Retired Colonel Says Feds Knew About Branch Davidian Plans

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

( - A now retired US Army Colonel who assisted the FBI at the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, Texas in 1993 says the feds knew from the very beginning the breakaway religious group's plans to destroy the compound.

Colonel Rodney Rawlings of Austin, Texas said recently in a news story "You could hear everything from the very beginning, as it was happening." Rawlings said he heard bug transmissions from speakers in an FBI monitoring room at the FBI's main Waco command post. "Anyone who says you couldn't at the time is being less than truthful."

Federal officials from Attorney General Janet Reno on down have said for years that the FBI did not know that the Davidians were spreading fuel and preparing to set a fire throughout the FBI's six hour tank and tear gas assault on the Branch Davidian compound.

Rawlings told the Dallas Morning News, "Among the most chilling transmissions was Mr. Koresh's order to set the fires, a command followed by the sounds of gunshots. The bugs then broadcast the voice of Mr. Koresh declaring that God did not want him to die, and his chief lieutenant's response that the sect leader wasn't going to get out of this."

Rawlings was on the scene in Waco as senior Army liaison to the FBI's hostage rescue team. He worked in an area adjacent to the open door of the monitoring room and heard the voice of Koresh and other Davidians praying, planning the fire and preparing to die during the FBI's tank assault.

He further criticized federal authorities about Waco saying, " They're using the excuse of technical difficulties to cover why they didn't react on the information they had. They had a very poor plan to begin with that allowed them nothing to fall back on in the event that things went south. It bothers me to no end. They've had the opportunity to say we knew. We've not gotten a straightforward answer."

Colonel Rawlings also said, and FBI records confirm, the tank and tear gas assault began about 6 am on April 19, 1993 and the Davidians began talking about spreading fuel within five minutes. Because the area was bugged, according to Rawlings, Davidians who took shelter there could be heard crying, talking and praying. Rawlings said the other Davidians could also be heard talking about spreading and pouring fuel and keeping federal agents out of the building. Thattalk produced little visible reaction from the FBI command post.

In the story Rawlings said he believes the FBI had access to the best technology during the Davidian siege, including equipment from the CIA and military special operations. "They had enough electronic gear in there, they could have relayed it to Hawaii and you still could have heard what was going on in that compound. The FBI is going to deny that they have all this recorded. They are not going to want to compromise any of the technology they have used to gather and eavesdrop. But it was clear. Saying they couldn't hear is a crock."

A senior FBI spokesman in Washington declined comment on Rawlings remarks citing an ongoing investigation by independent counsel John Danforth.