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Reno planned final assault with Delta Force operatives

Contrary to public statements made in recent days, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI officials planned the final deadly assault on the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas, with top officers of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, according to classified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and Special Forces sources.

The FBI actually requested that Special Forces Delta Force operatives consult with them, be present on the scene and maintain equipment in preparation for a resolution of the 1993 51-day standoff that resulted in a fire that killed 74 civilians including many children, according to the documents and a knowledgeable military source.

Despite this powerful evidence, as of yesterday an FBI spokesman, Tron Brekke, was still telling the Dallas Morning News that he could not say whether Delta Force might have actively assisted the FBI in any way in Waco “because I don’t think anybody knows. … That’s part of the reason that the attorney general and the director are, in a very expeditious manner, going to have 40 assistant inspectors and whoever is chosen to lead them come down and find out definitively what did happen,” he said. “I don’t know what was done or wasn’t done down there.”

Meanwhile, the documented information WorldNetDaily has obtained reveals that not only did Reno actively seek involvement by Delta Force, but she was warned at one meeting she attended with the FBI, Delta Force Colonel William “Jerry” Boykin and Webster Hubbell that the use of CS tear gas would have a variety of effects, one of which would be “Some people would panic, Quote: “mothers may run off and leave infants.”

The FBI’s admission just days ago that pyrotechnic tear-gas canisters “may have been used” was an abrupt reversal of a six-year denial that its agents used anything capable of sparking a fire at the compound. The Delta Force document detailing the Delta Force/Reno/FBI meeting notes that when Reno asked Delta Force officers for their “assessment” of the plan, she was told: “This was not a military operation and could not be assessed as such. We explained that the situation was not one that we had ever encountered and that the Rules of Engagement for the FBI were substantially different than for a military operation. [name redacted] stated, “We can’t grade your paper,” as a way of explaining our position.”

A WorldNetDaily Special Forces source who analyzed this and other statements says Delta Force was clearly uncomfortable with any association with the FBI’s plans at Waco.

In another section of the document, a Delta Force colonel writes: “My final comments were that I believed that the HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) should consider pulling their people off the target for a short period to retrain and polish some of the perishable(This can now be omitted, definately means perishable:WND: difficult to read, looks like “perishable”) skills. I made it clear that I was not encouraging an immediate execution of the operation. My exact words were, “I don’t have a dog in this fight.”

Keith Idema, a member of Special Forces and Special Operations units from 1975 to 1992 who helped train hostage rescue team personnel for both Delta Force and the FBI and who spoke just days ago to a Delta Force commando present at the final tear-gas assault, says this statement shows how Delta Force cringed over getting involved at Waco.? “I believe that what the Delta Force colonel meant was that he didn’t want to be directly involved in it[Waco]; did not want to be dragged into it. Delta Force operators, and Task Force 160 operators continually cautioned the FBI against attempting an “open air assault” on the target, and stated emphatically that they did not want to be involved in firing on or assaulting American civilians,” Idema said. “These official and unofficial comments went ignored and, in fact, one Special Operations Officer was threatened with court-martial if he continued to protest,” Idema added.

At another point in the document, Delta Force personnel explained to Reno that Special Forces encounters are almost always militaristic and involve outright enemies who are often heavily armed. Delta Force explained that their standard modus operandi was, “The principles of surprise, speed and violence of action [that] were essential to any operation. [redacted] stated that momentum should be maintained and that ground gained should not be relinquished.” Idema says “violence of action” usually means “the killing of all hostiles.”

With his trained eye, Idema says he can tell that devices seen in pictures from Waco released this week by the Texas Department of Public Safety have been mistakenly identified by the department as gun silencers and suppressors belonging to David Koresh and his followers which were found inside the compound after the fire. Idema says they are actually concussion grenades manufactured by a company, Defense Technology, and purchased by the FBI.

Idema also says the bright light seen on video footage as flashing inside the building moments before the fire broke out have been misidentified as a fire started by Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, when, in fact, to the trained eye of a Special Forces explosive expert it is unmistakably the flash caused by a “concussion grenade” that has been lobbed inside the compound. A concussion grenade uses a brilliant flash and loud bang to render an enemy in its vicinity blind, deaf and immobile for a brief period during which commandos can overpower them. Such grenades should be used only for military purposes and were wholly inappropriate, if not illegal to be used in a situation involving women and children — and any situation where potentially inflammable tear gas was still hanging in the air, the former Special Forces operative said.

Charges that the FBI used incendiary grenades which may have caused the fire were dismissed by Reno. For six years, since the assault on April 19, 1993, until six days ago, Reno maintained that no military weapons were used. When a report from Texas DPS forced her to admit that some might have been used, she still dismissed any possibility that they could have caused the fire, stating that they were used in the early morning hours before the fire began. According to Idema, the FBI was taking an ill-advised chance using a military CS tear gas grenade at any time knowing that, unlike the kind of tear gas used in civilian situations, this type leaves a vapor that hangs in the air for a longer period of time and can ignite under certain circumstances.

The concussion grenades and military fuses he says were used moments before the fire broke out could have ignited the lingering tear gas vapors and started the fire. Idema also points out that other photographs released clearly show an FBI agent with a .50-caliber Browning machine gun next to his leg.

Such weapons are to be used only against armored equipment and weapons, certainly not civilians, says Idema.

“Why were they there?” he asks. “Koresh didn’t have any tanks or helicopters, or APCs. The Geneva Convention states that these weapons are never to be used in an anti-personnel role.”