Biden rekindles the Waco fire
Last week, President Joe Biden appointed David Chipman to head the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Bureau, the leading federal agency for firearms enforcement. Biden added to the announcement by calling for a national red flag law that would allow police to seize firearms from citizens suspected of being a threat to themselves or others.
Chipman was a 25-year-old ATF agent and a key officer in the 1994 federal trial of the Branch Davidians who survived the ATF and FBI attacks the previous year. Many federal agents posed for gruesome “victory photos” in the rubble of the Branch Davidian Waco in Texas after it burned down during an FBI attack. One photo allegedly shows Chipman proudly holding a rifle in front of the wreckage where dozens of children died recently. The current White House and Chipman employer, the Antigun-Giffords Organization, did not respond to repeated email requests to confirm or deny that Chipman is the federal agent in this photo. the Daily mail and many online sites have tagged Chipman as an agent. In a public question-and-answer session on Reddit in 2019, Chipman attempted to instill support for a ban on assault weapons by falsely claiming the Davidians shot down two federal helicopters attacking their premises.
Biden’s Chipman nomination has put Waco back in the national spotlight. Millions of Americans permanently lost confidence in the federal government after ATF and FBI attacks concluded with more than 80 civilians dead. But few Americans are aware of Biden’s role, first in covering up the debacle and later, after damning evidence emerged, in exonerating federal law enforcement and instead blaming Americans who distrusted Washington. Biden’s behavior toward Waco is a bad sign to anyone who expects federal agencies to be kept on a leash during their reign.
At the time of the federal attack on Waco, Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was primarily responsible for the conduct of federal law enforcement agencies. How did Biden react to an FBI attack on tanks and toxic gases that ended in shocking slaughter? The day after the fire, Biden “warned lawmakers to wait until all details are available before questioning the Justice Department” New York Times reported. Biden stated, “We’ll have to wait to find out what happened before we have hearings.” Delaying the hearings until federal authorities who had made a mistake (or far worse) announced the “facts of the matter” would have appalled earlier generations of congressional leaders who courageously exposed federal lies and cover-ups after Senator William Fulbright Vietnam had investigated war in the 1960s against Sen. Frank Church’s investigation into FBI and CIA rampages in the 1970s.
Biden did not hold hearings on Waco when he was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. After Republicans took control of Congress in the 1994 election, committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) held hearings in late 1995. Despite numerous damned revelations of federal wrongdoing at Waco over the past two years, Biden said the real problem was “A growing number of people across the country are using the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents to warn that law enforcement is ours Enemy is. “
“Waco’s records do not establish … improper motive or law enforcement intent,” Biden said. Instead, Biden extolled “the excellent overall record of federal law enforcement agencies, including the ATF and the FBI.” Biden confirmed to the government: “The ATF had a legitimate and very important reason to be with Waco in the first place, that is, to issue arrest warrants for those who are reasonably suspected of violating federal criminal law.” But if the ATF Waco Quest is Biden’s idea of ”legitimate,” the next four years will be the hell of civil liberties.
The Waco investigation began in July 1992 when ATF agent Davy Aguilera visited the arms dealer at the Davidians branch and suggested that the Davidians illegally converted semi-automatic firearms to fully automatic firing capacity, a federal crime. Upon learning of this allegation, the Davidian David Koresh invited Aguilera to visit the Davidian residence and conduct an on-site inspection. Aguilera declined the invitation and his later affidavit to search the Davidian residence contained “an incredible number of false statements,” according to a 1996 congressional report.
In a Senate hearing in October 1995, Biden stated, “Nobody in Washington, nobody in ATF, nobody involved with ATF had the idea that these Branch Davidians are dangerous people. Koresh is a dangerous guy. We have to be aggressive and go after them. “The later behavior of the ATF shows Biden’s definition of” non-aggressive. “Instead of peacefully searching the sprawling wooden house of the Davidians, the ATF decided to launch a massive attack on its peaceful residents. On February 28, 1993, more than 70 ATF- Agents and three military helicopters launched an attack on Sunday morning without warning, and prior to the attack, the ATF alerted several television stations to ensure coverage of a robbery in which a large supply of weapons was to be confiscated, CBS 60 minutes ATF agents announced that “the first attack on this cult in Waco was a publicity stunt – the main aim of which was to improve ATF’s tarnished image.” In a congressional investigation from 1996 it was found that ATF had deliberately chosen a “dynamic entry-level approach”. The tendency to use force can in large part be explained by a culture within ATF ”, including“ advertising criteria ”.
ATF claimed a surprise attack was necessary because Koresh almost never left his house. Six years after the attack, thanks to FOIA prosecution by former federal attorney David Hardy, the ATF finally released a memo showing that nine days before the attack, two undercover ATF agents (recognized as such by Koresh) at the Davidian’s door have knocked residence and invited Koresh to shoot. Koresh, two other Davidians, and the two agents had a good time firing AR-15 and SIG Sauer semi-automatic pistols. Koresh provided the ammunition and the agents gave him their weapons. The official report from the ATF’s undercover agents, filed prior to the raid, states, “Mr. Koresh stated that he believes everyone has the right to own firearms and protect their homes. “Koresh could easily have been arrested that day, but that would have prevented the largest and most glorious assault in ATF history.
Instead, the robbery quickly turned into a debacle, in which four ATF agents and six Davidians died. The ATF claimed that Davidians “ambushed” their agents, a story spread by the vast majority of the media. After ATF agents notified supervisors that the ATF fired first, the ATF suspended their shooting test to avoid creating documents that could undermine the legal process against the Davidians. A Finance Department report, authored by outside experts and published in September 1993, condemned “intentionally misleading statements made by certain ATF regulators about the robbery and the robbery plan.” After the robbery debacle, the FBI took over the scene and increased the pressure on the Davidians. The FBI decided on a plan of attack that included the use of military tanks to collapse the building on the residents. The FBI fired pyrotechnic shots at the scene, perhaps the source of the fire that ended the stalemate.
Biden was one of the most ardent supporters of the federal drug war in the 1980s and 1990s, but he had no complaint about the ATF’s drug war fraud in Waco. Prior to the raid, ATF officials were told it was illegal for the US military to assist them unless the case was “drug-related.” Voila! A few days later, the ATF informed military officials that they suspected the Davidians had a methamphetamine laboratory in their basement. ATF agents received hand-to-hand combat training and called in Texas National Guard military helicopters to work with the agents on the ground to attack the Davidian home. Despite this extensive preparation, the drug charge disappeared immediately after the raid, and federal prosecutors never addressed the issue with the 1994 Davidian surviving trial. A 1996 congressional report concluded that the ATF’s actions during and after the raid “made it clear that the ATF believed that there was no methamphetamine laboratory”. The House report concluded that “the ATF has deliberately misled the Department of Defense and military personnel” about the existence of the meth laboratory. But the federal authorities treated these lies as harmless flaws because they did not reduce the power of the government.
During the 1994 trial of the surviving Davidians, federal prosecutors compared Koresh to Hitler and Stalin and stated that the 11 defendants were “as many religious terrorists as the people who blew up … Pan Am 103”. However, the jury found all of the Davidian defendants not guilty of murder, although seven were convicted of manslaughter. The New York Timescharacterized the judgment as a “breathtaking defeat” for the federal government; a Los Angeles timesThe headline reads: “The result indicates that the jury blamed the government the most.” The jury’s foreman, Sarah Bain, stated after the trial: “The federal government was absolutely out of control there…. The wrong people were on trial, it should have been the ones who planned and orchestrated the robbery. “
But neither the jury’s verdicts, nor the House hearings in the summer of 1995, which exposed further deception and abuse by the ATF and FBI, did not affect Joe Biden’s view. Instead, at the Senate hearings this October, Biden portrayed the real danger as people left and right who view everything as a great conspiracy. Biden tried “to determine that this wasn’t a big brother who was sitting in Washington”. If the ATF mass attack and the FBI attack with tanks and toxic gases are not considered Big Brother, what then?
Biden makes restoring confidence in the government an issue of his presidency. In his inaugural address, he declared: “Each of us, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, has a duty and responsibility to defend the truth and defeat the lies.” Biden’s behavior toward Waco and his appointment of David Chipman signals that Americans cannot count on the White House to help defeat the lies.
James Bovard is the author of Lost rights, Attention Deficit Democracy, and Public order hooligan. He is also a USA today Columnist. Follow him on Twitter @ JimBovard.
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