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Cato Blasts Danforth Waco Report

UPI, Apr. 10, 2001
http://www.vny.com/cf/News/upidetail.cfm?QID=175900 Off-site Link


WASHINGTON, April 10 (UPI) -- A new study by the Cato InstituteOff-site Link says that
the final official government report on the 1993 Branch Davidian disaster in
Waco, Tex.-- which exonerated federal officials from wrongdoing-- is "not
supported by the factual evidence."

In "No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident,"Off-site Link criminal
justice scholar Timothy Lynch, director of the libertarian Cato's Project on
Criminal Justice, analyzes the legal implications of certain undisputed
events and concludes that the official investigation into the incident --
led by special prosecutor former Sen. John Danforth of Missouri -- was "soft
and incomplete." According to Lynch, many obvious crimes have gone

For example, says Lynch, ATF agents were caught on tape assaulting a local
television cameraman after he had filmed their retreat from the initial raid
on the Branch Davidian complex. Lynch says that ATF agents also lied to
federal investigators -- a federal offense -- but were never prosecuted
despite recommendations by U.S. Marshals.

More seriously, he says, FBI agents exhibited a gross disregard for human
life when they indiscriminately fired "ferret" rounds at the Davidian
residence and used tanks to ram its walls. "Since at least one child was
struck by a ferret round, second-degree murder charges may be appropriate,"
Lynch writes.

Also, the involvement of certain FBI officials in the Waco operation
"should have set off alarm bells with Special Prosecutor Danforth's
investigators," Lynch writes. Those officials were suspended by the
Department of Justice for their involvement in the controversial "Ruby
Ridge" incident, in which the wife of white separatist survivalist Randy
Weaver was killed by an FBI sniper during a nine-day standoff with agents in
Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992. One of these officials was eventually sentenced
to 18 months in prison for destroying evidence and lying to investigators
about his role in that cover-up.

About the Cato Institute:

Founded in 1977, the Cato Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Institute is named for Cato's Letters, libertarian pamphlets that helped lay the philosophical foundation for the American Revolution.

The Cato Institute seeks to broaden the parameters of public policy debate to allow consideration of more options that are consistent with the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, and peace. Toward that goal, the Institute strives to achieve greater involvement of the intelligent, concerned lay public in questions of policy and the proper role of government.

See also:
» No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco IncidentPDF file by Timothy Lynch,
   director of the Cato InstituteOff-site Link's Project on Criminal Justice. Posted on the Apologetics
   Index web site by permission.
» John Danforth's Final Report
» More about Waco / Branch Davidians

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