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WACO: FBI SET FIRE
Date: Wednesday, September 08, 1999 11:11:59 AM
The report at the following URL presents evidence
NEVER BEFORE SEEN on the Internet from the much-
discussed FLIR video taken over Waco, Texas.
This evidence, covered briefly in Mike McNulty's
award-winning documentary "Waco: The Rules of
Engagement" and corroborated by expert testimony,
establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the
fire that engulfed the Mount Carmel Center in
Waco, Texas, was started by the U.S. Government.
This evidence is not being discussed on TV, but,
thanks to the Internet, everyone can see it now!
Friday, September 3, 1999
FBI Tape Contradicts Testimony on Cult Siege
Inquiry: Revelation that agent approved use of flammable munitions in
Branch Davidian tragedy increases pressure for full congressional
hearings. Reno plans to name outside investigator.
By ERIC LICHTBLAU, RONALD J. OSTROW, Times Staff Writers
WASHINGTON--An FBI tape recorded at the Branch Davidian disaster six
years ago revealed Thursday that the special agent in charge gave the
go-ahead to fire pyrotechnic munitions at a concrete bunker.
Federal authorities released the audio-video tape in an effort to
calm the growing controversy over why the FBI falsely denied for six
years that it had used pyrotechnic devices on the final day of the
51-day siege of the cult's compound near Waco, Texas. But the
tape--which indicates that a senior FBI official made the decision to
use "hot" tear gas canisters--seems likely only to trigger questions
about what higher authorities knew about that day's deadly events.
The special agent, Richard M. Rogers, later sat behind William S.
Sessions, then director of the FBI, as he testified before Congress that
no flammable munitions had been used that day.
"It's definitely one more thing we want to look at. And we want to
find out whether [the decision] goes even higher," said a Senate
Indeed, even as Justice Department officials confirmed that Atty.
Gen. Janet Reno plans to appoint an outside investigator to pursue the
matter, Republican lawmakers stepped up their demands for full
congressional hearings. A House committee on Thursday issued subpoenas
to the White House, the FBI and the Justice Department, among others,
demanding access to all material related to the Branch Davidian tragedy.
The controversy over the disaster--which claimed the lives of
nearly 80 people on April 19, 1993--resurfaced as a political
controversy last week when the FBI first acknowledged that its agents
may have used pyrotechnic devices several hours before the compound went
up in flames.
The acknowledgment has damaged the credibility of Reno and other
senior law enforcement officials, who have denied for six years that
agents used any flammable materials that day. And it has bolstered the
cause of activists in Texas and elsewhere who have charged for years
that government agents were responsible for starting the blaze in which
cult leader David Koresh and many of his followers died.
Law enforcement officials said Thursday that the newly released
tape, including aerial shots of the compound, should confirm that the
tear gas canisters fired by the FBI did not start the fire that broke
out about four hours later.
"Everyone realizes the urgency in getting this information out
there so the public can see what it shows--and what it doesn't show,
which is just as important," said one law enforcement official who asked
not to be identified. "The tear gas had nothing to do with the fire."
The aerial footage includes audio from radio transmissions between
FBI supervisors on the ground on the morning of April 19. The key
portion released Thursday centers on the decision to fire military tear
gas canisters at a concrete bunker a few dozen yards from Koresh's
wooden compound, which later erupted in flames. The FBI wanted to use
tear gas in the underground bunker to prevent Koresh or any of his
followers from using it as an escape route.
Reno has said she was assured when she approved the use of tear gas
against Koresh and his followers that no incendiary devices would be
used. She did not want to start fires that would endanger the lives of
the several dozen children inside the compound.
But the recording details the decision to use pyrotechnic
munitions, as two FBI agents--Rogers, special agent in charge of the
hostage rescue team, and Stephen P. McGavin, a supervisor for the
team--discuss ways of getting gas canisters inside the bunker.
About 7:48 a.m., Rogers asked McGavin if an agent could penetrate
the bunker, according to an FBI transcript.
"Ten-four. He thinks he can get into position with relative safety
utilizing the track for cover and attempt to penetrate it with military
rounds," McGavin answered, referring to the pyrotechnic tear gas
"Roger. Of course, if there's water underneath, that's just going
to extinguish [the tear gas canisters], but you can try it," Rogers
"Ten-four. Copy. He can try it?" McGavin asked.
"Yeah, that's affirmative," Rogers answered.
Rogers could not be reached for comment Thursday. He is no longer
with the FBI.
He was removed as head of the agency's hostage team because of his
role in the controversial 1992 siege of a white separatist's cabin at
Ruby Ridge, Idaho. He was one of the officials who authorized a change
during that operation in the FBI's standard policy of not shooting to
kill unless fired upon.
One of three people slain in the Ruby Ridge siege was an unarmed
woman shot by an FBI sniper.
FBI spokesman John Collingwood said that the decision to use the
pyrotechnic canisters at the Branch Davidian compound appears to have
been "outside the clear understanding that the attorney general had."
The "$64,000 question," as one FBI official said, is determining
who knew that pyrotechnics were used and why that information has come
to light only in the last week.
Nine days after the fire, Rogers was one of several agency
officials who accompanied Sessions as he testified before the House
Sessions said repeatedly in his testimony that the FBI had
carefully chosen "nonflammable" tear gas. "It will not start or
contribute to a fire," Sessions said.
Collingwood said that one of the issues in the upcoming
investigation likely will be whether Rogers realized that Sessions'
testimony may have been false.
Because the tape indicates that Rogers' decision to use
pyrotechnics was made quickly at the scene, "contemporaneous with the
events," Collingwood said, "it's not inconceivable that he did not
remember. . . . We're not taking a position on that."
Another key question is whether senior Justice Department and FBI
officials listening to sporadic radio communications from a command post
in Washington were able to hear the discussion about the use of the
military tear gas canisters.
Collingwood said dispatches that could be heard in Washington were
only intermittent. And Reno's chief spokesman at the time, who was at
the command center for six hours that day and took extensive notes on
what he heard, said in an interview that he does not recall any mention
of the use of pyrotechnics.
Instead, when Koresh and his followers began firing some 300 rounds
from the compound, "the [FBI] leadership was proud of the fact" that
agents did not fire back. "That was the running theme through the six
hours," said Carl Stern, the former Reno spokesman.
* * *
Times staff writer Edwin Chen contributed to this story.
Copyright 1999 Los Angeles Times. All Rights Reserved
Center for Reform
VOLUME 1 | SEPTEMBER 7, 1999 | NUMBER 21
SPECIAL OPS INVOLVED IN WACO OPERATION
PRIOR TO FATAL BATF RAID
By John Culbertson
In the continuing investigation into recent revelations surrounding the
tragic events at Waco, FRONTLINE has obtained information that
clearly shows the United States Army Special Operations Command had
a long and highly involved role in the Federal law Enforcement actions
against the Branch Davidians near Waco, Texas.
Documents obtained by FRONTLINE show involvement of the US Military
as early as December 17, 1992 in the planning of the raid on the Branch
An ODA, or Operational Detachment Alpha or in popular parlance a hand
picked "A" team known as ODA 381 from the United States Army Special
Operations Command located at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina received orders
to proceed to Texas in order to participate in training BATF agents at
Hood at the MOUT or Military Operations in Urban Terrain site.
The ODA is not a normal component of Joint Task Force Six and planning
documents indicate that USASOC had concerns regarding the legality of
the proposed mission.
The order known as "FRAGO "E" to OPORDER JT002-93 is dated February
14, 1993. "FRAGO" is a term that stands for Fragmentary Order. The US
military defines FRAGO as "A FRAGO provides brief, specific, and timely
instructions without loss of clarity, FRAGOs contain changes or
information of immediate concern. These orders may be written or oral.
The FRAGO will be issued to change an order that has already been
FRAGO "E" was issued to the detachment of at least 8 known soldiers who
were operating under an OPORDER or Operational Order that had been
issued in December of 1992. The order does not instruct the detachment
members to take part in the assault on the Davidian Compound and
it cautions the members of the detachment to follow the Rules of
Engagement with respect to interfacing with BATF agents with
However a line on page one provides ample illustration as to the very
different missions of the US Military and US Law Enforcement.
Under item 1. "Situation" is line "a." which reads: "Enemy Forces:
SEE THREAT ASSESSMENT, ANNEX A."
"Enemy Forces" is the key term here, it is what the military is all about.
In the simplest of terms an army goes out to face the enemy and kill or be
killed, that is war. It is dangerous, it is the ultimate in many ways and
in the outcome people die.
Law enforcement however is a much more complex task, there is no room in
our system for "Enemy Forces", the Constitution does not protect the
rights of the enemy, it protects the rights of the accused or in modern
day terminology the suspect. When a law enforcement agent goes out to
a suspect he may well be on the receiving end of treatment from someone
who wants to be his or her enemy, but in spite of what the suspect wants
to dish out, in the eyes of the law he is still a suspect. This is what
makes the job of law enforcement tough, and yet so very important to our
way of life. When you cross the line, people die.
The United States Army Special Operations Command was very sensitive to
this mission and documents show many concerns were raised about the
involvement of USASOC in the operation. A hand written fourth page of the
FRAGO "E" cautions detachment members not to get on camera as BATF had
apparently arranged for a film crew to record the mission. The order
instructs the detachment members to "make sure this is up front with film
crew, not ATF." Members are also instructed to "support ATF anyway you can
within your ROE (Rules OF Engagement) and sustainment capabilities.
According to statements of detachment members and reports filed with
USASOC the ODA arrived at Ft. Hood on February 22, 1993 and left in two
parties on February 27, 1993 and February 28, 1993. The order called for
the ODA to EXFIL or exit via UH60-L Blackhawk helicopters on February 27,
Six members of the eight man detachment left in helicopters on February
27, 1993 according to reports filed with USASOC. Four members then left in
two rental vans on February 28, 1993 according to the mission commanders
report, but this raises questions as to the actual events and mission.
According to the FRAGO "E" order ODA 381 was composed of eight persons.
Reports filed after the mission indicate that ten persons were involved
with ODA 381. It is known from reports that the Company Commander from Ft.
Bragg arrived via commercial airline on February 24, 1993 but it is not
clear if he was a passenger on one of the Blackhawks, he does not indicate
whether this is so in his report. There has been speculation that the
mission requirements changed midstream and that some members of the ODA
also known as MTT might have been present at the initial raid n the Branch
USASOC had expressed reservations about the type of mission that was being
planned and the possible legal and liability issues that such a mission
posed. A fax cover sheet for a draft message to be sent to Joint
Task Force Six regarding these issues a handwritten note expressed
concerns and to "reinforce SOF resistance to potential "CHEATING" which
seems to recur @ JTF-6."
It is clear from the documents that FRONTLINE has examined so far that the
Branch Davidian mission was controversial at best within USASOC. FRAGO
"E" was the result of continual lobbying and mission redefinition on the
part of BATF Headquarters and Joint Task Force Six.
In an after action report detailing Special Operations Forces Involvement
in the mission (JT002-93) the BATF had asked for a much larger involvement
of US Military forces including SOT/CQB (Special Operations Tactics/Close
Quarter Battle) training, Bradley fighting vehicles, on site medical
evacuation assistance and assistance in planning. All of these items are
clear violations of the Posse Comitatus Act.
The document also states: "Legal reservations caused request to be
downscoped to MTT (Mobile Training Team) training in company level
tactical C2 (Command and Control), Medical Evacuation Training, IV ABC's,
assistance with range and MOUT sites." The BATF eventually received small
arms training as a part of this operation including hand guns, sub
machine guns and sniper rifles.
The most telling part of this document comes in the statement of the
"Possibility that drug-connection was overstated to secure cost-free SOF
training and assistance. No mention of drugs in public media."
Perhaps the most profound observation of the entire exercise comes from
this document as well, "AS A GENERAL PRINCIPLE, WHAT SOF DO DOES NOT LEND
ITSELF TO MOST LAW ENFORCEMENT SITUATIONS."
Thursday, September 9, 1999
Waco: a sickening failure of American journalism
by Alexander Cockburn
THE ashes of the murdered Branch Davidians and their children - about 80
of them, though we can't be sure - were still glowing as almost all the
nation's major news institutions rousingly endorsed the decision of
Attorney General Janet Reno and her boss, President Clinton, to give the
FBI (and, as it turned out, the Delta Force) the go-ahead for an
operation that ensured massacre.
It was one of the great failures of American journalism, one of the most
sickening, one of the most predictable and one of the most revealing.
Liberals, by and large, were worse than conservatives in giving Reno a
vote of confidence.
To this day, I meet progressive types who devote many of their waking
hours to activities designed to save Mumia abu Jamal, who didn't give a
toss about the Branch Davidians and their terrible slaughter by the
federal government, and who still don't.
Use the word "cult," and both reason and moral judgment enter recess. So
now comes further proof of the lies, deceptions and cover-ups of the
FBI, and how do the big press pooh-bahs react? Do they make forthright
confession that they bought a cover-up and tried to sell it to the
American people, many of whom steadfastly continued to believe that the
government was lying and that an infamy had been perpetrated?
Here's Ted Koppel, the night of Sept. 1, discussing the seizure by
federal marshals of tapes of FBI hostage "negotiators" discussing the
use of pyrotechnic grenades the morning of the Waco raid:
". . . The credibility of the FBI, which probably did tell the truth
about most of what happened, that credibility is badly damaged, while
the credibility of conspiracy theorists, who tend to be wrong about most
of what they've spun together about Waco, their credibility is newly
enhanced. It is on these two fronts that the greatest damage has been
In this repellent passage, Koppel defines his career role as flack for
state power. For him, the issue is not that an agency of government
appears to have planned mass murder, exactly as the so-called
"conspiracy nuts" first conjectured, then proved. For him, the issue is
the credibility of the state. For the liberal elite - in whose ranks
most so-called conservatives can be numbered - this is always the issue.
Koppel was scarcely alone. Here's a CBS broadcast of Sept. 2:
"For years now, the disaster near Waco has been exhibit No. 1 for many
who have deep distrust of the American government. From conspiracy sites
on the Internet to documentary films, Waco has provided a focus for
those who see the government as the enemy. And now they say there is
proof the government has been lying, reports CBS News Correspondent John
" `This is just fodder for the conspiracy theorists,' says psychologist
Margaret Singer. She says this is just what the militia movement needs
to say, `We told you so.' . . . Many are certain to see this as
government out of control.
" `The anti-government movement, the militia, hate groups are absolutely
going to get a boost out of this, and I think it's really a tragedy for
that reason,' said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. At one
time, conspiracy theorists may have been viewed as eccentrics far out on
the fringe, but then Timothy McVeigh drove a truck full of explosives to
Oklahoma City, and we all discovered just how dangerous it can be when
people stop trusting the government."
As with Koppel, the problem for these CBS broadcasters is not one of
overweening and murderous government (entirely in control), but of
potential sedition. Anything that disturbs popular torpor is tactically
inept. Accomplices in the great and ongoing Cover-up of Everything that
Really Matters - the central mission of the Fourth Estate - they tremble
for Power, whenever Power is displayed in an undignified or unappetizing
light. It's why they thought Clinton should resign over the Lewinsky
The film "Waco, A New Revelation," whose disclosures about the
pyrotechnic devices provoked the current storm, has had the benign
effect of discrediting the FBI and the Department of Justice and its
chieftain, but in the end, it may permit the FBI to recoup by saying
that the target of the pyrotechnic devices was just an outhouse, and
that these same projectiles never struck the main building in which the
Branch Davidians were sheltered.
As Dan Gifford, executive producer of the earlier "Waco: The Rules of
Engagement," pointed out on Sept. 3, "No national news organization is
saying anything at all about the government's careful prepping of the
Davidian building to burn, nor its machine-gunning of the Davidians in
the burning building that is so clearly shown in the FBI's own aerial
surveillance video that is included in `Waco: The Rules of Engagement.'
One riposte of the state to the latest Waco disclosures is to emphasize,
as did CBS's Blackstone, that those who mistrust government are by
definition subversive, dangerous and possibly homicidal, and therefore
deserving of incineration. A Reuters story by Jim Wolf, put out on Aug.
31, sets the stage.
"The U.S. government is preparing for possible violence from cults,
guerrillas, hate groups and end-of-world-fearing zealots as 2000
approaches," the report began.
"The Federal Bureau of Investigation expects to see increased and
possibly violent activities among certain groups related to the
millennium," a top official warned Congress in July. So we can see the
stage being set for the next Waco. The SWAT teams shouldn't forget
Ronald Reagan. He used to express his confidence in the imminence of
Armageddon, citing Holy Scripture as his authority.
Maybe the ATF, which launched the first unprovoked attack on the Branch
Davidian compound, should launch a preemptive strike on the former
president's house, just to be on the safe side.
(Copyright, 1999, Creators Syndicate Inc.)
Copyright © 1999 Seattle Times Company