Touroff-Gluek Professor of Law and Psychiatry Alan A. Stone '50 this month criticized the FBI for its use of force during last spring's Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas.
On a 10-person panel commissioned by the Justice and Treasury Departments, Stone was the only member who condemned the FBI and Attorney General Janet Reno for their decision to use tear gas and other tactics.
The nine other panelists, who issued their reports independently several weeks ago, all said that the FBI did the best it could under the circumstances, Stone said.
The other panelists were law enforcement, religion and psychiatric experts.
Stone's report was not released until November 15. He was gathering information which was not available until after the other experts had issued their reports.
Stone said yesterday he is not a "snooty Harvard professor reprimanding the FBI and Reno for the decisions made" in Waco. Rather, Stone said he needed to point out that the FBI made mistakes by ignoring crucial information which it already had obtained.
"I saw myself as a psychiatrist and a physician and tried to analyze those aspects of the situation," Stone said.
Stone said he was particularly concerned that the FBI's own behavioral experts had warned the ground commanders that tactical efforts would likely induce mass suicide--but the FBI discounted this information.
"Initially the FBI tried to use conciliatory negotiations," Stone said. "But after Koresh did not live up to some of his promises, the tactical people started applying a lot of pressure."
Stone said the decision makers chose to follow the advice of the tactical supporters instead of the negotiators and behavioral experts who forecasted the ensuing events.
"The law enforcement imperative to show who's boss, who's in charge, who's the `macho one,' took over," he said.
Stone said that only after he suggested in a preliminary report that the FBI had prior knowledge of the danger of mass suicide did FBI agents confirm that their behavioral experts had predicted that possibility.
In his report, Stone said he strongly opposed the FBI's use of tear gas during the attack on the compound.
"As a physician, I have concluded that there are serious unanswered questions about the basis for the decision to deploy toxic C.S. gas in a closed space where there were 25 children, many of them toddlers and infants," the report stated.
Stone said Reno must not have fully understood the medical consequences of tear gas on young children when she approved the FBI's plans. He said he also feels
"Were there masks for the children?" Stoneasked. "Did the FBI take this into account whenthey had planned to inject C.S. gas into thecompound for a 48-hour period?"
Stone said he blames a break-down incommunication between the Justice Department andthe FBI for the disaster.
"The FBI had tightened the noose around thecompound and had gone down the decision treebefore Reno had been asked what to do next," Stonesaid.
He said he did not speak to Reno during hisinvestigation