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Secret Service Director Lewis Merletti is letting it be known that he
will “fight to the death” to prevent Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr
from pursuing testimony about Oval Office secrets by his agents.

Merletti claims that forcing Secret Service agents to testify whether
they saw President Clinton in compromising positions with women would be
tantamount to “handcuffing” his ability to keep the president safe. He
goes so far as to suggest that if he cooperates with Starr, “the
inevitable result will be the death of another president.”

At first blush, you might chalk up such rhetoric to an administrator
standing up for his employees. But there’s much more at work here. You
see, Secret Service Director Lewis Merletti is one of this
administration’s many professional cover-up artists.

Why do I say that? Well, because he’s a veteran of one of the first
major cover-ups of the Clinton administration. He was promoted to
director of the Secret Service after serving as assistant project
director of the Waco Administrative Review Team created by Clinton’s
Department of the Treasury.

Since it’s been more than five years, perhaps a review of the
government massacre on April 19, 1993, and leading up to it, is in
order. At the end of a 51-day siege of a dissident religious community
at Waco, Texas, U.S. FBI agents and U.S. military personnel pumped
massive amounts of lethal CS gas into the buildings through holes
punched in the walls by tanks. The FBI/military then started a fire
which spread rapidly through the complex of buildings. As video cameras
filmed the inferno, 74 men, women and children died — including 12
children younger than five years of age. Some people died from gunshots
(a possible exit from the fire appears to have been raked with automatic
gunshot fire) and some died from the effects of cyanide (produced when
CS gas is heated).

A look at the compelling evidence in the film “Waco: Rules of
Engagement,” nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary category,
is more than enough to make you sick to your stomach and cause you to
distrust government — any government — for the rest of your life.

But that final assault on the church was simply the last horror of
Waco. The chain of events began on February 28, 1993, when Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents in National Guard helicopters
zoomed in on the Branch Davidians’ home, Mount Carmel Center, with guns
blazing.

We all know the name David Koresh. But nearly 100 other men, women
and children ultimately perished in the raging inferno that should never
have happened and would never have happened if the FBI, President
Clinton, and Janet Reno had not acted in such a needless, senseless,
irrational, inhumane, immoral, unconscionable, reprehensible and,
according to even the mild condemnation offered by congressional
investigators, “irresponsible” way by assaulting the Branch Davidian
church-home with tanks and chemical weapons.

The government has never come clean on Waco. The blood of the Branch
Davidians still stains the hands of both Democrats and Republicans in
Congress who whitewashed the massacre. But the original cover-up began
with the Treasury Department, which oversees the BATF.

The raid, apparently, was set in motion because the BATF wanted to
show Congress how tough it was. Future funding was coming up, and
officials wanted videotape evidence of a successful dynamic entry.
Though undercover BATF agents suggest that the Davidians knew they were
coming, officials on the scene say they knew of no plan to abort the
raid if they were confronted by resistance.

That’s where Merletti comes in. Then a Secret Service agent, he was
assigned a key role in the first investigation of Waco. He claimed in
congressional testimony that every single BATF agent he interviewed
understood that the raid would be aborted if met with resistance. He was
contradicted not just by officials on the scene but by his superior in
the investigation as well.

Dick Morris, Clinton’s former top political adviser, says the
president assigns people to tasks because he knows what they will do in
any given situation. No doubt he knew what Merletti would do as an
investigator in the Waco disaster. He must have been well-pleased,
because Merletti was later promoted to direct the Secret Service.

Merletti owes his career to Bill Clinton. He got his job by carrying
water for the administration in its first major scandal. Is it any
wonder he’s taking a stonewall-the-investigation position now?

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