|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Reno questioned by Danforth for six hours; Davidians lawyer attacks Vector report
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Janet Reno disclosed Thursday she had been questioned extensively behind closed doors last week by Waco Special Counsel John Danforth whom she appointed last year to investigate the government's conduct in the 51-day siege and its aftermath.
An aide to Reno said the questioning of Reno by Danforth and three others from the Special Counsel's office had last six hours. Reno was accompanied by a single Justice Department aide for note-taking. "Her interview was not conducted under oath, and no court reporter was present," an official said.
Justice lawyers would not comment on the substance of the questioning which took place in Reno's Justice Department office. Danforth was selected by Reno to examine allegations FBI agents may have caused the deaths on the final day of the siege, and engaged in a cover-up.
Danforth spokesperson Jan Diltz refused any comment on the investigation and refused to confirm that the attorney general had been questioned.
A senior Justice Department official said Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, has requested and received Justice Department documents as he continues to pursue his investigation of the government's role on the day of the deadly fire and in the government's follow up investigations. A legal source involved in the case told CNN the Danforth investigation appears to be months away from concluding.
A crucial piece of the investigation was made public Wednesday when a report by technical experts hired by Danforth and approved by a federal judge concluded infrared videotape on the day of the fire showed no evidence of FBI gunfire.
The analysis by Vector Data Systems, a British firm that conducted the March simulation of the FBI infrared taping, concluded the flashes on the FBI tape resulted from solar reflections.
The FBI hailed the results and said the report "vindicates those FBI people long accused of shooting into the compound".
The lead attorney for the Branch Davidians' surviving family members suing the government in a wrongful-death civil case attacked the report.
"I cannot concede our points based on these findings," attorney Michael Caddell of Houston told CNN. Caddell said he finds the report "disappointing" and questions the firm's independence.
"There are so many inconsistencies between their data and their conclusions you have to question either their competence or their integrity," Caddell said.
"Clearly Vector is a company with many ties to the U.S. government," Caddell charged. It has hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts with the U.S. government. ... This is hardly an outside, disinterested third party," he insisted.
Caddell's contention directly contradicted the earlier statement by FBI Deputy Director Thomas Pickard. "We are grateful for these impartial findings. Scientific analysis can now replace speculation and rhetoric," Pickard said.
The report is expected to play a key role in the upcoming trial against the government scheduled to open June 19 in Waco, Texas.
Waco investigator found dead at his office in Maryland
Federal Bureau of Investigation
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.