Statement of Senator Charles E. Schumer-Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Senator Danforth's Report on the Waco Siege
Mr. Chairman, my theme today is simple: Enough is enough.
Senator Danforth I thank you and your staff for your diligent and comprehensive efforts in examining a subject that has long troubled the American people.
It is my hope that your report will put to rest any remaining uncertainties that have surrounded the Waco siege. And I hope that when the Final Report is presented to the American people and the Congress, we can put this subject to bed once and for all. Enough is enough.
Attorney General Reno made a wise decision to select Senator Danforth to conduct an impartial inquiry into these matters. My concern back in September when new allegations concerning the siege surfaced was that members of Congress and even the American public would jump to the wrong conclusions based on troubling but incomplete information.
We seemed on the brink back in September of starting down a road of multiple roving, wide ranging, taxpayerfinanced congressional investigations. Senator Danforth's Report proves that this would have been an enormous waste of time, resources, and money, and could have resulted in the spread of incorrect and damaging information.
Of course, there is still a risk now that as Senator Danforth completes his work, we will once again launch into investigations of our own. I would urge my colleagues to resist that temptation. Enough is enough.
The American people want Congress focused on issues like social security, medicare, education, and fighting crime, not immersed in partisan, contentious hearings over an event that occurred years ago and which has been extensively examined and investigated by congressional committees and now by an impartial Special Counsel whose credibility cannot be questioned.
There are still a lot of conspiracy theories out there on Waco, which I hope Senator Danforth will help debunk. I also hope that we will never lose sight of the fact that the man who was principally and ultimately responsible for what happened that day was David Koresh.
At a previous hearing on the Waco siege, I said the following:
"It is unfair to twist the facts making law enforcement the villain and David Koresh the lawbreaker, the victim. That is like saying right is wrong and night is day.
"Let us be very clear. David Koresh was a dangerous, sick man who molested children, preached violence, and led his followers into a horrible suicide. David Koresh was not a peaceful cleric in an ivycovered chapel or even an eccentric with strange religious views. David Koresh was an armed fanatic who was excoriated in his hometown newspaper in a series entitled, "the Sinful Messiah."
"David Koresh sexually abused children and called it holy. David Koresh was obsessed with guns because he claimed it was commanded by scripture. He hoarded a military arsenal that included at least 48 illegal machine guns and scores of illegal handgrenades,
"Remember, ladies and gentlemen, David Koresh and his followers did not greet federal law enforcement with a Psalm or scripture. They greeted them with more firepower than even the ATF agents themselves had. Nothing excuses that ambush. Nothing in American law excuses it. Nothing in the Bible excuses it."
I made that statement on July 19, 1995 at the start of 8 days of Congressional hearings. Today five years later I stand by that statement. There has been a lot of investigating, a lot of allegations, a lot of speculating, and a ton of money and resources expended. But I don't think the ultimate conclusions have changed much and Senator Danforth's Report backs that up.
We've been picking the Waco siege apart for years now. Senator Danforth's meticulous report should be the coda. Enough is enough.
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