FBI officials who supervised the deadly siege with a cult near Waco, Texas, testified Wednesday that they gave little credence to a surrender plan proposed by sect leader David Koresh’s lawyer five days before agents stormed the group’s compound.
“It wasn’t a serious plan,” testified Jeffrey Jamar, who in April 1993 was the FBI’s top on-site commander at Waco. “It was just another delaying tactic.”
Jamar and other officials who were involved with the siege appeared Wednesday before a congressional committee that is examining the events at Waco.Commit tee Republicans - pressing Wednesday to determine the basis upon which U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and President Clinton approved the final, tank-led assault on the Davidians’ compound - repeatedly asked Jamar the extent to which he discussed the surrender offer with his superiors.
Jamar and the FBI’s lead negotiator at Waco testified that neither relayed the surrender proposal to their bosses in Washington.
But a Justice Department spokesman, Carl Stern, said later that Reno was apprised of the surrender deal before the FBI fired tear gas into the Branch Davidians’ living quarters on April 19, 1993. Jamar’s depiction of the final surrender plan as insignificant was at odds with testimony on Tuesday from Koresh’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, and two theologians who said they believed at the time Koresh had agreed to give up.