Finally, there’s some finger-pointing going on in the executive
branch of the federal government over the exterminations of more than 70
men, women and children at the Branch Davidian church in Waco in 1993.
It’s about time. This is progress. But we won’t be any closer to
holding the guilty accountable until the White House connections are
fully explored. There’s ample reason to believe Bill Clinton was working
behind the scenes on engineering the initial Waco raid even before he
One of the original witnesses against the Branch Davidians was Bill
Buford, the agent in charge of the Little Rock, Ark., branch of the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Buford was, also, according to
Arkansas sources, a friend of Bill. The Waco case was apparently very
important to Buford as an affidavit states he was working on New Year’s
Day calling former Branch Davidians seeking to find evidence of sexual
My friend and colleague, Andy Beal, who first explored the Little
Rock connection to Waco, asks a good question: What was the resident
agent in charge of the Little Rock office of the BATF doing
investigating a sex abuse case in Texas? Is sex abuse BATF’s
jurisdiction? Is Texas under the jurisdiction of the BATF’s Arkansas
Documents show Buford is noted as one of two “senior raid planners.”
He was also one of the BATF agents wounded during the Feb. 28 assault,
but he is perhaps the only BATF agent to be visited in the hospital by
none other than top Treasury Department official Roger Altman.
Altman was the long-time “Friend of Bill” appointed to be deputy
secretary of the Treasury and chief executive officer of the Resolution
Trust Corporation. He resigned in August 1994 due to his interference in
the Whitewater investigation. At the time of the Waco raid, Roger Altman
was the second highest-ranking official at the Department of the
Treasury. The BATF is a bureau within the Treasury Department.
Is it not possible — is it not likely, knowing what we know about
the character of the Clinton administration today — that the Clinton
transition team was involved in the planning of the initial raid on Waco
even before taking power? Remember, Vincent Foster’s wife claimed he
blamed himself for the deaths in Waco. Webster Hubbell, who became the
point man between the Justice Department and White House during the
siege, was also instrumental in that transition to power. Then there’s
Altman and Buford.
Foster, Hubbell, Altman and Buford were all in Little Rock leading up
to the inauguration. Clinton takes power Jan. 20, 1993. One month later,
the BATF stages the largest and most dramatic raid in its history —
videotaped in living color in anticipation of its success in subduing
religious non-conformists in possession of illegal guns.
The injustice and illegality of the initial raid has still never been
fully examined. Today the focus is on how and why the remaining
occupants of the church building were exterminated in a fire. Yet, the
equally puzzling question of why a dynamic and violent entry was
necessary to serve a search warrant on David Koresh shortly after he
went target shooting with officers of the BATF. The local sheriff
offered to serve the warrant at the general store to avoid any
confrontation. There was simply no need for all the deadly theatrics of
the initial raid.
The only reasonable explanation seems to be the one proffered by the
documentary, “Waco: Rules of Engagement,” which postulates that the raid
was intended as a public relations effort by the BATF and a commercial
for stricter gun control enforcement.
There are many unanswered questions when it comes to Waco. But maybe
now it’s time to start asking some of the unasked questions.
What was the involvement in Waco planning of key Clinton White House
officials even before they took power? Was the Waco raid, in fact,
cooked up as a publicity and political stunt by an incoming
administration itching for drama and action? Is it possible that Clinton
and his cronies bear even more responsibility than any of us imagine for
this deadly escapade?