RE: Posse Comitatus Act Violation?
The text reproduced below is cut from a full transcript of a speech
given by President Clinton. It would appear to be a confession of
a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Comments from the several
attorneys on this echo would be appreciated.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 23, 1993
PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE PRESIDENT
The East Room
1:00 P.M. EDT
Q Mr. President, by any count, you have not had a good week in
your presidency. The tragedy in Waco, the defeat of your stimulus bill, the
standoff in Bosnia. What did you do wrong and what are you going to do
differently? How do you look at things? Are you reassessing? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: I don't really believe that the situation in
Bosnia -- it's not been a good week for the world, but I don't know that the
administration could have made it different.
Q Waco --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, with regard to Waco I don't have much to
add to what I've already said. I think it is a -- I want the situation looked
into. I want us to bring in people who have any insights to bear on that. I
think it's very important that the whole thing be thoroughly gone over. But I
still maintain what I said from the beginning, that the offender there was
David Koresh. And I do not think the United States government is responsible
for the fact that a bunch of fanatics decided to kill themselves. And I'm
sorry that they killed their children.
Q Mr. President, several of the leading lights in your
administration, ranging from your FBI Director to your U.N. Ambassador, to
your Deputy Budget Director to your Health Services Secretary, have issued
statements in the last couple of weeks which are absolutely contradictory to
some of the positions you've taken in your administration. Why is that? Are
you losing your political grip?
THE PRESIDENT: Give me an example.
Q Example? Judge Sessions said that there was no child abuse
in Waco. Madeleine Albright has said in this morning's newspapers, at least,
that she favors air strikes in Bosnia. All of these are things you said that
you didn't support.
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I don't know what -- we know that
David Koresh had sex with children. I think that is undisputed, is it not?
Is it not? Does anybody dispute that? Where I come from that qualifies as
child abuse. And we know that he had people teaching these kids how to kill
themselves. I think that qualifies as abuse. And I'm not criticizing Judge
Sessions because I don't know exactly what he said.
Q Do you wish, Mr. President, that you'd become more involved
in the planning of the Waco operation? And how would you handle that
situation differently now?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't think as a practical matter that the
President should become involved in the planning of those kinds of things at
that detail. One of the things that I'm sure will come out when we look into
this is -- the questions will be asked and answered, did all of us who up the
line of command ask the questions we should have asked and get the answers we
should have gotten? And I look forward to that. But at the time, I have to
say, as I did before, the first thing I did after the ATF agents were killed,
once we knew that the FBI was going to go in, was to ask that the military be
consulted because of the quasi, as least, military nature of the conflict
given the resources that Koresh had in his compound and their obvious
willingness to use them. And then on the day before the action, I asked the
questions of the Attorney General which I have reported to you previously, and
which at the time I thought were sufficient. I have -- as I said, I'm sure --
I leave it to others to make the suggestions about whether there are other
questions I should have asked.
Q Mr. President, what is your assessment of Director Sessions'
role in the Waco affair? And have you made a decision on his future? And if
you haven't, will you give him a personal hearing before you do decide?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I have no assessment of his
role since I had no direct contact with him. And I mean no negative or
positive inference. I have no assessment there. I stand by what I said
before about my general high regard for the FBI. And I'm waiting for a
recommendation from the Attorney General about what to do with the direction
of the FBI.