave because we were directly being challenged, not so much on the circumstances that happened but with respect to our faiths, our beliefs," Castillo said.
          The Davidians, Castillo says, thought the FBI and ATF weren't just after their guns but attacking their faith -- and that just stiffened resistance inside the compound.
          While Congress and a special investigator prepare to take another look at what happened at Waco, there is little talk about the Davidians who remain behind bars.
          Note: Sentenced received by Davidian prisoners are: Renos Avraam, 40 years; Brad Branch, 40 years; Jaime Castillo, 40 years; Graeme Craddock, 20 years; Paul Fatta, 15 years; Livingstone Fagan, 40 years; Kevin Whitecliff, 40 years.  For more information about the Davidian prisoners and trial, click here.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1999

           A federal judge has delayed the start of the Branch Davidians' wrongful-death lawsuit, stating Wednesday that the task of transferring the federal government's massive collection of evidence to Waco makes a mid-October trial impossible.
           In a three-page order, U.S. District Judge Walter Smith also confirmed that the Justice Department has ended weeks of legal skirmishes and submitted to his effort to take control of all government documents and evidence related to the Branch Davidians' 1993 standoff with authorities.
           "The physical transfer of control of all of this evidence will take longer than originally anticipated by the court," stated the order canceling the Oct. 18 trial date.
          ...Michael Caddell, lead lawyer for the Branch Davidians, said the delay was expected and welcome, particularly in light of the recent wave of revelations about the government's conduct.
 "I always thought that Judge Smith would give us the time we needed to properly prepare the case for trial, and I think what he's done is very reasonable," he said.
          ...On Wednesday, aides to Mr. Danforth indicated that they will ask Judge Smith on Thursday to delay any formal questioning, or depositions, of witnesses in the civil case, said officials in Texas and Washington.
           Attorneys for the Davidians had been scheduled to begin a round of depositions next week in Washington with members of the FBI's hostage rescue team and former FBI Agent Jeff Jamar, the bureau's commander in Waco.
          Mr. Caddell said he would be willing to postpone the start of depositions "for a couple of weeks.  "We certainly want to cooperate with the independent investigator," he said.
          ... But Judge Smith's ruling Wednesday specifically instructed both sides to begin the process of depositions and other discovery actions that did not require access to the evidence being surrendered to his court.
           The order also cautioned that the transfer of all government evidence to Waco did not mean that government attorneys will be forced to surrender their trial preparation documents, items that could reveal such sensitive information as defense strategy.
           The judge also warned that the plaintiffs would not be given "blanket access" to the huge trove of evidence being sent to Waco....
          But the judge issued an order Sept. 2, repeating his demand, ordering government lawyers to surrender all Davidian evidence by month's end or face an Oct. 1 contempt hearing.
        For whole story go to:

SEPTEMBER 15, 1999

          ...Justice Department officials confirmed that an assistant U.S. attorney who has publicly complained about the department's recent handling of the Branch Davidian case has been removed
from further participation in the case. Justice Department officials said the recusal involves not only Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Johnston of Waco but all prosecutors across the entire judicial district that stretches from Waco to San Antonio and includes Austin and much of Central Texas.
          ...Justice Department officials tried to characterize the move as relatively routine. But law enforcement officials expressed dismay. They noted that its timing was particularly troubling in the light of Mr. Johnston's recent efforts to help the Rangers answer questions about evidence directly challenging the government's account of what happened in Waco.
          "People were stunned by the order - shocked and amazed," one Texas law enforcement official said. Some congressional critics said they fear that the move may be an effort to silence Mr. Johnston....
          Mr. Johnston's boss, U.S. Attorney Bill Blagg of San Antonio, said in a prepared written statement Tuesday that he had asked for the removal of his entire office from the Branch Davidian case because so many of its prosecutors may be interviewed as part of new investigations into the incident.
          ...Department officials said Mr. Johnston will not be prohibited from speaking to outside investigators but must clear his contacts through Mr. Bradford and Justice officials. The recusals mean the office cannot represent the government in legal matters related to the Branch Davidians.
          ...The recusal raises questions whether the Justice Department lawyers preparing to defend the government in the wrongful-death case will also be removed, department officials said. The case is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 18, but court observers in Waco have said that recent skirmishes over control of evidence and other matters may force it to be delayed until early next year.
          Congressional investigators have formally investigated interviews with civil attorneys in the wrongful death case. They seek to determine whether the attorneys long knew and withheld evidence about the use of pyrotechnic tear gas at Waco. Mr. Johnston has already supplied documents under subpoena to congressional investigators....
        For the whole story go to:

       But will Johnston's own crimes be exposed??? Johnston helped draft the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms phony search warrant that became the basis of the Feb. 28, 1993, raid and ensuing 51-day siege.  Afterward, Johnston assisted in the 1994 criminal trial against eleven Branch Davidians.  Johnston has acted like a man of principle in complaining about the FBI's withholding evidence of pyrotechnics–but not until it was already national news.  He told one reporter: ``I did what I did based on the facts presented to me and what I thought I had to do...In August, the department continued to deny there were any issues.”

          Of course, documents discovered during the 1995 House Waco hearings revealed that Johnston shut down BATF's interview of agents after the raid because the interviews were producing “Brady material.”  That is, the interviews were producing evidence that BATF agents engaged in aggressive or illegal actions that might have caused a jury to find the Davidian defendants innocent by reason of self-defense.  Seven are currently serving a total of 235 years because of Johnston's actions.  This is illegal obstruction of justice, just as is the FBI's lying about the pyrotechnic devices.  Below is the relevant part of a document produced at the hearings that proves this. (It was displayed, and Johnston's name mentioned, in "Waco: The Rules of Engagement." 

SEPTEMBER 13, 1999
          For full story see articles at:
and at:
          For the actual Texas Rangers Report go to:

          A new Texas Rangers review of 12 tons of evidence from the Davidian siege was made public Sunday as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Austin American-Statesman. The report was sent Friday to Congress. In doing the inventory, Rangers "were determined to be particularly attentive to ‘controverted’ evidence . . . meaningful to some alleged misconduct or misrepresentation." The report revealed:
          ** a dozen .308-caliber sniper rifle shell casings and 24 Israeli-made .223-caliber casings recovered from a house used by FBI Sniper Lon Horiuchi on April 19, 1993 (and also used by ATF agents on February 28, 1993).  "We now have ballistics exams that can take a shell casing and determine exactly what gun it was fired from." said one Texas official.
          ** a 40-mm U.S. M651 military tear gas grenade capable of starting a fire.  (An FBI agent tried to convince the Texas Ranger who found it that it was just something the FBI used to try to knock down the door.)
          ** a Whitestar parachute flare that could have started a fire.
          ** two 40-mm "flash-bang" grenades, devices that emit a loud, concussive noise and a blinding flash; both appear to be German NICO flash-bang devices.  The Texas Rangers did not believe these could start a fire but investigator Michael McNulty and attorney David Hardy, whose efforts started the reinvestigation, disagreed.  (The FBI may have misidentified these as illegal firearms silencers that Davidians are now serving time for allegedly manufacturing.)
          Also, a recent government audit of military assistance during the standoff stated that the FBI's arsenal at Waco included 250 40-mm high-explosive rounds. Bureau officials have said they do not know why the rounds were obtained from Fort Hood, Texas, but they have said that none were used in Waco.
          Among the items found by Mike McNulty during his visits to the evidence lockers was a watch cap worn by Davidian Michael Schroder who was shot to death by ATF agents as he tried to approach Mount Carmel on Feb. 28. McNulty said the hat contains visible residues that should be tested to determine whether Mr. Schroeder was shot at close range and “finished off” after he was wounded from afar.

SEPTEMBER 12, 1999
Military forces' role in Waco challenged
Excerpted from article by Jennifer Autrey, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

          ...Recent revelations indicate that the Delta Force had a greater presence and a more active role in the final assault on the Branch Davidians than FBI officials have acknowledged. According to at least one account, the Delta Force was there not to advise, but to kill.
          Steven Barry, a retired Special Forces sergeant who sometimes trained members of the Delta Force, gave a sworn affidavit to plaintiffs' attorneys in a civil suit brought by families of dead Branch Davidians. The case is scheduled to go to trial in Waco on Oct. 18.
          In the affidavit, Barry quoted a friend in the Delta Force as saying the unit set up a tactical operations center during the siege that was staffed by 10 to 20 soldiers.
          Barry said another friend in the Delta Force told him that the unit's "B" Squadron had been ordered to "take down" Branch Davidians.  Barry said he understood from his experience in the Special Forces that "take down" meant to kill people identified as terrorists.
          Barry isn't alone in these allegations.
          Former CIA officer Gene Cullen has said in several recent interviews that he learned through casual conversations with Delta Force members that 10 of the unit's commandos were present during the April 19, 1993, assault and may have participated.
          Similarly, James B. Francis, commissioner of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said "it is clear" that members of the Delta Force were on the scene. Initial reports indicated that three members were present, but Francis said he is now being told that as many as 10 were there.
          ....Government attorneys have indicated in some court documents that as many as 10 "classified" military personnel were present, said Houston attorney Mike Caddell, who filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of about 100 people, mostly relatives of dead Branch Davidians.
          "We've been told that there were 10 military personnel, but they won't tell us who they were," he said.  Caddell said government attorneys were asked to answer questions in connection with the lawsuit. One of the questions asked for a list of all military personnel who were at Mount Carmel.  Government officials listed Army medical personnel, the Texas National Guard and 10 others whose identity they said is classified information, Caddell said....
For whole article go to:

SEPTEMBER 12, 1999

        The hardcore investigation of the goverment's crimes against the Branch Davidians won an "Outstanding Investigative Journalism" award.  According to one news story, "Interestingly, the Oscar-nominated documentary theatrical film ``Waco: The Rules of Engagement'' won in the area of investigative journalism. After its theatrical exhibition, HBO aired the documentary on TV.``Waco'' is slated for a limited theatrical re-release and HBO is considering rerunning the film."  danfothules of Engagement at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video or order direct at

SEPTEMBER 11, 1999
Coroner Would Welcome Waco Inquiry

          WACO, Texas (Associated Press) -- As an independent probe prepares to look into the government's role in the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff, a medical examiner says he'd like to look again into the deaths of sect members who died from gunshot wounds. ``There is a feeling that one should go back and reevaluate,'' said Dr. Nizam Peerwani, the Tarrant County medical examiner. ``The focus at the time was not whether the FBI was doing the shooting.''...
            Peerwani said he wants to reexamine the deaths of 23 Davidians who died of bullet wounds. It may be possible to determine whether they were shot by someone outside the  compound building, he told the Waco Tribune-Herald for  today's editions.
            Did the bullets go through an ``intermediary target, like a wall or door, before striking these people?'' he asked. ``We have sufficient photographs and other materials for us to review these issues. I have not started this, but I would certainly do so if asked by the proper authorities.''
            .... Justice of the Peace David Pareya, one of four McLennan County justices who ordered the autopsies, told the newspaper he has lingering questions about some of the deaths.  Pareya said he had no choice but to rule the cause of death for  many Davidians as unknown because the FBI would not supply him with the results of the ballistics tests. ``The thing that always stayed in my mind was if they were afraid some of the ordnance or ballistics could be matched up with their weaponry,'' Pareya said.
            Peerwani acknowledged there would be limits to what he could investigate. ``Obviously, I can say if a bullet went through an intermediary target and things like that. Beyond that, things have to stop,'' he said. ``Deciding who shot whom is absolutely part of a criminal investigation, and it falls outside the purview of a medical examiner's duties.''
            Lawyers in a wrongful-death suit against the federal government told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that they have been unable to fully explore the deaths of the Branch Davidians because many of their bodies liquefied when a cooler failed at the Tarrant County morgue.
AP-NY-09-11-99 0744EDT

SEPTEMBER 11, 1999
Excerpt from Hill Got Incomplete Report on Waco Gas/Justice Dept. Had Evidence of Use of Military Munition
Excerpts from story by Lorraine Adams and Richard Leiby/Washington Post

        The Justice Department had evidence at least four years ago that one or more potentially incendiary tear gas rounds were fired during the 1993 Waco siege, but did not provide the evidence to congressional investigators. A 49-page FBI lab report, produced in December 1993, listed evidence from the site of the standoff and cited on its final page a "fired U.S. military 40mm shell casing which originally contained a CS tear gas round." When the Justice Department provided the report to a House panel investigating the Waco tragedy in the summer of 1995, the final page was missing, according to an internal Justice memo dated Sept. 2.
        ...The Justice Department has repeatedly stressed that it had no knowledge of the rounds, and expressed concern that the FBI had not turned over evidence pointing to their use sooner.
        ....Justice Department spokesman Myron Marlin said: "All I can say is whether it was an administrative error or not is something Senator Danforth could look into. But we understand the entire document including the 49th page was sent to at least one plaintiff's attorney and defense counsel in the criminal case." The criminal case against surviving Branch Davidians took place in 1994. A wrongful death suit brought against federal agencies by relatives of the dead is scheduled for trial next month.
        Danforth, reached late Friday, said he could not comment. "It would create a real problem of objectivity if I were to comment on that memo," he said. "We haven't really begun the substance of the investigation so until we do I'm going to make it an objective investigation rather than commenting piecemeal on what may develop."
        For whole story go to:
Also see story at:

Won't Investigate BATF Firing from Helicopters, Murder of Davidians 2-28-99
Excerpted from Associated Press and Washington Post stories below.

         Former Republican Sen. John Danforth accepted Attorney General Janet Reno's appointment as Special Counsel to head an independent inquiry Thursday into whether the FBI started the April 19, 1993 fire that killed 76 Branch Davidians and later tried to cover its actions. He pledged a thorough inquiry that could include questioning of Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh.
         At a news conference in the Justice Department, Danforth said the country can survive bad judgment (i.e., the February 28 BATF attack and the April 19 tank attack), ``but the thing that really undermines the integrity of government is whether there were bad acts, whether there was a cover-up and whether the government killed people.'' He also said, he will focus on facts and actions, rather than second-guessing decisions made in 1993. "What we're going to be looking at is whether there were bad acts, not whether there was bad judgment," Danforth said. "And I want that understood." (IS HE TELLING AGENTS THAT IF THEY COP TO "BAD JUDGEMENT" HE'LL LET THEM GET AWAY WITH MURDER????  Wonder if Bill Clinton has Danforth's FBI file....C.M.)
         ``I think my job is to answer the dark questions,'' Danforth said. ``How did the fire start? Were there shootings?' "That's the question of the cause of the fire, whether there was shooting and so forth. And those are the two big questions, and those are the questions that we will be examining in this investigation."
         He said his inquiry would include whether false statements were made to Congress and the Justice Department. He said he hoped to get voluntary cooperation for what will start as an administrative, not a criminal, inquiry.
         Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Congress should not defer to the executive branch in delving into Waco because ``after all, Congress was misled by the executive branch.''  The Senate and House intend to do their own investigations, including of BATF actions on February 28, 1993.
For full story go to: or
For graphics of FBI pyrotechnics go to:

DPS chief calls find important, questions use
Excerpts from article by Lee Hancock/The Dallas Morning News

         Expended military illumination flares fired by U.S. government personnel have been discovered in the tons of evidence recovered from the Branch Davidian compound, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety said Tuesday night.  Texas Rangers searching a Waco storage facility Friday for missing pyrotechnic tear-gas grenades discovered one of the military devices, a star parachute flare. Evidence logs indicate that more of the flares were recovered in the weeks after the compound burned following an FBI siege and tear-gas assault April 9, 1993, said James B. Francis Jr. of Dallas.
        "These flares are potentially a very important issue, inasmuch as the government had enormous spotlights trained on the compound throughout the standoff," Mr. Francis told The Dallas Morning News.
        "They didn't need these flares to light the compound. One or more was fired. For what purpose or reason would these rounds be used?" he said.  "I can't tell you whether they were [shot by] the military or FBI, but certainly, they were fired by government officials."
        FBI spokesman John Collingwood said he could not flatly rule out FBI use of illumination rounds at Waco. "Several times during the standoff they had  people sneaking in or out of the compound at night. Whether they ever  used them then, I don't know," he said. "But I can say categorically, we did not use illumination rounds on the 19th."...
        With the discovery of the spent illumination round, Texas law enforcement officials said they are concerned about what else may be found in the 24,000 pounds of evidence recovered after the compound burned....  "There is a big semiwarehouse of spent munitions that has not been investigated," one Texas official said. "Nobody knew what they were looking for before now. Nobody was hunting for incendiary devices."
        Illumination rounds have been controversial in past high-profile FBI cases. They were used by FBI teams to burn the hideout of white supremacist  Robert Mathews after he shot and wounded one FBI agent and engaged in a gunbattle with others in 1984. Mr. Mathews died in the blaze.
For the full story go to:

Government asks judge to bar plaintiffs' expert witnesses in Davidian trial
Excerpted from article by Mark England and Tommy Witherspoon/Waco Tribune-Herald

        The federal government Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Walter S.  Smith Jr. of Waco to bar all the plaintiffs' expert witnesses from testifying  at next month's Branch Davidian civil trial or grant both sides a continuance.   Government attorney Marie Louise Hagen, who signed the U.S. Department of Justice motion, argued that plaintiffs' attorneys have turned over scant information on the qualifications of their expert witnesses as well as the nature of their testimony.
        ... Attorney Mike Caddell of Houston, who represents several plaintiffs, said the government only has itself to blame for the incomplete reports on expert witnesses.  "I find it a little disingenuous for the government to complain about not having complete reports from our experts when they've stonewalled us for six years and refused to allow us to see the evidence in this case," Caddell said. "If they had given us access as they should have, we would have had our expert reports completed a long time ago."  An Oct. 18 trial date is set for the lawsuit filed against the government by surviving Branch Davidians and relatives of those who died during the 1993  standoff.
    ...The government isn't the only one seeking a continuance. Caddell himself  filed for one a few weeks ago.  "I think it's appropriate to have a short continuance," Caddell said...."I think a short continuance would be fair to both sides. It would  let us see the evidence and prepare our experts' reports. It would let them get their experts ready."
Caddell said he will file another motion today asking for a status conference to be held between Smith and the parties in the lawsuit. He  wants to discuss if it's realistic to go to trial next month, Caddell said, and when the plaintiffs can see the evidence — now technically in Smith's custody.
    See rest of  story at:

Excerpted from combined dispatches Sept. 5

          Women and children among the 80 dead in the FBI siege at Waco, Texas in 1993, faced the choice of being burned alive in an inferno or shot to death by FBI agents blocking their escape, critics of the siege alleged Sunday.
          Michael McNulty, producer of a new film on the siegeof the Branch Davidian compound, told "Fox New Sunday" talk show he had evidence that FBI sharpshooters were blocking the only exit from the burning building.  He said he had footage of "individuals at the back of the building engaged in a gunfight" who were blocking the only escape route unmolested by tanks.
           In his new film -- "Waco: A New Revelation" -- Mr. McNulty said he obtained infrared film, taken by an FBI surveillance aircraft at about 9,000 feet, that indicates the Army's secretive Delta Force and FBI agents fired at least 60 rounds into sect leader David Koresh's compound 51 days after the siege started.  A tank is seen driving up to the compound and two figures rolling out. Three quick flashes follow.  Several other light bursts, all in quick succession, are shown   further away from the Davidians' building. Heat signatures picked up by the camera also indicate that Davidians are shooting back, Mr. McNulty said. The clips will appear in his new film, due out later this  month.
           "I think by the end of the day there is a good chance that (the) FBI was getting desperate," said David Hardy, an Arizona attorney investigating the siege.  "They had exceeded the orders that they had been given by the attorney general. No one had come out of the building yet. They were going to look like the laughing stocks of the world. And I think there is a good chance that some people decided to add a few pyrotechnic projectiles into the building to see if fire wouldn't move them out when tear gas had failed."
          Republican Dan Burton, chairman of the Government Reform Committee of the House of Representatives, was among legislators demanding an inquiry.  Asked whether he no doubted that the fire had been set by Koresh himself, as investigators had reported, he told CBS's "Face the Nation": "That's a question that needs to be answered.  I think everyone has to question what went on down there." .
           Asa Hutchinson, a Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said no evidence existed to suggest that anyone other than Koresh set the fire. "But that is the ultimate fact-finding mission and we have to reaffirm the previous findings," he told CBS.
          Senator Orrin Hatch, on NBC's "Meet the Press" and CNN's "Late Edition," said the Justice Department, which has authority over the FBI, is "in a shambles" because of poor management.  Said Sen. Phil Gramm, Texas Republican: "There's a long  series of cases where the attorney general seems to be always the last person to know."
For full story go to:
For a 9-2-99 New York Times article about McNulty and Hardy, Search "David Hardy" at:

Excerpted from article by Philip Shenon/New York Times

          WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon's elite Special Operations Command sent observers to the siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Texas more than a month before the final assault on the compound, suggesting that military commandos had a far longer and closer involvement in the disastrous 1993 operation than previously divulged, according to declassified Government documents.
          The documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act also show for the first time that officials at the highest levels of the Defense Department, including Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were briefed by the Special Operations Command about the events near Waco.
           The command, which is based at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, oversees the military's most secretive commando squads, including the  Army's Delta Force and the Navy Seals, and the documents suggest that  the command was monitoring the situation virtually from the start of the  51-day siege. The command's spokesmen did not return calls for comment on the documents. ...
           The heavily censored documents do not show that the military took an active part in the siege and F.B.I. officials have long acknowledged that the military assisted the law enforcement agency. Today, John Collingwood, an F.B.I. spokesman said "The Department of Defense played no operational role at Waco."
           A report issued last month by the General Accounting Office, the  accounting arm of Congress, which examined the military's role in Waco,  did not contradict the F.B.I. account, but did find that the military had  provided about $1 million in equipment, supplies and electronic surveillance gear to the F.B.I. and the A.T.F., which had launched an  ill-fated arrest raid on the compound in February 1993....
For full story go to:

Excerpted from article by Edward Walsh and Richard Leiby/Washington Post

          The FBI yesterday released a second infrared videotape confirming the use of potentially incendiary military tear gas cartridges during the early stages of the 1993 assault on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex., as Attorney General Janet Reno said she remained convinced that the fire that later engulfed the compound where about 75 people died was started by the Branch Davidians.  (FOR SIX YEARS THE FBI DENIED THESE TAPES EVEN EXISTED!!  C.M.)...
          The grainy, black-and-white videotape, shot from a surveillance aircraftthrough wispy clouds that sometimes obscured the ground, also recorded ground radio traffic among FBI agents. In an earlier portion of the tape that was released Thursday, Richard M. Rogers, the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team, can be heard authorizing the use of a military tear gas cartridge in an attempt to penetrate the entrance to an underground storm shelter that was about 50 yards from the main compound structure.
          Rogers gave his authorization at 7:48 a.m. In the later portion of the tape that was released yesterday, the operator of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle designated "Charlie 1" reported to Rogers at 8:08 a.m. that the attempt had failed.
          "Yeah, the military gas did not penetrate that bunker where the bus was," the operator told Rogers. "It bounced off." Later in the recorded conversation, the operator of another Bradley vehicle designated "Echo 1" made suggestions on how "Charlie 1" could reposition itself to get a better shot at the target. But the outcome of later attempts to penetrate the shelter using military tear gas cartridges was not recorded on videotape. According to the FBI, at 8:24 a.m. the audio portion of the videotape was disconnected at the request of the aircraft's pilot....
For full story go to:

Excerpts from article by Scott Parks/The Dallas Morning News, with added material.

          Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general, who is the attorney for some of the Davidian survivors and family in the civil suits against the federal government petitioned the U.S. Court of Civil Appeals to direct District Judge Walter Smith of Waco to reassign the case to another district judge.  He also asked the appeals court to order Judge Smith to vacate his order setting the trial for Oct. 18.   (Davidian attorneys have long held that Smith, who sentenced nine Davidians to more than 240 years in prison–despite a jury which largely felt they should receive time served.  Smith dismissed the survivors and families represented by Clark because he alleged attorneys working with Clark had not filed certain paper work on time.  Clark is also appealing that decision.)
          Also Clark and his co-counsels have argued that they have not been able to review the mountain of evidence in government custody and that it would be unfair to start the trial on Oct. 18.  (Attorneys also have to take depositions from as many as two hundred agents and officials. Smith took four years to decide he would allow the civil suits to go forward; he gave the attorneys only four months to prepare.)
For full story go to:

Judge acts to let Rangers look for tear-gas shell
Excepts from article By Lee Hancock/The Dallas Morning News

           A federal judge was forced to intervene Friday after the federal Bureau of  Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tried to block Texas Rangers from searching a Waco storage facility for evidence that pyrotechnic devices  were fired at the Branch Davidian complex...
           This summer, the Rangers began an inquiry to try to resolve questions about unidentified shell casings and projectiles in their evidence lockers.
           They have identified one of the shell casings as part of an M-651 military  CS tear-gas round fired by the FBI on April 19. They have not located a  spent M-651 round that was photographed in 1993 by investigators at the Branch Davidian compound...
           On Friday, the Rangers traveled to Waco to try to find the device in a  large storage locker containing evidence recovered from the compound  that was not considered relevant to the criminal investigation or trial.
           Law-enforcement officials in Texas said the Rangers were allowed to search boxes of wreckage from the compound only after U.S. District Judge Walter Smith was called.
           Before that call, the officials said, agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assigned to maintain custody of that evidence trove told the Rangers that their lawyers in Washington had ordered them to deny the Rangers entry.
           "We managed to resolve it by taking it to the judge, but this is just an indication of how strange things have gotten," said one official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
           An ATF spokesman in Washington declined to comment Friday. And Texas officials said they did not find the missing round at the storage locker.

TwoDays After Blaze, Information on Grenades Was Withheld or Overlooked
Excerpts from article by Richard Leiby/Washington Post

          On April 19, 1993, before the embers of the Branch Davidian compound had cooled and many of the corpses could be recovered, FBI commanders delivered a version of the tragedy from which the nation's top law enforcement agencies would not waver for six years: The FBI never used devices that could have ignited the blaze....
          Now, investigators are asking two key questions: Who within the FBI knew pyrotechnic tear gas grenades were used on April 19? And why did they remain silent nine days later when Attorney General Janet Reno testified before the House Judiciary Committee that, based on the FBI and Army briefings she'd received, "it was my understanding that the tear gas produced no risk of fire."
          A review by The Post of thousands of pages of public records related to the Waco siege shows that information about the use of the pyrotechnic tear gas grenades was either withheld from investigators or overlooked as early as April 21, 1993, when scores of FBI agents were initially interviewed by bureau inspectors for routine reports compiled after incidents.
          One such document--an FBI Form 302--obtained by The Post, is the account of FBI supervisor Richard M. Rogers, who was in charge of the 50-member FBI hostage rescue team at Waco. Rogers issued orders at the scene in consultation with the FBI special agent in charge, Jeffrey Jamar.
          Rogers's Form 302 mentions the two nonflammable forms of tear gas deployed that day. He specifically noted the use of 40mm "ferret" rounds--football-size plastic shells fired from M-79 grenade launchers--which, as he said, are "nonburning" and "produce no heat." But the six-page narrative makes no mention of the use of pyrotechnic rounds....
          According to a transcript released yesterday by the FBI, Rogers authorized the firing of the pyrotechnic rounds. At the time, according to the FBI, agents were attempting to penetrate the storm shelter, which an arson report says was "partially roofed with plywood covered with tar paper."
For full story go to: 

Excerpt from Associated Press article by Michelle Mittelstadt

        Federal marshals were dispatched Wednesday to the FBI's headquarters to impound previously undisclosed evidence in the 1993 assault by federal agents on the Branch Davidian['s home]...The marshals took custody of infrared tapes recorded during the early morning of April 19 when incendiary tear gas canisters were lobbed at a concrete bunker adjacent to the Davidians' [home]...
        Justice Department officials dispatched the marshals to the FBI building less than a block away after the FBI informed them it had uncovered in its files additional information about the tear           gas.
        Department sources said Attorney General Janet Reno and her top aides were angered at the latest turn of events....That belated admission prompted a furor on Capitol Hill....It appeared increasingly likely Wednesday that Reno will order an independent inquiry, sidestepping the investigative resources
of the FBI...The House Judiciary Committee is drafting legislation to establish a congressional commission to investigate the matter...AP-NY-09-01-99 2142EDT

AUGUST 31, 1999
Subpoenas issued probing military's role in Waco siege
Excerpt from article by Jerry Seper/The Washington Times

          The House Reform committee yesterday issued subpoenas in an  expanding investigation of the 1993 assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. Investigators are focusing again on the role federal agents and U.S. military units took in the raid....Investigators want additional information on training sessions ATF agents requested and received from U.S. Special Forces soldiers in the weeks leading up to the February raid.   Capitol Hill sources say investigators want information about the suspected misuse of a Texas National Guard helicopter as a diversion during an earlier failed arrest attempt Feb. 28, 1993 -- during which four ATF agents were killed.
          "Since the initial disclosure by the FBI that information it held for six years was false concerning the use of  incendiary devices, the committee has many new questions for others who also were involved in this tragic mess," said one Hill source. "Maybe other things are not as they were portrayed."
          ....The committee chairman, Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican, has said it is "important" for the public to know  why information on the Waco operation is just now coming to
          For the February raid, the National Guard provided three helicopters and 10 personnel, although Guard officials were not aware until less than 24 hours before the actual raid itself that
 the helicopters were not to be used as a command and control platform as believed, but as aerial diversions.
          House investigators have targeted the assignment of a National Guard soldier to hang from a "monkey sling" outside the helicopter to film the assault. The soldier was outside the
 helicopter when it took incoming fire, although he was not hit. The sources said the committee wants to know how the  request for military assistance was handled and will investigate whether that assistance would have been available if the accusations of drug use had not been made.
          Full article was published at, but is not currently available  at: Http://

AUGUST 31, 1999
To Make Amends for Waco, Pardon the Branch Davidians
By Alan A. Stone, professor of law and psychiatry at Harvard University.
Excerpts from the Wall Street Journal, August 31, 1999

        In the wake of the conflagration at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, the Justice Department assembled a panel of 10 experts in religion, law enforcement, counterterrorism and psychiatry to make recommendations about how to deal with future Wacos. At our first meeting, on July 1,1993, we discovered that Justice had no intention of telling us what had actually happened during the first raid, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the subsequent FBI siege and the final tank/gas assault that sparked the inferno in which some 75 people died, among them at least 20 children. The Justice Department's investigation was still under way, and the panelists were told that questions about what actually happened were out of order.
        Justice officials did tell us they had convincing evidence that the Branch Davidians had killed themselves, and they expected the panel to make that the premise of our report. The other panelists accepted the Justice Department's rules. I could not. As a physician, I felt I was being asked to render a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment without being allowed to take a history or examine the patient. I kept asking questions; the Justice Department kept refusing to answer....
         It was obvious then, as it is today, that the Justice Department never carried out the thorough investigation the American people were promised. Six years after Waco and four years after Oklahoma City, Americans are still learning about lying, overreacting, bad judgement, lawbreaking and more...
        It is said that the search for justice and the search for truth eventually reach the same destination. Perhaps as the Waco survivors and their families pursue their civil suit against the government, the Branch Davidians will at least get a bit of justice and the American people will learn the truth. But there is one truth that should be obvious by now; the Branch Davidians were more victims than culprits. They are certainly not common criminals, as President Clinton once characterized them.
        Seven Branch Davidians who survived the final conflagration were charged with violent crimes and are still serving long sentences in federal prisons. Mr. Clinton should pardon them. By now he must realize both that the government made reckless mistakes at Waco and that those federal prisoners were motivated by deeply held religious convictions. Pardoning them would have no political value; it may even have substantial political costs. But Mr. Clinton should do it--with Ms. Reno's encouragement. I believe in their hearts they both know it is the right thing to do.

AUGUST 30, 1999

       Davidian fire survivor David Thibodeau, whose new book A Place Called Waco will be released shortly, appeared in a lengthy interview on NBC's morning "Today" show.  He described the Davidians' terror on April 19, 1993, as well as a number of other FBI lies which already have been exposed.  Thibodeau said he believed the FBI brought and used more than just two pyrotechnic devices on April 19th.  "If they had a toy, they were going to use it," he said, describing some of the other abuses FBI agents visited on Davidians during the 51 day siege.

AUGUST 29, 1999
Caddell on ABC, McNulty on Evans and Drudge Say:

        Michael Caddell of Caddell & Conwell, civil suit attorneys for Branch Davidian survivors and families, appeared on ABC's Sunday Morning Show "This Week."  He heatedly contested the FBI's 1993 spokesman--Bob Rick's--contention that pyrotechnic devices only were shot at the tornado shelter, and that six hours before the fire started.   As transcribed by this writer, Caddell replied, "The evidence shows that there were several other pyrotechnic devices found in the evidence lockers at the DPS (Texas Rangers) that were found by the DPS at the location where the fire began."  Ricks alleged that the Davidians collected them during the BATF attack.  Caddell countered, "The FBI's explanation for that is 'mere coincidence. These were used by the ATF 51 days earlier.  And it just happened to be that they were scattered around Mount Carmel in the precise locations where the fires were started.'  Is that credible? I don't think so."  Ricks was furious.
        On the same day, documentary film producer Mike McNulty appeared on "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields."  According to a rough transcript circulated on the Internet, McNulty told Evans: "Well, the Justice Department's and the FBI's spin on all of this is very interesting because, frankly, we only knew about one CS gas grenade, we didn't know about two, so that's a new revelation on their part. But the bottom line is the two CS gas canisters that they're referring to in all likelihood had nothing to do with the fire, and that's a true statement."
        "However, what they're not talking about is the pyrotechnic devices that were found at the points of origins of the fire in the rubble of the building after the fire. What they're not talking about is the other types of 40-millimeter munitions that were also found in the aftermath of the fire that definitely were pyrotechnic and possibly more than that."  Matt Drudge's August 29th report mentioned similar revelations by McNulty during this appearance on Drudge's Fox News show.

AUGUST 28, 1999

        The Washington Times is reporting (in a front page story with no current link) that unidentified Pentagon sources are questioning the credibility of former CIA Gene Cullen for his account below. He said Cullen was not a spy but worked in "personal security detail."  Nevertheless, the allegations raised the Pentagon's interest enough that it is doing its own investigation.
Delta Force had active role in raid, ex-CIA  officer told; Pentagon won't discuss Army commando unit
8/27/99 By Lee Hancock / The Dallas Morning News
       Former CIA officer Gene Cullen told The Dallas Morning News that he learned from Delta Force commandos that 10 members of the secret Army unit were "present, up front  and close" in helping the FBI in the final tear-gas assault on the Branch Davidian's home.  He said he heard the detailed accounts from "three or four" anti-terrorist Delta commandos as he worked with them on an overseas assignment in 1993.   "Whether it's the macho-bravo-type talk of guys in the field, I don't know," he told the reporter.  Delta  operators told him that the unit "had 10 operators down there, that they  were involved in the advanced forward stages of [the FBI's April 19] operations...When they explained to me the depth to which they were involved down  in Waco, I was quite surprised. They said basically they were out there in  the vehicles, the Bradley [fighting vehicles], the CEV [tanks]...They were active."  For full story go to:

AUGUST 26, 1999

       On Monday, August 23rd Danny Coulson, a former deputy director of the agency, told The Dallas Morning News that potentially flammable ("pyrotechic") tear gas grenades were fired into an "underground structure" (the tornado shelter Davidians were building) near the Mount Carmel building on April 19, 1993.  He claimed they were fired at 6:00 am; the fire that consumed the building started around noon. See:
        On Tuesday, August 24th Justice Department spokesman Myron Marlin told reporters, "We're aware of the reports and we're trying to get to the bottom of it as quickly as we can.''  Early on Wednesday, the 25th, an anonymous official confirmed Coulson's account.  Until now, the FBI had maintained it used only nonflammable "ferret rounds" to insert CS gas into the building because of fears that pyrotechnic grenades might spark a fire in the wooden structure. The anonymous official explained: "Maybe this didn't come up because it was 6 in the morning -- six hours before the compound burned, and maybe it didn't come up because they were fired away from the wooden main building which later burned.''   However, as you will read below, the pyrotechnic devices were found not only outside the tornado shelter, but inside and near the building.  See:
        Finally, on Thursday, August 26th Janet Reno told the press: "Prior to April 19th, 1993, I received assurances that the gas and its means of use were not pyrotechnic. . .Since then, I have consistently been told that no pyrotechnic devices were used. I will continue to pursue this matter to get to the truth. That is why Director Freeh and I have ordered a full review of all the facts concerning this matter. I intend the results of the review to be made public and I will not stop till I get to the bottom of this." For story see:
         In addition, the chairman of the Texas Department of Public Safety (Texas Rangers) said that federal  authorities also need to investigate and explain why members of the U.S. Army's secret Delta Force anti-terrorist unit were present the day the compound burned.   "Everyone involved knows they were there. If there is an issue, it was what  was their role at the time," said James B. Francis Jr. of Dallas. "Some of the evidence that I have reviewed and been made aware of is very  problematical as to the role of Delta Force at the siege."
        And House Government Reform Committee Chair Dan Burton, R-Ind. announced that his committee
 investigators had already begun an inquiry.   "I'm deeply concerned by these inconsistencies..."This new information requires a thorough investigation of whether the Justice Department has misled the American people and the Congress about what happened at Waco."  For more details see:
        The issue of whether the FBI used pyrotechnic devices has been a major focus of an ongoing inquiry by film maker Mike McNulty and a key allegation in the wrongful-death lawsuit against the government by surviving Davidians and families of victims.  As early as January, 1994 at the trial of Branch Davidian survivors a Texas Ranger admitted that the Government's Exhibit 845 was "a spent destruction device or commonly called a  "flash-bang device..."  See page 837 of the trial transcripts found at:
        On August 26th I spoke with Mike McNulty who confirmed that two M561 flash-bangs were found outside of the tornado shelter, as the FBI claims.  However, he claims that his research--which is still incomplete thanks to FBI stonewalling--suggests several more pyrotechnic devices were found inside the ruins of the building. Some of these the FBI originally claimed were either homemade "silencers" or gun parts.  Several of these were found near places where the government claims fires started independently:  the southwest corner, near the front door, the kitchen are and the chapel.  He also stated that the Davidians found two flash-bangs left by BATF on February 28th and turned one over to the FBI through their attorney Dick DeGuerin, keeping the other as evidence in the building.  (The FBI may emphasize this fact or try to claim that any other flash-bangs found were casings of ones the FBI threw at anyone who tried to leave without permission during the siege and that Davidians later sneaked them into building.)  McNulty's new movie "Waco: A New Revelation"--the research for which triggered these newest revelations--will be in theaters and on sale in video form soon.
         For more information about the fire check out Chapter 11 of my book The Davidian Massacre
"FBI Tank Attacks Led to Fire and Death":
In the book I argue it is most likely the fire started accidently when the last tank entrance knocked over a lamp, and that wind quickly spread the fire through the firetrap of a building; there is infrared video evidence that an FBI tank might have shot a flash-bang into the gymnasium after the first fire started.  However, this new evidence, and the FBI's new admissions makes me wonder -- and has been a wakeup call to millions of Americans.  This morning I was on the Mike Gallagher radio show.  He is a former defender of the FBI who is now livid that they have proven to be liars.  It will be interesting to see if the FBI manages to wriggle out of this one...and whether this new investigation will finally look into the substantive evidence the FBI shot from helicopters and killed four people on February 28, 1993.  Go back to my Davidian Massacre homepage for more information on this and other topics.

AUGUST 10, 1999

        In a sweeping order, U.S. District Judge Walter Smith told federal authorities to surrender to the federal clerk in Waco everything "in any way relevant to the events occurring at Mount Carmel," the Davidian compound besieged by federal authorities from Feb. 28 to April l9, 1993.
        "It is important for two reasons that the materials be maintained and safeguarded. First and foremost, the parties to civil litigation pending in this court have a right to seek access," Judge Smith wrote. "Second, the events that took place between Feb. 28 and April 19, 1993, and thereafter, have resulted in sometimes intense interest from the national media and members of the public." . . .
        Michael Caddell of Houston, one of the lead lawyers representing the Branch Davidians, praised the judge's order as a first step toward full disclosure of the government's actions. "I do think that for the American people to feel that justice has been done in this case, it's important that they feel there has been complete disclosure," he said. "That has not happened. There's been a complete stonewall by the government.
        "I don't think that people realize this lawsuit was filed five years ago and the government hasn't filed an answer yet. They have tied this up with procedural gimickry. ... When you play games and obfuscate, people think you must have something to hide."
       A spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department declined to comment Monday, saying the agency's lawyers had not had time to review the judge's order. But a law-enforcement official involved in the case said the judge's decision forces the  government to hand over a massive array of information on one of the most controversial federal actions in recent history.
        "The Justice Department's going to have a fit," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. "This is an unfathomable amount of material."
    For full article go to:

AUGUST 2, 1999

        The hardcore investigation of the goverment's crimes against the Branch Davidians was just nominated for an "Outstanding Investigative Journalism" awards.  Amy Sommer Gifford, Executive Producer; Dan Gifford, Executive Producer; Sheila Nevins, Executive Producer; Nancy Abraham, Producer; William Gazecki, Producer; Michael McNulty, Producer. Awards ceremony will be September 8th in New York and broadcast nationally.  Rent Waco: The Rules of Engagement at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video or order direct at

For Waco News Continued, January to July, 1999, click here.
For Waco News and Updates from 1994 to 1998, click here.