VIEWSrnSomething Like WacornThe New Federal Police Staternby Samuel Francisrni^^m&^s^Mg^’ssmm^mmm’ssi^fsTmi&^^simmim^mi^s^’mmMrnAbout a year after the raid on the Branch Davidian compoundrnin Waco, Texas, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,rnand Firearms, I was invited to take part in a discussion of thernWaco incident on a program on the National Educational Televisionrnnetwork. The program was a call-in show, and after myrnhosts and I had recounted the facts of the Waco raid and its aftermath,rnI was struck by the remarks that several callers fromrnvarious parts of the country had to offer. Some of themrnclaimed to know or to have heard about similar incidents inrnwhich local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies hadrnstaged armed raids on private homes or businesses, without adequaternproof of wrongdoing by those against whom the raidsrnhad been mounted, and with results that often left innocentrncitizens injured or their property and rights violated. Althoughrnneither I nor my hosts on the TV show had heard of these incidentsrnand to this day I have no way of verifing what the callersrnwere reporting, it began to occur to me then that Waco was perhapsrnfar from being an isolated case. Not too long after thernshow, however, news of just such mini-Wacos began to creeprninto the light of day.rnThe television show on which I appeared was filmed in Aprilrn1994. Four months eariier, on January 10,1994, officials of tenrndifferent organizations concerned with civil liberties or SecondrnAmendment rights (including the liberal-to-left American CivilrnLiberties Union and the conservative Citizens Committee tornKeep and Bear Arms) had sent an eight-page letter to PresidentrnClinton. The letter detailed several cases of what it calledrnSamuel Francis is a nationally syndicated columnist.rn”widespread abuses of civil liberties and human rights” and arnpattern of “serious abuse” of the law or proper police proceduresrnby federal law enforcement agencies—the ATF itself, butrnalso the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Drug EnforcementrnAdministration, the Bureau of hidian Affairs, andrnthe FBI. The cases included the Waco assault as well as the attackrnon Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in August 1992,rnbut the letter also discussed several other incidents that wererngenerally unknown to the public and to this day have not receivedrnthe public attention they deserve.rnThe letter noted that “federal police officers now comprisernclose to 10 percent of the nation’s law enforcement force” andrnthat “some fifty-three separate federal agencies have the authorityrnto carry firearms and make arrests.” Arguing that therncases reviewed involved abuses such as the “improper use ofrndeadK’ force; physical and verbal abuse; use of para-military andrnstrike force units or tactics without justification; use of ‘noknock’rnentrances without justification; inadequate investigationrnof allegations of misconduct; use of unreliable informantsrnwithout sufficient verification of their allegations; entrapment”rnand several other improper or illegal procedures, the letterrncalled on tl:e President to “appoint a national commission to reviewrnthe policies and practices of all federal law enforcementrnagencies and to make reconmiendations regarding steps thatrnmust be taken to ensure that such agencies comply with thernlaw.”rnMore than a year after the letter was sent to the President, Irnv/as told b one of its signers that no response had ever been received,rnand obviously no such national commission has everrn12/CHRONICLESrnrnrn