Expert Panel Named To Advise Justice, Treasury On Violent Standoffs
Jun. 24, 1993
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Former FBI and CIA Director William Webster and nine other experts were named Thursday to review the bloody Waco, Texas, siege to advise the Justice and Treasury departments on how to handle such situations in the future.
In addition, the Justice Department said Edward S.G. Dennis, Jr., criminal division chief during part of the Reagan and Bush administrations, will review how the department handled its segment of the 51-day standoff with the Branch Davidian religious cult. Treasury earlier named a panel to review its deadly, failed initial assault on the compound.
The Feb. 28 raid on the cult's complex by Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents began the siege that ended in a fire April 19. Four ATF agents and half-dozen cult members died the first day; 81 bodies were retrieved from the rubble after the fire.
The FBI took over after the initial raid.
Dennis' job is to tell the department what he believes went wrong, Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann said in a statement.
The FBI's inspection division is conducting interviews; the Texas Department of Public Safety has completed 75 interviews, Justice spokesman Carl Stern said.
Attorney General Janet Reno is among those to be questioned, Heymann has said. She approved the FBI's plan to punch holes in the complex and pour in tear gas April 19. Soon afterward, it burned down.
Meanwhile, the nine men and one woman selected jointly by the two departments will be looking to the future.
''We are seeking broad-based advice from representatives of various disciplines: law enforcement, religion, psychiatry, psychology and management,'' said Ronald K. Noble, assistant secretary of Treasury for enforcement.
Webster led the FBI from 1978-87 and the CIA from 1987-91. He is now a private attorney.
The other experts are:
-Dr. Nancy Ammerman, associate professor of sociology and religion at the Candler School of Theology.
-Colin Birt, an expert on hostage-taking and terrorist incidents from the F4 Division, Home Office, Great Britain.
-Dr. Robert Cancro, New York University Medical Center psychiatry chairman and professor.
-Richard J. Davis, a private attorney who used to be assistant Treasury secretary for enforcement.
-Robert J. Louden, John Jay College of Criminal Justice associate director.
-Ronald M. McCarthy, former assistant commander for the Los Angeles Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics Unit.
-Dr. Ariel Merari of Tel Aviv University's psychology department, an expert on terrorism and low-intensity warfare.
-Dr. Alan A. Stone, Harvard University professor of law and psychiatry.
-Dr. Lawrence Sullivan, director of Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religions.