Danforth wants ballistics tests on FBI weapons
November 13, 1999
From Justice Department Correspondent Pierre Thomas
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The special counsel investigating the Waco siege and its aftermath has asked for ballistics tests to be conducted on FBI weapons to determine whether agents fired on the Branch Davidian compound at the end of the 1993 standoff.
The FBI says it never fired a shot on the compound during the April 19, 1993 raid that ended the siege. But lawyers for the Davidians say flashes seen on infrared tapes indicate gunfire from both FBI agents and followers of David Koresh during the final day of a 51-day standoff.
The Davidian compound went up in flames on April 19, 1993, killing at least 80 people inside.
Earlier this week, former Sen. John Danforth, who was appointed to lead a new probe, asked a federal judge overseeing the Branch Davidians' civil lawsuit against the Justice Department to supervise a simulation of the FBI infrared surveillance taping system that recorded the event.
The so-called "FLIR tapes" (foreward-looking infrared) have become the subject of an intense debate between the FBI and attorneys for the Branch Davidians. The FBI contends the flashes on the infrared tapes, recorded from an observation plane, represent glints of sunlight on puddles of water, metal or other debris.
Danforth is a former Republican senator from Missouri. Attorney General Janet Reno appointed him in September to investigate the controversy surrounding the Waco incident.
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