clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


As an example of what he says was stupid negotiating, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, played the same taped screams of rabbits being slaughtered that the FBI blasted at night during the Branch Davidian standoff at Waco, Texas.

"It was an awfully stupid thing to do," said Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee - who wondered if it even pushed cult leader David Koresh to slaughter himself and followers including children by igniting flames there.Non-FBI negotiators agreed it was not wise.

"I was appalled," said former New York City police negotiator Frank A. Bolz. He said negotiators often use music to build anxiety or ease, but using tapes of slaughtering rabbits was way beyond what most experienced negotiators would use.

Hatch said it was an example of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms not taking advantage of outside experts in negotiating - or outside experts on cults, who may have been able to bring the Waco siege to a peaceful conclusion.

As he ended two days of hearings on what policy changes may still be needed to implement lessons learned from Waco, Hatch said he may recommend development of a database of experts on fringe groups that could be made available to field agents.

Hatch also said during the hearings he is concerned that some agencies are becoming too militaristic and are basing strategies to end hostage situation on using tanks, automatic weapons and military tactics instead of negotiation.