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The Davidian Massacre by Carol Moore         For ordering information click here

     Despite the Branch Davidians' history of cooperation with local authorities and with BATF itself, BATF, driven by the bureaucratic imperative to expand its operations and budget, decided to go forward with a dangerous paramilitary raid.  In the process it made state and local law enforcement its de facto partners in crime, and abused the posse comitatus law against using military personnel in civilian law enforcement.


      The Treasury report asserts: "Aguilera wisely sought to keep his investigation a secret from David Koresh and his followers. . .[and]. . .sharply circumscribed his inquiries about Koresh to third parties, including arms dealers and former cult members.2/  The report fails to mention Aguilera was not successful.  As we have seen, Koresh discovered Aquilera was investigating on July 30, 1993.  And the Davidians assumed they remained under surveillance and, through Henry McMahon, invited agents to inspect his weapons immediately.  In late January, 1993 after a BATF agent posed as a UPS trainee and attempted to enter the Mag Bag and Mount Carmel Center, David Koresh complained to the local sheriff's department, thinking it was the department trying to infiltrate Mount Carmel.3/

Koresh Had Cooperated with More Serious Investigations
      David Koresh had been investigated on more serious charges than gun law violations and had cooperated fully with law enforcement.  In 1987, when Koresh and seven Davidians were indicted for attempted murder after the shoot out with George Roden, the sheriff called Koresh and told him they should turn themselves in and surrender their weapons.  When deputies showed up to arrest them, they complied.  Former McLennan County District Attorney Vic Feazell, who prosecuted Koresh in that case, criticized federal agents: "If they'd called and talked to them, the Davidians would've given them what they wanted."4/
      In 1991, when LaVerne, California police demanded Koresh return their child to Robyn Bunds, he did so immediately.  Koresh and Sherri Jewell cooperated fully with the Michigan court which awarded primary custody of Kiri Jewell to her father David.  And between February and April, 1992 Koresh allowed Texas Department of Protection and Regulatory Services and McLennan County Sheriff's Department personnel to inspect Mount Carmel on three occasions.
      Marjorie Thomas, also a Davidian prosecution witness, asserted that Koresh taught arms would be needed only for self-defense against an attack, not to attack the government or force anyone to go along with their beliefs.5/
      However, the Treasury report falsely claims, "There was, in fact, no evidence that Koresh was prepared to submit to law enforcement authorities or that he had done so in the past" and describes his alleged "disdain for fire arms laws and hatred for those charged with their enforcement."6/

Koresh Invited Sheriff to Inspect Weapons in 1992
      In February, 1992 Robert L. Cervenka complained to the sheriff's department that he had heard machinegun fire at Mount Carmel.  According to Aguilera's affidavit, he even "offered to allow the Sheriff to use his property as a surveillance post."  Several months later Davidians contacted the local sheriff about this.  The New York Times reports, "According to Mr. [Paul] Fatta, the weapons the Davidians were firing at that time were legal AK-47s and AR-15s outfitted with a `hellfire trigger' that allowed for rapid firing without converting the rifles into fully automatic weapons. `We had heard that one of the neighbors had been approached about using their property as a listening post, and we went to the local sheriff's department and asked them if the hellfire triggers were legal, just to make sure.  We were told that they were legal.'"7/  According to another article, they told the Sheriff, "why don't you come and ask us what we've got."8/

Koresh Befriended Undercover Agent
      On January 11, 1993 eight undercover agents were assigned to pose as students living in the two-bedroom house across the street from Mount Carmel.  Davidians immediately visited that house, but undercover agents refused to let them come in.9/  Davidians doubted the men were students because they were too old, their cars were too new, and there was no furniture or clothes in the house.10/  However, the Davidians remained unsure as to which government agency had them under surveillance, thinking it could be BATF, the FBI or the Immigration and Naturalization Service.11/
      Davidian survivor Clive Doyle said Davidians considered the agents "just like everyone else out there--souls to be saved."12/  Koresh invited agent Robert Rodriquez ("Gonzales") to visit Mount Carmel Center, listen to music, shoot guns on their target range and attend Bible studies.  He even invited him to join the Branch Davidian community.13/  Davidian Livingstone Fagan writes: "It was our hope that, by introducing this agent to our faith, he might communicate its authenticity to his superiors.  It was felt that, since they were not listening to us, the might listen to one of their own."14/  Koresh told KRLD radio reporters February 28, 1993 that he was disappointed that after his talks with "Gonzales," he and his superiors did not "understand" that Koresh was a serious religious person worthy of "respect."
      After the fire Rodriguez admitted to reporters that Koresh's teachings did affect him.  At the trial Rodriguez at first denied being influenced by Koresh, but then confirmed telling a reporter Koresh was "close" to converting him.  "He knew what he was talking about. . .after a while, it gets to you, it affects you.  You sit there and listen and it starts to make sense."  Discussing the people he had met at Mount Carmel Center, Rodriguez began to weep.15/

After Raid, Koresh Stated He Would Have Cooperated
      The above evidence lends credence to David Koresh's claims on the publicly released February 28, 1993 9-1-1 tape that he would have cooperated with authorities if they had contacted him.  On the 9-1-1 tape Koresh told McLennan County Sheriff's Lieutenant Larry Lynch, "Now, we're willing, and we've been willing, all this time, to sit down with anybody.  You've sent law enforcement out here before."
      Immediately after the raid, Koresh told a KRLD radio reporter, "I respect law enforcement.  I loved the Waco Sheriff Department.  They treated me good.  When we had the child accusations against us, some Sheriff department guys came out and they treated us with the highest respect. . .They took the children off where they can talk to them personally.  Those kind of people I can deal with."  When the reporter asked if he would have gone to town and discussed the weapons with the sheriff's department, Koresh answered, "I would have come.  I would have come.  I would have come."
      The Houston Chronicle obtained tapes of telephone conversations between Koresh and BATF agent Jim Cavanaugh shortly after the assault.  Koresh told the agent, "It would have been better if you just called me up or talked to me.  Then you could have come in and done your work."16/
      When federal prosecutor Ray Jahn asked Davidian Marjorie Thomas, who testified for the prosecution, what Davidians would have done if agents "had just walked up to the door and turned the knob and started to walk in?"  Thomas answered, "We wouldn't do anything."17/  And during a prison interview Renos Avraam asserted, "[Koresh] had let other people in, including policemen.  Why wouldn't he let the ATF in?  They never gave him the opportunity.  So we will never know."  Livingstone Fagan agreed, "The ATF could have knocked on the door."18/


      Former New York City Police commissioner Benjamin Ward said of BATF's February 28th raid on Mount Carmel, "They did it backwards.  The accepted way is to talk first and shoot second."19/  Dr. Robert Cancro, one of the outside experts the Justice Department asked to review BATF and FBI's actions, wrote, "David Koresh asked why they did not serve him the warrant directly rather than through an armed assault. . .The issue is why was this not considered and evaluated more thoroughly and with adequate behavioral input."20/   While BATF has given insufficient and conflicting reasons for the raid, it seems clear that the Bureau's primary reason was the bureaucratic imperative to extend BATF's operations and budget.

Questions About U.S. Attorney Johnston's Role
      Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Johnston ignored Marc Breault's complaints against the Davidians for a number of years.  It was not until BATF showed interest in the David Koresh and the Davidians that he began to aggressively pursue the case.  He would go on to become one of the trial prosecutors.
      According to the Treasury report, Johnston "informed ATF early in the investigation that he would not authorize a search warrant for the Branch Davidian Compound if it was to be executed through a siege-style operation.  He, too, feared that a siege strategy would permit Koresh and his followers to destroy evidence and make prosecution more difficult, as happened in the CSA [Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord] case. Despite Johnston's views, however, ATF's tactical planners seriously considered a siege plan."21/
      At trial defense attorneys tried desperately to discover whether Johnston in fact had played such an important role in the decision to go with a dynamic entry (paramilitary raid) instead of a siege (surrounding Mount Carmel until residents surrendered).  They argued that if U.S. attorneys were involved in promoting the fatal raid plan, they had a vested interest in showing their actions were proper.  Judge Smith repeatedly frustrated attorneys' efforts by ruling the matter irrelevant.22/
       Johnston dismissed the information in the Treasury report saying: "The Treasury Review. . .is a book that was written for release to the public. . .It is not exactly--it relates to the ATF, as if that had some effect on all of these people, Buford and others in planning, and it's--the full context of that is hard to read."23/  Johnston thereby conceded that the Treasury report was merely a public relations effort, not a serious investigation.
      Johnston finally admitted that the Treasury report reference came from another meeting Johnston had with BATF raid planner Chuck Sarabyn.  "There was a conversation with Sarabyn, and the quote is not completely accurate, it is just not explained."  Johnston did not go on to explain it and asserted he had no intention of calling Sarabyn as a witness.24/
      Although it is widely rumored that Johnston observed the February 28, 1993 raid, he refused to answer specifically defense attorney Mike DeGeurin's question about his presence.  He stated, apparently sarcastically, "I wasn't in one of the trailers, Mr. DeGeurin."25/

Buford Refused to Reveal Real Reason for Raid
      At trial defense attorneys sharply questioned the highest raid planner prosecutors brought to the stand, Resident-Agent-in-Charge of Little Rock BATF, Bill Buford.  Buford had planned and participated in the 1985 siege of the white supremacist group "The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord."  By the end of the siege, the group allegedly had destroyed most of its illegal weapons.26/  However, when asked if the Treasury report allegation that this fear influenced the decision to do a paramilitary raid instead of a siege, Buford replied, "Absolutely not."27/
       Buford testified that he originally argued for a siege because it was "the safest way to do it."  Buford claimed that he changed his mind and came to support a paramilitary raid "to protect the women and children."  However, during cross examination Buford admitted that he had no idea how many women, children and elderly lived at Mount Carmel.  Moreover, defense attorneys discovered that Buford's rough notes about the planning process contained no mention of concern for women and children.28/
      Defense attorneys sought other planning materials to prove that Buford had lied about his concern for women and children-- evidence, in their minds, of his being involved in a BATF coverup.  Prosecutors objected vehemently, invoking "privilege as to the other matters, the attachments to the other plans, because they do not reflect the reasoning and internal thought of ATF, this sort of thing, that have nothing to do with guilt or innocence but instead give away strategy and planning, and how these things are arrived at and factors considered by ATF, which involved agent safety and risks, that if they are revealed, it would be detrimental to law enforcement. . .[these]. . .go beyond what's included in the Treasury Report are clearly not discoverable."29/

First Test of "National Response Plan"
      It is well known that forceful execution of search warrants is BATF's preferred modus operandi.  The Treasury report acknowledges that BATF planners decided quickly that their only options were a siege or a paramilitary raid.30/  Raid planner Bill Buford confessed at trial that he never had been told that Koresh had invited Aguilera to Mount Carmel to inspect his weapons, something that would have indicated the viability of a non-violent service of warrant.31/
      Two top BATF planners were particularly predisposed to such a raid.  Dallas Special Agent-in-Charge Ted Royster had led many high profile, aggressive raids.32/  SAC Chuck Sarabyn, who would become co-commander of the February 28th raid, favored a raid because it would be the first opportunity to test the "National Response Plan" which he had "played a significant role in drafting."  This would also be only the fifth time more than one Special Response Team had been used in an operation.33/  Successful completion of the operation would be a big boost to BATF's credibility in law enforcement circles.
      Given these raid planners' military mentality, it is understandable that BATF named the raid "Operation Trojan Horse."34/  Evidently planners, who were hiding their "troops" in cattle trailers, expected a great surprise victory.  David Koresh's attorney Dick DeGuerin explained that the reason BATF rejected Koresh's offer to cooperate was to excuse a paramilitary raid.  "I guess you have to understand the Rambo mentality to understand why these ATF agents and their supervisors wanted to do that."35/

Publicity Stunt to Bolster BATF's Image and Budget
      In early 1993 BATF was a beleaguered agency.  Politicians were calling for its abolition, CBS-TV's "60 Minutes" had just done an exposé about female BATF agents who charged routine sexual harassment and even attempted rape, black BATF agents were suing for job discrimination, and the Waco Tribune-Herald was calling to find out why BATF was not doing something about this "dangerous armed cult," the Branch Davidians.36/
      Facing a March 10, 1993 hearing in front of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service and General Government, BATF leadership may have felt it needed some good publicity to illustrate its effectiveness, justify its existence and perhaps increase its budget for the kind of paramilitary operations which it preferred.  Arresting dozens of "religious fanatics" and displaying a big weapons cache might be just the thing.  Any later story that the guns were found to be legal and that charges had been dropped would never go beyond the local papers.  Such publicity also could be used to justify more gun control laws, which would necessitate an even bigger BATF budget--and bigger promotions, perks and pensions for BATF officials and agents.
      Mike Wallace reran the "60 Minutes'" January episode May 23, 1993 and declared, "Almost all the agents we talked to said that they believe the initial attack on that cult in Waco was a publicity stunt--the main goal of which was to improve the ATF's tarnished image."  At trial several agents stated that a lead BATF agent yelled the very publicity-conscious phrase "It's showtime!" as they exited the trailers.37/
      During the June 9, 1993 House Appropriations subcommittee hearings lawmakers grilled BATF Public Information Officer Sharon Wheeler to determine if BATF Washington or local offices had been concerned with "the BATF image and whether or not this operation would impact that image."  (Her superior, who also appeared and probably knew the answer, did not volunteer an answer.)  Wheeler denied two reporters' contentions that when she called them for weekend phone numbers she had told them, "we have something big going down" on Sunday.38/  And BATF agents made no attempt to stop the news people following them on the raid--one television crew followed BATF's cattle trailers right up the Mount Carmel driveway.

BATF Paranoia and Hostility
      Another explanation for the decision to proceed with a paramilitary raid is BATF's fear of and hostility towards what Time magazine called "determined and fanatical groups."  BATF spokesperson Jack Killorin declared, "We've gone about them in a number of different ways--ruse, ambush, siege and talk.  In almost every one we lose law enforcement officers."39/  Marc Breault writes that in December, 1992 BATF investigator Davy Aguilera told him "that he felt Vernon was a lunatic and needed to be put away."40/
      Henry S. Ruth, Jr., one of the Independent Reviewers, asserts: "At least part of the ATF motivation, even if it never rose to the surface, was to enforce the morals of our society.  To enforce the psyche of right thinking by retaliating against these odd people."41/  In effect, the Branch Davidians were a strange and alien culture that had to be destroyed.

BATF Desire to Punish BATF Critic
      During the January, 1992 interview with Martin King for the Australian television program "A Current Affair," David Koresh shared his opinion about guns: "This is not Europe, not where a country overthrows a bunch of people, takes away their weapons so the people cannot argue any issues.  Guns are the right of Americans to have.  Yeah, we've got a gun here and there.  Most of the guns were sold.  A lot of people say: `He's got guns, that makes him bad, that makes him a cult.'"  When asked if he would use a gun if "someone" trespassed, Koresh answered, "People trespass all the time.  Do we use a gun?  No, we don't.  Now, they come in here with a gun and they start shooting at us, what would you do?. . .Our constitution states every citizen in American has the right to rebuttal the government.  Guns?  Yes, we have guns."
      Doubtless annoyed, Davy Aguilera in his February 25, 1993 affidavit mentions that Koresh stated that the Bible gave him the right to bear arms and then showed him the Gun Owners Foundation video tape which he wrote "portrayed ATF as an agency who violated the rights of gun owners by threats and lies."  And at trial undercover agent Robert Rodriquez described with obvious disgust Koresh's criticism of "silly" gun laws and of BATF as an organization that violated gun owners' rights.42/  During closing arguments defense attorney Mike DeGeurin explained, "It's because they believe differently and they had guns and they were criticizing ATF that this plan grew."43/

Davidians' Perceived Separatist Tendencies
      The Davidians perceived separatist or secessionist tendencies also disturbed BATF agents--and later the FBI and prosecutors.  Sheriff Jack Harwell said, "They were like living in another little country out there. . .once anyone crossed that property line out there it would be just like someone invading the United States."44/  However, Shannon Bright, a drummer who often visited Mount Carmel, asserted, "They didn't have someone that stood at the gate and checked everyone who walked in. . .Anyone could walk in peacefully and walk right back out if they wanted to."45/
      Columnist Joseph Sobran wrote: "We are already being told how threatening David Koresh is to society at large, when apparently all he ever wanted to do was to secede from it.  And this, I think, is the real nature of a cult: its desire to withdraw."46/
      At trial Robert Rodriguez described Koresh's comments that the United States was a "dragon" that would be destroyed by God and said Koresh "denounced its laws and said that he did not believe in paying taxes."47/  Twice during the trial prosecutors played Wayne Martin's 9-1-1 statement, "We don't want any help from your country."  Bill Johnston asked the jury, "Can a group arm themselves and secede from the union, kill agents and claim self-defense?"48/  Dave Hollaway, associate director of the Cause Foundation commented: "The government cannot allow these kinds of separatists groups, whether they be white separatist groups or religious separatist groups.  They cannot allow this so they target these individuals."49/  (Even the Democratic Party-affiliated law firm of Caddell & Conwell, which is filing civil suits for Davidian survivors and family, noted that BATF was prejudiced against the Davidians because of their "separatist" beliefs.)50/

BATF Shoddy Intelligence
      BATF planners decided they only could consider a siege if Koresh was arrested away from Mount Carmel when he was out jogging or in town.  Agents believed that without Koresh's leadership, the other members would offer little resistance to a BATF search of Mount Carmel.  The Treasury report admits agents received inaccurate information from social worker Joyce Sparks and undercover agent Robert Rodriguez that Koresh rarely left Mount Carmel.  It also acknowledges that the agents at the undercover house could not identify who left and entered by automobile.51/  Only after the raid did BATF receive information that Koresh had left Mount Carmel a number of times during December, 1992 and January and February, 1993, visiting places like Wal-Mart, Whataburger, a wrecking yard, and a local bar.52/

Cult Busters Advised Against Simple Search
       Considering BATF's bias toward paramilitary raids and its desire for a publicity coup, it is easy to understand why BATF investigators Davy Aguilera and Bill Buford accepted so uncritically cult buster "scare stories" which reinforced their commitment to such a raid.  Marc Breault writes in his diary entry of January 8, 1993 that "ATF" asked him, "If Vernon received a summons to answer questions regarding firearms, would he show up?"  Breault answered, "No way."  ATF asked, "If the good guys came with a search warrant, would Vernon allow it?"  Breault gave a false version of Koresh's theology when he answered: "There is a considerable amount of danger because Vernon feels that since he is Jesus Christ, he has already died.  Therefore he can skip that phase of things.  Since he does not have to die, there is no resurrection and therefore he may well feel he can start shooting beforehand."53/  Social worker Joyce Sparks' had warned BATF, "If you try to serve your warrant with force they are going to get your guns and they are going to shoot you."54/   Breault falsely insisted Davidians would resist any service.
      Breault similarly had informed the U.S. Embassy in Australia in February, 1992 that "there would be a shootout with authorities if they attempt to enter the cult's Waco property to take away any of the children now living there, or investigate living conditions."55/  This had not happened when social workers and local sheriffs visited Mount Carmel, yet BATF heeded Breault's questionable advice.  Doubtless, cult buster Rick Ross also was telling BATF investigators what he told the Waco Tribune-Herald--that Koresh was violent and dangerous.
      BATF also was spooked by Ross-influenced David Block's allegation Koresh urged Davidians to be "ready to fight and resist" any armed attack.56/  BATF agent Lowell Sprague testified during the trial that "raid planners" were convinced that since they had weapons, the Davidians would "make a stand based on their religious beliefs."57/
      This cult buster-induced belief that Koresh would not cooperate was communicated all the way to the top.  Chief of Public Relations Jack Killorin claimed after the raid that Koresh was "sworn to resistance" and it was only prudent to have firepower.58/  And David C. Troy, chief of BATF's intelligence division, told a House Ways and Means subcommittee: "Once we had probable cause (to arrest him), he was so kinked up over government. . .that he would not come off the compound. . .And the people behind Vernon Howell were just as violent."59/  However, it is clear that cult busters were the ones who had BATF "kinked up" over David Koresh!

Cult Busters' Mass Suicide Scare Stories
      The Treasury report asserts that one major reason for a paramilitary raid was former Davidians assertions current Davidians might commit "mass suicide" should the government attempt a siege.  Not surprisingly, Marc Breault promoted this idea "most forcefully."60/  In fact, the Treasury report asserts, "The planners ultimately rejected the siege option mainly because the intelligence obtained in January from former cult members. . .Most significantly, they noted the distinct danger that Koresh would respond to a siege by leading his followers in mass suicide."61/  Doubtless, Rick Ross also promoted his "Jim Jones" comparison.  However, at trial raid planner Bill Buford never mentioned mass suicide as a serious consideration.

Failed Cult Buster Child Abuse Allegation
      According to the Treasury report, BATF attempted to convince Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services to summon Koresh to town for a meeting so that BATF could arrest him, but they refused to become involved.  BATF then tried obtain a Texas arrest warrant for Koresh for sexual activities with a young girl, but that fell through when she refused to testify.62/
      While official documents conceal her identity, an article in the Waco Tribune-Herald revealed that it was twelve-year-old Kiri Jewell's allegations against David Koresh which were investigated in February, 1993 by Texas Child Protective Services.63/
      According to the Justice Department report, on February 22, 1993, this young girl told Texas Child Protective Services social worker Joyce Sparks "that on one occasion, when she was ten years old, her mother left her in a motel room with David Koresh.  He was in bed and he told [her] to come over to him.  She got into the bed.  David had no pants on.  He took off her panties and touched her and got on top of her. . .We talked about how she was feeling when this happened and she responded. . .scared. . .scared but privileged."  The report concedes, "This evidence was insufficient to establish probable cause to indict or prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict."64/
      Not only did her father David Jewell take Kiri to state and federal authorities to tell this story, he exposed her to public scrutiny by allowing her to appear on a March, 1993 "Donahue" show to talk about her experiences with the Davidians.  On the show Kiri asserted she knew she would one become Koresh's wife when she turned 13.  David Jewell then interjected, "Quite frankly, there are other incidents that we just really aren't ready to talk about right now."
      One wonders if Jewell was holding back only because even in those first ten days of the siege he was negotiating to sell Kiri's alleged story--a young girl having sex with David Koresh is rescued by her father and talks to BATF agents--to television.  It was an important story line in the NBC-TV television movie, "In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco."  Two years later Jewell again exposed his daughter to public scrutiny on the May 4, 1995 special "Where Are They Now."  Prosecutors obviously did not consider Kiri Jewell sufficiently credible to bring her to the stand to speak about Koresh's allegedly abusing her, despite the judge's ruling such evidence was relevant to proving conspiracy.65/


      The Treasury report describes the "multi-task force" of federal, state and local authorities used to carry out BATF's February 28th raid.  While BATF agents from three Special Response Teams, supported by National Guard helicopters, carried out the actual raid, the Texas Rangers were relegated to setting up roadblocks and the McLennan County Sheriff's Department provided "support."66/  (This consisted of three Lieutenants assigned to what were considered "minor" duties--like answering raid-related 9-1-1 calls to the Waco police.)  At the June 9, 1993 House Appropriations subcommittee hearings, BATF Associate Director Hartnett explained that a Drug Enforcement Agency team was on hand to disassemble any methamphetamine laboratory which might be found, something not mentioned in the Treasury report.  He also said that the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S Marshals Service were involved.67/
      The problem with such federal, state and local "multi-task forces" is that they make all participants defacto "partners in crime," should crimes be committed against citizens--especially if federal agents commit the crimes.  National legislation and federal funding for state and local law enforcement ensure that many state and local authorities are not very aggressive in preventing or investigating federal crimes against citizens.


      The 1878 posse comitatus law, Section 1385 of the U.S. code, states U.S. military forces and state national guards cannot be used as police forces against civilians.  However, courts have given law enforcement wide leeway in using military and national guard equipment, facilities and support personnel.68/  More recent modifications of the posse comitatus law (32 U.S.C. §112 and 10 U.S.C. §371) allow the military and national guard to provide "non-reimbursable," i.e., free, support to civilian law enforcement if they are engaged in counter-drug operations.  This is just one more example of how the War on Drugs has chipped away at our liberties.

False Drug Manufacturing Allegations
      The Treasury report states BATF wanted to use military training facilities and equipment at Fort Hood, and Texas National Guard aerial reconnaissance before, and diversionary helicopters during, the raid.  The report goes on to say, "However, in the absence of a drug nexus, ATF was told by both the U.S. military and the National Guard that the assistance would be reimbursable."69/  To get that free assistance, BATF constructed drug allegations from dubious and dated evidence.
      Marc Breault had told BATF agents that David Koresh claimed that after he took over Mount Carmel from George Roden, "he had found methamphetamine manufacturing facilities and recipes on the premises."  Koresh told Breault he had asked the local sheriff to take them away, but the sheriff had no record of doing so.70/  BATF revealed to Congress it knew the identity of the individuals most likely responsible for building this lab: "convicted narcotics trafficker Donny Joe Harvey and his associate, Roy Lee Wells, Jr., were verified by the McLennan County Sheriffs Department as residing at the compound" during the time Roden was in charge.71/
      Undercover agent Robert Rodriguez told BATF, "Koresh had told him that the Compound would be a great place for a methamphetamine laboratory because of its location."  (This allegation is mentioned in the Treasury report--but not in the all-important affidavit for search warrant.)  However, if Koresh made such a comment, it might have been within the context of the drug activities of George Roden's former tenants.79/
      According to information BATF submitted to Congress, the last Davidian to be convicted on drug charges was Brad Branch, back in 1983.  Two of BATF's other accusations, against Kathryn Schroeder and Margaret Lawson, were cases of mistaken identity.73/
      On the basis of this dubious information, Army Lieutenant Colonel Walker, who advised BATF on obtaining "training or equipment or support in a counter-drug operation," recommended BATF solicit Texas National Guard services.74/  BATF convinced the Texas National Guard to do two overflights of the buildings to look for "hot spots" that might indicate drug laboratory activity.  A hot spot was found but, since it could indicate construction, cooking or other activities requiring heat, "no official interpretation of the `hot spot'" was provided.75/  In March, 1993 Davidian Rita Riddle told reporters that "hot spots" indicated where there were heaters in the house and denied the existence of any drug labs.84/
      Given this dubious evidence, it is not surprising that in the month after the raid, BATF denied to reporters that it had used allegations of a drug laboratory to obtain Texas National Guard helicopters.  Press reports that BATF had obtained the helicopters under "false pretenses" angered Texas Governor Ann Richards.  BATF Associate Director Hartnett sent her a March 27, 1993 memo to assure her that there had been sufficient evidence to invoke the drug "nexus" exception to the posse comitatus law and obtain free use of National Guard helicopters.
      BATF used the same false information to obtained training support from the Army.  In the May, 1995 issue of Soldier of Fortune, James Pate reveals that a classified teletype message order from then-Brigadier General John M. Pickler authorizing the use of Special Forces Green Berets to train BATF agents was based on BATF's assertion Davidians were manufacturing methamphetamines.  It specifies that "intelligence indicates an active methamphetamine lab and deliveries of the required chemicals to produce synthetic methamphetamine."  Another classified message reveals that BATF told the army that "one of the separate buildings [is] suspected of containing a meth lab."77/

Questions About Original Written Plans
      Also troubling is BATF and the Treasury Departments' claims that there was no written plan for the raid on Mount Carmel until February 23, 1993, five days before the raid.  BATF agent Darrell Dyer, who had past military experience, took it upon himself to write one with agent William Krone.  This plan was not distributed before the raid.78/  Those familiar with military bureaucracy find it difficult to believe that military commanders would have advised BATF on obtaining national guard and army support without such written documentation.
      James Pate presents evidence that there was indeed a written plan, but that it was such a patent violation of the posse comitatus law that the military, BATF and Treasury purposely covered up its existence.  Pate notes that BATF spokesperson Jack Killorin referred to a plan that was "months" old.  Also, BATF Deputy Assistant Director Dan Conroy stated, "I want to once and for all, unequivocally state--the raid plan was submitted. . .It was granted 100 percent by headquarters."  Then-Brigadier General John M. Pickler's order authorizing the use of Green Berets to train BATF agents notes "ATF has already planned their operation."
      Pate goes on to describe what he believes are the details of the suppressed original raid plan.  A memorandum by Army Major Philip W. Lindley criticizes BATF's plan for proposing to illegally use Special Forces trainers in a plan where "civilian targets" are "to be attacked."  BATF also requested Special Forces to be "in proximity" to "the target" during the raid.  The original plan anticipated a significant number of casualties and  BATF wanted access to Bradley vehicles from the start in order to remove them.  Moreover, immediately after the failed raid, BATF again requested Bradley vehicles and did in fact contemplate a second assault on Mount Carmel on February 28th with them, something 9-1-1 tapes reveal that Davidians feared.  The FBI prevented such an assault.79/

Questions About Illegal Training
      The Treasury report describes the involvement of Army Special Forces from Fort Bragg in South Carolina in training BATF agents at Fort Hood.  It asserts they simply constructed stand-alone windows for practicing breaking and entering, outlined the dimensions of Mount Carmel with marking tape, and gave agents medical and communications training.80/  In a May, 1994 article James Pate revealed "military sources" told him that Special Forces trained BATF agents in the use of flash-bang grenades.  Moreover, they allegedly trained them "after hours" in techniques of "room-clearing, fire-and-maneuver and building takedown," methods of indiscriminate killing of uncooperative enemy forces--and "subjects Special Forces are forbidden to teach civilian law enforcement."  Pate writes that a source told him: "Are we worried about being found out? Of course we're worried. . .The army engaged in a coverup on this from the moment the news hit the fan about that [ATF] raid."81/
      In May, 1995 Pate asserted he had further evidence that Special Forces illegally taught "Close Quarter Combat" to BATF agents, that Green Berets helped write a specific assault scenario and that after the failed raid they all wrote "cover your ass" statements denying any culpability.  He also named four Green Berets who were present at Mount Carmel--wearing "civvies"--during the February 28th raid.82/
      At trial BATF raid planner Bill Buford confirmed that Special Forces trained agents but asserted that "to the best of my knowledge" no Special Forces had observed the February 28th raid.  However, he said that at least one army medic had told him he wished he could do so.83/
      All this military and law enforcement activity seems particularly unnecessary and even frightening, given David Koresh's exasperated statement on the March 8th home video: "You could have arrested me jogging as I jogged up and down the road.  You could have arrested me at Walmart. . .Cause this ain't America any more when the ATF has that kind of power to come into anybody's home and kick doors down."


1.       "Fagan still irritant for ATF," Waco Tribune-Herald, January 27, 1994.
2.       Treasury Department report, p. 123.
3.       Ibid. pgs. 187-188.
4.       Roy Bragg, "Ex-prosecutor laments agents' `storm trooper' tactics," Houston Chronicle, March 2, 1993; Clifford Linedecker, pgs. 72-73.
5.       June 9, 1994, House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, p. 164.
6.       Treasury Department report, p. 135.
7.       Dirk Johnson, "40 Bodies of Cult Members are Found in Charred Ruins," New York Times, April 22, 1993, B12.
8.       Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader, March 7, 1993, A2.
9.       Treasury Department report, Appendix D, pgs. 8-9.
10.     Clive Doyle interview, "American Justice" program, "Attack at Waco," August 3, 1994.
11.      Treasury Department report, p. 187; trial transcript, p. 4069.
12.      James L. Pate, July, 1994, p. 48.
13.      Treasury Department report, Appendix D, p. 11.
14.      Livingstone Fagan paper, August, 1994, p. 13.
15.      Lee Hancock, Dallas Morning News, May 13, 1993, 8A; James L. Pate, July, 1994, p. 48; trial transcript, pgs. 3441-44.
16.      "Koresh to agents: Should have called me," Washington Times, May 26, 1993.
17.      Marjorie Thomas testimony, November 17-18, 1993, p. 207.
18.      James L. Pate, July, 1994, p. 48, 49.
19.      Newsweek, March 15, 1993, p. 55.
20.      Dr. Robert Cancro report to the Justice Department in Recommendations of Experts for Improvements in Federal Law Enforcement after Waco, October 8, 1993, p. 2.
21.      Treasury Department report, p. 38.
22.      Trial transcript, pgs. 2925-2937.
23.      Ibid. pgs. 2934-5.
24.      Ibid. pgs. 2934-35.
25.      Ibid. pg. 2716.
26.      Treasury Department report, p. 38.
27.      Ibid. p. 53; trial transcript, p. 2831.
28.      Trial transcript, pgs. 2927-8, 2756, 2798, 2830.
29.      Ibid. pgs. 2927-28.
30.      Treasury Department report, pgs. 38-43.
31.      Trial transcript, p. 2831.
32.      Larry Pratt report, p. 15.
33.      Treasury Department report, p. 62.
34.      Ibid. Appendix B, p. 40.
35.      Steve McVicker, "Interview with Dick DeGuerin," Houston Press, July 22, 1993.
36.      Stephen Labaton, "Firearms Agency Struggles to Rise From Ashes of Waco Raid," New York Times, November 5, 1993, A21.
37.      Trial transcript, pgs. 2387, 2506.
38.      June 9, 1993, House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, pgs. 144-145.
39.      Time, March 15, 1993, p. 39.
40.      Marc Breault and Martin King, p. 299.
41.      "American Justice" program, "Attack at Waco," August 3, 1994.
42.      Trial transcript, pgs.3385-90.
43.      Ibid. p. 7279.
44.      Daniel Wattenberg, p. 32.
45.      Mark England, "Still Having Doubts," Waco Tribune-Herald, April 17, 1993.
46.      Joseph Sobran, "Applying the Cult Label," Washington Times, March 22, 1993.
47.      Trial transcript, pgs. 3385-86.
48.      Ibid. p. 7083-84.
49.      Marc R. Masferrer, "Lessons from the botched Mount Carmel raid," Waco Tribune-Herald, February 27, 1994, 4A.
50.      Caddell & Conwell lawsuit, (July 26, 1994), p. 78.
51.      Treasury Department report, pgs. 136-40.
52.      Margy G. Gotschall, "A Marriage Made In Hell," National Review, April 4, 1994; trial transcript, pgs. 6713-14.
53.      Marc Breault and Martin King, pgs. 306-07.
54.      Joyce Sparks interview on ABC-TV's "Primetime Live" show, January 6, 1994.
55.      Gustav Nieguhr and Pierre Thomas, April 25, 1993, A20.
56.      Treasury Department report, p. 45.
57.      Trial transcript, p. 2251.
58.      "A Botched Mission in Waco, Texas," U.S. News and World Report, March 5, 1993.
59.      Associated Press wire story, April 22, 1993, 13:04 EDT.
60.      Treasury Department report, p. 46.
61.      Ibid. p. 141.
62.      Ibid. p. 64.
63.      Darlene McCormick, October 10, 1993.
64.      Justice Department report, pgs. 219.
65.      Trial transcript, pgs. 4421-22, 4716.
66.      Treasury Department report, p. 79.
67.      June 9, 1993, House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, p. 77-78.
68.      June 9, 1993, House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, p. 342.
69.      Treasury Department report, p. 213.
70.      Ibid. p. 30.
71.      June 9, 1993, House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, p. 188-189.
72.      Treasury Department report, p. 212.
73.      June 9, 1993 House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, pgs. 188-189; family member, private communication.
74.      Ibid. pgs. 177-178.
75.      Treasury Department report, p. 213.
76.      J. Michael Kennedy and Louis Sahagun, "Sect member says helicopters shot at compound in gun battle," Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1993, A17.
77.      James L. Pate, "No Peace without Justice," Soldier of Fortune, May, 1995, p. 82.
78.      Treasury report, pgs. 207-208.
79.      James L. Pate, May, 1995, pgs. 58-61.
80.      Treasury Department report, pgs. 73, 78 and Appendix B, p. 56.
81.      James L. Pate, "Special Forces Involved In Waco Raid!" Soldier of Fortune, May, 1994, p. 35-36.
82.      James L. Pate, May, 1995, pgs. 60-61, 94-95.
83.      Trial transcript, pgs. 2811-12.

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