div CESNURCenter for Studies on New Religions


"Branch Davidians: Evidence Tampered"

by Michelle Mittelstadt (Associated Press, March 15, 2000)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Contending that the government has withheld, destroyed or tampered with important evidence related to the federal siege of a Waco, Texas, compound in 1993, lawyers for Branch Davidians who have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit are asking a federal judge for help.
In a 31-page motion being filed in federal court in Waco, the Davidians' lead counsel asked U.S. District Judge Walter Smith to schedule a hearing to review the complaint or to sanction the government.
``A disturbing pattern has emerged,'' the motion by Davidian lawyer Michael Caddell said. ``Much of the key evidence relating to the events of April 19, 1993, has been `lost,' altered or tampered with.'' U.S. Attorney Michael Bradford of Beaumont, whose office has coordinated the massive document production demanded by the court, didn't immediately return a telephone call seeking comment, nor did a Justice Department spokesman.
In his motion, Caddell complained of ``suspicious gaps'' in evidence and said the government had failed to meet the judge's September 1999 order to produce original audio and video tapes, photographic negatives and other evidence.
Among the originals reported lost by the government, Caddell said, were negatives for an 11:24 a.m. photo the FBI has brandished as proof that no gunshots were fired by federal agents into the Branch Davidian retreat.
The plaintiffs, whose case goes to trial in mid-May, contend that aerial infrared surveillance footage shot by the FBI offers definitive proof that government agents fired their weapons as the Davidians' building burned.
The government, for seven years, has staunchly denied that its agents fired any shots that day or that it bears any responsibility for the fire that raced through the compound several hours into an FBI tear-gassing operation designed to flush the Davidians out.
Davidian leader David Koresh and some 80 followers died, some from the fire, others from gunshot wounds. The government contends they perished by their own hand. The plaintiffs, who have deposed dozens of on-scene FBI personnel, contend an FBI photographer's testimony offers proof that several rolls of film shot in the crucial hour before the compound burned are missing from the evidence turned over by the government.
``The pattern of the photographs produced by the FBI suggests only one thing: the FBI has turned over only those photographs to the court (and the press) that the FBI wants the court and the public to see,'' Caddell charged.
The plaintiffs accuse the government of other wrongdoing, including: Never returning a roll of film confiscated from the Texas Rangers showing bodies and weaponry found inside the decimated concrete bunker. ``The absence of these photographs makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to determine if any of these persons were shot outside of that room and moved into it prior to or after the fire,'' the motion said.
Representing as originals audio recordings made from listening devices planted inside the compound during the 51-day siege. An analysis commissioned by the plaintiffs suggests the tapes are copies. The tapes - which the government has relied on for proof that the Davidians spread fuel and started the fire - also bear signs of being recorded with multiple recorders, the plaintiffs' tape expert concluded.
``There existed a number of suspicious record events (i.e. anomalies) which casts serious doubt on the tapes' originality and authenticity,'' the plaintiffs' tape expert, Steve Cain, wrote in a Feb. 24 report.

"Davidian inquiry expected to top $10 million this year: Budget includes plans to interview 1,000 people"

by Lee Hancock ("The Dallas Morning News", March 15, 2000)

Waco special counsel John C. Danforth's investigation of government actions against the Branch Davidians will cost nearly $10.8 million by the end of 2000, according to budget figures released Tuesday in Washington.
A 23-page budget submitted in early December by Mr. Danforth's office offers a rare glimpse at the secretive inquiry begun last fall, including the prediction that Mr. Danforth's investigators expect to question 1,000 people "with personal knowledge of events relative to the Waco matter."
The job also entails reviewing and creating a massive computer database from about 1.5 million pages of government Waco records at a cost of about $1.2 million, the document states. Investigators are also combing through tons of previously unexamined evidence in Waco and obtaining forensic studies and other expert help to authenticate other government evidence from the 1993 siege.
Although based in St. Louis, where Mr. Danforth returned to private law practice after retiring from the U.S. Senate, the special counsel's staff includes three inspectors in Waco and a small legal staff in Washington.
Mr. Danforth was appointed by Attorney General Janet Reno last September to examine the government's actions against the sect after FBI officials acknowledged that they had used pyrotechnic tear-gas grenades during their April 19 tank and tear-gas assault on the compound.
The assault ended in a fire that consumed the sect's embattled building with leader David Koresh and more than 80 followers inside. Government officials had previously insisted that they used only nonpyrotechnic gas canisters that day because Ms. Reno had expressly banned the use of anything that might spark a fire.
Ms. Reno and the FBI have maintained that government agents did not cause the fire and did not fire a shot at the sect in the final FBI assault.
Lawyers for surviving Branch Davidians and families of those who died have alleged in a wrongful-death lawsuit that government agents did fire repeatedly at the compound on April 19 and were at least partially to blame for the outcome.
Mr. Danforth said at the time of his appointment that he intended to "answer the dark questions" lingering more than six years after the 51-day siege. He then imposed strict secrecy on his investigation, warning his 68 staffers that they would be fired if they were linked to media leaks.
Some hints about the direction of his inquiry have been revealed in his periodic requests to the federal court in Waco for permission to test key evidence such as bullet casings, FBI video and audio tapes and tissue samples from the Branch Davidian dead.
His budget, filed with the Justice Department last December and released Tuesday by Justice officials, reveals an even broader outline.
The document stated that Mr. Danforth's 16-lawyer staff and 32 full- and part-time U.S. postal inspectors are conducting interviews, examining evidence and tracing back through more than six years of court proceedings, congressional hearings and other government inquiries. Mr. Danforth and six of his top lawyers are each being paid $118,400 a year, the equivalent of a U.S. attorney's salary.
The office budget does not include the salaries of the postal inspectors or the investigator on loan from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Mr. Danforth is relying on the Postal Service's law enforcement arm to avoid potential conflicts of interest in an inquiry focusing on FBI and Justice Department officials.
The budget document does not say when the Waco inquiry might end. Congressional investigators and lawyers for the sect have said they expect it will not be finished until well after the sect's wrongful-death lawsuit goes to trial. That trial is scheduled to begin in May in Waco .
The budget document states that Mr. Danforth's inquiry will resolve "whether any government employee or agent . . . made false or misleading statements, allowed other to make such statements, or withheld evidence or information" about what happened April 19, 1993.
Also under scrutiny is whether any government agent "used any incindiary or pyrotechnic devices at the compound on that date, started or contributed to the spread of the fire at the compound . . . or engaged in gunfire on that date," the document states.
Mr. Danforth's staffers are also empowered to examine whether military personnel were used illegally April 19, and the document also noted that Mr. Danforth had authority "to prosecute federal crimes arising from his investigation or the obstruction thereof."
Officials familiar with the ongoing Waco inquiries say Mr. Danforth's staff has already subjected some key FBI agents involved in the siege to repeated interviews. They have also done a lie-detector test with one former special forces soldier who was sent to Waco as an observer in 1993, after conflicts arose over his whereabouts on the last day of the siege.
Mr. Danforth's budget report states that at least seven outside forensic experts or other scientific consultants would be retained to assist his inquiry "at a cost of $100,000 per expert."
Not included in the budget document are any provisions for an elaborate infrared field test scheduled to be carried out at a Fort Hood firing range within the next week. The test is aimed at determining whether infrared cameras used by the FBI in Waco picked up flashes of government gunfire just before the compound burned.
Lawyers for the Branch Davidians have made the allegation of government gunfire a cornerstone of their lawsuit.
The judge presiding over that case, U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, ordered the test and is expected be in attendance at Fort Hood. Also scheduled to attend the closed proceeding are lawyers and experts for both sides, congressional investigators, a British infrared firm hired by Mr. Danforth and the court to supervise the test. Six of his Postal Service investigators also will be on hand to test-fire weapons and maneuver in camouflage gear for the test as airborne FBI and British Royal Navy infrared cameras record from overhead.
Officials in Washington said Tuesday they have been told that the operation may have to be rescheduled from Sunday to Monday or Tuesday because a cool front this weekend is expected to send daytime temperatures below the 65-degree minimum required for the test.

"Danforth estimates he will spend $11 million by fall on Waco investigation"

by William H. Freivogel and Terry Ganey ("The St. Louis Post-Dispatch", March 15, 2000)

Finding out if the government did bad things at Waco could turn out to be a lot less expensive than finding out if the president did bad things in the Oval Office.
Special counsel John C. Danforth estimated in a budget filed last year that he would spend about $11 million by this fall - a fraction of the $47 million that independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr spent investigating President Bill Clinton.
Seventeen lawyers and 32 postal inspectors make up the bulk of Danforth's 69-person, $3 million-a-year staff. Danforth said the staff's main jobs will be to:
* Interview as many as 1,000 people with "personal knowledge" of the Waco incident.
* Review 1.5 million pages of documents, using a special $1.2 million computer system that makes it easy to retrieve the documents.
* Examine thousands of pounds of uncataloged physical evidence stored in big repositories in Waco, Texas.
* Analyze hundreds of hours of audio, video and infrared tapes, paying seven experts a total of about $700,000.
Danforth said he would hire experts in infrared technology, audio and video image enhancement and authentication, explosives, ballistics, pathology, toxicology and fire.
The Department of Justice released Danforth's budget in response to a Freedom of Information request by the Associated Press.
Seven of the 17 attorneys are being paid at a rate of $118,400 a year, plus expenses. That includes Danforth and his chief of staff, Edward L. Dowd Jr.
Thirty-two postal inspectors - 17 full-time and 15 part-time - do most of the legwork for the investigation. But their salaries are not paid out of Danforth's budget.
Most of the staff - 55 of them - are stationed at Danforth's 15th floor offices in the St. Louis Place office building at 200 North Broadway. Of the remaining employees, 11 are in Washington and three at Waco.
Danforth spent $374,167 for the 17,124-square feet of office space in St. Louis and another $443,000 making alterations and leasing furniture. In addition, Danforth is paying about $145,000 for security at his St. Louis office.
The guards and metal detectors there got a workout last month when Danforth's guards ordered reporters to leave the 15th floor office while lawyers and experts devised a test plan for the re-enactment of the conditions of the Waco siege.
The cost of that re-enactment is not estimated in the budget. The test, now scheduled for Sunday, is designed to determine if flashes that appeared on FBI infrared surveillance tapes of the 1993 siege could have been from the muzzles of government guns. The Branch Davidians claim that the government fired on the last day of the Waco siege, when the Branch Davidians' complex burned and 80 people died.
Danforth's expenses are likely to grow during the next fiscal year.

"Waco Probe To Cost $11 Million"

(Associated Press, March 14, 2000)

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Working in secrecy protected by armed guards and metal detectors, the independent investigator looking into the FBI siege at the Branch Davidian compound expects to spend nearly $11 million, interview up to 1,000 people and review 1.5 million pages of documents.
A 23-page budget for the inquiry headed by former Sen. John Danforth was obtained by The Associated Press from the Justice Department through the Freedom of Information Act. It offers previously unreported details of the investigation, which is being conducted mainly in a suite of offices on the 15th floor of a downtown St. Louis office building.
The information becomes known just before a re-enactment that is scheduled for Sunday at a Texas military base. Danforth's purpose in seeking the field test is to determine whether flashes recorded by the FBI's infrared camera at the Waco, Texas, compound could be from gunfire, as survivors claim in a lawsuit.
Danforth refused interview requests Tuesday.
Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Danforth in September amid criticism that followed revelations that the FBI, contradicting a position it had taken for six years, used potentially incendiary devices on the last day of the 51-day standoff on April 19, 1993. David Koresh and about 80 followers died. Reno and the FBI deny any wrongdoing.
``I think my job is to answer the dark questions,'' Danforth said at the time of his appointment.
The budget, which Danforth was required to file within 60 days of starting work, shows that his plan called for interviews of up to 1,000 people -- everyone from Branch Davidians to the Pentagon's Delta Force commandoes -- who had knowledge of events related to the siege. Danforth anticipated his investigators would sift through more than 1.5 million pages of documents.
``The (Office of Special Counsel) will examine all physical evidence, including thousands of pounds of uncataloged physical evidence located in large repositories in Waco,'' Danforth said in the document.
Investigators also planned to analyze ``hundreds of hours'' of video, audio and infrared tapes.
The document made no specific mention of the re-enactment at Fort Hood, about 30 miles southwest of Waco. But documents released by lawyers in the case showed Danforth has hired Vector Data Systems Inc., which specializes in the installation of intelligence gathering systems, to act as his expert for the test.
Danforth didn't speculate on how long his investigation would take. He projected spending $9,704,106 through the end of the year. He spent $1,062,598 in the last three months of 1999.
When he agreed to the assignment, the former Republican senator promised to try to get to the bottom of four issues: whether government agents shot into the complex, the origin of the fire, the extent of the military's involvement and whether there was a cover-up.
Danforth set up headquarters in St. Louis, his hometown, along with an office in Washington and one in Waco. About $3.3 million of his budget will be used to rent, furnish and protect those offices.
The Office of Special Counsel is not listed among the tenants at the 20-story building, which is across the street from Danforth's law offices. Danforth estimated he would spend $145,670 to have security guards greet visitors when they step off the elevator to the 17,124-square-foot office on the 15th floor. A metal detector similar to the ones used by airports is wedged between the security desk and hallway. Those without approved business are whisked back into the elevator and sent on their way.
Federal protective service at the Washington office was expected to cost $118,975. There was no such allocation for Waco since it was in an already-protected post office building.
In addition, Danforth expected to pay $1.2 million for contract workers to scan documents into a computer system ``that will allow attorneys and investigators rapid search and analysis capability.'' Danforth also planned to hire seven specialists such as forensics experts at a cost of $100,000 each.
But most of the work would be done by a staff of 17 lawyers -- including Danforth and his deputy, former U.S. Attorney Edward Dowd -- along with 17 full-time and 15 part-time postal investigators. The postal inspectors are not funded through Danforth's budget.
Danforth is not using Justice Department investigators to avoid a conflict of interest, since the actions of FBI agents are under scrutiny.
Danforth and six of his top lawyers earn a U.S. attorney's salary, $118,400 a year. He also has two non-postal inspectors, two paralegals and 16 support people, bringing his total payroll to $3.2 million.
Danforth is the first person to wield powers spelled out in a new set of Justice Department regulations adopted in the wake of the June 30 expiration of the independent counsel statute. If necessary, he is authorized to prosecute for federal crimes arising from his investigation. He can also call a grand jury. Those costs would not be covered in the current budget.
Danforth's investigation is expected to cost far less than some recent investigations by independent counsels.
Kenneth Starr spent an estimated $47 million for the five-year investigation of President and Mrs. Clinton and their associates. In the 1980s, the office of independent counsel spent $48.5 million for a six-year inquiry into the Reagan White House's alleged arms-for-hostages deals with Iran and its secret war against the communist-led government of Nicaragua.

"Branch Davidians Seek To Drop Case"

by Michelle Mittelstadt (The Associated Press, March 14, 2000)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Branch Davidian plaintiffs who are suing the government over the 1993 Waco siege are asking a federal judge to dismiss their case against an FBI sharpshooter who is the lone named defendant in their wrongful-death lawsuit.
There is ``no credible evidence'' that FBI sharpshooter Lon Horiuchi or his sniper team fired any shots at the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas on April 19, 1993, the plaintiffs' lead counsel said Monday.
A forensic analysis of spent shell casings found at the sniper outpost occupied by Horiuchi's team indicate the bullets were ``most likely'' fired by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms during the initial Feb. 28 gun battle that sparked the 51-day siege, lawyer Michael Caddell said.
``Our investigation has determined that, while the FBI was clearly sloppy in gathering evidence following the ATF raid on February 28, there is no credible evidence that Horiuchi or other members of his sniper team fired at Mount Carmel on April 19, 1993,'' Caddell said.
The lawyer stressed that the move to dismiss the claims against Horiuchi doesn't diminish the plaintiffs' view that other FBI agents directed gunfire at the Branch Davidians' retreat during the standoff's final, deadly hours. Their civil suit proceeds to trial in mid-May.
``This in no way undermines or alters our strong belief that government agents, almost certainly (FBI Hostage Rescue Team) members, directed gunfire at the back of Mount Carmel, from positions that were not observable by the press or the FBI leadership in Washington,'' Caddell said.
The Justice Department, which is representing Horiuchi, offered no immediate comment. But weeks ago, Horiuchi's government lawyers filed a motion saying there is not a ``shred of evidence'' he fired his weapon on April 19.
Horiuchi first came to widespread public attention in 1992 when he killed the wife of white separatist Randy Weaver during the standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
Federal officials insist that no government personnel fired any shots in the waning hours of the Waco siege, when the FBI initiated a tank-and-tear gas operation designed to flush the Davidians out of their building.
Davidian leader David Koresh and some 80 followers died during a fire that consumed the compound several hours into the tear-gassing operation. Some died from the blaze, others from gunshot wounds that federal authorities say were inflicted by sect members.
The plaintiffs contend FBI infrared surveillance footage taken April 19 captured bursts of light that can represent nothing other than muzzle blasts directed from government positions into the burning building - a contention federal officials deny.
The plaintiffs' theory will be put to the test Sunday in a court-ordered field test at a Texas military base. The demonstration is designed to show whether infrared video technology captures gunfire with bursts of light similar to those that appear on the 1993 infrared videotape.

"Davidian lawyers to drop suit against FBI sniper: Evidence backs U.S. stance that agent didn't fire"

by Lee Hancock ("The Dallas Morning News", March 14, 2000)

Lawyers for the Branch Davidians moved Monday to dismiss their wrongful-death lawsuit against an FBI sniper, after findings by firearms experts that shell casings found in a house near the sect's Waco compound were not fired from FBI guns.
The motion, filed in U.S. District Court in Waco, comes five months after the sect's lead lawyer conceded that there was scant evidence to support the allegation that FBI Agent Lon Horiuchi fired at the compound on the final day of the 1993 standoff.
It resolves a legal action that was particularly sensitive to the FBI and to government critics because of Mr. Horiuchi's notoriety as the FBI sniper who fatally shot the wife of white supremacist Randy Weaver during a 1992 standoff at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.
Plaintiffs' attorney Michael Caddell of Houston said Monday that he decided to ask U.S. District Judge Walter Smith to dismiss the case against Agent Horiuchi after a private firearms expert hired to help develop the sect's lawsuit concluded that a dozen .308-caliber shell casings found at the Waco house probably were fired by federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms guns.
A similar conclusion was reached late last month by a Kentucky State Police Forensic Laboratory expert hired by lawyers for Agent Horiuchi, Mr. Caddell's motion stated.
U.S. Attorney Mike Bradford of Beaumont, one of two leaders of the government's Waco trial team, said he was pleased but not surprised by Monday's filing.
"It confirms our belief all along that Mr. Horiuchi did not fire, just as no one else from the government fired shots that day at the compound," he said.
Mr. Caddell said the lack of evidence to support claims against Agent Horiuchi does not diminish his belief that other government agents fired repeatedly at the back of the Branch Davidians' home April 19, 1993.
"This in no way undermines or alters our strong belief that government agents, almost certainly hostage rescue team members, directed gunfire at the back of Mount Carmel, from positions that were not observable by the press or the FBI leadership in Washington," he said.
More than 80 Branch Davidians died April 19 when a fire consumed their compound, known as Mount Carmel. The fire broke out six hours after the FBI began assaulting it with tanks and tear gas to try to end a 51-day standoff. The siege began Feb. 28, 1992, when a gunbattle erupted as ATF agents tried to search the sect's home and arrest its leader, David Koresh, for alleged gun violations. Government officials and lawyers have maintained that sect members caused the outcome. They have cited a judge's ruling that the Branch Davidians started the gunbattle Feb. 28 ; and officials cite findings of a government arson investigation that Branch Davidians torched their home.
Surviving Branch Davidians and families of those who died have alleged that government negligence and wrongdoing at least partially caused the massive loss of life. They have alleged that ATF agents used excessive force in their initial raid and fired the first shots in the gunfight.
The Branch Davidian lawsuit also alleges that government agents fired repeatedly in the last hour of the FBI tear-gas assault, cutting off escape routes when the building caught fire.
The group cites as evidence an infrared video recorded from an FBI surveillance plane that circled above the compound April 19. Repeated flashes appear on the video during the last hour of the FBI assault, and infrared experts hired by sect attorneys have said the flashes could have only come from government gunfire.
Government officials have denied that anyone from their side fired a shot, and their infrared experts have said that the flashes lasted too long to be gunfire.
Both sides in the lawsuit and investigators with the office of Waco Special Counsel John C. Danforth will gather in Fort Hood this weekend for a court-supervised field test aimed at resolving that issue.
The gunfight that began the 1993 siege broke out as more than 70 ATF agents arrived on the Branch Davidians' property. Four ATF agents died, about 20 were wounded and several Branch Davidians were mortally injured.
ATF snipers stationed in a farmhouse across the road from the Branch Davidians' property fired repeatedly at the sect with .308-caliber sniper rifles and .223-caliber AR-15 assault rifles during the Feb. 28 gunbattle. FBI hostage rescue team snipers, including Agent Horiuchi, then took positions in the same house when they were brought in to replace people from the ATF.
FBI agents assigned to the house turned over several dozen .223-caliber shell casings and 11 .308-caliber shell casings to Texas Rangers who were investigating the initial shootout. But the Rangers found additional .308 shell casings and other shell casings when they searched the house after the standoff.
Additional suspicions were raised by a June 1993 FBI report in which a hostage rescue team member was quoted as saying that he heard shots fired from the house where Agent Horiuchi was leading an FBI sniper team April 19.
Agent Horiuchi insisted that he never fired his weapon in Waco. And the hostage rescue team agent quoted in the 1993 FBI report offered a differing account after the issue became a central part of the Branch Davidians' wrongful-death lawsuit. That agent told FBI interviewers in 1996 that he was misquoted in the initial post-raid report "and was not aware of any shots fired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
Judge Smith ruled last summer that there was enough evidence to justify keeping Agent Horiuchi as a defendant in the Branch Davidians' lawsuit after all other individual government defendants were dismissed.

"Branch Davidians' lawyer drops claim that FBI sniper fired at group's compound"

by William H. Freivogeland Terry Ganey ("The St. Louis Post-Dispatch", March 14, 2000)

The Branch Davidians' main attorney is dropping the claim that FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi fired at the Branch Davidians during the Waco siege of 1993.
Forensic experts concluded that 35 shell casings found at Horiuchi's sniper post did not come from his rifle. Instead, the casings came from weapons used by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms during the initial gunfight with the Branch Davidians on Feb. 28, 1993 - 51 days before Horiuchi was alleged to have fired.
Mike Caddell, attorney for the Branch Davidians, asked the federal court Monday to dismiss Horiuchi from the wrongful death suit that accuses the government of wrongdoing in the deaths of about 80 Branch Davidians. Caddell said there was "no credible evidence" against Horiuchi, who was the lone government official named as a defendant in the case.
Mike Bradford, the U.S. attorney in Beaumont, Texas, said that development "helps to verify our overall contention that the FBI did not shoot at the compound, and it is consistent with our position that there were no shots fired at the compound on April 19."
Caddell disagreed. He said the action "in no way undermines or alters our strong belief that government agents ... directed gunfire at the back of Mount Carmel."
A court-ordered simulation of the conditions of the Waco siege is scheduled for Sunday to determine whether flashes on an infrared surveillance tape of the Waco siege are from government gunfire or the glint of the sun.
Horiuchi's role at Waco was scrutinized because he had fired the shot that killed the wife of Randy Weaver during a standoff in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992. That scrutiny intensified with the discovery of an after-action report by FBI agent Charles Riley, who was quoted as saying he heard gunshots from Horiuchi's Sierra One sniper position at Waco.
Riley later explained that the report had been wrong - that he had heard Horiuchi say the Branch Davidians were firing. Seven other FBI agents swore Horiuchi had not fired.
Texas Rangers found 35 shell casings at the sniper post - 11 spent ...308-caliber cartridges and 24 casings of .223 caliber. Gaylan Warren, an expert for the Branch Davidians, compared those casings with images from test firings of the ATF weapons made by the FBI crime lab in 1993. He also compared them with recent test firings of rifles used by Horiuchi and the FBI. The casings matched the ATF rifles, not Horiuchi's. Special Counsel John C. Danforth is conducting the same comparison, but his findings remain secret.
In other Waco news, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, New York Times, Dallas Morning News and Associated Press said they would not appeal last week's federal court order closing the simulation to the press and public.
The Sunday test may have to be postponed because the forecast calls for cloudy, rainy weather. The test plan requires warm, sunny conditions to test whether the flashes on the infrared tape are from guns or glint.

"Waco Re-Enactment a Hot Issue"

by Al Guart ("New York Post", March 12, 2000)

A re-enactment of the disastrous 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, is planned for Saturday. Infrared cameras might provide evidence of FBI wrongdoing for a wrongful-death suit brought by relatives of the victims.APThe stage is set for a controversial re-enactment next Saturday of the deadly 1993 siege in Waco at the Branch Davidian compound -- complete with tanks, submachine-gun fire and exploding grenades.
The federal judge presiding over a wrongful-death suit filed by relatives of cult members killed at the end of the 51-day standoff with federal agents has ordered the re-enactment at Fort Hood, Texas.
Seventy-four followers of David Koresh died in a raging blaze at the complex..
The lawsuit charges the government caused the fire by blasting the building with incendiary tear gas for nearly six hours, then shooting and ramming it with tanks.
The suit also charges that the government used excessive force, prevented cult members from escaping the burning compound by shooting at it and was negligent for not having plans to fight the blaze.
According to a plan approved by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, the gassing was supposed to continue for 48 hours, with the tanks then moving in if no one surrendered.
In the re-enactment, men in camouflage and painted faces will run alongside three tanks; eight gunmen will fire submachine guns and pistols; and grenades will explode in a field filled with shattered glass, shreds of aluminum, gum wrappers and large water containers, according to court documents.
The FBI has insisted it did not shoot at the compound -- that heat flashes seen on infrared footage of the event were caused by sunlight hitting debris, not gunfire -- and that the re-enactment will prove it.
But the plaintiffs argue the FBI is trying to stack the deck. The agency is now asking to be allowed to add an 8-by-10-foot tent covered with a reflective "space blanket" to guarantee flashes from sources other than gunfire.
"It is clear that [the government] and their experts are so desperate to create a flash during the Fort Hood demonstrations from something other than gunfire, that they are willing to sacrifice credibility and scientific accuracy in the process," said Houston lawyer Michael Caddell, who represents some of the victims.
"It is clear to everyone that there was nothing like a six-foot-high tent covered with space blankets at [the site] on April 19, [1993]," Caddell said..
The FBI declined to comment on any aspects of the case.
Another sore point is that the re-enactment will be supervised and filmed by Vector Data Systems, a British subsidiary of a U.S. firm that has approximately $300 million in federal contracts.
The event will cost roughly $1?million, to be paid by the losers of the case, and will be filmed by infrared cameras inside a British helicopter and an FBI Night Stalker plane from 4,000 and 6,000 feet.
The new footage will be compared with the FBI's film.
"If there are flashes on the tape from gunfire, then we've got a huge problem," Caddell said. "Then we have seven years of FBI agents lying about whether they fired on April 19."
The trial is set for May.

"Flash point: Test may demonstrate whether shots could have been fired at Branch Davidians in final hour of the Waco siege"

by Lee Hancock ("The Dallas Morning News", March 12, 2000)

Sometime next Sunday morning, if the weather is right, a British Navy helicopter and an FBI airplane will circle lazily above a stretch of broken Central Texas ground.
Men below in combat garb will charge forward to shoot repeated volleys of gunfire as each aircraft records their actions with a heat-measuring infrared video camera. Bradley fighting vehicles and combat engineering vehicles will lumber over broken glass, crumpled aluminum, and other debris laid out to resemble wreckage from a tank-battered building.
Within about three hours, investigators hope to collect enough videotaped data to answer questions that have festered since the Branch Davidian standoff: Did government agents fire gunshots at the sect's besieged home near Waco just before it burned on April 19, 1993? Did those gunshots cause the repeated rhythmic flashes that appeared in the last hour of an infrared videotape recorded before the compound fire from an FBI aircraft?
It is the first scientific re-creation of key events in a national tragedy since a congressional committee sent scientists and sharpshooters to Dealey Plaza on a Sunday morning in 1978. That test tried to determine whether a Dallas police radio recording captured shots from a second gunman in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The answers at Fort Hood could prove pivotal not only to the Branch Davidians' pending wrongful-death lawsuit against the government but also to investigations in both sides of Congress and the office of Waco special counsel John C. Danforth.
Government officials have maintained that no one from their side fired a shot during the FBI's final tank-and-tear-gas assault on the Branch Davidians' compound. Lawyers for the sect allege that government gunfire in the final hour of that assault kept women and children from fleeing before the compound burned. David Koresh and more than 80 followers died in the blaze.

Drawing a crowd

On hand to watch the March 19 field test at a closed Fort Hood firing range will be congressional investigators, lawyers and scientific experts from both sides in the Branch Davidian lawsuit. The Texas Rangers also plan to attend - a signal that the state's top lawmen are still working to get to the bottom of the Branch Davidian case seven years after being asked to help investigate it.
Attorneys for the sect say they are confident that the test will produce recordings of gun flashes that look so similar to the flashes on the Waco video that the public and the judge hearing their lawsuit will quickly conclude that government agents fired on April 19.
"The bottom line is, if we get flashes from gunfire that are at least similar to the flashes on April 19, I don't think that the judge is going to require that it be precise," said Michael Caddell, lead lawyer for the Branch Davidians. "And we're confident that this test is going to show gunfire."
But lawyers and others with the government say they are worried that the results from Fort Hood may be misunderstood before they can be properly analyzed, deepening rather than quieting questions and controversy just as the Dealey Plaza test did in 1978. That test concluded with one set of scientists announcing odds of a second gunman in the Kennedy assassination were no better than 50-50 but another set convincing the House Select Committee on Assassinations that a second gunman was a near certainty.
"We don't expect there to be any flashes from gunfire," said Mike Bradford, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas and one of two lead lawyers on the government's Branch Davidian trial team. "But the more general point that I think is important, what we'll receive at Fort Hood is a test tape. Someone is going to have to compare and study the results carefully before concluding anything."

FBI infrared video

The Waco test began with what amounted to a dare over the contents of infrared video that the FBI shot on the last day of the siege. Recorded with a camera that creates pictures by measuring temperature differences between objects, the black-and-white video included dozens of rhythmic blips of light in the last hour of the Waco standoff. Many appeared to emanate from areas near government tanks. Others appeared to come from windows on the back side of the compound - the one area not visible to media cameras.
Two former Defense Department scientists hired by Mr. Caddell concluded that those blips were the unmistakable heat signatures of gunfire.
Government lawyers offered their own scientists' assessments that the flashes lasted too long to be gunshots and that the camera was too far away to capture gunfire.
FBI officials added that their camera was probably not capable of recording muzzle flash. They suggested that the flashes on the Waco tape could have come from sunlight glinting off ground water or from debris knocked loose from the Branch Davidian compound by FBI tanks.
In October, Mr. Caddell publicly challenged the government to a winner-take-all field trial: Assemble the kinds of guns carried by both sides during the standoff and fire them at a gun range. Record the test firing with a camera similar to that used by the FBI in Waco. And send the bill to the losing side.
Government attorneys ridiculed the idea. But Mr. Danforth entered the fray and asked U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith to intervene after FBI officials privately offered a similar, private and "accurate" infrared field test for Mr. Danforth's investigators.
The government then spent more than a month continuing to fight the test proposal. They argued that it would be impossible to re-create environmental conditions in Waco on the final day of the siege, when the temperature climbed to 85 and winds gusted to 25 miles an hour and skies turned from partly cloudy to clear over a muddy Texas prairie.
They also told the court that the test couldn't provide data suitable for comparison with the Waco video because the FBI's infrared camera had been upgraded and nothing else like it was available. They added that even basic information about the camera was classified; even its altitude in Waco was labeled a sensitive government secret.
But the government dropped its opposition after Mr. Danforth's office determined that the FBI camera was an off-the-shelf, British-made device still in wide use by the British Royal Navy.

Help from British

In December, Judge Smith ordered a full, court-supervised field test with Mr. Danforth's staff as organizers and a British infrared firm as the court's scientific expert.
In January, Mr. Danforth's staffers got the British government to to loan a Royal Navy helicopter equipped with the right kind of infrared camera for the test. The helicopter, a Lynx Mk 8, carries a GEC-Marconi Sea Owl infrared system that is virtually identical to the FBI camera used at Waco In mid-February, all parties and the judge gathered at Mr. Danforth's St. Louis office to hash out test protocols. All agreed that official data would be recorded by the British helicopter and the FBI would make backup recordings using its upgraded FLIR camera in the same aircraft used at Waco.
Participants say government lawyers fought hard to keep results of the Fort Hood tests secret, but they lost in St. Louis. Despite continued Justice Department lobbying for sealing the test results, Mr. Caddell said that he has been told he will be free to immediately release his copy of the Fort Hood recording to the media and the public.
Mr. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, has asked Judge Smith to bar media from the test site. Despite media requests to witness the test, Judge Smith ruled Friday that the test will be closed to news organizations.

Weather factors

The test is scheduled to get under way about 10:30 a.m. after two days of briefings and field preparations. It could be postponed if the weather turns too cloudy, if rain falls within eight hours before the test or if temperatures dip above or below the 65-to-85-degree range set by the test protocols.
Hundreds of test shots will be recorded from weapons such as those carried by both sides in Waco. Those will include single shots and multiple-shot bursts from regular and silencer-equipped MP-5 machine guns, an automatic shotgun, CAR-15 rifles, an M-16 rifle and an M-60 machine gun. Other weapons to be fired include sniper rifles, pistols and M-79 grenade launchers outfitted with both non-burning "ferret" tear gas rounds and military-issue, pyrotechnic gas grenades.
The sect's experts also have persuaded the court's scientist to allow test firings of a "Mark-19" automatic grenade launcher. One of those experts has argued that he believes some of the flashes on the April 19 video match the rapid firing rate of a Mark 19.
The government's lawyers say that no such weapon was fired at Waco. They worry that firing such a big, crew-operated weapon is likely to produce flashes on the test tape that could be misinterpreted.
"We're concerned that could be misleading," Mr. Bradford said. "The analysis is more complex than just determining whether a flash might appear. . . . It's not just a simple matter."

Ground debris

The airborne cameras will record ground debris, including aluminum and glass. Bradley fighting vehicles and other tanks such as those used in Waco will be driven over the debris to see if that generates glints on the infrared tapes.
Pools of water will be recorded, and the government asked that the airborne recordings include several passes over a family-sized dome tent covered with aluminum-coated space blankets.
Government lawyers say those recordings could help prove their claim that sunlight reflections caused the blips of light on the April l9 video. But lawyers for the sect say the government is so "desperate" to produce flashes not caused by gunfire that they are willing to rely on objects not found in nature or Waco.
"This is a tent big enough to sleep a family of six," said Mr. Caddell. "Any flash that they get from that is going to be so unmeaningful that it's going to be ignored."
Personnel will also be recorded running, maneuvering and firing weapons while wearing fire-resistant "Nomex" flight suits and body armor like that worn by the FBI's hostage-rescue team in Waco. Other personnel will be photographed in black raid gear, sniper camouflage suits and camouflage rain gear.
Government lawyers say those recordings should help debunk the sect's flashes-as-gunfire theory because they believe any gunmen at Fort Hood will be clearly visible on the film. They argue that since no gunmen were visible in the 1993 tapes, the flashes could not have been gunfire.
Experts for the sect and some independent analysts say that gunmen in Waco might have been rendered invisible to infrared by camouflage or ground conditions.
After the test, the test protocols indicate, the supervisors chosen by Mr. Danforth's office will immediately begin field analysis. They will also produce digital copies of the tape for both sides in the wrongful-death lawsuit.
But no matter what shows up on the recordings, it will be questioned by some. In fact, that debate has already begun.

Separate field test

James Brannon, another lawyer representing Branch Davidians, declared last month that he may conduct his own infrared field test at the site of the Branch Davidian compound if the Fort Hood operation produces no conclusive evidence of gunfire.
A flamboyant New Orleans-based private investigator in the case has announced that he believes the cameras at Fort Hood will be altered in a way to ensure they do not detect gunfire. The investigator, Gordon Novel, has been tied to government conspiracy theories since he was labeled a CIA operative and fugitive witness in late New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's investigation of the Kennedy assassination.
Mr. Novel was the first to identify the flashes on the Waco tape as possible gunfire in December 1995 while working on the Branch Davidian case for former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. He said that he partially bases his suspicion on the fact that the British-based company supervising the test is owned by a U.S. defense contractor that has done past work for U.S. intelligence agencies, the defense department and the FBI.
Even some independent experts have questioned whether the cameras will be adequately calibrated before the test to ensure fair results. They have also questioned whether the test will include enough gunshots.
But Mr. Caddell said he believes that the test will be "fair and honest."
He and other participants in last month's meeting noted that Mr. Danforth made a point of telling both sides in the lawsuit that he considers the test and his entire Waco inquiry "the most important thing he had ever done."
Mr. Caddell said that Mr. Danforth also told the assembled group that "in investigating the dark questions, it was his duty to bring the truth out, no matter what that truth might be."

"Danforth hopes simulation will prove whether shots were fired"

("The St. Louis Post-Dispatch", March 12, 2000)

Seven years after the FBI siege at the Branch Davidians' compound outside Waco, Texas, a central question remains: Did federal agents fire their weapons?
Agents insist that no FBI or government agent fired on the compound. A wrongful death lawsuit filed in behalf of the Branch Davidians charges that they did.
Special counsel John C. Danforth hopes science can provide the answer through a simulation of the siege next Sunday. Two aircraft with infrared cameras will tape soldiers, gunfire and shiny debris during the two-hour test at Fort Hood, Texas.
Experts then will try to determine what caused flashes on FBI infrared surveillance tapes from 1993. The tapes show flashes near government positions. Are these flashes from the muzzles of government guns or glint from the sun?
If the test at Fort Hood supports the gunfire theory, the Danforth investigation would have a long way to go in unraveling a cover-up that kept it under wraps.

"On March 19: John C. Danforth's team will turn to science to answer a key question, which seven years of subpoenas and depositions have failed to resolve"

by William H. Freivogel and Terry Ganey ("The St. Louis Post-Dispatch", March 12, 2000)

John C. Danforth is looking to science to provide a definitive answer to the central mystery of the 1993 Waco siege: Did government agents fire shots at the Branch Davidians?
It is a mystery that has defied platoons of lawyers, investigators and members of Congress for seven years. On March 19, two aircraft with advanced infrared cameras will circle over Fort Hood, Texas, to see if the tools of science can succeed where subpoenas and depositions have failed.
The test will shed light on the one piece of evidence that appears to support the Branch Davidians' charge of government gunfire -- FBI infrared surveillance tapes that show flashes near government tanks during the hour that preceded the fire that destroyed the complex. Are those flashes gunfire, or are they something else, the most likely possibility being glint from the sun shining off of debris from the crumbling complex? A judge has ordered that the test be conducted out of the view of the public and the press. But documents outlining the test have been made public and provide a detailed account of what is supposed to happen.
The two infrared cameras in aircraft over Fort Hood will record gunfire and sunlight reflections. Scientists will then compare any flashes recorded during the test with flashes on the 1993 tapes.
Until recently, the government had argued that muzzle blasts from small arms were unlikely to be detected by an airborne infrared camera. But the government now concedes that the Fort Hood test may pick up muzzle flashes. And infrared experts, interviewed by the Post-Dispatch, say the airborne cameras are almost certain to pick up the groundfire as flashes.
By comparing the duration, intensity and other physical characteristics of the flashes, Danforth hopes his experts can determine whether the 1993 flashes were gunfire or glint.

Infrared expert weighs in

Experts on infrared technology who reviewed the test plan say it is generally a good plan, but that it may not provide a firm answer.
One expert, Edward Friday, is a scientist for System Planning Corp. of Arlington, Va. He conducted two days of tests in 1997 to try to recreate the flashes he saw in the Waco tapes. He admits to being stumped by the mystery of the flashes.
Friday's gut instinct is that the flashes are gunfire "because the simplest solution to a problem is often the right one." He is convinced -- like most experts -- that the infrared camera flying above Waco was able to record the muzzle blasts of small arms fire as flashes of heat. He also believes that by analyzing the flashes on the 1993 tape with computer programs, experts can determine the physical characteristics of the flashes. He has not done the work himself, but he finds the results of the Branch Davidians' technical experts persuasive. The flashes repeat with a regularity that is more descriptive of gunfire than glint, he says.
Other infrared experts also point out that infrared cameras usually pick up sun glint over oceans, not the land. Also, glint is more often recorded when the sun is low in the sky. The flashes on the 1993 Waco tape are just before noon, when the angles required to produce glint are unlikely to occur.
But Friday still harbors some doubts. If the flashes are gunfire, the shooters should be visible on the infrared tape, as should the heated gun barrels, he says. But they are not.
One explanation for their absence, Friday says, is that the shooters could have worn anti-sniper "ghillie" suits and used silencers on their weapons, thus blocking infrared detection of their bodies and the gun barrels.
To believe the gunfire scenario, Friday says, it is necessary to believe that the government planned well in advance of the assault to hide the shooters and their weapons from the cameras. This is particularly true in light of the 200 still photographs taken by a second FBI plane on the morning of the raid, none of which shows agents on the ground in the area of the flashes. One of the photos appears to have been shot within seconds of the flashes.
The gunfire theory also requires a belief that the FBI has engaged in a massive cover-up that continues to this day. In dozens of statements, sworn and unsworn, over the last seven years, the agents at Waco have said there was no gunfire. Nor has any other witness to gunfire turned up.
The solution to the mystery of the flashes is important both to Danforth's investigation and to the May trial in federal court at which the Branch Davidians are trying to prove that wrongful government acts caused the deaths of some of the approximately 80 people who died that day.

Conducting the test

Danforth chose Vector Data Systems Ltd., a British subsidiary of the American defense contractor Anteon Corp., as the expert to perform the test and advise him on the results. Vector chose Fort Hood as the test site because its flat, open terrain offers soil and climate conditions similar to those at Waco.
Tracked vehicles will disturb the soil the same way tanks did at Waco in 1993, and moisture may be added to the soil to match the soil humidity that existed at Waco. The purpose is to provide a similar backdrop for the infrared scene shot from the sky.
The weather on the day of the test should be similar to the day of the raid, but the test plan says that "exact replication . . . is not essential." The testers are looking for a clear, sunny day with temperatures of 65 to 85 degrees, relative humidity of 40 to 60 percent and wind speed around 23 mph. There should be no rain during the eight hours before the test begins at 10:30 a.m. The test will run until 12:30 p.m., so that the angle of the sun will be similar to what is was during the raid.
If the weather next Sunday is not suitable, the test will be postponed. Danforth has arranged to have access to Fort Hood for a week.
Two aircraft with two different versions of the GEC Marconi Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera will tape the test site while eight shooters fire a variety of weapons. A tank, with its engine running, and two Bradley Fighting Vehicles will be stationed on the test plot and a debris field will contain a variety of materials that could reflect sunlight -- broken glass, aluminum foil and the like.
The British Ministry of Defense has provided a Lynx Mk 8 helicopter with a Sea Owl FLIR that is "comparable" to the camera used by the FBI at Waco in 1993. The FBI is providing its Night Stalker surveillance aircraft with the FLIR camera that was used in 1993. But the camera in the Night Stalker has been upgraded. For that reason, the test plan says that the camera in the helicopter is the "most suitable sensor" for the test.
Each aircraft will take a 30 minute pass over the test site, one at 4,000 feet and another at 6,000 feet. The Lynx will take the first pass at each altitude with the Night Stalker to follow.
On the ground, the shooters will first lie prone, dressed in various military outfits, including the ghillie sniper outfit. The point is to determine if their bodies are visible on the FLIR tape. If they are, then the absence of visible shooters near the flashes on the 1993 tape would weigh in favor of the government.
Near the prone shooters, an M-60 tank will run its engine. Images of heat from a hot object like the engine cause the camera to readjust in a way that could prevent it from picking up images of the soldiers.
That finding would support the argument of the Branch Davidians that the flashes may be from agents who are not visible on the FLIR tape.
After lying prone for 20 minutes, the shooters will run to a starting point and begin a sequence of firing various weapons. First, they fire single shots at targets 10 yards away and then automatic fire at both the near targets and another set of targets 30 yards away.
One point of contention is the last-minute inclusion of the Mark-19 grenade launcher at the insistence of Edward Allard, the former Pentagon analyst who is one of the Branch Davidians' experts. The Mk-19 is an exotic weapon that produces a big flash, likely to show up on the tape. Government lawyers initially objected to its inclusion because there is no record of it having been issued to anyone at Waco. But the parties agreed to include it in the test, partly because Allard says that the frequency of the flashes on one part of the tape is the same as the rate at which the Mk-19 fires.
Between the two sets of targets is a debris field with broken glass, aluminum foil, hubcaps and the like. The idea is to determine if they pick up glint from the sun. A number of the flashes on the 1993 tape are near the spot where a converted tank was knocking down the complex's gym. Several flashes occur within seconds of the time that part of the gym wall collapses, fueling speculation that the sun may have reflected off the airborne particles.
The test will conclude with the M-60 tank driving back and forth over glass and aluminum debris. The object is to see if airborne debris, heated in the tank's exhaust, shows up as a flash.
One late addition to the test is a six-person pop-up tent covered with "space blankets," which will serve as a "hemispherical reflector." Because of its spherical shape it is likely the tent will reflect the sun. Mike Caddell, the lead trial lawyer for the Branch Davidians ridiculed the inclusion of the tent, which he said the government wanted to add to ensure a flash from something other than gunfire.
There has been a seesaw discussion of whether reflected sunlight shows up on infrared tape. At first the government said it did. Then, last fall, it said it probably did not. Now, glint is again the main alternative explanation offered by the government for the flashes.
Reflections of sunlight are not detected by an infrared camera that looks at long infrared waves. Reflected sunlight does not have much energy in the long wavelengths.
The FLIR used at Waco focused on the long wavelengths. But Friday says that because of the relatively rudimentary state of the technology, it allowed spillover from some mid-length waves. Reflected sunlight shows up in mid-length waves.
Because the characteristics of each individual camera determine how much glint it records, it is important that the test use a camera as close as possible to the one used at Waco. Friday and other infrared experts are worried that the test plan is not demanding enough on this point. It is not good enough to use a "comparable" FLIR, says Friday. The FLIR should be identical.
Another expert -- one who did not want his name used because he works for the federal government -- was suspicious of the use of the FBI Night Stalker. "I think it is a big mistake to involve the FBI Night Stalker FLIR." he said. "The FBI already stated that the Night Stalker FLIR is not the same as used at Waco, and they are not willing to disclose the type of FLIR on board. This camera may be the type of FLIR that is sensitive to solar interference and thus would detect flashes from debris. This could then be used to confuse the jury and cloud the results of the re-enactment. I strongly advise that the Night Stalker not be used during the re-enactment."
Friday is also worried about the FBI camera. "The FBI should remove whatever 'upgrade' was performed on the camera to restore it to its original configuration," he said.
In addition, Friday and several other experts expressed concern that the test plan might not ensure clear enough conditions. "Testing done in 'sub-optimal' weather conditions will not reproduce the sun intensity that may contribute to the flash phenomenology seen over Mt. Carmel," he said.

Computer comparisons

The key to the analysis will be to compare the flashes from the test with the flashes on the 1993 tape. Experts say that computer programs can determine all sorts of characteristics about the flashes -- their frequency, duration, temperature, size and direction. Allard, the Branch Davidians' expert, says his analysis of those characteristics points to automatic gunfire.
But the Maryland Advanced Development lab disagrees. It voluntarily analyzed the Waco flashes in 1997 using a computer program it has developed to help detect sniper fire in an infrared scene. The technology is used in the VIPER, an anti-sniper weapon. The VIPER is designed to distinguish gunfire from other sources of flashes so that a soldier can return fire to the right location.
The lab concluded that the flashes on the Waco tape were not gunfire because they last too long. Each of the flashes shows up in more than one consecutive frame of the tape. But the lab said its research showed that the flash duration of small arms it tested was too short for the blast to show up on two consecutive frames. Nor could an automatic weapon have been refired quickly enough for consecutive shots to show up in consecutive frames.
Experts for the Branch Davidians have criticized the lab's research. The lab is biased, they say, because it is a defense contractor and is scheduled to testify for the government at the May trial. They also say that the lab did not test fire all of the weapons that could have been used by the government at Waco.
Friday thinks that the VIPER system is scientifically valid. But he also thinks that an MP5 submachine gun with a silencer would have a flash of longer duration than the guns test-fired by the lab. For that reason it might show up in two consecutive frames.
Norris Krone, the president of the Maryland lab, says it has conducted further analysis since 1997 and stands by the conclusion that the flashes on the 1993 tape are not gunfire.
The data obtained during the Fort Hood test will be turned over to the Branch Davidians and the government. Their experts can then use it to argue their positions at the May trial before Judge Walter S. Smith Jr.
Vector Data will submit its analysis to Danforth, who will not reveal it until after the May trial. His report is now expected sometime in the fall. That timing raises the possibility that Smith could find the test strong enough proof of gunfire to rule in favor of the Branch Davidians in the civil trial, while Danforth could find it was not strong enough to provide the American people with definitive answers.


Waco, FBI and the Branch Davidians: Updates

CESNUR reproduces or quotes documents from the media and different sources on a number of religious issues. Unless otherwise indicated, the opinions expressed are those of the document's author(s), not of CESNUR or its directors

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