What follows is an as close to verbatim as possible transcript of
an interview which appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" on
May 17, 1993. Interviewed are David Thibodeau, a survivor of the
holocaust at the "Koresh Compound," his mother, Balenda Ganem,
and Thibodeau's attorney, Gary Richardson. When I am unsure as to
the exact word said, I follow the uncertain word with an enclosed
question mark, as follows: [?]
INTERVIEWER: ...one of them, the only one yet to be released from
custody, is David Thibodeau. He's joining us this morning along
with his mother, Balenda Ganem and his attorney, Gary
Richardson. And I appreciate all of you being with us.
Let's start with you, David. Briefly, the last day and your
thoughts as the tanks came in.
THIBODEAU: My thoughts as the tanks came in is, uh [sighs] it was
pretty, it was very devastating. All along we were hoping to
negotiate and work things out. David had made the claimer [?]
that once his manuscript was written and he could be sure that it
was in the hands of the two theologians mentioned, Tabor [?] and
the other gentleman that, you know, he'd be coming out and we'd
all work it out.
INTERVIEWER: The government said, though, so many times he had
reneged on things that they thought he had promised to do. Would
he really have done that?
THIBODEAU: I would be interested for them to play the negotiation
tapes and maybe see a little more depth why he may have reneged
on some of his promises. We have been promised things since,
since day one on the inside and they reneged as well.
INTERVIEWER: I know people who were in there contend that the
fires were not set, but started when the tanks knocked over
kerosene lanterns, as I understand it. But, but when I look at
that videotape, it looks to me as if those fires broke out
simultaneously, in a number of places in the compound, well after
the tanks had come in.
THIBODEAU: Well, I believe there is a videotape that shows the
tank going in, I believe, was it the front section we saw that?
THIBODEAU: And then as soon as the tank pulls out, very shortly
thereafter, that's when you start to see the smoke.
GANEM: You don't see fire immediately...
INTERVIEWER: So you don't...
GANEM: You don't see fire immediately. It takes time for it to
INTERVIEWER: But when you see fire, you also see fire in
different places, where the tanks were not. So the question is
how could the tanks have done that? Was there anything set in the
house that could have been burned by people as opposed to the
tanks knocking over the lanterns? Was there fires waiting to
happen, something that needed to be set to start the fire?
THIBODEAU: I believe that the probability for accident would...
definitely existed. As far as the malicious thought to actually
set a fire, no, I do not believe that existed.
INTERVIEWER: The forensic pathologist who was with us in the last
half hour said, "...bullet wounds in Koresh's head, bullet wounds
in Steve Schneider's head..." Do you know how they died?
THIBODEAU: No, I don't.
INTERVIEWER: Does that strike you as strange that there were
bullet wounds in their heads?
THIBODEAU: Umm... I don't know if anything really strikes me as
too strange at this point.
INTERVIEWER: Was there a suicide pact?
THIBODEAU: Let me put it another way: No, there was not a suicide
pact. What I would say, and I've said this before, I know that if
I were trapped in a fire and there was a fire next to me, and I
was... it was very probable that I was going to burn, that I may,
I may just take the easy way out. I could, I could see it
happening. I could see people being trapped, 'cause when the
tanks did go in there, there were hallways, there were places
that were cut off.
INTERVIEWER: Why didn't people try to get out? Or did they?
THIBODEAU: Well, I believe some people did try to get out or else
I wouldn't be sitting here... obviously.
INTERVIEWER: [To Ganem] Let me ask you... about... so many of the
families said that, "We were ignored. We weren't allowed to talk
to the authorities. We wanted to have contact with the people
inside. We were not utilized."
GANEM: From day one when I first came to Waco, I was spurred, we
were spurred to come down to Waco after talking to an FBI agent
from the task force in San Antonio... who said to me after my
calling him every four hours, "I'm sorry, but we have no protocol
for family voices. We will be looking at it in the future." I
said, "My son may not have a future." I was in Waco the next day,
at which point I worked very hard to, to try to network families.
There was no task force for families. Once I finally networked a
group of families, we worked very hard for two months to try to
get, to get our voices heard. I sent letters to Janet Reno, to
William Sessions. I faxed the White House. I followed up
everything with telephone calls. I compiled a list of families
which I sent to the White House to make them realize that these
people were ready to drop everything and come to Waco at any
moment if we can work with the negotiating team. No voice. No
INTERVIEWER: [To Richardson] Gary, you worked four years as
INTERVIEWER: Your reaction to the way this was handled, from a
prosecutor's point of view.
RICHARDSON: I think that it started out wrong and I think that it
ended wrong. One mistake after another, I believe, happened. I
said all along, from the beginning because I was involved from
the beginning, why didn't they just go home, the government, and
leave the people alone? No one was afraid of them. I talked to
the sheriff there.......
INTERVIEWER: .......There were four dead federal agents.
RICHARDSON: Well, because they went in firing and these people
were defending themselves. Things didn't get better by them
staying there. So, I think the solution is obvious that they
didn't come to the right conclusions.
INTERVIEWER: [To Thibodeau] David, you lost a lot, lost a wife in
that fire. Your feelings now... in the last thirty seconds we
THIBODEAU: My feelings on that subject are very hard to deal with
or talk about. I've come to a point where I'm kind of emotionless
really, because of everything that's happened. Right now, the
only thing that I do really to keep my sanity and everything is
keep involved in the situation, keep explaining to people the
issues and just make sure that people are aware that there were
people inside there, very good people, wonderful people.
Transcribed by Brian Redman
"History is written by the assassins."
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