First, Danforth calls it the "final" report, but there is this footnote:
1 Technically this Report is not final under the regulations governing the Special Counsel because the Special Counsel continues to pursue a single prosecution... The Special Counsel will reissue this Report, with appropriate adjustments, upon the completion of the prosecution. At that time, it will become legally final. (p. 1)Thus, it is not really the final report.
Second, this report tarnishes the legitimacy of the Davidian prosecutions. Danforth's prosecution of former Waco prosecutor Bill Johnston is seen by some as the persecution of a whistleblower, martyred for his candor. I have less sympathy for Johnston; he was in the thick of the Waco affair. For instance, he helped guide the drafting of the Mt. Carmel search warrant. And when the ATF was thinking about how to proceed, Johnston told them that he would refuse to prosecute the case unless the warrants were served by direct assault.
But Danforth now tells us that Ray and LeRoy Jahn, who took over from Johnston as lead prosecutors in the Waco case, also acted dishonestly. He says that while they are not being prosecuted because his office doesn't believe the case can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, they should be fired. He believes they knew the FBI fired incendiary CS canisters, chose their witnesses to avoid bringing up the subject, and failed a polygraph on whether he had intentionally withheld Brady material that he was obligated to turn over to defense attorneys. (pp. 65-73)
Thus, Danforth undercuts the credibility of the three lead prosecutors of the Davidians! And if they were willing to lie, mislead, and withhold evidence on this point, isn't it logical to think that they may have done so on other issues at the trial? Perhaps Danforth ought to investigate whether they behaved unethically on other aspects of Waco, including all the days prior to April 19? Gee, no, those matters are "outside the scope of this inquiry!"
Furthermore, Danforth questions some of the behavior exhibited by James Cadigan, who headed up the collection of evidence for the FBI. (While the Texas Rangers were supposedly in control of that, an internal FBI commendation praises Cadigan for taking de facto control behind the scenes.) But more disturbing is the whole methodology of that evidence collection:
The disappearance of these three projectiles does not necessarily mean that they were concealed or discarded for some evil purpose. Crime scene personnel may have treated these three projectiles similarly to other pieces of ammunition found on the scene and innocently discarded them. The Jahns and other officials instructed the search teams to collect evidence to assist in proving the government's case against the Davidians. Because the crime search personnel were collecting evidence for the murder and firearms case against the Davidians, the search teams may not have considered evidence that the FBI fired tear gas at the complex on April 19 as probative of any relevant issue at the time. When the focus was on prosecuting the Davidians, search teams may not have viewed the pyrotechnic rounds as significant.What a way to run an investigation: collect only evidence that proves your case, and toss the rest into the dumpster! (No wonder the government says that the evidence against the Davidians is "overwhelming!")
In a crime scene as large as the Davidian complex, discarding "non-probative" evidence was part of the established protocol. The Office of Special Counsel knows, for example, that only some of the Ferret casings were recovered from the scene and logged into the database. Many were simply thrown away. This procedure was a discretionary decision made by the on-scene agents who were attempting to collect as much evidence as possible under extraordinary circumstances. Therefore, the searchers may very well have discarded the projectiles, along with the other "non-probative" material into the dumpsters located on the scene. [pp. 89-90; emphasis in original]
Another surprise: Danforth finds that CS gas really is potentially lethal, even though he doesn't believe it was a contributory factor in this case. (pp. 11-14)
Danforth dismisses the possibility that a "shaped charge" was placed on the roof of the concrete vault, (pp. 32-33)