A House committee subpoenaed records yesterday for its investigation of the FBI's admission that incendiary tear gas canisters were used in the fiery 1993 standoff with the Branch Davidians.
The House Government Reform Committee subpoenaed the Texas Rangers, which has tons of evidence sifted from the charred remains of the sect's compound. Also subpoenaed was an assistant U.S. attorney in Waco who prosecuted criminal cases against surviving Branch Davidians.
Chairman Dan Burton (Ind.) and other congressional Republicans are incensed over the FBI's about-face last week after years of claims that only non-burning tear gas was used in the final hours of the deadly, 51-day siege. Davidian leader David Koresh and about 80 followers were killed.
Attorney General Janet Reno and the FBI have said that the incendiary devices lobbed at a concrete bunker 40 yards from the Davidians' compound did not start the fire that later raced through the wooden structure. But Reno has pledged a full investigation.
Burton's committee will hold hearings in the fall. There will be further subpoenas, said committee spokesman Mark Corallo.
The subpoena to the Texas Rangers seeks all documents relating to the use of the pyrotechnic tear gas devices as well as the Rangers' final report on the incident, Corallo said.
Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Rangers, said the report should be completed soon. Copies will be provided to congressional committees and the U.S. attorney in Waco, she said.
The report was begun in June after questions were raised about some of the evidence in the Rangers' possession, Mange said. "We're not investigating the FBI; we're not investigating the Justice Department," she added.
CAPTION: Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) is angry about the FBI's earlier claims that it used only non-burning tear gas.