DALLAS — Two senior government officials who were accused in a report of lying and misleading the public after the botched Branch Davidians raid have resigned.
Dan Hartnett, 53, associate director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and Dan Conroy, 50, deputy associate ATF director, quit Saturday, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Sunday editions.
Hartnett, a 24-year agency veteran, and Conroy, with the agency for 26 years, were the top ATF officials in Waco after the Feb. 28 raid. They were among five ATF officials placed on administrative leave last week after release of the Treasury Department review into the raid.
The Treasury Department oversees the ATF.
The other ATF officials suspended last week were Houston Division Chief Phil Chojnacki, Houston Division Deputy Chief Chuck Sarabyn and David Troy, chief of ATF intelligence and frequent spokesman for ATF in Waco during the siege that followed the raid.
The report said the raid should have been canceled when an undercover ATF agent told commanders that cult leader Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh, knew agents were coming to arrest him.
The report said that Hartnett and Conroy, along with others in Washington, failed to take into account the inexperience of raid commanders in planning the raid and did no t recognize the need for less-risky contingency plans.
The report also said the men made misstatements to the public, or allowed them to be made, and failed to tell superiors why the raid failed.
In their first public comment since release of the report, the men said they never lied or intentionally misled anyone.
“We are resigning because we do not agree with the findings of the Waco administrative review,” Hartnett and Conroy said in a statement. “The report does not reflect the facts of what occurred in the aftermath of the Waco tragedy.”
Four ATF agents and six cult members died in the shootout. A standoff lasted 51 days, ending April 19 when fire consumed the compound, killing Howell and more than 80 of his followers.
Hartnett and Conroy said before the raid that the planned to retire at the end of the year.