WASHINGTON -- The FBI was so uncooperative in the Waco investigation that special counsel John Danforth threatened FBI Director Louis Freeh with a search warrant to gain access to relevant documents, Danforth said Thursday in an interview with The Washington Post.
Danforth, a former U.S. senator from Missouri who conducted a 14-month investigation into the 1993 deaths of 75 Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, said that he could not be sure that he received all the records from the FBI because of the agency's poor record keeping and its "spirit of resistance" to outside scrutiny.
But Danforth also said that additional records would not change his conclusion that federal agents did not fire shots at members of the heavily armed religious cult or start the deadly blaze that engulfed their compound.
"It was like pulling teeth to get all this paper from the FBI," Danforth said during an interview in the Washington offices of Bryan Cave LLP, the St. Louis-based law firm in which he is a partner and which assisted in the investigation.
"Can I say to you that there isn't some box of paper somewhere that we never found? I can't say that to you," he said later. "Do I think there is any chance that it would be paper that would have any effect on our findings? I think there is no chance that it would have any effect on our findings because the evidence was so overwhelming."
An FBI official said that many of the problems encountered by Danforth were due to strained relations with one key lawyer in the FBI's general counsel office, and that the problem was fixed once Freeh intervened. The bureau also had trouble locating and retrieving many documents because of outmoded filing and computer systems, the official said.
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