U.S. Department of Justice
Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas
February 28 to April 19, 1993
III. THE FBI'S MANAGEMENT OF THE STANDOFF AT MT. CARMEL
B. The FBI's Strategy for Handling the Standoff
C. The Role of FBI Headquarters in the Standoff
D. The Negotiations
1. Organization of the Negotiation Teams
2. Negotiation Strategy
3. Significant Negotiation Events During the Standoff
a) Early Negotiations: February 28 - March 5
b) Negotiation Team Themes
c) Negotiations From March 6 to 13
d) Negotiations From March 14 to 22
4. The Negotiators' Conclusions
5. Differences in opinions Within The Crisis Management Team
6. Meetings Between the Branch Davidians and Private Counsel
F. Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and SWAT Teams
2. HRT Tactics
3. Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Program
G. Technical Assistance
H. Security of the Perimeter Surrounding the Branch Davidian Compound
March 2 - The FBI received information that a radical organization was planning possible retaliation against the FBI because of the standoff at Waco.
March 8 - A doctor from Arizona traveled to Waco and threatened to enter the compound regardless of any efforts by law enforcement to stop him., The doctor claimed that he was the "messenger" that Koresh was awaiting.
March 13- The FBI learned that approximately twenty-seven individuals with extremist background had arrived in Waco at various times since March 1. The FBI became concerned that because of these individuals' support of Koresh, they might pose a threat, either individually or as a group, to law enforcement.
March 18- An attorney, Linda Thompson, threatened to enter the compound against the direct orders of the FBI. Thompson suggested that the news media would have a "field day" if the FBI shot an attorney attempting to enter the compound.
March 19- Two individuals were observed photographing all law enforcement officials entering into, and exiting from, one of the checkpoints at the compound's perimeter. When approached by agents, they fled.
March 24- Louis Alaniz sneaked through the perimeter and entered the compound.
March 25- An individual attempted to enter the compound to "debate the Seven Seals" with Koresh.
March 26- Jesse Amen breached the perimeter and entered the compound.
March 28- An individual was arrested well inside perimeter lines, while attempting to get near the compound.
April 4- Linda Thompson, the attorney who threatened to enter the compound an March 18, called for the "Unorganized Militia of the United States" to come to Waco with their (legal) weapons to demonstrate and show support for Koresh. Thompson, the self-styled adjutant General of the Militia, called for hundreds of people to attend.
April 4- An individual was arrested attempting to break through a checkpoint.
- The SOARU provides training and research for all of the various components of crisis management and major case management within the FBI. It provides training in crisis management, crisis negotiations, major case management, special events management, special weapons and tactics (SWAT) , observer/sniper operations, and tactical air operations.
- According to AD Potts, the SACs assigned to Jamar were selected on the basis of location, talent, experience and general abilities. Potts considered them to be a good blend of managers who would counterbalance each other and provide FBI Headquarters with the type of input necessary to critical decision-making.
- Bureau policy states that some type of command post is necessary to coordinate the actions of multiple units, especially when the units are engaged in several activities or when the number of individuals involved in a crisis situation exceeds the span of control of the on-site commander. Two command posts were established at Waco: a forward command post used by the tactical units, and the main command post used by the commanders, behavioral scientists, and negotiators. The forward command post was located in a recreational vehicle near the Mt. Carmel compound. The rear command post was located at a former air base near Waco.
- After it was decided that the best protection for agents against the possible high-power weapons believed to be in the compound was the Abrams tank, Swensen contacted approximately eight generals one night in a prolonged effort to determine how to get the tanks to Waco. Swensen reported that he was ultimately told to invoke either Secretary of Defense Les Aspin's or General Colin Powell's name to "cut through the red tape."
- Mr. Coulson noted that while Koresh's group was not the first heavily armed cult that the FBI had encountered, the Waco situation was unique in that an assault by law enforcement had preceded negotiations with heavily armed cult members who had planned for a confrontation. Coulson contrasted the Waco situation with a previous investigation by the FBI and ATF of a cult known as the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The overall strategy in that case was to isolate, contain, and negotiate, with a great deal of effort going into the intelligencegathering process. The subjects were armed with assault rifles, LAWS rockets, hand grenades, machine guns, and other sophisticated military equipment. Ultimately, all individuals surrendered peacefully.
- Prior to final deployment of FBI resources, AD Potts, SAC Jamar and HRT Commander Richard Rogers agreed on rules of engagement for the crisis. These rules consisted of the FBI deadly force policy, which states that agents were not to use deadly force against any person except in self-defense or defense of another, or when they had reason to believe that they or another were in danger of death or grievous bodily harm.
- These briefings frequently took place in the FBI's Strategic Information Operations Center (SIOC) . The SIOC was established to provide emergency response and operational support to any FBI entity requiring assistance during both crisis and non-crisis situations through an analytic and support staff with access to an abundance of commercial, governmental and FBI databases.
- Pursuant to FBI policy, the on-site commander appoints a negotiation coordinator responsible for devising negotiation tactics and procedures in support of the overall strategy drawn up by the on-site commander. Tactics and procedures formulated by -the coordinator are subject to the approval of the on-site commander. The negotiation commander acts as the commander of the negotiation team, and should also act as the team's representative and adviser to the command post.
- The SOARU manages the CINT. The CINT is comprised of the FBI's most experienced negotiators who have a specialized investigative or foreign language capability. CINT members are afforded advanced training in negotiation and terrorism. The FBI considers the team to be a national resource; it is deployed at the direction of the FBIHQ through contact with SOARU.
- According to Director Sessions, it was clear from the Bureau's past dealings with inmate uprisings at Bureau of Prisons facilities at Atlanta, Georgia and Oakdale, Louisiana, that the FBI's local commander should have a great deal of discretion in handling a particular situation. He said that he agreed with this approach as long as the "waiting" strategy was adhered to.
- Sage said that after he had 'nailed Koresh to the wall' in this conversation, Koresh handed the phone to Steve Schneider, who was flabbergasted because he had never heard anyone talk to Koresh that way and get away with it. From then on, Koresh referred to Sage as "Mr. Byron."
- Regarding the relationships between the various FBI components involved in the Waco standoff, Director sessions said that there is always a dynamic tension between the FBI Director and the Bureau's executive management, between executive management and the field, and between the field and the Director. He characterized the tension in Waco as healthy.
- Ordinarily, a CRT representative deploys with the FBI Headquarters survey party to a crisis site.. A technical survey is conducted to determine operational manpower and equipment requirements. During the operation CRT manages the technical organization and reports to the on-site commander.
SOARU also provides logistical and advisory support to FBI field offices, assistance to FBI Headquarters and field offices in designing and implementing command-post and field-training exercises, monitoring and assessment of FBI field crisis management capability, liaison with other members of the crisis management "community," and administrative support to the FBI Academy.
Several Assistant Special Agents-in-Charge (ASACs) were also detailed to Waco: Richard T. Lind of the Minneapolis Division, Manuel Marquez, Jr. of the San Antonio Division, and Thomas J. Murphy of the Denver Division.
AD Potts and Mr. Kahoe were the principal CID representatives in the SIOC from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. daily. DAD Coulson was present from 4:00 p.m. to midnight each day.