[ This file was downloaded directly from the FBI's web site
and I have removed the HTML extentions but kept the text
exactly as it was with no other modifications.
We're taught as children to both obey and trust those whom
we as citizens putatively hire to protect us. In the past
15 years I've seen that trust repeatedly violated to the
extreme out of humanity's baser instincts: greed, power,
political expedience, xenophobia, and hatred.
Under the political fiction known as the "war on drugs" the
authorities unaccountably violate the rights of the citizens
-- criminal as well as law-abiding alike, yes -- and seize
their assets and properties without due process. (I even
have a newspaper article about a doctor who was murdered in
his own living room by Los Angeles Police officers after the
forrest service reported drugs being grown on his property --
the Forrest Service had long been wanting the man's property
and found a good way to seize it. Check out HEISDEAD.ZIP in
the CONSPIRACY archive.)
Under the ages-old battle cry of "save the children!" and
"National Security," I've seen entire churches wiped-out,
men, women, children, and babies. Investigations afterwards
find no child abuse, no drug labs, and no illegal weapons.
This file -- this official statement from the FBI and BATF
-- has been the one that proved to me that the trust we have
all been taught to place in our authorities is often
misplaced; not always misplaced, but often misplaced.
I'm not a right-wing extremist whacko -- if anything I'm a
tree-hugging leftist vegetarian flower-sniffing pacifict.
And yet after reviewing the claimed happenstance in this
official report, I find things that just don't ring true.
The claim that Weaver was drawing down on the helicopter, for
instance, is an obvious false one when testimony showed that
the helicopter didn't arive at Ruby Ridge until long after
his wife was killed. It's an important piece of time-line
because the officer who murdered his wife excused his fireing
his weapon by claiming he was aiming at Weaver because
Weaver was going to shoot at another officer. Since there
were no other officers in the air at the time, the excuse
simply doesn't work.
I'm not going to enumerate why I feel this official report
is bullshit as that would taint your opinion and, in any
event, I'm not going to try to convince anyone of anything.
Ruby Ridge was a fuck-up all around -- and yet there was no
valid reason for sending officers onto his property in the
first place; there certainly wasn't any need to kill Weaver's
In the United States we're supposed to have a piece of paper
which states whether someone in authority is allowed to search
and seize. Without it, I can't help but feel that officers
operating outside the law should NOT be given any special
dispensation from their actions than any criminal who breaks
down the door. - Fredric Rice ]
Opening Statement of
Louis J. Freeh, Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
October 19, 1995
Ruby Ridge Hearing
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Circumstances Surrounding the Deployment of FBI Resources to Idaho
Rules of Engagement and the Death of Vicki Weaver
Punishment Administered to FBI Employees
The Promotion of Larry Potts
The Ongoing Inquires
FBI Crisis Management Reforms Subsequent to the Events at Ruby Ridge
Department of Justice Crisis Management Reforms
The FBI Investigating Itself
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the
Subcommittee. I am pleased to testify before you concerning the role
of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the events at Ruby Ridge
and the substantial reforms I have made as a result of the serious
deficiencies in the FBI's performance during the crisis.
I welcome the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee today. Only
through a public discussion of these issues can we assure the public's
confidence in law enforcement.
Ruby Ridge has become synonymous with tragedy, given the deaths there
of a decorated Deputy United States Marshal, a young boy, and the boy's
mother. It has also become synonymous with the exaggerated application
of federal law enforcement. Both conclusions seem justified.
At Ruby Ridge, the FBI did not perform at the level which the American
people expect or deserve from the FBI. Indeed, for the FBI, Ruby Ridge
was a series of terribly flawed law enforcement operations with tragic
We know today that law enforcement overreacted at Ruby Ridge. FBI
officials promulgated rules of engagement that were reasonably subject
to interpretation that would permit a violation of FBI policy and the
Constitution -- rules that could have caused even worse consequences
than actually occurred. Rules of engagement that I will never allow the
FBI to use again.
There was a trail of serious operational mistakes that went from the
mountains of Northern Idaho to FBI Headquarters and back out to a
federal courtroom in Boise, Idaho. Today, there are allegations that
a coverup occurred -- allegations that, if proven, shake the very
foundation of integrity upon which the FBI is built.
Although I was not FBI Director when the Ruby Ridge crisis occurred,
I am sincerely disappointed with the FBI's performance during the
crisis and especially in its aftermath. These hearings have only served
to confirm that belief. The FBI has, however, learned from its mistakes
there. I have changed almost every aspect of the FBI's crisis response
structure and modified or promulgated new policies and procedures to
address the flaws and shortcomings apparent from the FBI's response. I
am committed to ensuring that the tragedies of Ruby Ridge never happen
Table of Contents
Circumstances Surrounding the
Deployment of FBI Resources to Idaho
As you are aware, the FBI responded to Ruby Ridge subsequent to the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms investigation of Randy Weaver.
The FBI response came after the United States Marshals Service had
conducted an 18-month investigation and surveillance of Weaver. The
FBI responded to Ruby Ridge on August 21, 1992, after the tragic murder
of Deputy United States Marshal William Degan.
It is important to keep these facts in mind. Deputy Marshal Degan's
murder, as well as additional information provided by other law
enforcement agencies -- which other witnesses have described -- formed
the basis upon which the FBI responded to Idaho in August 1992.
On April 5, 1995, after reviewing the Department of Justice's
performance at Ruby Ridge, the Deputy Attorney General determined that
the threat posed by Randy Weaver was exaggerated. She also determined
that repetition of those exaggerations to the FBI led to a higher
threat assessment than otherwise might have been made.
It is important to understand, however, that, in August, 1992, the FBI
acted upon information that had been provided by other law enforcement
agencies. Based upon that information, the FBI believed that it was
facing a very grave threat in Idaho -- a threat that required a prompt
response. Now, with all of the benefits of hindsight, the FBI's response
clearly was an overreaction. In future situations, I will make a more
independent assessment of such threats before the FBI acts.
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Rules of Engagement and
The Death of Vicki Weaver
As I have stated many times before, Vicki Weaver's death was tragic but
accidental. I fully appreciate the fact that three children have been
left without their mother as a result of what occurred at Ruby Ridge.
On behalf of the FBI, I wish to express my regret and sorrow for Mrs.
Weaver's death. Moreover, the FBI fully supports the settlement with the
Weaver family that the Department of Justice negotiated. For the FBI,
the settlement does not bring any sense of closure to the stark tragedy
of Vicki Weaver's death. Rather, her death will always be a haunting
reminder to the FBI to take every possible step to avoid tragedy, even
in the most dangerous situations.
I also want to express my heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Degan. This
Country asked her husband to make the ultimate sacrifice. What happened
at Ruby Ridge and its aftermath fails to honor the price paid by this
dedicated public servant. We, as a Nation, should never forget those
left behind when an officer dies in the line of duty.
At Ruby Ridge, the Hostage Rescue Team ("HRT") was operating in
accordance with rules of engagement that were reasonably subject to
interpretation that would permit a violation of FBI policy and the
Constitution. Those rules said that, under certain circumstances,
certain persons "can and should" be the subject of deadly force. Those
rules of engagement were contrary to law and FBI policy. Moreover, some
FBI SWAT personnel on-scene interpreted the rules as a "shoot-on-sight"
policy -- which they knew was inconsistent with the FBI's deadly force
policy. Such confusion is entirely unacceptable.
According to Special Agent Lon Horiuchi, the HRT sniper who accidentally
shot Mrs. Weaver, he fired two shots on August 22, 1992, both pursuant
to the FBI's deadly force policy. He has testified that he did not shoot
pursuant to the rules of engagement that I just mentioned.
The shot that killed Mrs. Weaver was the second that Special Agent
Horiuchi fired. He testified that it was not intended for Mrs. Weaver
and was not fired at her.
In discussing Special Agent Horiuchi's second shot, I am not saying
that I approve of it. I am not trying to justify it. I am not saying
that I would have taken it. I am not saying that others should do what
he did. I am certainly not saying that in a future similar set of
circumstances FBI Agents or law enforcement officers should take such
a shot. The FBI will strive and train to avoid such tragic results,
whenever humanly possible.
Indeed, the constitutionality of Special Agent Horiuchi's second shot is
a very close and very difficult question. It is not a matter that can be
addressed in "black and white" terms. It cannot be answered categorically
or with a high degree of certainty.
On careful balance, however, I believe that Special Agent Horiuchi's
second shot was constitutional. Under all of the circumstances that
Special Agent Horiuchi faced on August 22, 1992, and based on all of
the evidence, I do not believe that it was unlawful in that time and
place for him to take the second shot.
Special Agent Horiuchi testified he took the first shot when he
observed a man later determined to be Randy Weaver, who was next to
the birthing shed, raise his rifle. At that time, Special Agent Horiuchi
perceived that Weaver "was trying to get a shot off" at a law
enforcement helicopter that was flying overhead. Special Agent Horiuchi
said he took the first shot for only one reason: he believed he was
protecting fellow law enforcement officers who were in the helicopter.
Special Agent Horiuchi said he took the first shot only when he observed
Randy Weaver raise his rifle in the direction of the helicopter.
Although FBI Agents in sniper positions had observed three armed people
run from the cabin and head toward the rock outcroppings, they did not
shoot as those three persons moved from the cabin -- because their
actions were not judged to pose a threat to the safety of the agents on
The bullet that struck Mrs. Weaver was fired seconds after the first
shot. It was intended for a man who Special Agent Horiuchi mistakenly
believed was the one he had just shot in the vicinity of the birthing
shed. Special Agent Horiuchi fired at his intended target while he was
running toward the cabin and before he reached the cabin door.
Tragically, Mrs. Weaver was struck by that shot while she stood behind
the open front door of the cabin.
Special Agent Horiuchi said he could not see Mrs. Weaver when he took
the second shot and that he had no reason to believe that she was
standing there. The shot that killed Mrs. Weaver was not even fired at
or into the cabin; it travelled on a path parallel to the cabin.
Special Agent Horiuchi made one thing abundantly clear during his
testimony at the trial of Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris: he did not
see Vicki Weaver or anyone else behind the cabin door when he fired
the second shot. Special Agent Horiuchi has testified that he was
aiming at a moving target -- Kevin Harris -- at that time.
It is important to remember that two different components of the
Department of Justice have reviewed the circumstances leading to Vicki
Weaver's unfortunate death. Both of those components -- the Office of
Professional Responsibility and the Civil Rights Division --
independently determined that there was no basis upon which to conclude
that she had been shot intentionally or unlawfully. Both determined by
their analysis that the second shot was not unconstitutional.
Special Agent Horiuchi's second shot was not criminal. Nor do I believe
that a court -- applying qualified immunity principles -- would find
any civil liability. Further, based on all of the evidence, I do not
believe it was unconstitutional.
Table of Contents
Punishment Administered to FBI Employees
In January of this year, I disciplined or proposed discipline for
twelve FBI employees for their conduct related to the incident at Ruby
Ridge and the subsequent prosecution of Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris.
My disciplinary action followed an FBI administrative review of the
conduct of those employees. My action also followed reviews by the
Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility and the
Civil Rights Division, which independently determined that criminal
prosecution was not warranted. All of these actions, including my own,
relied upon a Task Force investigation that was directly supervised by
the Department of Justice and a report that was written by Department
of Justice attorneys -- not FBI Special Agents.
I too determined that the twelve FBI employees did not commit any
crimes or intentional misconduct. Nevertheless, I concluded that those
employees had demonstrated inadequate performance, improper judgment,
neglect of duty, and failure to exert proper managerial oversight.
Accordingly, I imposed or proposed discipline ranging from an oral
reprimand or written censure to written censure with suspension from
duty. At that time, I believed the discipline imposed or proposed was
commensurate with the factual basis for the imposition of that
The discipline imposed was, as I said, based upon facts that had been
determined at that time. Discipline was not imposed on the basis of
showing favor to one person or another, or on the basis of speculation,
or in order for me to render a "popular" decision. Indeed, discipline was
imposed on the basis of the record before me and precedent, which is a
fundamental component of the FBI's Administrative Summary process. The
reliance upon precedent is a basic matter of due process and fairness.
That reliance ensures that people who commit similar offenses are
punished in a similar manner. In imposing and proposing discipline this
past January, that is what I was trying to accomplish.
In January, I imposed and proposed discipline on the basis of what I
believed was a complete report. Ongoing investigations, which I
obviously cannot discuss, may prove that report was not as complete
as I had believed.
If this, in fact, occurred, then it is much like being a judge -- if
the judge does not have all of the facts, or does not have facts that
have an impact upon credibility or honesty, the judge's findings will
not withstand later scrutiny. That judge will make an incorrect and,
thus, invalid decision that he must readdress.
I intend to be fair about this matter, but any final action must be
based upon a full and accurate reporting of the facts.
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The Promotion of Larry Potts
Larry Potts was one of the twelve FBI employees included in my
disciplinary decisions this past January. He received a letter of
censure for failure to provide proper oversight with regard to the
rules of engagement employed at Ruby Ridge. It should be noted that
the Administrative Summary report recommended that neither Mr. Potts
nor Mr. Coulson be disciplined. I disagreed with that conclusion
based upon the facts as I found them.
At the time I disciplined Larry Potts, he was the Acting Deputy
Director. Shortly thereafter, I sought to promote him to be Deputy
Director of the FBI.
In pressing for Mr. Potts's appointment as Deputy Director, I was
not trying to minimize or downplay the significance of the
punishment that I had imposed upon him. I did not appoint him Deputy
Director simply because he is a friend.
In determining whether to appoint Larry Potts to be the Deputy
Director, I considered his many years of public service to the Nation
and to law enforcement. I considered the esteem in which subordinates,
superiors, counterparts, and colleagues hold him. I considered his
vast accomplishments in the FBI, including our work together during
the VANPAC investigation for which President Bush personally awarded
Mr. Potts an Exceptional Leadership Award in the Rose Garden.
I consulted with numerous people inside and outside the FBI,
including judges, a former Attorney General, prosecutors, investigators
in other agencies, and leaders of federal, state, and local law
enforcement associations. It was their consensus that Larry Potts was
an excellent and progressive leader, highly qualified to be Deputy
Director. Like them, I placed great trust and confidence in Mr. Potts.
Looking back, I recognize that I was not sufficiently sensitive to
the appearance created by my decision to discipline and then promote
Mr. Potts. Thus, I made a mistake in promoting Mr. Potts. I take full
responsibility for that decision and I alone should be held
accountable for it.
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The Ongoing Inquiries
As the Subcommittee is aware, two criminal investigations relating
to Ruby Ridge and its aftermath are currently pending. One is in
Boundary County, Idaho, where prosecutor Randall Day is investigating
the deaths of Vicki Weaver, Sammy Weaver, and Deputy Marshal Degan. The
other is a federal investigation here in Washington, D.C. It focuses
upon actions allegedly taken by FBI employees during and after the
Ruby Ridge crisis.
I do not wish to prejudice either investigation. I also do not wish
to prejudge anyone who may be a subject of those investigations. I
must stress, however, that the coverup allegations are quite serious
and go to the very heart of what FBI Special Agents do -- seek the
truth. There is nothing more grievous and shocking than an allegation
that an FBI Agent has committed perjury or obstruction of justice.
The Subcommittee and the American people should have no doubt that I
will swiftly and decisively address any misconduct which was committed
by any FBI employees. In that regard, my actions will be consistent
with the "bright line ethical and legal standard" that I established
for FBI employees on January 3, 1994.
Any such actions, however, cannot occur until the investigation is
complete and all of the facts are known.
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FBI Crisis Management Reforms
Subsequent to the Events at Ruby Ridge
The FBI has learned the lessons of Ruby Ridge. As the Subcommittee
has already heard, we have changed policies and procedures to prevent
similar, tragic mistakes in the future. I have prepared a handout
describing these reforms. I request that it be made part of the
record. I would like to review four of the reforms with you.
Rules of Engagement
First, I have ended forever the use of rules of engagement by the FBI.
The FBI will govern its use of deadly force by the Department of
Justice deadly force policy, which permits the use of deadly force only
in the face of imminent death or serious physical injury to the officer
or another person. In a moment, I will describe this policy in greater
Never again will rules of engagement be open to an interpretation which
expands the deadly force policy. In future crises, there will be no
confusion -- as there was at Ruby Ridge -- about the interplay between
deadly force policy and rules of engagement. The standard deadly force
policy will be the sole standard, although on-scene commanders will be
permitted to further restrict the use of deadly force as necessary. In
addition, if it is necessary to communicate to agents an especially
heightened risk, that will be done through separate threat advisories.
Shooting Incident Review Policy
In the aftermath of Ruby Ridge, there were problems relating to the
shooting incident review conducted by the FBI in 1992. That review
inaccurately and incompletely analyzed the accidental shooting death
of Vicki Weaver. The person in charge of that review had participated
in FBI Headquarters oversight of the Ruby Ridge response and was then
asked to assess the validity of the shootings that occurred there.
Shooting investigations must be full and fair. They must be conducted
by persons who do not have even the appearance of a conflict-of-interest.
Thus, on April 3, 1995, I announced revisions to the FBI's shooting
review policy in order to ensure the complete and accurate
investigation of shooting incidents. Among other things, I:
raised the executive level of review of shooting incidents;
placed investigative responsibility in the FBI's Inspection
established new protocols governing the conduct of
post-shooting inquiries; and,
included, for the first time, Department of Justice attorney
representation on the Shooting Incident Review Group.
Critical Incident Response Group
The third and most significant major change I made is the creation of
the Critical Incident Response Group ("CIRG"), which I established in
1994. I have provided to the Subcommittee a handout describing CIRG
and its responsibilities. I request that it be made part of the record.
Without question, Ruby Ridge demonstrated that the FBI's crisis
management structure was inadequate and terribly flawed. The new
CIRG ensures the FBI's experienced senior leadership's responsibility
and directly establishes accountability on specific individuals,
including myself, for crisis management. CIRG fully integrates crisis
negotiators and the HRT and joins them at the same level under a
unified command. The structure which I have established ensures an equal
tension between our tactical and non- tactical components, with a
Special Agent in Charge and myself overseeing the process. As a part
of that integration, I have ordered that, whenever HRT deploys on a
mission, CIRG negotiators will deploy with them.
The members of the HRT are not commandos. They are Special Agents of
the FBI. Their goal has always been to save lives. Like any FBI Special
Agent, the members of the HRT carry badges and handcuffs. Their
objective is identical to that of law enforcement officers around the
country -- to arrest safely those responsible for crimes and assist in
their prosecution. The members of HRT, however, perform these tasks
in crisis situations.
The HRT is a unique and necessary law enforcement response capability.
Nevertheless, the simple fact that HRT exists does not mean that it
must be used, especially if we do not have to use it.
The HRT should not be used reflexively. I approach the use of HRT
conservatively and seek independent FBI assessments before its use.
Indeed, I cannot envision utilizing the HRT unless I am personally
satisfied that it is necessary and appropriate to use it.
Through the integrated response that CIRG provides, I am confident
that the FBI will better perform its duties to resolve future crisis
situations without loss of life.
Crisis Management Training
Finally, I have increased the crisis management training provided to
FBI executives who will serve as on-scene commanders in crisis
situations. Attorney General Reno, the Deputy Attorney General, and I
have received this training. It has also been provided to other senior
Department of Justice officials and a cadre of FBI field commanders. I
believe that this training effort will help ensure the peaceful
resolution of future crises.
Table of Contents
Department of Justice
Crisis Management Reforms
Some crisis management reforms have been established throughout the
Department of Justice. In my capacity as Director of Investigative
Agency Policies, I have issued Resolutions 12, 13 and 14, which
resulted from consensus recommendations of the investigative agencies
of the Department of Justice. These resolutions were created at the
request of Attorney General Reno and she has approved them.
Resolution 12 established policy to govern agencies' use of the FBI's
crisis management resources in the field, as well as components of
CIRG. I believe that Resolution 12 clearly establishes lines of authority
during crises and will avert confusion when a crisis occurs.
Additionally, Resolution 12 requires other Department of Justice
investigative agencies to consult and coordinate with the FBI when the
degree of threat in one of their cases requires and allows for
Resolution 13 established a general policy concerning the conduct of
post-shooting incident reviews. I previously described changes to FBI
policy governing this matter. Resolution 13 ensures that Department of
Justice agencies will conduct thorough and objective shooting incident
reviews, which subsequently are reviewed further in order to ensure
fairness and accuracy.
Many months ago, the Attorney General tasked the Office of
Investigative Agency Policies to draft a uniform deadly force policy
for her consideration. After months of research, discussion and analysis
between the agencies comprising the Office of Investigative Agency
Policies and various components of the Department of Justice --
especially the Office of Legal Counsel -- Resolution 14, which
established a uniform deadly force policy, was issued and the Attorney
General has approved it.
The Treasury Department also participated in the negotiations leading to
the deadly force policy. Through the efforts of Treasury Undersecretary
Noble and his staff, there is now a uniform deadly force policy that
governs the actions of Treasury Department and Justice Department law
enforcement officers. That policy permits deadly force to be used "when
the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force
poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the
officer or to another person."
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The FBI Investigating Itself
Several times, during these hearings, the issue of whether the FBI
should investigate itself has arisen. In assessing this issue, the
Subcommittee should consider the FBI's history in this regard. Unlike
most police forces, the FBI has not one, but two, independent
watchdogs that provide oversight of the FBI's employees and activities.
In coordination with the Department of Justice Office of Professional
Responsibility since 1976, the FBI has had a long and distinguished
record of successfully investigating alleged misconduct by FBI
employees. This record of success includes matters of great
significance to the FBI and the American people. For example:
In 1976, the FBI successfully investigated allegations of
"sweetheart" contracts with the U.S. Recording Company, which
led to the indictment of an FBI Special Agent and disciplinary
action against numerous others. One FBI employee who was fired
as a result of this investigation was then-Deputy Director
Nicholas Callahan. A report of this investigation was publicly
The FBI successfully investigated allegations of bribery of
Special Agent Joseph Stabile who, on September 15, 1978, became
the first Special Agent indicted in the FBI's history. The FBI
successfully investigated and assisted in the prosecution of two
agents for illegal transportation of stolen property.
The FBI successfully investigated and assisted in the prosecution
of the first FBI Special Agent charged with murder, who was later
convicted for the killing of a confidential informant. The FBI
investigated my predecessor for misuse of his position, which
resulted in his dismissal. A report of this investigation was
The Attorney General issued an order on November 8, 1994, which makes
clear that, in addition to the Department of Justice Office of
Professional Responsibility, the Office of the Inspector General also
performs oversight of the FBI. That oversight is occurring in
connection with the FBI's performance in the Ames internal security
investigation. Indeed, the Office of the Inspector General may request
authority from the Deputy Attorney General to take responsibility for
investigating a particular allegation under investigation by the FBI's
Office of Professional Responsibility. Further, the FBI can recuse
itself from a particular investigation, if appropriate, and has done
so recently in a high-profile case.
The success of the FBI's internal investigations is due, in large part,
to the support and participation of FBI employees. Experience has
shown that thorough, effective internal investigations require the
expertise of agents who are intimately familiar with the FBI's structure
and procedures. Furthermore, an internal policing function is necessary
for me to manage the agency successfully, to establish investigative and
ethical priorities, and to demonstrate to the agency, the Congress, and
the American people that improper conduct by FBI employees will be dealt
In partnership with the Department of Justice Office of Professional
Responsibility and the Office of the Inspector General, the FBI has
been and remains committed to an effective internal integrity program.
Based upon my twenty years of experience inside and out of the FBI, I
have reached two conclusions: first, the FBI is the best investigative
agency in the world; and second, the FBI has enjoyed extraordinary
success in policing itself with independent oversight. I do not intend
to diminish that record.
The Subcommittee should also consider the experience and uniformity
of major police departments around the United States. They have
learned from hard experience that police integrity is absolutely
dependent on police being responsible and accountable to investigate
themselves with independent oversight -- exactly like the FBI. I
have prepared a chart which notes some of the major police forces
that investigate themselves. I request that it be made part of the
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Serious mistakes occurred with regard to the Ruby Ridge incident.
Some of those mistakes should have been avoided and were not. For
those, the FBI offers not excuses, but rather the facts and significant
Intentional misconduct is a different matter altogether. As I stated
before, I assure the Subcommittee and the American people that I will
swiftly and decisively deal with anyone who the facts show committed
With the arsenals at the disposal of criminals in our Nation today,
everyone must understand that law enforcement officers have a very
dangerous job to do. Since becoming Director of the FBI in September,
1993, I have attended the funerals of three FBI Special Agents and
numerous state and local law enforcement officers who were murdered
in the line of duty by criminals with guns. Again, last Friday, I
attended the funeral for a young Washington Metropolitan Police
Department officer killed without provocation in the line of duty. I
have witnessed first-hand the devastation these weapons inflict upon
the agents and officers, their families, and loved ones. Every week, I
speak with Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs from around the country who
suffer casualties in their ranks at the hands of criminals with guns.
We take our responsibility seriously when we ask the men and women of
law enforcement to put themselves in harm's way -- people like Deputy
United States Marshal Bill Degan. As law enforcement leaders and
managers, we owe them our complete support and must strive to give them
the best guidance possible.
We rely upon the men and women of law enforcement to do their best
job under very difficult circumstances. In return for protecting us,
we vest them with a measure of discretion and ask them to use their
best judgment. Sometimes, as human nature tells us, that judgment
may be imperfect and mistakes will happen.
As long as we ask them to be in the arena, to be ready in the middle
of the night to take cover behind a tree or a mailbox, to put their
lives and the well-being of their families in the line of fire, we
must show some empathy and compassion for their human fallibility.
This is particularly true as we judge with the calm, well-lighted
knowledge of hindsight, far from what the Supreme Court calls "split-
second judgments -- in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and
1Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 397 (1989).
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