Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians/Dissenting Views

DISSENTING VIEWS OF HON. CARDISS COLLINS, HON. KAREN L. THURMAN, HON. HENRY A. WAXMAN, HON. TOM LANTOS, HON. ROBERT E. WISE, JR., HON. MAJOR R. OWENS, HON. EDOLPHUS TOWNS, HON. LOUISE M. SLAUGHTER, HON. PAUL E. KANJORSKI, HON. CAROLYN B. MALONEY, HON. THOMAS M. BARRETT, HON. BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, HON. JAMES P. MORAN, HON. CARRIE P. MEEK, HON. CHAKA FATTAH, AND HON. ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS

The text of the majority report entitled "Investigation into the Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Toward the Branch Davidians" is based on 10 days of hearings (July 19-August 2, 1995) jointly held by the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight's Subcommittee on National Security, Criminal Justice, and International Affairs and the Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime. During those hearings, the committees heard testimony from over 90 witnesses and viewed voluminous photographic, video and documentary exhibits concerning the events at Waco.

Throughout those hearings, the minority repeatedly insisted that no new facts or evidence emerged as a result of this extensive investigation. The majority report proves that basic point.

The text of the report agrees with recommendations and positions taken as a result of the 1993 Department of Justice and the 1993 Department of the Treasury investigations of the Waco incident. The report agrees that the tragedy at Waco would not have occurred but for the criminal conduct and aberrational behavior of David Koresh. The report also confirms a number of other important points emphasized by the minority during the hearings: that there was probable cause to issue warrants to search the premises and arrest David Koresh; that the military assistance received by ATF did not violate Posse Comitatus; that planning and intelligence operations prior to the raid were inadequate; that the Branch Davidians started the fire on April 19, 1993; that Koresh and his followers had ample time to leave the compound after the fire started; and that the amount of tear gas the FBI used was far below the quantities that would have been required to cause injury or death. These are not new discoveries revealed as a result of the majority's investigation, but previously known findings which the majority has finally accepted.

While we accept those findings in the majority report that are largely duplicative of the recommendations contained in previous Department of Treasury and Department of Justice investigations, we reject the false assumptions and unfounded allegations raised by the majority's report. The report is fundamentally flawed in a number of important areas. In an effort to correct those flaws and provide clarity to facts obfuscated by the majority report, we in the minority file these Dissenting Views to address basic factual errors, resolve internal contradictions, meliorate certain deficiencies and express our disagreement with certain original recommendations made by the majority report. Additionally, we wish to express strong disagreement with the majority's unfair criticism of Treasury Secretary Bentsen and their call for the resignation of Attorney General Reno.

The majority report suffers from several deficiencies. First, the findings reached are not supported by the hearing record or other evidence. The text of the report states that the Davidians started the fire, however the findings conclude that the evidence is not dispositive on the question of who started the fire.

Second, the report is internally inconsistent. For example, while critical of the FBI for failing to consult those outside of its control during the negotiations, it then commends the FBI for allowing lawyers representing the Davidians to enter the compound and conduct several hours of discussions with their clients. Clearly, these attorneys were not controlled or directed by the FBI. Their efforts to end the standoff were discussed by the majority report.

Third, the report omits important evidence from the hearings. At no point does the report discuss the allegations of child physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by David Koresh. Additionally, the report fails to mention the riveting testimony of Kiri Jewell who testified at the hearings concerning Koresh' sexual molestation of her when she was 10 years old. Instead the report dismisses the criminal conduct of David Koresh by summarily stating the Koresh was not subject to congressional oversight.

Fourth, the report reflects a willingness to believe Koresh over Federal law enforcement officers and personnel. For instance, the report asserts that Koresh's lawyers negotiated a credible surrender agreement. However, Federal law enforcement personnel on the advice of psychiatric and linguistic experts determined that the "agreement" was a continuation of prior manipulative stalling tactics. The report ignores no fewer than four prior instances in which Koresh reneged on promises that he and his followers would leave the compound. Moreover, the report ignores that Koresh did not state a time certain for surrender and had not allowed anyone to leave the compound for 3 weeks prior to the "agreement" or 5 days following the agreement.

The majority report criticizes Secretary Bentsen for failing to take an active role in preraid planning but ignores testimony and evidence presented at the hearing which conclusively showed that under the structure that existed at the time, the ATF exercised independence in planning and implementation of enforcement actions. This structure existed under several administrations. Secretary Bentsen's post-Waco order changed the structure to require additional oversight by main Treasury.

Additionally, the majority report calls for Attorney General Janet Reno's resignation because of her decision to allow the insertion of CS tear gas. Attorney General Reno stated during the hearings that the decision to use tear gas was a difficult one but all those consulted who had personal knowledge or professional expertise agreed that the use of tear gas was the only way to compel the Branch Davidians to leave the compound without use of force or loss of life. Evidence and testimony during the hearing clearly indicated that the CS tear gas was not direct, or proximate cause of the ignition or acceleration of the fire. Evidence conclusively found that the Branch Davidians started the fire. Therefore, the deaths of the Davidians who remained in the compound should not be laid at Attorney General Reno's feet. This finding of the majority squarely contradicts their finding that Koresh was the author of the events at Waco.

I. Committee Procedural IssuesEdit

During and following the Waco Hearings, certain procedural issues arose which need to be addressed and remedied by the majority of this committee.

Prior to the hearings, the majority conducted a series of interviews in Waco, TX. Apparently, these interviews involved surviving members of the Branch Davidians and other residents of Waco. The minority was not informed of these interviews, invited to participate or allowed to review interview notes. The minority first learned of these interviews from the majority report. During this pre-hearing phase, the minority was not allowed to participate in the formation of the document request to the Federal agencies involved. Moreover, contrary to the implications in the majority report, the majority of this committee did not willingly grant the witness requests of the minority. In fact, our early witness requests were summarily rebuffed. The minority of this committee was only able to obtain witnesses by working with the minority staff of the Judiciary Committee.

During the hearing, at least two witnesses acknowledged under oath, that they were contacted by representatives of an outside interest group prior to their appearance before the panel. One witness testified that in at least one instance, an employee of the interest group identified herself as a congressional staffer. We believe that this raises serious questions of witness tampering by an outside group with congressional proceedings. During the hearings, we requested that the majority investigate whether this outside group was operating with the knowledge or at the behest of the majority staff. To date, the majority has refused further investigation of these instances of improper witness tampering.

After the hearings, these practices of exclusion continued. At the conclusion of the hearings, the majority conducted extensive investigations and interviews without the knowledge or participation of the minority. This fact did not come to light until the release of the report.

Finally, one year after the hearings nothing had changed. On July 11, 1996, the majority released a summary of this report to the press. This press summary was substantially similar if not identical to the executive summary contained in the report and contained all recommendations made by the majority report. On July 12, 1996, Members and staff of the minority obtained a copy of the report.

This pattern of exclusion of the minority members of this committee from the production of something that purports to be a committee document should not be allowed. This practice is a serious departure from prior practice and from the respect that members of this committee have held for each other in the past. It serves as dangerous precedent that should not continue.

II. Factual BackgroundEdit

On February 28, 1993 agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) attempted to serve an arrest warrant on David Koresh and a search warrant on the Branch Davidian compound outside of Waco, TX. While executing these lawful warrants, the agents were met with a hale of gunfire. ATF agents Conway C. LeBleu, Todd W. McKeehan, Robert J. Williams and Steven D. Willis died as a result of gunshot wounds inflicted during the ambush. In addition to those agents who were killed, 20 ATF agents were wounded by hostile fire emanating from the compound. After negotiating a cease fire with the Branch Davidians, the agents were allowed to remove the bodies of their fallen comrades.

Within hours of the initial shooting, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms requested assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Hostage Rescue Team. The FBI arrived on the scene of the shooting within 24 hours. A 51-day standoff between Federal law enforcement agents and the Branch Davidians led by David Koresh followed. Between the time of their arrival and the tragic conclusion of the events, the FBI conducted several hundred hours of negotiations with Koresh and others within the Branch Davidian Compound. Despite these efforts, only 14 children and 21 adults left the compound as of March 23.

Between March 23 and April 12, negotiations continued but no one left the compound. During that period, the FBI held a conversation with a 6-year-old girl who identified herself as Melissa Morrison. The FBI negotiator asked Melissa whether she would like to leave the compound. She replied in the affirmative. The FBI negotiator asked her why she did not leave. Her response was that she could not leave because "David won't let me." Melissa died in the fire.

On April 12, the FBI presented its tear gas proposal to Attorney General Reno. Between April 12 and April 17, the Attorney General conducted no fewer than eight meetings with military and civilian tear gas experts to debate the tear gas plan, advantages and disadvantages of using tear gas in a barricade situation, the properties of the tear gas chosen and the medical and scientific information concerning the toxicity and flammability of the type of tear gas proposed and the effects of tear gas on vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly and pregnant women. On April 17, the Attorney General approved the tear gas insertion plan and informed the President of her decision.

On April 19, 1993 the Federal Bureau of Investigation began to insert tear gas via combat engineering vehicles into the Branch Davidian compound. However, instead of advising his followers to leave, David Koresh and other unknown members of the Branch Davidians spread highly flammable liquids throughout the compound and set fire to the entire building. Because of the poor construction of the building and the use of chemical accelerants, the entire compound was engulfed in flames and completely destroyed within 15 minutes.

In the aftermath of the fire, the bodies of over 70 Branch Davidians were recovered. According to autopsy reports by the Tarrant County (TX) Coroner, 30 people died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation, 2 people died of injuries resulting from blunt force trauma and 20 people, including David Koresh and a 20-month-old infant, died of gunshot wounds inflicted at close range by themselves or others within the compound. Of the nine Branch Davidians who survived the fire, seven escaped through openings in the walls and windows of the compound created by the combat engineering vehicles. The shoes and clothing of several of those who escaped contained concentrations of gasoline, kerosene and other flammable liquids.

After the siege, the Texas Rangers conducted an extensive search of the Branch Davidian compound. They discovered 48 illegal machine guns, seven illegal explosives of various types, nine illegal silencers and over 200,000 rounds of ammunition.

A series of indictments were returned against 10 Branch Davidians between March 30 and July 20, 1993. The indictments contained charges relating to the ambush of ATF officers on February 28 and various firearms violations committed between February 1992 and February 1993. On August 6, 1993, the U.S. Attorney's office in Waco obtained another superseding indictment from the grand jury combining all previous indictments into one and added two additional defendants.

On September 9, 1993, Kathryn Schroeder entered a guilty plea to one count of armed resistance of a Federal law enforcement officer. As a part of her plea agreement, she agreed to testify against the other 11 defendants. A Texas jury convicted 8 of the 11 Branch Davidian defendants of various firearm offenses. The convicted defendants received sentences ranging from 3 to 40 years with 7 of the 8 defendants serving sentences of 40 years imprisonment.

Several congressional hearings were held which solely or predominantly addressed the events at the Branch Davidian compound. The President instructed the Department of the Treasury to conduct a review of the actions of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at Waco. That report, entitled "Report of the ATF Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell, a.k.a. David Koresh" was released to the public on September 30, 1993. Additionally, the President ordered the Department of Justice to conduct a review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's actions at Waco. That report, entitled "Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, TX, February 28 to April 19, 1993" was released to the public on October 8, 1993.

Two years after the conclusion of the events at Waco, the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice and the Committee on Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime held extensive hearings on "Matters involving the Branch Davidians at Waco, TX." These hearings began on July 19 and ended on August 2, 1995. During those hearings, the committees heard testimony from over 90 witnesses and viewed voluminous photographic, video and documentary exhibits concerning the events at Waco. Despite the comprehensive nature of this examination, we believe that no new facts emerged. However, we believe that there are certain indisputable conclusions which can be reached by reasonable minds regarding the events that transpired at the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, TX between February 28, 1993 and April 19, 1993.

III. David Koresh was the Author of the Events at WACOEdit

We agree with the majority's conclusion that the criminal conduct and aberrational behavior of David Koresh and other Branch Davidians led to the tragedies that occurred in Waco. We share their judgment that David Koresh bore the ultimate responsibility for the deaths of 4 Federal law enforcement agents and 80 of his Branch Davidian followers. Additionally, we note that Koresh should also be held responsible for the serious gunshot and shrapnel wounds of 20 Federal law enforcement officers and the nonfirearm associated injuries suffered by 11 Federal officers.

IV. The Arrest and Search Warrants Were Legally SufficientEdit

We agree with the majority's finding that the ATF had probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for David Koresh and search warrants for the Branch Davidian compound and the facility known as the "Mag Bag." However, we disagree with the majority's assertion that the affidavit filed in support of the warrant contained false statements.

The ATF began its investigation of Koresh after receiving complaints from the McLennan County (TX) Sheriff's Department in May 1992. A deputy sheriff asked ATF to investigate following a report from a concerned United Parcel Service driver. The driver relayed his concern about a recent delivery. In delivering the package, the container in which it was shipped broke open and revealed suspicious materials including grenade casings and a substantial quantity of black powder. The driver relayed that this was not the first package he had delivered to the compound that caused him concern. Following this conversation, the deputy learned from neighbors of the compound and other members of the community that the residents of the compound were constructing what appeared to be a barracks-type cinder block structure; had buried a school bus to serve as both a firing range and a bunker; and apparently were stockpiling arms and other weapons.

Before opening a formal investigation, the ATF agent spoke with local officials, interviewed gun dealers and searched national firearms registries to determine if any resident of the compound was licensed as a firearms manufacturer or dealer. Additionally, the agent searched the national registry to determine if any resident of the compound was licensed to own a fully automatic weapon. These searches revealed that no resident of the compound had registered to manufacture or sell weapons. Moreover, no resident of the compound was licensed to own a fully automatic weapon. During these discussions, the ATF agent learned of the delivery of grenade casings, black powder and large shipments of firearms.

While initially focusing on the paper trail generated by the weapons and explosives purchased by Koresh and his followers, the agent determined that an Arms company had recently shipped a substantial quantity of AR-15 parts to the "Mag Bag." Although not within the compound, the "Mag Bag" was an automotive repair facility operated by the Branch Davidians which was situated less than a mile away from the compound, on the grounds owned by the Branch Davidians. He also learned that a gun dealer had sold more than a dozen AR-15 lower receivers to Koresh a few months earlier. As the agent knew from previous investigations, someone with access to metal milling machines and lathes and the knowledge to use them could readily convert AR-15 semiautomatic rifles into fully automatic machine guns (similar to M-16 machine guns), by obtaining legally available parts. Additionally, the agent learned that 36 weapons had been sold to Vernon Howell (a.k.a. David Koresh) and additional weapons had been sold to other persons the agent knew to reside on the Branch Davidian compound. Moreover, the agent learned that approximately 65 AR-15 lower receivers reflected in a local gun dealers records were not present in the inventory. When questioned about this discrepancy, the dealer claimed that the firearms were being stored at the house of David Koresh.

The agent obtained further evidence by speaking with one of Koresh's neighbors who had served in an army artillery unit. The neighbor reported that since 1992 he had frequently heard spurts of weapons fire coming from the compound at night, including .50 caliber and automatic weapons fire. In mid-November a deputy sheriff reported that while on patrol a few days earlier he had heard a loud explosion at the compound accompanied by large clouds of gray smoke.

In an attempt to gain additional information about the manufacture and possession of illegal weapons at the compound, the agent spoke with several former followers. They confirmed seeing numerous weapons including grenades, pump shotguns, and AK-47 machine guns. Additionally, they provided information on the extent that Koresh dominated the lives of the residents of the compound. Branch Davidians had not only surrendered monetary assets to Koresh but allowed him to administer corporal punishment to children as young as 8 months old which often led to bleeding and severe bruising; permitted him to dictate the dissolution of marriages; empowered him to forbid married couples to engage in sexual relations; and authorized him to engage in sexual relations with all female members of the Davidians including girls as young as 10 years old.

In January 1993, the agent spoke with David Block, who had been a Branch Davidian from 1981 through 1992. Block relayed that he had seen two other Branch Davidians using a metal milling machine and metal lathe to produce weapons and which can be used to convert legal weapons to illegal automatic weapons. Block described an arsenal that included .50 caliber rifles, AR-15s AK-47s, several 9mm pistols and three "streetsweepers".[1]

The findings of this extensive investigation formed the basis of the agent's statements contained in the affidavit in support of an arrest warrant for Koresh and a search warrant for the compound and the "Mag Bag." This affidavit was presented by an Assistant U.S. Attorney to a Federal Magistrate who determined that the information contained therein was credible and sufficiently current to issue warrants.

Therefore, while assertions contained in the underlying affidavits concerning the physical and sexual abuse of children may have been beyond the scope of the ATF's jurisdiction, it is abundantly clear that probable cause existed to obtain an arrest warrant for David Koresh and search warrants for the Mount Carmel compound and the facility known as the "Mag Bag."

Any doubts Koresh or others may have had about the validity of the warrants should have been expressed through lawful means. However, instead of challenging the validity of the warrants through the judicial system, Koresh chose to instruct his followers to open fire on Federal agents in the lawful execution of their duties

It should be remembered that at the criminal trial of the 11 Branch Davidians, none of the defense lawyers challenged the validity of the warrants. A successful challenge by any of the defense attorneys at trial would have excluded evidence of the firearms and would have been a major step in acquitting the defendants of the firearms violations. Therefore, it seems incomprehensible that had such a challenge been possible, it would not have been mounted by one of the many able attorneys representing the 11 Branch Davidians. However, no attorney questioned the validity of the warrants.

Additionally, it should be noted that evidence obtained from the scene after the fire, conclusively proved that Koresh amassed a huge cache of weapons and materials to manufacture illegal weapons. Although much evidence may have been destroyed by the April 19 fire set by the Davidians, at least 47 fully automatic weapons, which are illegal under Federal law, were recovered along with seven illegal explosives, several grenade casings, nine illegal silencers and 200,000 rounds of ammunition.

In its attack on the validity of the warrants, the majority does not present any facts that would undermine the integrity of the core paragraphs of the ATF affidavits establishing probable cause. Instead of providing testimonial or documentary evidence to challenge the validity of the warrants, the majority raises the unsupportable implication that a Federal law enforcement officer made false statements in securing the warrants. Such an unwarranted and unsupported attack on the credibility of a Federal law enforcement officer is simply irresponsible.

V. Accelerated Service of the WarrantsEdit

We disagree with the majority's assertion that there was no compelling reason to serve warrants on February 28. After a year long investigation the ATF had probable cause to believe that Koresh had amassed a substantial cache of illegal weapons and materials necessary to manufacture additional illegal weapons. While the particular date is not significant, it would have been extremely imprudent to wait long enough for him to amass, manufacture and potentially distribute additional illegal weapons. Additionally, we should note that the original raid was planned for March 1. However, on February 27, a local newspaper began a highly critical seven-part series of articles focusing on Koresh and the Branch Davidians. The series detailed several allegations against Koresh of child physical and sexual abuse which could have potentially exposed him to serious State criminal charges. Therefore, there was reason to believe that Koresh would expect a heightened interest from State or Federal authorities following the conclusion of the series and may have destroyed evidence of the illegal weapons in anticipation of a search. The date of the raid was moved from March 1 to February 28.

VI. Military Assistance Did Not Violate Posse ComitatusEdit

We agree with the majority's conclusion that Posse Comitatus was not violated and share their concerns over the implementation of formal guidelines and criteria in the nonreimbursable use of Department of Defense resources in drug cases. However, we are concerned that the implementation of such a litmus test could result in the denial of needed assistance in the fight against the importation, production, distribution and use of illegal drugs. Therefore, although we understand this concern, we cannot support a recommendation for such guidelines and criteria when there is no objective evidence to believe that the military has failed in its role to accurately and appropriately gage the need of domestic law enforcement agencies for nonreimbursable assistance. However, it would be appropriate and would not hamper the fight against illegal drugs if the Department of Defense, the National Guard and Federal law enforcement agencies developed operational parameters for determining when a drug nexus is sufficient to justify nonreimbursable assistance.

Posse comitatus is the statute that limits military participation in civilian law enforcement. Military personnel may provide training to Federal, State and local civilians law enforcement officials, as long as it is not "large scale or elaborate." Such assistance may not involve DOD personnel in a direct role in law enforcement operations, except in specific and narrowly drawn circumstances.

The Department of Defense provided minor nonreimbursable assistance to the ATF in connection with the events at Waco. Under 10 U.S.C. 371 and 32 U.S.C. 112, the Secretary of Defense is authorized to provide military support to law enforcement agencies engaged in counter drug operations. The Secretary of Defense is authorized to pay for the support pursuant to Section 1004 of P.L. 101-510, Section 1088 of P.L. 102-190, and Section 1041 of P.L. 102-484. If a drug nexus does not exist, the Economy Act requires that as a general matter, reimbursement is required when equipment or services are provided to agencies outside the Department of Defense. An exception may be made if there is some training value to the DOD personnel involved.

In the planning stages of the raid, the ATF requested Special Forces assistance from the Department of Defense. This request was forwarded through Operation Alliance and Joint Task Force 6. The initial request raised legal questions with Special Forces attorneys regarding the permissible scope of assistance. Specifically, Special Forces Attorneys were concerned with the proposal for DoD to review the ATF raid plan and perform on-site medical emergency services. Acceding to such a request would have clearly violated the Posse Comitatus Act's mandate prohibiting the military's "participation" in civilian law enforcement activities. Therefore, the initial request was significantly scaled back and limited to the facilitation of ATF training. The military did not offer any training involving the specific details of the raid plan or any advice concerning the accomplishment of the mission. Special forces provided assistance limited to facilitating ATF training at Fort Hood. This included helping to construct models of the doors and windows of the compound; creating a schematic prototype of the compound's exterior; operating firing ranges for weapons practice and providing limited training in emergency medial assistance. Additionally, it should be noted that there is no evidence to suggest that Department of Defense personnel were present at the time of the raid or at any time during the siege.

Federal courts have concluded that the National Guard is a State force which is not subject to the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act, except when called into Federal service, (United States v. Benish, 5 F.3d 20 (1993). While in State militia status, the range of permissible activities are governed by the laws and constitutions of the respective States. However, it is possible for a National Guard unit to become a Federal law enforcement entity. A State National Guard Unit is "federalized" when it is called into service by the President to suppress domestic violence or insurrection against a State government or the authority of the United States (10 U.S.C. 331-333). When a State guard unit is "federalized," law enforcement actions taken pursuant to that status are governed by the provisions of the Posse Comitatus Act.

The Texas and Alabama Air National Guard units provided pre-raid assistance by conducting aerial reconnaissance to photograph the compound. They conducted six flights over the compound and the facility known as the "Mag Bag" from January 6 through February 25, 1993. In addition to the reconnaissance flights, the Texas National Guard supplied three helicopters for training exercises on February 27 and for the raid on the following day.

In sum, there is no evidence to suggest that the Posse Comitatus Act was violated by the Department of Defense. Additionally, the National Guard units utilized by the ATF were not in a "federalized" status and therefore were not subject to the proscriptions of the act.

VII. Despite Inadequate Intelligence Operations, ATF did not Prematurely Reject the Siege OptionEdit

We disagree with the majority's findings that the primary reason that the dynamic entry route was chosen was because ATF did not have the experience, negotiators or capability to conduct a siege of any significant duration.

Once ATF agents concluded that there was probable cause to obtain warrants to search the premises and arrest Koresh, attention turned to the execution of those warrants. Three options were considered (1) arrest Koresh away from the compound and then serve the warrants; (2) place the compound under siege and (3) serve the warrants by "dynamic entry or raid."

The first option to arrest Koresh away from the compound followed by a subsequent service of warrants was rejected after careful consideration. Contrary to the majority's assertion, the ATF explored the possibility of arresting Koresh away from the compound. However, there are two problems with this assertion. The first problem is that it ignores the fact that a lawful search warrant had to be served for the premises. There is no reason to believe that the Davidians in the compound would not have reacted in the same manner had the search warrant been served without Koresh on the premises or attempted to destroy evidence if time elapsed between Koresh's arrest and the execution of the search warrant. Second, as of February 1993 the ATF had conducted several hundred raids of this kind. There had only been one case involving prolonged armed resistance. Moreover, Koresh had previous encounters with the State officials, police authorities and the judicial system. During these previous encounters, Koresh did not react violently to searches or service of process. Therefore, neither the agency's history nor Koresh's personal history yielded any information that would tend to indicate a violent reaction. It is pure speculation for the majority to argue that Koresh could have been arrested away from the compound.

As acknowledged in the Treasury report, ATF failed to collect sufficient information to determine whether an off-premises arrest of Koresh could have been achieved. The ATF raid planners made serious mistakes in the intelligence gathering operations conducted prior to the raid. Successful intelligence operations require the development of adequate and accurate information. That information must be distributed to persons in the organizational hierarchy who are able to recognize the meaning and limitations of that information.

On January 11, 1993, the ATF began an undercover operation in a house across the road from the Branch Davidian compound. The agents involved were given the cover of being students at a local technical college. However, from the beginning several neighbors became suspicious of the their activities because the agents appeared too old to attend the college and the cars they drove were too new to belong to students. However, even if the "cover stories" used by the agents had been successful, the operations of the undercover investigation itself were abysmal. They failed to keep accurate logs and failed to turn over the available logs to raid planners. However, it should be noted that the agents were given little if any meaningful direction from the raid planners (Sarabyn and Chojnacki). Therefore, without adequate guidance from their superiors, the agents were almost destined to fail. Although Agent Rodrigues obtained a good deal of relevant and reliable information about Koresh and the Davidians, those agents charged with the responsibility of surveillance were poorly served by raid planners Sarabyn and Chojanacki.

Because of this inadequate supervision, the surveillance operation was not able to determine the frequency of Koresh's departures from the compound, the routine activities within the compound or other information that might have been useful in deciding the optimal time, place and manner to effect service of the warrants.

However, based on the scant information possessed at the time, the agents concluded that such an arrest was not a viable alternative. They knew that Koresh's infrequent departures from the compound were unpredictable. A social worker who had visited the compound to investigate the health and safety of children present, had informed the case agent that she thought Koresh did not leave the compound very often. On February 17, Koresh told the undercover agent that he did not often leave the compound. Further, it should be noted that after April 19, all reports of Koresh having been seen off the compound were thoroughly investigated by the Treasury Review. The reviewers were able to document only isolated trips off the compound, most occurring long before the time of the raid.

Additionally, it should be noted that prior to the hearing, majority subcommittee staff spent several days in Waco to gather facts and interview prospective witnesses. It should be noted that in hearings that lasted 10 days and had over 90 witnesses, no witnesses who were not members of the Branch Davidians or lawyers for the Branch Davidians were produced to testify supporting the majority's present contention that Koresh left the compound with sufficient frequency to affect an arrest away from the premises.

As noted in the Treasury report and by several witnesses, a siege was rejected because of a belief that any protracted encounter with a heavily armed and philosophically isolated and insular group would not be likely to produce an optimal result. The majority incorrectly concludes that the dynamic entry approach was prematurely abandoned. The decision to pursue a dynamic entry was made during a meeting that took place between January 27-29, 1993 after surveillance and undercover operations had begun. Prior to that meeting a siege option was under active consideration as was the possibility of luring Koresh off the compound. The Treasury report noted that the surveillance operations could have been better coordinated and intelligence better utilized in making this tactical decision. While the Treasury report concluded that the process used to decide that a dynamic entry should be undertaken was flawed, a siege option presented its own risks of failure. Four of the five independent reviewers who addressed the issue found that the dynamic entry plan could have been successful if surprise had not been lost.

VIII. Treasury Department Officials Should Have Taken a More Active Role in Raid PlanningEdit

We disagree with the majority's assertion that officials at the Treasury Department should have taken a more active role in pre-raid planning. The majority seems to forget that prior to President Clinton and Secretary Bentsen's order, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms exercised independence in planning and implementation of enforcement actions. Prior to this failed raid, there was no practice, history or reason to believe that additional oversight was necessary.

The Treasury Secretary is responsible for the actions of over 165,000 people and numerous bureaus and offices. During his first month in office, Secretary Bentsen relied on the Department's existing organizational and operational structure. This structure had been used by the previous Republican and Democratic administrations. In the enforcement area, this organizational structure included a chain of command from the law enforcement bureau head through the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement to the Deputy Secretary and then to the Secretary of the Treasury. This structure placed responsibility on the law enforcement bureau head for bringing significant matters to the attention of his or her immediate supervisor. It is unfair, inaccurate and irresponsible to castigate Secretary Bentsen for the adoption of an organizational structure and operational approach that had been in place for years.

Under the structure that existed at that time, then ATF Director Steven Higgins' immediate supervisor was Deputy Assistant Secretary John Simpson, a career civil servant who had served at Treasury for many years. Mr. Simpson was carrying out the duties of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement, pending the confirmation of an Assistant Secretary for Enforcement designee Ronald Noble. Having been ATF's Director for approximately 10 years, Mr. Higgins was very familiar with the reporting process.

The suggestion that a meeting between Secretary Bentsen and ATF Director Higgins would have led to earlier notification of ATF's planned raid of the Branch Davidian compound is pure conjecture. In fact Director Higgins did not tell his immediate supervisor in Treasury of the planned raid until 2 days before its planned execution.

IX. The Raid Should Have Been Aborted When the Undercover Agent Reported That Koresh Knew the Raid Was About to OccurEdit

The majority report errs in concluding that Treasury officials failed to clearly communicate the conditions under which the raid was to be aborted. In fact, the Treasury Report and ATF Director Higgins' testimony before Congress on several occasions made it clear that the ATF knew it was supposed to call off the raid if Koresh learned that the ATF had planned a law enforcement operation against them. Director Higgins never questioned the clarity of his message from the Treasury Department. He testified that he told his subordinates if anything looked unusual, the raid should be called off. Consistent with the ATF's plan, Agent Rodrigues clearly communicated Koresh's awareness of an impending ATF law enforcement operation to his field supervisors. Unfortunately, Mr. Sarabyn and Chojnacki failed to heed this clearly communicated warning. All six of the independent tactical operations experts who analyzed the ATF's failed raid concluded that based on Mr. Rodrigues' information, the raid commanders should have called off the raid.

We concur with the majority's finding that despite their contrary testimony before this committee, evidence clearly shows that Agents-in- Charge Sarabyn and Chojnacki understood yet consciously chose to disregard warnings by Undercover Agent Rodrigues on the morning of the raid. Rodrigues advised Sarabyn and Chojnacki that the ATF's operations had been compromised and the element of surprise had been lost. The most significant mistake was the decision of the on-site raid commander to proceed after he had been informed by an undercover agent that Koresh was aware that a raid was about to occur. This error in judgment allowed Koresh to have an estimated 30-45 minute preparation time prior to the arrival of the agents. Koresh used this opportunity to arm himself and his followers. Despite the majority's assertions to the contrary, Treasury acknowledged in its report that the raid commander was questioned by the Washington commanders and knew or should have known that the raid should not have proceeded if secrecy or surprise had been lost or compromised.

X. The FBI Negotiations and Tactical Operations Were Sometimes ContradictoryEdit

The Department of Justice has acknowledged that there could have been better coordination and communication between the officials responsible for tactical decision and the negotiators. Alternating tactics of negotiating, granting demands and then using tactical operations such as cutting off electricity to punish Koresh for reneging on agreements, may have allowed Koresh to increase his hold on his followers.

In an effort to improve coordination and communication between negotiators and tactical command in the future, the Department of Justice has created that Critical Incident Response Group. As a part of this team, negotiators and tactical personnel train together to facilitate improved coordination of operations.

However, the majority's main criticism of the FBI involves its alleged reluctance to use outside experts. This criticism is not valid. Following the suggestions of behavioral experts, FBI negotiators repeatedly stressed to Koresh that if he left the compound, he would have every opportunity to spread his message to a worldwide audience, that he would be presumed innocent of any wrongdoing with respect to the ATF raid, and that the judicial process would provide him with an opportunity to tell his side of the conflict. The FBI negotiated with Koresh for 51 days. During that course of time, over 36 demands by the Davidians were documented and granted by the FBI. Contrary to the majority's assertion, there is no indication that FBI negotiators were adversely affected by physical or emotional fatigue.

We disagree with the majority's assertions that on the 46th day of the siege, the FBI should have believed the representations of Koresh's attorney who relayed Koresh's representation that he and his followers would leave the compound if Koresh were allowed to write his exposition on the Seven Seals of the Biblical Book of Revelations. Early in the siege, Koresh was allowed to speak to religious scholars concerning his interpretation. In response to a promise to surrender, an audiotape containing his interpretation of the First Seal was played on a radio broadcast. However, Koresh did not surrender at that time. FBI behavioralist Murray Miron believed that this latest attempt was merely another stalling tactic. Therefore, based on his prior behavior and manipulative personality, it was not unreasonable for negotiators to conclude that Koresh would not honor this latest promise. We would note that had Koresh been interested in surrendering to authorities, he could have done so at any time during the 51-day siege. During the same period, 37 of his followers surrendered and called into the compound to inform Koresh and others that they were being treated well and had not been hurt. Therefore, whatever compelled Koresh to remain in the compound and prevented other followers from leaving was not something that a deal involving Koresh's composition of the written exposition of his religious tenets would have resolved.

XI. Law Enforcement Officers Could Benefit From Future Use of Outside Behavioral and Psychological ExpertsEdit

We disagree with the majority's assertion that the FBI should have developed a thorough understanding of the religious tenets of the Davidians. During the course of the negotiations, the FBI attempted this approach and abandoned it because it became clear that the tenets were based on Koresh's personal thoughts and rapidly changed to suit the occasion. Therefore, this would not only have been futile but would have pushed back the time of the service of the warrants thereby allowing Koresh to amass even more illegal weapons.

We disagree with the majority assertion that the FBI negotiators did not appear to recognize the potential benefit of using religious experts in working with Koresh. We refer the majority to the Department of Justice report which listed the opinions of independent religious experts and FBI behavioral experts consulted during the siege. The FBI solicited and received input from various experts in many fields including psychology, psychiatry, psycho linguistics, religion and theology, cult theory and negotiation techniques. Religious experts and theologians consulted by the FBI included Dr. Philip Arnold of the Reunion Institute; Dr. Bill Austin, chaplain, Baylor University; Jeriel Bingham, vice president, Davidian Seventh Day Adventist Association; Reverend Trevor Delafield, Seventh Day Adventist Church; Dr. Robert Wallace and Dr. John Fredericks, Lighthouse Mission; Dr. Michael Haynes, Doctor of Theology and Psychology and Dr. Glenn Hilburn, Dean, Department of Religion, Baylor University. Additionally, the majority of those experts concluded that Koresh was manipulative and likely to deceive. All the experts agreed that Koresh would not leave the compound voluntarily. Therefore the FBI negotiators tactics which focused on Koresh as a manipulative and deceitful individual were precisely in accord with the viewpoint of the religious experts and psychological experts and with the experience of those negotiators who spent over 400 hours talking to Koresh and his followers.

XII. The Use of Tear Gas Was Unfortunate But NecessaryEdit

The majority report suggests that the decision to use gas was not the only option available to compel the Branch Davidians to leave the compound. In support of their theory that additional time would have yielded a nonviolent surrender, the majority report points to the release of 21 children between February 28 and March 3 as an indication that continued negotiations would have eventually secured the release of the remaining 80 adults and children within the compound. They argue that other options including expansion of and continuation of the negotiation strategy, waiting for the depletion of food and water supplies, or waiting for Koresh to complete his written exposition on the meaning of the Biblical Seven Seals prophesy were prematurely rejected in an effort to end the confrontation.

However, after March 23, additional releases had not been obtained. Koresh repeatedly reneged following the FBI's performance of agreed upon terms. Repeatedly, Koresh would explain his decision to remain in the compound by saying that God had not yet told him it was time to leave. Additionally, it should be noted that the "regular" conditions within the compounds were austere (no running water or plumbing) and there was a vast supply of military style MRE's (meals-ready to eat) and an artesian well with water storage tank housed within the compound.

Because the FBI decided not to fire any shots during the standoff, the Davidians walked outside of the building on several occasions to smoke cigarettes, empty chamber pots, feed chickens and gather water from rain water runoff. Finally, the large amount of firearms and ammunition (200,000 rounds) found within the compound, and the gathering of other interested and potentially dangerous individuals (para-military and Militia groups) contributed to their concern about the continued degradation of the situation and their ability to adequately secure the perimeter of the compound.

In fact, during the standoff two people, not people previously affiliated with the Davidians, infiltrated the perimeter and entered the compound. The FBI was concerned that failing to end the standoff would allow others (particularly para-military militia groups) who had begun to descend upon the compound to enter the perimeter. Threats posed by gathering militia and para-military groups in the area increased security problems and underscored the need for a quick resolution to the situation. There was a genuine concern as to whether these groups had gathered as observers or sought to engage in the standoff.

On April 12, the FBI presented its tear gas plan to Attorney General Reno. Over the ensuing days, several meetings were held to debate the tear gas plan, the properties of the gas chosen and the effects of gas on vulnerable populations such as pregnant women and children. Between the initial presentation of the plan on April 12 and the Attorney General's April 17 decision to use tear gas, Reno attended no fewer than eight meetings to discuss the tear gas option. Those meetings were attended by military and tactical experts who briefed the Attorney General on the advantages and disadvantages of the use of tear gas in a barricade situation as well as the available medical and scientific information concerning the toxicity and flammability of CS tear gas.

CS tear gas is a common riot control agent used in the United States and Europe. The purpose of tear gas is to cause irritation of the eyes, skin and respiratory system sufficient to encourage an individual to leave the premises or any open area. CS is considered the least toxic agent in the family of chemical tear gas irritants. In order to reach a level which would be lethal to fifty per cent of the population, CS must be in concentrations of 25-150 thousand milligrams per minute, cubed. The CS gas used at the Davidian compound was significantly less concentrated than the lethal level. The CS gas used was in a concentration which would only reach 16,000 milligrams per minute (cubed) if all of the gas used had been released at the same time, in a single closed room and the residents of that room had been exposed continuously for 10 minutes. At Waco, CS tear gas was released throughout different areas of the building while openings were created in the windows and walls. The CS gas was inserted for a total of 5 minutes over a 6-hour period. A total of twenty CS canisters were deployed on April 19. Additionally, several commentators discuss the fact that the wind velocity reached 35 knots during the tear gas delivery. Therefore, given the amount of tear gas used, the presence of high winds, building ventilation and the delivery of gas to different areas of the compound, it is highly unlikely that anything close to the fifty percent lethality rate was reached.

There are no documented cases in which the use of CS gas caused death. Reports that Amnesty International linked use of the gas to deaths of Palestinians in the occupied territories, is an extremely biased reading of the report. Released in June 1988, the report discussed the use of two kinds of tear gas, CS and CN. CN gas has proven to be lethal in closed quarters. The overwhelming majority of evidence on ill-effects of CS was anecdotal. Medical care had not been sought or documented. Moreover, because of religious prohibitions autopsies had not been performed. Therefore, there is no reliable scientific data which would lead to the conclusion that CS alone was implicated in any of the deaths. As Physicians for Human Rights found when visiting the occupied territories "we could not confirm the reports of deaths from tear gas inhalations."

The Himsworth Report, issued by the British Government, found that there is no evidence of any special sensitivity of the elderly, children or pregnant women. Additionally, the Himsworth Commission chronicled the effect of CS gas exposure on one infant and found that the child recovered rapidly after removal from the area affected by CS tear gas. This report was supported by a report which appeared in a Medical journal. The author not only set forth a treatment protocol for children exposed to CS tear gas but noted that full recovery was highly likely.

Moreover, the majority report contends that the presence of CS gas may have acted as an accelerant during the fire. That is unlikely. While CS is combustible (it will burn if ignited, much like paper), it is not a chemical accelerant or a flammable agent. Additionally, the method of delivery or the compounds in which the CS particulate was contained (methylene chloride and carbon dioxide) will not burn and will actually inhibit fire ignition.

The original CS. insertion plan required that the tear gas be inserted by CEV's over a course of 2 to 3 days. The theory was that the gas insertion over several days and in different parts of the compound would gradually render the entire compound uninhabitable. However, within 5 minutes of the initiation of the original plan, the insertion of tear gas was dramatically escalated.

The original gas insertion plan provided that in the event that the CEV's or others were fired upon during the insertion of gas, that the insertion would be escalated. The plan vested authority with the SAC Jamar to make the escalation decision. Therefore, when reports of shooting coming from the compound were confirmed and it became clear that the CEV's were being fired upon by the Davidians, Jamar decided to escalate insertion of the tear gas delivery schedule.

We agree with the majority report that it should have been obvious to all concerned that the insertion of CS tear gas would have prompted Koresh to order the vehicles fired upon and that this would have resulted in the acceleration of tear gas insertion. However, the majority fails to recognize that if the vehicles were fired upon, the parties at risk would be the FBI. Following the conclusion of the insertion of tear gas, the building would be uninhabitable and the occupants would have evacuated. Therefore, it seems that this underscores the FBI's determination to compel the occupants to leave without any loss of life inside the compound, despite potential harm to themselves.

XIII. White House Officials Were Informed But Not Involved in the Decision to Use Tear GasEdit

White House officials were informed but not consulted about the use of tear gas.

On April 18, Web Hubbell, Justice Department White House Liaison, and Attorney General Reno informed the President about the plan to gradually insert tear gas into the compound over a 2 to 3 day period in an effort to render the compound uninhabitable and compel the occupants to leave. During that conversation, Reno told the President that April 19 was not envisioned as "D-Day" and that the use of the tear gas would not be the beginning of an assault on the compound.

Critics maintain that the White House pressured Reno to end the standoff by any means necessary. They contend that this directive led to the lack of clear decisionmaking and a less than objective examination of the potential hazards concerning the use of CS gas. The majority report implies that had expediency not been a factor, Reno would have continued to wait for the Davidians to surrender. This contention is pure speculation that is not supported by the facts. As noted earlier, Attorney General Reno held eight meetings to discuss various aspects of the tear gas plan with tear gas experts. If speed had been her concern, she would not have consulted with various experts and waited a week between the first proposal of the plan and its implementation.

XIV. The Branch Davidians Started the Fire and Chose to Remain Within the Compound While It BurnedEdit

On April 19, approximately 20 minutes after the last tear gas insertion, the Davidian compound erupted in flames. The first indication of fire was seen and noted at 12:07 p.m. By 12:11 p.m., the entire compound was substantially involved.

There is no doubt that the Branch Davidians started the fire. We disagree with the conclusion of the majority report which states that the evidence concerning the origin of the fire is not dispositive. The majority report ignores evidence contained in the arson report which proved three separate ignition points within the compound and conclusively found that chemical accelerants were placed throughout the compound. Additionally, there was eyewitness testimony as well as film footage which chronicled the rapid spreading of the blaze. Moreover, the clothes of surviving Davidians who escaped the compound were laced with gasoline and other flammable materials. Finally, and most poignantly, several surviving Davidians admitted that those within the compound had started the blaze. These statements are supported by recorded statements in which voices are heard asking about the location and timing of fuel pouring and lighting activities. Additionally, it should be noted that an examination of the vehicles involved inserting tear gas was conducted. These vehicles did not have flame throwing equipment and were not of the type that could have been equipped with flamethrowing equipment. All evidence clearly indicates that the fire which destroyed the Branch Davidian compound on April 19 was ignited by individuals inside the compound.

It should be noted that the fire department was called after the blaze began. However, they did not attempt to put out the fire because during the blaze gun shots were heard coming from and within the compound. The safety of any firefighter who approached the compound could not be assured. Therefore, the FBI determined that the local firefighters should not be allowed to approach the compound. However, it should be noted that after the fire began nine survivors exited the compound.

There has been some speculation that the tear gas used may have contributed to the fire. The CS tear gas did not act as an accelerant for the fire. CS is a powdery particulate. When used in a tear gas canister or other tear gas delivery system, CS particulate is suspended in methylchloride and carbon dioxide. Neither CS particulate, methylchloride or carbon dioxide are flammable. They actually inhibit the outbreak of fire. We agree with the majority's conclusion that the use of CS tear gas prior was not a direct, proximate cause or contributing factor to the rapid ignition and expansion of the blaze. The audiotape and forensic evidence clearly indicate that the rapid ignition and spread of the blaze was due to the use of chemical accelerants (including gasoline, kerosene and camp fuel oil) distributed throughout the compound by individuals within the compound. Additionally, the materials used in the construction of the building itself (largely plywood) in conjunction with storage of materials such as hay and propane gas containers and high winds combined to significantly contribute to the rapid combustion of the building.

XV. RecommendationsEdit

Finally, the report makes 17 recommendations that are largely duplicative of recommendations made by the extensive internal reviews undertaken by the Department of Treasury and the Department of Justice. Those recommendations and our responses are as follows:

  1. Congress should conduct further oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and jurisdiction should be transferred to the Department of Justice. While additional oversight is always proper, it should be noted that the proposal to transfer jurisdiction of ATF first surfaced in the Carter administration and has been rejected several times. Rejections have been based on concerns about placing total enforcement of the firearms laws in one agency. A separation of investigative and prosecutorial functions in separate agencies maintains an important check and balance system.
  2. If false statements were made in the affidavit filed in support of the search and arrest warrants, criminal charges should be pursued. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the agent in question made false statements. This recommendation is an example of a willingness to disbelieve Federal law enforcement personnel which is manifest throughout this report.
  3. Federal law enforcement should verify the credibility and timeliness of the information used in obtaining warrants. An assistant U.S. attorney and a Federal Magistrate reviewed the affidavit and found the information sufficiently fresh to issue warrants. Additionally, in finding that probable cause existed, the majority report implicitly agrees with the determination that the information was not stale.
  4. The ATF should revise it National Response Plan to ensure that its best qualified agents are placed in command and control positions. The Treasury Department made this finding in its internal review. The ATF has implemented procedures to comply.
  5. Senior officials at ATF should assert greater command and control over significant operations. The Treasury Department made this finding it its internal review. The ATF has implemented procedures to comply.
  6. The ATF should be constrained from independently investigating drug-related crimes. This recommendation may lack administrative and operational feasibility.
  7. Congress should consider applying the Posse Comitatus Act to the National Guard with respect to situations where a Federal law enforcement entity serves as the lead agency. This recommendation may lack administrative and operational feasibility and may unduly hamper the State's operations (e.g. drug trafficking patrols, civil disturbance).
  8. The Department of Defense should streamline the approval process for military support so that drug nexus controversies are avoided in the future. This recommendation may deprive the Department of Defense of the operational flexibility necessary to provide assistance. The inability to pass a "litmus test" should not preclude the provision of otherwise justifiable assistance.
  9. The GAO should audit the military assistance provided to the ATF and to the FBI in connection with their law enforcement activities toward the Branch Davidians. It should be noted that Members of Congress can request GAO audits on any topic at anytime.
  10. The GAO should investigate the activities of Operation Alliance in light of the Waco incident. It should be noted that Members of Congress can request GAO audits on any topic at anytime.
  11. Federal law enforcement agencies should redesign their negotiation policies and training to avoid the influence of physical and emotional fatigue on course of future negotiations. The FBI has doubled the size of the Hostage Rescue Team.
  12. Federal law enforcement agencies should take steps to foster greater understanding of the target under investigation. The Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury currently consult a wide range of outside experts on various topics.
  13. Federal law enforcement agencies should implement changes in operation procedures and training to provide better leadership in future negotiations. Recent successful negotiations with the Viper Militia and the Freemen indicate implementation of successful negotiation policies.
  14. Federal law enforcement agencies should revise policies and training to increase the willingness of their agents to consider the advice of outside experts. Recent successful negotiations with the Viper Militia and the Freemen indicate policies evincing a willingness to employ the advice of outside experts.
  15. Federal law enforcement agencies should revise policies and training to encourage the acceptance of outside law enforcement assistance, where possible. Federal law enforcement officers currently network within and among officers from Federal, State and local law enforcement entities.
  16. The FBI should expand the size of the hostage rescue team. The HRT has been doubled in the 3 years since the events at Waco.
  17. The Government should further study and analyze the effects of CS tear gas on children, persons with respiratory problems, pregnant women and the elderly. Numerous studies have concluded that there is no increased toxicity or adverse effect when these populations are exposed to CS tear gas. Currently, data is gathered by exposing new armed forces recruits to tear gas. It seems that there would be a problem in conducting tests on human subjects within the population categories suggested by the majority report. Although traditional tests with control and noncontrol groups would not be possible, persons should be monitored and data collected whenever exposure occurs.

ConclusionEdit

The events at Waco were a tragedy. However, the majority investigation, hearing and report add nothing new to the understanding of the tragedy or the prevention of future events similar to Waco.

We live in dangerous times where the threat of domestic terrorism is real. The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma, more than any other single event, stands as a testament to the possible impact that a few people with illegal weapons and destructive purposes can have on a nation. Groups or individuals bent on undermining the constitutional democracy of this country are a clear and present danger to the rights, liberties and freedoms that every American enjoys.

In such troubling times, it seems irresponsible for the majority report to engage in speculation and unsupported theories and unproven allegations against Federal law enforcement agencies and officers. The agencies involved should be commended for their extensive and unyielding investigations as well as their quick and decisive efforts to take corrective actions to ensure that there is no reoccurrence of this type of event. It appears that the successful handling of events such as the "Freeman" standoff in Montana and the Viper Militia arrests in Arizona are testament to the determination of these agencies to learn from previous mistakes.

Hon. Cardiss Collins.
Hon. Karen L. Thurman.
Hon. Henry A. Waxman.
Hon. Tom Lantos.
Hon. Robert E. Wise, Jr.
Hon. Major R. Owens.
Hon. Edolphus Towns.
Hon. Louise M. Slaughter.
Hon. Paul E. Kanjorski.
Hon. Carolyn B. Maloney.
Hon. Thomas M. Barrett.
Hon. Barbara-Rose Collins.
Hon. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Hon. James P. Moran.
Hon. Carrie P. Meek.
Hon. Chaka Fattah.
Hon. Elijah E. Cummings.
  1. A "streetsweeper" is a 12 gauge, 12 shot, shotgun with a spring driven drum magazine and folding buttstock. Each time the trigger is released after firing a shot, the magazine rotates to position the next shot for firing.