HOUSTON — A federal investigator leading the inquiry into the botched Feb. 28 raid on the Branch Davidian compound says tapes of negotiations between Vernon Howell and authorities may have been made illegally.
Even listening to the tapes may be illegal, assistant Treasury Secretary Ronald K. Noble told the Houston Chronicle.
But Noble, who heads the Treasury Department’s inquiry into the attempted raid by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, declined to discuss what action, if any, the government may take regarding the tapes.
The government’s first priority, he said Tuesday, will be to investigate the source of the recordings, which have been given to Houston attorney Kent Schaffer and the Chronicle.
The recordings were made early in the cult’s 51-day standoff outside Waco. The stalemate ended April 19 when a fire consumed the cult’s home, killing Howell and as many as 96 followers.