Waco by David Thibodeau & Leon Whiteson & Aviva Layton

Waco by David Thibodeau & Leon Whiteson & Aviva Layton

Author:David Thibodeau & Leon Whiteson & Aviva Layton
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Hachette Books
Published: 2018-01-01T05:00:00+00:00

As soon as the botched raid was over, ATF spokesmen scrambled to cover the agency’s ass. One ATF press officer said the agency was “outgunned”! In wild swings at shifting the blame for their tragically botched operation, the ATF also claimed it was “set up” by the media and local law enforcement. They even turned on their erstwhile coconspirator, reporter Mark England of the Waco Tribune-Herald, accusing him of phoning David to leak news of the raid, thereby eliminating the element of surprise. At one moment, while they were retrieving their wounded, enraged ATF agents slapped a TV cameraman to the dirt while he was filming them. They seemed to have forgotten that they’d invited the media along to record their glorious enterprise.

The ATF’s head honchos also seemed to have forgotten that Robert Rodriguez had warned them their surprise was blown—and that they’d ignored him. The New York Times later reported that “several Federal agents involved in the violent raid… [compared it] to the Charge of the Light Brigade, laden with missteps, miscalculations and unheeded warnings that could have averted bloodshed.” The agents, the Times reported, “said that supervisors had realized even before they began their assault that they had lost any element of surprise but went ahead anyway.” To cut the babble, the ATF belatedly issued a gag order to its agents on March 15, but by that time the damage was done to the agency’s reputation.

Some seventy or eighty heavily armed, supposedly professional agents, backed by a trio of helicopters, had failed to subdue a vulnerable, unfortified community of around 130 people, three-quarters of whom were unarmed women and children.

The entire operation was graphically lambasted by no less an authority than Colonel Charlie Beckwith, founder of the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force. Writing in Soldier of Fortune magazine a few months after the attack, Beckwith said succinctly: “Had a similar event taken place in the U.S. Army, the responsible party would now be serving time in the correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.”

Beckwith damned the ATF assault on several counts, including the decision to train at Fort Hood, “too close to the actual target site.” Sardonically, he added: “ATF might just as well have run a flag up telling everyone something was about to happen.” Beckwith criticized the agency for its failure to consider the risk to human life on both sides; for the lack of a contingency fallback when the ATF discovered it had lost the element of surprise; for the time chosen for the attack—after 9:00 A.M., rather than at night or sunrise. “Every principle involved in mounting and conducting a successful raid/assault operation was violated,” he declared.

The ATF initially responded by first suspending, then firing, Charles Sarabyn and Philip Chojnacki, two of the raid’s commanders. They were charged with a failure to abort the assault after they realized we knew they were coming. However, the agents challenged their dismissal and were reinstated in December 1994. It was rumored that they threatened to reveal details from


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