KORESH: 'Cause if something messes up on this side or on your side, then World War III again.
FBI: No, we don't need that.
FBI: We do not need that.
KORESH: I know. It's crazy. Let's, let's let, let's let's, let's look at these passages of scripture I've been sharing with you --
KORESH: -- and I wish your other agents, they would look at them and, and, you know, take a look at them, and, uh, you know, it would be so awesome if everyone could just sit down and have --
FBI: I know.
KORESH: -- one honest Bible study in this great nation of America.
KORESH: You know, America does not have to be humiliated or destroyed.
As an example of Koresh's rambling style of preaching, the following excerpt from 10:00 p.m. is typical:
KORESH: Zachariah said he saw a candle, a lamp with seven, with seven lamps. And there's two witnesses by two olive trees, right?
KORESH: . . . Now, we know that Christ is the light of the world according to the New Testament. That's already been made plain for us. And we know in the mount of transfiguration the kingdom of God deals with Christ standing on the mount, Moses and Elijah standing by him, and they all three are one.
KORESH: They've got one work to do, and that's to save souls with the word of God.
KORESH: Okay. So, so, when it comes down to this final revelation when, when, when God sends his Son into the world to reveal the Seven Seals, then all the sons of God are going to want to learn the Seven Seals, aren't they?
KORESH: Okay. So, the thing of it is -- but man, whose carnal in -- remember, wisdom says she hates pride and arrogancy and carnality? She says now, I've built my house, I've hewn my seven pillars? You know, we know that wisdom built Christ. Let me explain. And wisdom builds everybody. Now, here is, here is the clincher to it. It says here: for the kingdoms of this world becomes the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign forever and ever. And the four-and twenty elders which sit before God on their seats fell down upon their faces and worshipped God, saying we give Thee thanks, oh, Lord, God Almighty, which art and was and are to come, because Thou has taken a great power in his reign which this is where God has to intervene. For the nations were angry -- which is like Psalms 2, the heathen raged -- and Thy wrath has come -which the Sixth Seal went -- what's going to happen is that the sum of the stars are going to be dark and all the natural elements of light and the heaven is going to part and everyone in this world is going to get to look up and see something they never seen before, something I was already shown. But, of course, what happens is that I'm supposed to show it through a book. And then what happens is they're going to realize that, that, uh -- see, all I've ever wanted out of my life is peace. So, God uses the weak and he uses the, the ones who try to seek peace, the ones who do not want violence and all that, he, he, he strengthens them like in Psalms 18 to overthrow the proud and the arrogant. It"s a sad thing. We don't want it to happen, and that's what's a lot of things happening right now. And Thy wrath has come and the time of the dead that they should be judged, that Thou shouldest give reward to Thy servants, the prophets, and to Thy sayings, those that were sanctified by the prophets, knowing their truth, to them that fear Thy name, small and great, and shall destroy them which destroy the earth. God doesn't like the way our economic system is doing to our world today. And the temple of God -- now, watch this. This is, this is awesome -- remember wisdom said those who find me find life?
KORESH: They shall obtain the favor of the Lord? Now, watch this. And the temple of God was opened in heaven. See, this is the -- this is, this is the, the thing that causes the sin against the Holy Ghost. Now, watch. Now, the temple of God was opened where? In heaven. And there was seen in this temple the ark of his testament -- which is what Moses made a model of, right?
During all of these conversations, the negotiators remained calm and conciliatory, and kept pressing for the release of more children. They also constantly complimented Koresh on his understanding of the Bible, and urged him to come out so that he could preach his message to the world. Koresh, for the most part, kept up his efforts to convert the negotiators to his religion.
This day began on an upbeat note when Heather Jones, age 9, was released at 8:39 a.m. However, this event had to be balanced against the notification from the Methodist Children's Home that Joan Vaega, who had been released on March 2, had a note pinned to her jacket. The note was from Joan's mother to Joan's older sister Ursula in Hawaii. It stated that by the time Ursula read the note-1 she (the mother) would be dead, and that once the children were out, the adults were going to die.
The FBI had been concerned from the outset about the possibility that those inside the compound might commit suicide. For this reason, the negotiators asked Koresh and Schneider on numerous occasions whether they were contemplating suicide, and whether everyone was going to come out of the compound alive. Both Koresh and Schneider always assured the negotiators that suicide was not an option, and that everyone was going to come out. During the entire course of the standoff, the FBI sought the advice of experts on the issue of suicide. They also sought the advice of former and present Branch Davidians. Unfortunately, the FBI received inconsistent information about the likelihood of suicide, the effect of which was to leave the FBI with no choice but to speak directly to Koresh, to determine whether suicide would occur.
At 9:45 a.m., the FBI learned from local water supply officials that the compound had its own separate water supply that could not be shut off. The water came from a well with an electric pump. Therefore, unless the pump could be shut down, their water supply was limitless. The Davidians also, according to information obtained by the FBI, had extensive supplies of food, including canned goods and military-style MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). It was believed that these supplies could last for up to one year. Witnesses told the FBI and Texas Rangers that the Branch Davidians had purchased literally thousands of surplus MREs.
In a conversation at 11:59 a.m., Koresh admitted that he and his followers had been preparing for battle with the authorities since 1985, and he threatened to "blow the tanks to pieces." In the same conversation the FBI offered, and Koresh accepted, a suture kit to treat his wounds, a videotape of the children who had been released, and photographs of the children for the parents who had remained in the compound. These items were delivered to the front door of the compound at 12:50 p.m. Part of the FBI's negotiation strategy was to play on parental feelings for the children, and hopefully hasten the exit of the parents.
Koresh continued to alternate between preaching to the negotiators and threatening violence for most of the afternoon. Koresh firmly maintained that he could not come out until ordered to do so by God. At 5:22 p.m., when questioned about additional children coming out, Koresh stated for the first time that "We're dealing with some of my children" and that "my children that I have are different than the other children." This was the first indication that Koresh might not allow children he considered to be his to leave.
At 5:53 p.m. Schneider informed the negotiators that Peter Gent's body had been found at the edge of the building within the compound. Gent had been shot and killed, presumably by the ATF, during the initial shootout on February 28. Schneider wanted to remove the body and give it to the FBI; however, the negotiators refused this request unless two persons, who would remain outside, accompanied the body. Koresh refused to allow this; therefore, Peter Gent's body remained on the grounds.
The evening ended with Koresh criticizing the negotiators about their lack of knowledge of the Seven Seals, and Schneider's continuing declarations of full support for Koresh.
In a conversation that began before midnight, the negotiators spoke to Steve Schneider until approximately 2:00 a.m. The conversation ranged from a discussion of the scriptures, to the burial of Peter Gent's body, to Schneider's claims that those inside the compound were not afraid of the FBI. During this conversation, Schneider made a somewhat cryptic remark about the likelihood that the FBI (or ATF) would burn down the compound in order to destroy evidence. Schneider (SS) stated to the FBI negotiator:
SS: [W]hen this is all said and done, if, if you people don't burn the building down or whatever you would plan on doing . . .
FBI: We just plan on waiting for people to come out.
SS: I really -- I'll tell you the truth. I -- it wouldn't surprise me that they wouldn't want to get rid of the evidence. Because if this building is left standing, you will see the evidences of what took place.
Schneider also stated that the two main concerns of those inside the compound were the lack of communication with the media, and the presence of the armed vehicles on their property. He repeated these concerns in a further conversation between 7:55 a.m. and 8:49 a.m. As to Schneider's first concern, the negotiators informed him and Koresh on numerous occasions that they would have access to the media only when they came out of the compound. As to the second concern, the FBI offered, in a conversation occurring at 4:12 p.m., to pull back the armored vehicles if four people came out immediately, and if Koresh agreed to surrender. Koresh refused this offer and reiterated that no one would come out until God told them to.
At 4:35 p.m., Koresh agreed to send out Melissa Morrison, age 6, if the negotiators would put the ATF undercover agent, Robert Rodriguez, on the phone with Koresh. The negotiators told Koresh that Rodriguez was not in Waco; however, they agreed to deliver a message to him. Koresh did not respond and turned the phone over to Schneider who put Rose Morrison, the child's mother, on the line.. Ms. Morrison initially agreed to send Melissa out, but reneged and said that Koresh would have to speak to Rodriguez first. An impasse was reached between the parties at this point. Later, at 8:07 p.m., the negotiators offered to deliver a videotape to Rodriguez if Koresh wanted to record a message. This offer was also refused. After this effort, neither Koresh, Schneider, nor Rose Morrison ever mentioned sending Melissa out. Although she was probably one of the children who died in the April 19 fire, he r body has not yet been identified.
Koresh and Schneider were both highly agitated and upset for most of March 6. The FBI became increasingly concerned as the day wore on that an overall impasse had been reached. In an attempt to break this impasse, the negotiators called Koresh at 8:25 p.m. Koresh immediately began preaching and refused to discuss any matters of substance. His preaching lasted until 10:43 p.m. It was during these preachings that Koresh claimed for the first time that he was "Christ." At 9:37 p.m. the following exchange took place between Koresh and the FBI negotiator:
FBI: Who did you tell me you were?
KORESH: If God sits on the throne, if he gave the book to the Lamb --
KORESH: You know who I am. And you know who I claim that I am.
FBI: And you claim that you're the Lord.
KORESH: I am Christ.
FBI: Well, you didn't say that. You said you claimed to be the Lord.
KORESH: Christ is the same as the Lord. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Prince of the Kings of the earth. Yep. What can I say? Shall I lie? No, I will not lie. And, as I said before, my father sits on a throne and he said to wait. And you're being judged. . .
The following exchange from March 6 demonstrates the FBI's frustration in attempting to negotiate with Koresh:
KORESH: They shall make haste to the wall thereof and the defense shall be prepared, and the gates of the rivers shall be opened and the palace shall be dissolved. Now, we're getting to the real weird aspect. And Hazab shall be led away captive. She shall be brought up and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves. Hooo, hooo, hooo, hoh. Tabern (phonetic) upon their breasts. But Nineveh is of old, like a pool of water stagnant. And they shall flee away. Stand, stand shall they cry, but none shall look back. Someone at that point is told to take ye the spoil of silver. Take the spoil of gold for there's none end of the store and the glory out of all the pleasant furniture. She's empty, void and waste, the heart melted, the, the knees smite together, and much pain is in all loins and all faces of them shall get a blackness. Where is the dwelling of the lions -- these tough guys, huh? The feeding place of the young lions -- they thought their sons were going to rule, huh? Where is the lion? Even the old lion walked, and the lion's weapon, none made them afraid. Man, they thought they were so powerful, didn't they? The lion did tear in' pieces enough for his whelps and strangled for his lioness and filled his holes with prey and his dens with raven. I understand. It's just a job to keep yourself going, right? All these guys out here are just making a living, aren't they? Behold I'm against thee, said the Lord of hosts. And I will burn her chariots in the smoke and the sword shall devour her young lions. And I will cut off thy prey from the earth and the voice of they messengers shall be no more heard. That's what you're doing. You're giving me a message, right? We've had --
FBI: I think you --
KORESH: -- several of them.
FBI: I think you're trying to give me a message, aren't you, David?
KORESH: Well, I'm saying y1all keep negotiating with us and stuff. But woe to the bloody city.
The early morning hours began with Koresh on the telephone at 12:11 a.m. During this entire conversation, which lasted until 3:15 a.m., the negotiators urged Koresh and his followers to leave peacefully. Koresh, in turn preached, claimed on numerous occasions that he was "Christ" and the "Lord," and stressed that everyone in the compound was remaining inside pursuant to their own free will. The negotiators noted at 12:45 a.m. that Koresh's delivery of religious rhetoric was so strong that they could hardly interrupt him to discuss possible surrender.
For the remainder of March 7, virtually everyone in the compound who spoke to FBI negotiators expressed their anger and frustration. There were 42 separate conversations which lasted approximately twelve hours. The two main concerns of the Branch Davidians on that day were the FBI's delay in delivering milk for the children, and the denial of direct access to the media.
Concerning the milk, the FBI had offered milk in return for the release of some children. This offer was rejected by Schneider and Koresh at 9:12 a.m. Afterwards, four different individuals came on the line and complained bitterly about the milk. These individuals also confirmed that they did not want to come out.
Conversations were held with Schneider and Koresh between 12:23 p.m. and 12:51 p.m., and again between 2:48 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. To the entreaties of the negotiators, Schneider, Koresh, and Wayne Martin threatened, preached, and refused to agree to anything. Koresh stressed several times during these conversations that only he knew the secret of the Seven Seals, and that he would refuse to listen to anyone who did not know as much as he. Koresh asserted that, if negotiators or some preachers could prove to him that he was wrong about the Seven Seals, he would surrender. However, on the other hand, Koresh declared that, if he were right about the Seven Seals, "you're mine!"
At 6:11 p,.m., after speaking to several other individuals, the negotiators spoke once again with Koresh. In this conversation Koresh refused to consider sending more children out:
KORESH: "You're dealing with my biological children now.
FBI: Why do you say that?
KORESH: Because that's what we've come down to."
Later in the conversation, after additional threats by Koresh, the FBI negotiator said:
FBI: Do you, do you really think we're going to start firing indiscriminately up at that place? [i.e., the compound]
KORESH: I sure hope so.
The evening ended with continuing conversations but no progress.
On March 8, there were only 38 conversations for a total of approximately four hours. The few notable events and conversations are as follows.
11:04 a.m. to Three men left the compound
12:45 p.m. and buried the body of Peter Gent.
12:418 p.m. The nurse advised FBI that Koresh's wounds were healing nicely.
1:37 p.m. David Koresh reconfirmed:"I am not going to commit suicide."
3:50 p.m. FBI delivered six gallons of milk to the compound.
6:07 p.m. Koresh and Schneider sent out a videotape showing Koresh's wounds and several children.
10:25 p.m. Tapes from family members were played over the telephone to several individuals in the compound.
Shortly after midnight on March 9, the negotiators tried to drive a wedge between Schneider and Koresh. They prodded and challenged Schneider about Koresh's claim that Schneider's wife, Judy, was also one of Koresh's wives, and that Koresh claimed to have had a child with Judy. This effort failed with Schneider professing total loyalty to Koresh.
In an effort to increase the pressure on the individuals by attempting to make their living conditions a little less bearable, the electricity to the compound was cut at 2:15 a.m.' At 9:20 a.m., Koresh stated through Schneider that he would not talk further until the power was restored.
At 9:54 a.m., Schneider expressed outrage over the movement of the armored vehicles around the compound, and the degree of property damage that they were causing. Schneider threatened that "we can take you out!"
At 10:28 a.m., the power to the compound was restored in order to allow those inside the compound to watch the televised news conference 10:30 a.m. and to encourage some progress in the discussions.
At various times throughout the day, HRT members observed weapons in the windows, and firing ports being cut in the plywood which had been placed over most of the windows in the compound.
At 2:04 p.m., the FBI delivered a videotape to the compound showing that the children who had been released were healthy, happy, and being well cared for.
At 3:40 p.m., the Branch Davidians placed a sign on the outside of the tower stating "God help us, we want the press." A short while later, one law enforcement official observed a sign in the press area, known as "satellite city," which stated "God help us, we are the press."
At 3:48 p.m., Schneider informed the negotiators that they were unhappy about the videotape of the released children since the children appeared to be behaving badly.
At 5:22,p.m., negotiators talked to Judy Schneider about the bullet wound to her finger. She was feeling ill because her finger had swollen to twice its size. She was urged to come out and obtain medical help; she refused.
At 8:54 p.m., another videotape-was sent out from the compound. This tape depicted approximately 29 individuals who all stated they were voluntarily remaining inside the compound, and that they did not want to come out.
Due to the stalemate, the electricity was cut once again at 2:28 a.m.
During the course of the day, numerous individuals came out of the compound, walked around, then went back inside. it appeared from these actions that they were attempting to test the resolve of the agents, since the FBI had warned people not to come outside without first obtaining advance permission.
The electrical power was restored to the compound at 10:15 a.m. for the same reason as the day before. .
The FBI sent in a second videotape at 1:06 p.m. This videotape contained a number of the negotiators personally pleading for a peaceful resolution.
At 9:40 p.m., the FBI learned from the U.S. Attorney's Office that local reporters had made statements to others admitting that they had illegally intercepted the cellular telephone communications of law enforcement officials.
The day ended with only 4 ½ hours of attempted negotiations and no progress.
March 11 began on a hopeful note when Steve Schneider advised negotiators at 12:54 a.m. that three or more individuals might come out on the next day.
At 4:01 a.m., Kathy Schroeder called the negotiators to inform them that she was one of the individuals who would exit the next morning. Schroeder had previously sent her children out, and had lost her husband, Michael, in the second gunfight on the afternoon of February 28.
At 6:05 a.m., the negotiators noted that there had been no direct contact with Koresh for the past 24 hours. However, contact with Steve Schneider was continuing.
At 10:16 a.m., the negotiators determined that they had spoken to a total of 50 people inside the compound.
Beginning at 11:00 a.m., and lasting throughout the day, the FBI sought to determine from Schneider and others if Koresh's failure to come to the telephone was due to failing health. No definitive information was obtained.
At 4:14 p.m., Schneider told the negotiators that the next day, March 12, Kathy Schroeder, Kevin Whitecliff, Brad Branch, and Oliver Gyarfas would exit the compound.
In the same conversation at 4:21 p.m., Schneider mentioned that Koresh was listening to Paul Harvey on the radio and that Harvey described a "shooting star" called the "guitar nebula." Schneider said that "David takes it as a sign." The FBI became hopeful that this might be the sign from God that Koresh had been waiting for since March 2.
In a conversation with Koresh at 7:03 p.m., he denied that the "guitar nebula" was the sign that he was looking for.
However, Koresh would discuss the importance of the "guitar nebula" in subsequent conversations.
Conversations with Koresh, Schneider, and Kathy Schroeder continued until approximately 11:15 p.m. with the only progress being Schroeder's promise to come out the next day.
Janet Reno was sworn in as Attorney General of the United States in a ceremony at the White House.
Nothing of significance occurred at the compound until Kathy Schroeder left the compound at 10:41 a.m. At 11:50 a.m., Schroeder was interviewed and stated that there was no plan inside the compound for suicide. She assured the FBI that suicide would not occur.
In a conversation with Steve Schneider at 11:30 a.m., he indicated that, if lawyers or the press were allowed to enter the compound and speak to the individuals inside, matters might be expedited.
Between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m., there were attempts to call into the compound to allow Kathy Schroeder to assure those inside that she was being fairly treated. There was no answer to these calls. Schroeder also told the FBI that there were people inside who wanted to come out; however, Koresh had a "hold" on them. She stated that many people would leave if Koresh told them to; however, he refused to do so.
The negotiators made over two dozen attempts to call into the compound between noon and 5:00 p.m., but there was no answer. Schneider called at 5:04 p.m. and suggested that there was a technical problem with the telephones. The negotiators agreed to work on any problems with the telephones; however, they discovered no technical problems whatsoever.
At 6:00 p.m., Oliver Gyarfas exited the compound.
At 7:25 p.m., the negotiators called into the compound with Dr. John Hagman standing by. Dr. Hagman was brought in to give advice to the wounded individuals inside the compound. First, he spoke to Scott Sonobe about the wounds to his wrist and thigh. Dr. Hagman strongly suggested that Sonobe come out for medical treatment; however, he refused. At 7:40 p.m., the doctor spoke to Judy Schneider about her wounds. He gave her the same advice, and she also refused.
At 8:44 p.m., Schneider advised the negotiators that no one else would come out that day; however, he promised that Brad Branch, Kevin Whitecliff, and Rita Riddle would come out the next day.
At 9:20 p.m., a videotape was sent into the compound showing Kathy Schroeder's emotional reunion with her three-year old son, Bryan. The FBI hoped that the video might induce others to reunite with their children.
[Material redacted as required by statute]. At 11:07 p.m., SAC Jamar ordered that the electrical power be shut off once again in an attempt to demonstrate that the FBI controlled their "earthly" lives rather than Koresh. The power was never turned back on for the duration of the standoff. Schneider and Koresh immediately became outraged and complained that the termination of electrical power was an act of bad faith. They threatened to terminate all contact with the negotiators if power were not restored.
Some members of the FBI negotiation team disagreed with SAC Jamar's actions. They believed that certain tactical decisions, such as cutting the electricity, were counter-productive and undercut their credibility with those in the compound. However, in interviews with all the negotiators subsequent to the events of April 19, none believed, in hindsight, that this action had any effect on the ultimate outcome.
The evening ended with Koresh and Schneider still angry and complaining.
Between midnight and 8:30 a.m., the negotiators had two conversations with Steve Schneider. Schneider, still very angry about the electricity having been turned off, stated that three people had been prepared to come out; however, he did not think that would happen now. Schneider also complained that the people were cold and freezing inside the compound. The negotiators placed the blame on "their bosses" and urged Schneider to continue to work with them. In a conversation at 8:55 a.m., Schneider once again claimed that the government wanted to kill all of them and burn down the building.
At 11:35 a.m., the FBI negotiation team discussed the fact that letters had been sent from two attorneys claiming to represent Koresh and Schneider. These attorneys were Richard DeGuerin and Jack Zimmerman. It was decided not to allow the attorneys to speak to Koresh and Schneider at that time, since neither of them had requested an attorney. Nevertheless at 12:44 p.m., the negotiators advised Schneider that his sister had retained an attorney for him.
At 1:24 p.m., the negotiators offered to allow Judy Schneider to come out, receive medical care for her wounds, then return to the compound. In return, the FBI asked for the exit of three individuals. This offer was rejected at 2:30 p.m.
[Material redacted as required by statute.]
Since the previous evening, the FBI had decided not to call into the compound. Instead, the negotiators decided to await a call from the inside. Nevertheless, at'12:34 p.m., Oliver Gyarfas was allowed to call into the compound to tell Koresh and others that he was being treated fairly by authorities. At 1:03 p.m., Kathy Schroeder called into the compound with a similar message. Both Koresh and Schneider expressed anger at her for not being a "spokesperson" for them.
The last conversation with Schneider ended at 4:19 p.m. The negotiators, according to plan, did not call the compound for the remainder of the evening, nor did anyone inside call out,
At nightfall, the FBI began to illuminate the compound with bright lights to disrupt sleep, to put additional pressure on those inside, and to increase the safety of the HRT.
There was no contact with the compound during the pre-dawn hours of March 15. Bright lights remained focused on the compound; however, no other actions were taken by the FBI.
The FBI established a modified negotiation strategy, in which the negotiators would be firm, would continue to insist on a peaceful resolution, but would refuse to listen to any more of what they called "Bible babble".
[Material redacted as required by statute.] Meanwhile, at 2:05 p.m., the negotiators called into the compound and suggested that Schneider come out of the compound and meet them face-to-face.
Between 4:23 p.m. and 5:28 p.m., Schneider and Wayne Martin came out of the compound and met with SSRA Byron Sage and McLennan County Sheriff Jack Harwell. In what the negotiators termed a "cordial and positive" meeting, the two sides agreed that negotiations would continue. Schneider also told negotiators that God had told Koresh to stay but that the others could leave any time they wanted. SSRA Sage and Sheriff Harwell were also able to defuse many issues of concern, such as the Davidians' right to counsel, the availability of medical attention, and the preservation of the crime scene.
[Material redacted as required by statute.]
On March 16, there were only 46 minutes of conversations between the FBI and those in the compound. In what were basically general conversations, the negotiators requested a second face-to-face meeting with Schneider, but -- apparently under the negative influence of Koresh -- he refused.
At 4:41 p.m., the FBI dropped off five audiotapes from relatives of those inside the compound. These audiotapes were prepared in coordination with the negotiators, were positive and upbeat in tone, and urged the family members inside to surrender peacefully.
Nothing further of substance happened that evening.
The negotiators contacted Steve Schneider at 10:15 a.m., and once again urged a face-to-face meeting. Schneider refused and only wanted to discuss the Bible and his anger with ATF.
The negotiators decided at 1:20 p.m. to broadcast audiotapes over the public address system, which the FBI had set up outside the compound. The audiotapes were of those who had exited the compound, and contained positive comments about their treatment by law enforcement.
At 1:37 p.m., SSRA Sage, one of the FBI's principal negotiators, called Koresh and firmly urged him to surrender. In a conversation lasting until 2:39 p.m., Sage urged some type of positive action on Koresh's part and challenged his sincerity. Koresh refused totally to take any action and generally avoided discussing any specifics of a peaceful resolution.
In a conversation with Schneider at 4:16 p.m., SSRA Sage took the same approach that he had previously taken with Koresh. Sage told Schneider that his (Sagels) statements to Koresh had "fallen on deaf ears" and that progress had to be made. Schneider was repeatedly urged to take responsibility for getting some people to leave. Schneider claimed, however, that no one wanted to come out. All preferred to wait. The conversation ended at 4:49 p.m. with no progress.
The audiotapes from relatives were broadcast once again over the loudspeakers at the end of this conversation with Schneider.
Between 9:10 p.m. and 11:10 p.m., negotiators spoke with seven individuals inside urging them to take some positive action; however, there were no agreements and no progress.
Numerous conversations occurred between the negotiators and Schneider between 6:30 a.m. and 12:55 p.m. During these conversations, Schneider made it very clear that no individuals would be coming out and that there was nothing that the FBI could offer in exchange which would have any effect.
At 1:34 p:m., SSRA Sage began to speak to those inside the compound over the loudspeaker system in an attempt to communicate directly with everyone, and to urge everyone to come out. Sage told them that they would be treated fairly, that they were free to come out, and that transportation and medical care were available. SSRA Sage broadcasted again at 5:00 p.m. Sage also played a tape over the loudspeaker of his March 17 confrontational conversation with Koresh.
At 6:21 p.m., after Schneider was warned in advance by negotiators, the HRT used the armored vehicles to remove the compound's diesel and gasoline storage tanks.
No progress was made during the remainder of the evening.
In a conversation with negotiators at 8:30 a.m., Koresh once again stressed that they were not going to commit suicide and that more time was needed for them to come out.
At 9:45 a.m., the FBI delivered a package of documents to the compound which contained letters from attorneys for Koresh, Schneider, and two others, copies of legal documents concerning the ATF warrants, a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office guaranteeing it would not seek forfeiture of the compound, an audio tape prepared by a theologian, a letter from the Christian Broadcasting Network, and several magazine articles. This delivery was the culmination of numerous hours of discussions between Schneider and the negotiators, and it was an attempt to address some of their concerns.
At 11:10 a.m., SSRA Sage broadcasted over the loudspeakers that the package of documents had been dropped off. He also replayed the March 17 tape of his conversation with Koresh.
At 11:18 a.m., Schneider called the negotiators and stated that the package of documents would have a positive effect. In a conversation with SSRA Sage at 1:55 p.m., Schneider stated that some people would come out as early as the next day.
In a conversation lasting from 1:59 p.m. to 2:44 p.m., Koresh told negotiators that some people were going to come out, and that eventually everyone would. Koresh also discussed the "guitar nebula" and how he had predicted its presence in the universe. Koresh professed to be astounded by the "guitar nebula" and attempted to relate it to his preachings. Koresh also stated that he was ready to come out and face whatever might happen to him. In referring to the possibility that he might face the death penalty, Koresh even joked: "when they give me the lethal injection, give me the cheap stuff, huh?"
At 7:15 p.m., Brad Branch and Kevin Whitecliff exited the compound. These two men were the only individuals to exit, along with Rita Riddle who exited on the next day [material redacted as required by statute].
At 8:03 p.m., Schneider called the negotiators to discuss the two men who had just come out. In this conversation, Schneider relayed a message from Koresh that his sign, the "guitar nebula," was coming faster through space now.
Conversations continued with Schneider and Koresh until after midnight. There was much preaching by Koresh; however, he did state that he and the others were not going to stay inside much longer.
In interviews with FBI negotiators during the early morning hours, Brad Branch and Kevin Whitecliff stated that Koresh had a case of scotch whisky in the compound. The negotiators suspected that Branch and Whitecliff were expelled from the compound for drinking Koresh's scotch.
In conversations occurring all morning and lasting into the early afternoon, Schneider confirmed that everyone, or at least a large group, would be coming out soon.
Branch and Whitecliff were held in jail as material witnesses. The FBI permitted them to speak by telephone to Koresh from 6:33 p.m. to 7:27 p.m.
Schneider indicated in conversations between 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., that two women, Victorine Hollingsworth, age 59, and Annetta Richards, age 63, might come out shortly.
At 12:15 a.m., Victorine Hollingsworth and Annetta Richards exited the compound.
A conversation began with David Koresh at 12:15 a.m. and continued until 3:12 a.m. For most of this time, Koresh simply engaged in rambling religious discussions; however, at 2:13 a.m., he told negotiators that: " I told you that my God says wait. Actually I asked for it."
A short while later, at 2:19 a.m., the negotiator asked Koresh to clarify what he meant:
FBI: Well, what made you ask God whether or not you should wait?
KORESH: Because I didn't want Him to destroy you.
Between 9:37 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., the negotiators worked out the details with Schneider for the exit of two more adults. At 11:00 a.m., Rita Riddle and Gladys Ottman came out. Afterward, Schneider said that more could be coming out shortly. He said that he would have to speak to Koresh.
At 2:15 p.m., Sheila Martin, age 46, James Lawton, age 70, and Ofelia Santoya, age 62, left the compound. A short time after their surrender, SAC Jamar advised the negotiators that the tactical personnel were going to bulldoze obstructions away from one side of the compound. The Davidians were advised of this decision and the reasons why.
At 3:40 p.m., the FBI permitted Sheila Martin to call back into that compound and speak with her husband, Wayne. After informing him that she and their kids, who had been previously released, were doing well, Wayne responded that "[T]ime is short, and God is angry." He then began to preach before hanging up. The negotiators immediately called Wayne back and put his wife and kids back on the line. Shelia, apparently attempting to calm Wayne, stated that upon her coming out "everything went well ... the ride was bumpy." Wayne again cryptically responded by saying "It could be bumpy later too."
For the remainder of the day, the negotiators urged Schneider to send out more people. Schneider claimed that he was unable until he and others conferred with Koresh. However, according to Schneider, Koresh was asleep and could not be disturbed. Additionally, the negotiators passed on several messages to those inside from relatives and friends. The negotiators also received messages from several people in the compound and passed them on to relatives. The general tone of the messages from inside was that "everything is fine and we will see you soon." In the evening hours, the FBI began playing very loud music over the loudspeaker system. Several times during the night, those in the compound asked that it be turned off. Finally, at 11:35 p.m. an angry Schneider relayed a message from an angry Koresh: "Because of the loud music, nobody is coming out."
A short while later, the loudspeaker system malfunctioned. The night ended quietly.
The negotiators called Schneider at 9:03 a.m. Schneider was still angry about the loud music which had included Tibetan chants. The negotiators attempted to calm him by blaming the FBI tactical agents; however, Schneider remained angry, claiming that the loud music had been counterproductive. Contact was terminated at 9:30 a.m.
SAC Jamar called a meeting of the crisis management team to discuss strategy. The negotiators advised him that there was no clear indication that large numbers of those remaining inside would surrender any time soon. The hostage negotiation team observed that Schneider and Koresh had continued to resist all efforts by the negotiators to provide specific names, numbers, or time frames for action. Accordingly, several "stress escalation" measures were discussed. Failing a positive response from the Davidians to these actions, the negotiators recommended the introduction of tear gas as a non-lethal alternative to clear the compound. This was the first time the FBI formally considered tear gas as an option for resolving the standoff. The FBI waited almost another month before actually using tear gas.
Because of technical problems with the telephones and with the loudspeaker system, SSRA Sage went in an armored vehicle to the compound at approximately 5:15 p.m. and spoke to the individuals inside through a bullhorn. Schneider, came a few paces outside of the compound to speak to SSRA Sage, and informed him that Koresh appeared to be getting weaker. The FBI decided to lay groundlines for a field telephone system to facilitate communications.
The field telephone was delivered to the compound at 7:45 p.m., and conversations began again at 8:00 p.m.
At 8:27 p.m., the FBI read a new offer to Schneider and agreed to deliver it in writing. The offer was (1) Koresh could communicate with followers while in jail and could hold religious services, and (2) Koresh could make a worldwide broadcast on CBN. In return, Koresh and all individuals must begin departure by 10:00 a.m. on March 23, with everyone out by noon. Additionally, there would be live media coverage of their exit. A letter confirming this offer by SAC Jeff Jamar was delivered to the compound at 10:00 p.m.
Contact was terminated at 11:46 p.m., with no answer from the compound.
At 2:55 a.m., Koresh spoke to the negotiators, rejected the offer, and claimed that he had thrown away SAC Jamar's letter.
The next morning at 8:20 a.m., the letter was read to those inside the compound over the loudspeaker system.
Livingstone Fagan, age 34, came out of the compound at 10:05 a.m., after discussions between the negotiators and Schneider.
Conversations with Schneider continued throughout the day with the focus on attempting to get additional people to leave the compound. However, the negotiators noted at 1:30 p.m. that the conversations with Schneider had become very combative and argumentative.
AUSA William Johnston in Waco wrote a letter directly to Attorney General Janet Reno. In the letter, Johnston complained about the FBI's handling of the crime scene, and about U.S. Attorney Ederer's handling of the situation. The Attorney General directed Mark Richard, a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, to look into the matter and make recommendations for a solution.
At 4:45 p.m., the FBI was notified that the news media might be bringing in a special parabolic microphone to attempt to hear what was being said over the P.A. system at the compound. In response, the FBI gave orders to all agents to say nothing through the bullhorn or loudspeakers that they didn't want to hear on television or read in the newspaper.
Conversations with Schneider and others continued until 7:56 p.m. with no results.
At 10:00 p.m., the FBI decided to direct exterior floodlights at the compound all night and, instead of music, play tapes of previous negotiations, and messages from those who had exited the compound.
The negotiators called into the compound at 11:34 p.m. asking for Koresh; however, Schneider claimed he was asleep and refused to wake him.
During the pre-dawn hours of March 24, the floodlights were directed at the compound, and Tibetan chants, Christmas music, and tapes of previously recorded negotiations were played over the loudspeakers.
After several attempts, the negotiators reached Steve Schneider at 9:52 a.m. still angry over the loud music, Schneider refused to talk any further that day.
At the 10:30 a.m. daily press briefing, the FBI increased its "verbal assault" against Koresh, calling him a liar and coward, and accusing him of hiding behind his children. The FBI had been using the daily press briefings as an additional method of communicating with Koresh and the others in the compound, knowing that they listened to the briefings carefully.
The negotiators made repeated unsuccessful attempts to contact the compound between 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Throughout the standoff the FBI was concerned about its ability to maintain the security of the perimeter around the compound, to prevent people from entering or leaving. This concern became a reality when, at approximately 6:30 p.m., the FBI observed a shirtless male, later identified as Louis Alaniz, knocking at the compound door. The Davidians allowed him to enter. Alaniz had slipped through the perimeter and eluded the HRT. The negotiators immediately attempted to find out who he was and suggested to Schneider that he be sent back outside.
In a conversation with Schneider and Koresh at 7:14 p.m., Alaniz was heard to be screaming a sermon in the background. Nevertheless, Koresh refused to send him out, preferring instead to teach him the Seven Seals.
Once again, the FBI called the compound numerous times between 7:15 p.m. and 10'30 p.m. No one answered until 10:35 p.m. when the negotiators spoke to both Schneider and Koresh suggesting that they send out the new "intruder" in the interest of everyone's safety. Koresh refused, and the negotiators broke contact.
At 11:37 p.m., the negotiators called the compound and spoke to the "intruder" who identified himself as Louis Anthony Alaniz.
The evening ended with no progress and with one more person now inside the compound.
There were sixteen conversations spanning 5.5 hours on March 25. The negotiators spoke to eight different people.
The parties argued about religion, the criminal justice system, access to the news media, and whether or not anyone was going to come out of the compound.
At 1:13 p.m., the negotiators demanded that ten to twenty people at a minimum come out by 4:00 p.m. Schneider was advised that if this failed to occur, certain actions would be taken by the FBI.
At 4:00 p.m., there was no activity from inside the compound. The armored vehicles moved into the compound and removed a number of -motorcycles and go-carts. Those inside the compound simply watched by holding mirrors in the windows so that they could see outside.
At 6:12 p.m., Schneider claimed that if he could see one or two ATF agents locked up, they all would come out. The negotiators refused to discuss this suggestion.
Conversations continued between Schneider and the negotiators from 5:50 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Schneider suggested that ten additional people might come out the next day. Schneider even suggested that he might be one of them. The negotiators also spoke to two women, beseeching them to come out with their children. No agreements were reached. Little, if any, progress was made, and the conversations ended at 10:57 p.m.
The FBI attempted all night to get Koresh on the telephone. Schneider and others claimed first that Koresh was asleep, and later that he had a headache and was unable to talk.
At 9:40 a.m., Schneider was given a deadline of noon to send out ten or more individuals. The FBI threatened further action if no one were released.
Once again, the noon deadline passed with no activity. At 12:10 p.m., the armored vehicles moved back into the compound and removed eight vehicles.
Conversations continued with Schneider throughout the day to no avail. Schneider simply complained as usual and began his own preaching about the Seven Seals. Contact was terminated at 4:58 p.m., after the FBI told him that no one could come outside the compound unless it was to surrender.
Between 9:00 p.m. and midnight, the negotiators attempted to call the compound approximately six times, letting it ring at least twenty times on each call. No one answered.
The perimeter was compromised again on March 26. Sometime between 11:00 p.m. and midnight, an unknown male, who had apparently snuck past the HRT, entered the compound.
The negotiators called into the compound several times during the early morning hours, but no one answered. Lights, music, and helicopter activity occurred throughout the night.
At 8:50 a.m., a banner was hung outside that read "Tank Broke Phone Lines". A new telephone was delivered, and contact was re-established with Schneider at 12:32 p.m.
The negotiator gave Schneider until 1:45 p.m. to send out at least ten people, or else the FBI would take some additional action. Schneider responded that they were not concerned with FBI actions, and that "you can burn us down, kill us, whatever."
Schneider was contacted at 1:30 p.m. He informed negotiators that no one wanted to come out. The 1:45 p.m. deadline passed. Immediately thereafter, the FBI, with the armored vehicles, began clearing the front side of the compound.
The negotiator contacted Schneider at 6:48 p m. and spoke to him until 7:59 p.m. Schneider stated that Koresh refused to speak to the negotiator and that no one else was coming out that night. During this time period, the negotiators also spoke to the male who had entered the compound the previous night. He gave his name as "Jesse Amen."
The negotiators called Schneider again at 9:34 p.m. During this conversation, as well as overnight, the loudspeakers were broadcasting various sounds such as sirens, squawking birds, and laughter. Schneider proclaimed that he was looking forward to God putting an end to the earth; however, he also stated that there would be no suicide. Schneider also said that no one could be convinced to come out. This call ended at 10:27 p.m.
Schneider called back at 10:29 p.m., saying that two people were guarding Jesse Amen and Louis Alaniz. This conversation, with one short interruption, lasted until after midnight. During this conversation, Schneider denied that Koresh was Christ, confirmed that some individuals had been sent out for drinking, and recommended that the building be set on fire to force everyone out.
The evening ended with no progress. There had been no contact with Koresh for four days.
The conversation with Schneider, which began the previous evening, lasted until 1:48 a.m. with no progress, except that Schneider promised to send out an additional videotape showing individuals in the compound.
At 7:44 a.m., the negotiators spoke with David Thibodeau and played a taped message from his mother. Thibodeau suggested that he might record an audio or videotaped message for his mother.
In a conversation at 11:24 a.m., the negotiators suggested a face-to-face meeting with Koresh and Schneider. Schneider agreed to discuss the idea with Koresh.
At 11:58 a.m., the negotiators demanded that at least ten people come out by 12:50 p.m.
At 12:30 p.m., another individual attempted to enter the compound but was arrested.
The 12:50 p.m. deadline passed. Contact was established with Koresh at 2:26 p.m. Koresh claimed that he had no intentions to die in the compound, and that he was still waiting for word from God. Koresh continued his rambling discussions and preachings until 4:13 p.m., with no progress. However, Koresh did ask to speak with DeGuerin, the attorney hired by his mother.
In response to the missed deadline, the FBI continued using armored vehicles to clear away cars, fences, trees, and other obstructions from the exterior of the compound during the afternoon. During these operations, adults inside the compound were observed holding up children in the windows.
At 6:10 p.m., a call from DeGuerin was patched into the compound by the FBI. In observance of, the attorney-client privilege, all recording and monitoring devices were disconnected.
At 7:00 p.m., local police warned the FBI that approximately 60 people were travelling to Waco to assist the Branch Davidians.
Contact was re-established with Koresh after the call with his attorney. Koresh was upbeat, stating that the lawyer talked straight with him. Koresh discussed surrender and promised to "[d]o something solid, that is no bull."
The evening ended with plans for Koresh to meet face-to-face the next day with his attorney. Also, a new videotape from the compound was sent out at 10:55 p.m. The videotape showed nineteen children being "interviewed" by Koresh. The children appeared to be tired, but healthy. This video was analyzed by experts. Their opinion is included at pages 187-88 of this report.
The proposed face-to-face meeting between Koresh and DeGuerin caused significant controversy within law enforcement. SAC Jamar made the decision to permit the meeting, clearing it with U.S. Attorney Ederer. The AUSAs and the Texas Rangers, who would be responsible for the eventual prosecutions, strongly opposed the meeting. Jamar was focused on resolving the standoff safely, while the prosecutors and the Texas Rangers were focused on the integrity of future court proceedings. The prosecutors and Texas Rangers were afraid that the defense attorney would give advice to Koresh which could result in the destruction of evidence and cause a more difficult prosecution.
The negotiators attempted unsuccessfully to contact Koresh between 3:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to establish a procedure for the meeting with his attorney. On each call, the negotiators were informed by various individuals that Koresh was unable to come to the telephone. Finally, at 11:28 a.m., Koresh came to the telephone and was told that his attorney was ready for the proposed face-to-face meeting. A dispute arose between Koresh
and the FBI over whether the meeting would occur in the compound or in a neutral site, such as the front of the compound. In an attempt to break this impasse, Koresh spoke to his attorney at 12:05 p.m. in an unmonitored telephone call. It was agreed that the attorney would come to the front door of the compound, while Koresh remained just inside the door.
The meeting between Koresh and DeGuerin took place at the front door of the compound between 4:12 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. The FBI debriefed DeGuerin about the meeting; however, no attorney-client information was discussed. DeGuerin described it as a positive meeting. Schneider confirmed this impression in a subsequent telephone conversation with negotiators. Schneider also complained, however, that DeGuerin's fees were too high.
In a conversation with Koresh at 8:54 p.m., another meeting with DeGuerin was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. the next morning.
The meeting between Koresh and DeGuerin occurred as scheduled at 10:00 a.m. This meeting lasted until noon. A second meeting took place between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Additionally, at 3:18 p.m., Steve Schneider was allowed to speak to his attorney, Jack Zimmerman, in an unmonitored call. This conversation ended at 3:53 p.m.
There were no contacts with individuals inside the compound on March 30, except to arrange for the meetings and telephone conversations with the attorneys.
Pursuant to the instructions of the Attorney General, Mark Richard of the Criminal Division, accompanied by departmental and FBI supervisors, held several meetings in Waco and San Antonio. The meetings were held with SAC Jamar, AUSA Johnston, Texas Rangers supervisors, and U.S. Attorney Ederer in an attempt to determine the reasons for the coordination problems and to make recommendations to the Attorney General.
A fourth meeting between Koresh and DeGuerin took place from 9:35 a.m. until 12:10 p.m. A fifth meeting took place between 3:07 and 6:05 p.m.
After this last meeting, DeGuerin spoke with SAC Jamar. DeGuerin appeared to be frustrated with the negotiation efforts. He told Jamar that for every issue he resolved, Koresh would bring up a new one. DeGuerin also said that at one point, when
it appeared that Koresh was about to make a serious commitment to surrender, he (Koresh) appeared to "pass out." A few moments later, he regained his composure and diverted the conversation away from surrender. DeGuerin stated that he was unable to get any commitments from Koresh.
It was agreed that DeGuerin would try again the next day.