FBI Field Commander Says He Is Scapegoat
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The FBI field commander at Ruby Ridge told a Senate panel Tuesday he was a ``tuna″ thrown to ``hungry sharks″ and unfairly blamed for the deadly siege while higher-ups were never adequately investigated. Four more colleagues declined to testify on constitutional grounds.
Eugene Glenn told the senators that now-suspended FBI Deputy Director Larry Potts approved a unique shoot-on-sight order to fire at any armed adult man at the siege site in northern Idaho.
Potts denies ever approving the plan.
Hours after the order was approved, an FBI sniper killed the wife of white separatist Randy Weaver. Weaver’s 14-year-old son and a deputy marshal also died in the Aug. 21, 1992, gunfight, which broke out as federal agents pursued Weaver on a weapons charge.
Potts received a light punishment for his role in the shootout and was promoted to be the No. 2 man in the FBI. Glenn was censured and suspended.
Instead of searching for facts during an internal FBI inquiry last year, said Glenn, the bureau ``twisted″ its investigative machinery to answer one question: ``Who do we blame?″ The FBI blamed Glenn and other agents at the scene for the shoot-on-sight order.
Glenn’s testimony came as four more FBI officials notified the Senate panel that they will invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and will not testify.
The four include Richard Rogers, chief of the FBI hostage rescue team. One of the team’s snipers, Lon Horiuchi, fired the shot that killed Vicki Weaver, and Horiuchi invoked his Fifth Amendment right last week.
The others are William Gore, in charge of the Seattle FBI office; Stephen McGavin, deputy commander of the hostage rescue team; and Lester Hazen, an agent on the team. All four are represented by Brendan Sullivan, the Washington lawyer who represented Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Glenn said the FBI should search for the facts about Ruby Ridge and that ``if you don’t have that, you don’t have much.″
Does Glenn think there are those in the FBI who wish Ruby Ridge would just ``go away?″ asked Sen. Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin, senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism, technology and government information.
``I think that is very true,″ replied Glenn. ``I have a feeling ... that there were damage control assessments″ in federal law enforcement.
``Maybe the ship saw some hungry sharks and they thought they would put a few tuna out there and see if that could satisfy them,″ said Glenn.
Glenn is ``the sacrificial tuna,″ Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, observed during the hearing.
In the FBI inquiry that led to his discipline, Glenn said he was interviewed by telephone and was never questioned about the shoot-on-sight rule of engagement instituted at Ruby Ridge.
``I got this soft interview,″ said Glenn. ``I was never specifically asked questions concerning the rules of engagement.″
He said the first inkling he got that ``something was wrong″ came last Jan. 5 when a friend in the FBI called him to say that Glenn was about to be punished. He was, the next day.
During the Ruby Ridge standoff in 1992, ``I talked to Larry Potts after I had been presented with the rules of engagement, and we discussed them,″ Glenn testified.
``We discussed the fact that this was a unique situation and that these rules of engagement would be in existence, and he said he’d approved them,″ Glenn added.
Glenn said Potts was basing his approval ``on a conversation he had with Dick Rogers,″ the hostage rescue team chief, who is refusing to testify.
``We had a meeting of the minds that the rules of engagement ... had been adjusted,″ said Glenn.
As have earlier witnesses, Glenn recounted how federal law enforcement officials were receiving information that Weaver was extremely dangerous and that deputy U.S. marshals were pinned down on Ruby Ridge.
In addition, Glenn recounted that he was told that ``50 armed locals″ were on the ridge above the site of a firefight between federal marshals and Weaver and members of his family.