Apologetics Index
John Danforth's Final Report about Waco, Texas

Profess to be Christian but are outside orthodox Christianity John Danforth's Final Report Concerning the 1993 Confrontation at the Mt. Carmel Complex of the Branch Davidians, Waco, Texas.

The Branch Davidians, Waco, and the FBI


Apr. 10, 2001 - Cato Institute's Policy Analysis

A new study by the Cato Institute 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," 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 unprosecuted.

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.

Executive Summary
On February 28, 1993, a force of 76 agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms tried to storm the residence of a religious group known as the Branch Davidians. A firefight broke out, and there were deaths and injuries on both sides. The ATF maintains that its agents were ambushed while the Davidians claim that they were fired upon without provocation, feared for their lives, and acted in self-defense.

The Branch Davidian residence was subsequently surrounded by federal and state authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation assumed control. Weeks went by as the FBI and the Davidians engaged in negotiations to resolve the standoff peacefully.

On April 19, 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno gave the FBI permission to flush the Davidians out of their residence. FBI agents used tanks to smash holes in the walls of the building and then sprayed tear gas into the residence. Agents also used hand-held grenade launchers to fire more than 350 ''ferret'' rounds into the windows of the building, but none of the Davidians obeyed the FBI's command to exit the residence. A fire then broke out, and 76 Davidians, including 27 children, perished.

That incident—which is now referred to simply as Waco—has become the most controversial law enforcement operation in modern American history. Although the ''official'' investigation of the incident now places all of the blame for the carnage on the Branch Davidian leader, David Koresh, numerous crimes by government agents were never seriously investigated or prosecuted. If those crimes go unpunished, the Waco incident will leave an odious precedent—that federal agents can use the ''color of their office'' to commit crimes against citizens.
No Confidence - An Unofficial Account of the Waco Incident, by Timothy Lynch, director of the Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice

» No Confidence: An Unofficial Account of the Waco IncidentPDF file by Timothy Lynch,
   director of the Cato Institute's Project on Criminal Justice. Posted on the Apologetics
   Index web site by permission.

Nov. 8, 2000 - Final Report