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.
auctionThe first 23 lots have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
tvSpoiler alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
Auction house to give away $1m masterpiece in charity raffle - and tickets are only $100 each
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ sign language interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 Mystery of Epping Forest 'big cat' is solved
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 5 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- < Previous
- Next >
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior C# ASP.NET Deve...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: QA Automation Tester FX Trading Platform(Ruby, ...
£25000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: VB.NET SQL Developer/...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA ...