FBI missteps doomed siege talks, memos say
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.
FBI was warned noise broadcasts would backfire if used against sect
Even the Dalai Lama got caught up in the Branch Davidian standoff.
Waco negotiators felt tear gas inevitable, one says
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.
to Waco test
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.
Davidian lawyer raises questions on Delta Force
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.
U.S. seeks to shield Waco files
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.
Davidian lawyers start questioning FBI agents about cameras, bugging
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.
in siege case
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.
Waco test impossible, officials say
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.
Investigators to begin
review of siege evidence
Texas Rangers and investigators from the office of special counsel John Danforth will begin sifting through 12 tons of Branch Davidian evidence in Waco on Wednesday, searching for a missing tear-gas projectile and other items that may shed new light on the 1993 standoff.
Testing ordered to see if agents
fired on Davidian compound
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.
Throwing its weight behind lawyers for the Branch Davidians, the Waco special counsel's office is asking for court-supervised tests to determine if flashes recorded by FBI infrared cameras in the last hours of the 1993 siege came from government gunfire.
Film sequel continues charge of Waco cover-up
WASHINGTON - Your typical movie premiere doesn't include allegations of homicide by the federal government.
U.S. warned to release
Waco siege documents
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.
Government seeks delay on Waco files
Government lawyers told a federal judge Monday that they will need another month to produce all government documents tied to the Branch Davidian standoff, and White House officials are considering withholding some materials on grounds of executive privilege.
Government rejects attorney's effort
to test if agents used guns at Waco
Government lawyers have rejected a Texas attorney's challenge to join a scientific field test that he has said would prove that federal agents fired at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco just before it burned in 1993.
WACO - The boxes have come by the dozens, filling the federal courthouse basement with a million pages detailing the government's actions in the 1993 Branch Davidian siege.
Davidian lawyer calls for test of gunfire theory
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.
May trial likely for Davidians' suit
WACO - The Branch Davidians' massive wrongful-death lawsuit against the government probably will go to trial in May, lawyers said Friday after a closed-door conference with the federal judge overseeing the case.
on probe plan
in Waco siege
Senate members ended weeks of arguing Thursday with an agreement on how to investigate the Justice Department's handling of the Branch Davidian siege and other problematic, high-profile cases.
FBI cameras encircled
compound, files show
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.
Siege tactics weighed by FBI detailed
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.
Ex-colonel says FBI heard sect's fire plans
Bugging devices in the Branch Davidian compound clearly picked up the 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.
Armey questions need for new hearings on Davidian siege
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Dick Armey questioned the need for new hearings on the Branch Davidian siege Thursday as senators continued to squabble over how to conduct their review.
FBI testimony on bugging of compound
Transcripts from bugging of Branch Davidian compound
Congress keeping heat on Justice
WASHINGTON - Waco is only the beginning of Janet Reno's new troubles with Congress.
Tapes show gunfire, Davidians' experts say
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.
Showdown looming over Waco evidence
WASHINGTON - Attorneys representing surviving Branch Davidians and relatives of those who died during the 1993 Waco siege appear headed for a showdown with federal lawyers.
Task force on Justice criticized
WASHINGTON - A leading Senate Democrat said Friday that the party opposes a special task force the Republicans created to investigate the Justice Department, including its handling of the Branch Davidian siege.
Senators' task force to examine FBI, siege, Justice Department
After days of debate, Senate Republicans created a task force Thursday to investigate both the deadly Branch Davidian siege and the Justice Department and FBI as a whole.
Waco siege site
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 near Waco.
Davidians rebuilding near Waco
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.
Judge not removed in Davidian case
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.
Judge delays start
of Davidians' suit
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.
Investigators may ask for ballistic tests
Congressional investigators may seek ballistic tests to determine whether shell casings recovered after the 1993 Branch Davidian standoff came from FBI snipers, officials said Tuesday.
Justice Dept. removes attorney from Waco Davidian case
The government will not fight a federal judge's demand for control of all of its information and evidence tied to the 1993 Branch Davidian siege, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.
Waco tear-gas data was disclosed in '95, Democrat says
WASHINGTON - Documents submitted to Congress four years ago reflect use of the "military tear-gas rounds" that have prompted new investigations into the 1993 Branch Davidian compound fire near Waco, a Democratic congressman said Monday.
Siege inquiry will be focused, Danforth says
Special counsel John Danforth said Sunday that his investigation of the federal government's handling of the Branch Davidian siege would go forward regardless of politics or election schedules.
Rangers' report doesn't resolve questions
about gun use on last day of siege
A Texas Rangers report on evidence from the Branch Davidian siege resolves some mysteries but deepens others, including questions about whether the government fired guns or high explosives on the final day of the 1993 tragedy.
A standoff with Washington
WACO, Texas - It was a breathtakingly risky move for a career federal prosecutor: bucking bosses all the way to Washington to warn Attorney General Janet Reno that her Justice Department had done wrong.
Waco seeks to change perceptions with festival
WACO - This Central Texas city, nestled on the Brazos River, has prided itself as the home of Baylor University, birthplace of Dr Pepper and home of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.
Text of Johnston's letter to Janet Reno, 8/30/99
The following is the complete text of a 5-page letter written August 30, 1999 by William Johnston, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Waco, Texas, to Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States. Below the letter are texts of some August, 1999 e-mails between Johnston and his superiors as he alerted them to the unfolding discovery by Texas Rangers of evidence of pyrotechnic tear gas grenades being used against the Davidians on April 19, 1993.
outsiders for probe
WASHINGTON - John Danforth said Friday that he will rely on experience in staffing his investigation of the Branch Davidian fire - as long as the experience wasn't gained with the Justice Department or the FBI.
Some officials knew of tear gas, documents say
Some Justice Department officials involved in the Branch Davidian case knew within months after the 1993 tragedy that FBI agents had used military tear gas rounds against the sect, documents submitted to Congress this week indicate.
Danforth's moral character praised
WASHINGTON - John Danforth never liked the nickname "Saint Jack," but lawmakers say it fits the patrician minister and former senator with an independent streak.
Special counsel vows to get siege answers
WASHINGTON - John Danforth vowed Thursday to get answers to "dark questions" that still shroud the deadly 1993 fire near Waco - including whether the government killed Branch Davidians.
A federal judge was furious Thursday after U.S. marshals in Waco hesitated to carry out his order to seize the contents of an entire government office and massive storage lockers holding evidence from the Branch Davidian standoff.
Flares were fired to stop intruder at siege, FBI says
A military flare recently found among evidence stored after the Branch Davidian tragedy may have been one of two such devices fired by FBI agents to stop an intruder from entering the sect's compound during the standoff, an FBI official said Wednesday.
FBI armory during Branch Davidian siege
Here is a glance at the 40 mm ammunition in the possession of the FBI
Hostage Rescue Team during the Branch Davidian standoff near Waco, in addition
to the ferret* tear-gas projectiles the FBI has said were used in its assault
of the sect�s compound on April 19, 1993:
may lead Waco probe
WASHINGTON - Former Republican Sen. John Danforth of Missouri is Attorney General Janet Reno's top choice to direct an outside investigation of the FBI's 1993 siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, officials said Tuesday.
Expended flares found
among siege evidence
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.
Bush quiet on thoughts about Reno, FBI
SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. - Texas Gov. George W. Bush declined Monday to assess the performances of Attorney General Janet Reno or FBI Director Louis Freeh in the now reopened Waco investigation.
Path of Waco inquiry splits lawmakers
WASHINGTON - Preparing to reconvene after a monthlong summer recess, members of Congress were divided Sunday over how to proceed with their own new investigation of the 1993 FBI siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco.
Clinton voices support for Reno's handling of siege
THURMONT, Md. - President Clinton expressed confidence Saturday in Attorney General Janet Reno for her handling of the deadly 1993 siege at the Branch Davidian compound.
New trial date, judge sought in Davidian suit
The attorney for several Branch Davidians on Friday asked a federal appeals court to remove the presiding judge in a lawsuit alleging that the federal government is responsible for the 1993 siege that killed more than 80 sect members.
Reno determined to restore confidence in FBI, Justice Department
WASHINGTON - Attorney General Janet Reno walked into her wood-paneled conference room Friday, ready for business. With only the most perfunctory "good morning," she vowed again to restore the public's confidence in her Justice Department and the FBI.
ATF attempts to block search for siege evidence
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.
Branch Davidian siege videotapes
Here are details on tapes known to have been made of the events on April 19, 1993, when an FBI tear-gas assault on the Branch Davidian compound ended with a deadly fire:
White House expresses support for Reno
WASHINGTON - President Clinton stands by Attorney General Janet Reno and wants an independent inquiry into new disclosures about the FBI's handling of the Branch Davidian siege, a White House spokesman said Thursday.
to hand over
A U.S. district judge ordered government lawyers Thursday to turn over all evidence pertaining to the 1993 Branch Davidian siege by Oct. 1 or face contempt-of-court charges.
to name siege
A never-disclosed tape of the FBI's tear-gas assault on the Branch Davidian cult was released Thursday as Attorney General Janet Reno prepared to name an outsider to investigate the 1993 siege.
2 Texas lawmakers say Reno should leave job
Two Texas lawmakers said Wednesday that Attorney General Janet Reno should resign to answer for conflicting statements about government actions in the 1993 Branch Davidian siege.
Marshals confiscate FBI siege video
U.S. marshals were dispatched to FBI headquarters in Washington on Wednesday to seize previously undisclosed videotapes with images of pyrotechnic tear gas rounds being fired at the Branch Davidian compound. The tape also contains the voice of an FBI commander authorizing their use.
U.S. fights Waco evidence order
WACO - U.S. Justice Department lawyers on Tuesday challenged a federal judge's authority to take control of evidence in the Branch Davidian case, setting up a high-stakes legal showdown.
Waco attorney warns Reno
evidence possibly withheld
A Waco federal prosecutor wrote Attorney General Janet Reno on Monday to warn that "individuals or components within the Department of Justice" may have long withheld evidence from her and the public about the FBI's use of pyrotechnic grenades on the day the Branch Davidian compound burned. (Click here for the full text of the letter.)
Reno may seek outsider to lead review of siege
Attorney General Janet Reno is considering the appointment of an outside investigator to direct the review of the FBI's role in the fiery end to the 1993 standoff with the Branch Davidians, a Justice Department official said Friday.
Reno says she received
assurances about siege
WASHINGTON - Attorney General Janet Reno, declaring her credibility at stake, said Thursday that the FBI had assured her that no pyrotechnic devices would be used in its final assault on the Branch Davidian compound in 1993.
More questions for FBI
A congressional committee chairman vowed a "thorough investigation" Wednesday as the FBI began its own inquiry and formally conceded that its agents "may have fired" pyrotechnic devices on the last day of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege.
FBI to acknowledge use
of pyrotechnic devices
AUSTIN - The FBI is preparing to acknowledge in a formal statement that its agents fired pyrotechnic tear gas grenades on the last day of the Branch Davidian siege, senior federal law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Ex-agent says device fired at Waco compound
A former senior FBI official has said that the agency fired two pyrotechnic tear gas grenades on the last day of the 1993 Branch Davidian siege, a day on which federal authorities have long insisted they used nothing capable of starting a fire.