The Waco Siege: Cult suicide could damage Clinton: As the Branch Davidian stand-off ends in tragedy the authorities face questions about their handling of the cult
Tuesday 20 April 1993
First in the firing line, of course, will be the troubled Justice Department, its morale already damaged by charges of incompetence or worse in the BCCI and 'Iraqgate' affairs, the ethics abuse allegations swirling around the head of the FBI Director, William Sessions, and Mr Clinton's long search for an Attorney General.
All along, the FBI and the Justice Department under whose aegis it operates had made clear that their paramount goal was to avoid a mass suicide similar to the infamous ending of the Jonestown affair in Guyana in 1978. Although the exact circumstances of the conflagration which destroyed Mount Carmel are unknown, a mass suicide is in effect what occurred yesterday.
It was Janet Reno, the third choice for Attorney-General and in office only a few weeks, who had the unpleasant task last night of defending the Clinton administration's handling of the Waco siege. Courageously, she took full responsibility for the decision to send the FBI in to end the seven week stand-off. 'I made the decision, I'm accountable, the buck stops with me,' she said.
Possibly though, the buck may move into the White House. In Ms Reno's account, she merely informed Mr Clinton of the options, and told him that she had thoroughly reviewed the FBI's proposals and agreed it was the best way to proceed. 'His statement to me was, 'Well, OK'. ' Against that, however, must be set strong suggestions that until a week or so ago at least, the White House had been 'micromanaging' the Waco crisis.
Whatever else, a full-scale congressional investigation of what happened is wellnigh certain and heads may have to roll.
For Mr Clinton, the tragic denouement to the siege could hardly have happened at a worse moment. He is under much fire for his alleged indecisiveness over Bosnia, while Republican opposition to his stalled economic stimulus package, if anything, is growing. Fairly or otherwise, the tragic events in central Texas will only add to doubts over the professionalism and authority of his administration.
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...
£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...