Department of Defense:

Military Assistance During the Branch Davidian Incident

NSIAD-00-240R: Published: Aug 21, 2000. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2000.

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Norman J. Rabkin
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) response to the House Committee on Government Reform regarding whether it delivered high explosive ammunition to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during the Branch Davidian Incident. The Committee also asked whether GAO would change any of the findings in its April 1999 report based on DOD's response.

GAO noted that: (1) the ammunition in question qualified as military support for a civilian agency and the Army should be reimbursed as required by the Economy Act; (2) the Army was not reimbursed by the FBI for the 40mm grenade launcher ammunition; (3) nothing in DOD's response to the Committee indicated that DOD had any information to refute GAO's report; (4) in addition to this overall conclusion, GAO would like to offer the following clarifying comments on two aspects of DOD's response to the Committee's inquiry: (a) whether the high explosive ammunition was, in fact, provided to the FBI; and (b) whether it was fired at the ranges at Ford Hood, Texas, when the FBI was present; (5) DOD said that it had not been able to definitely determine whether the high explosive rounds were provided to the FBI; (6) this finding was based on individuals' recollections of what occurred rather than on official records or personal notes; (7) while GAO cannot conclusively prove that the Army provided high explosive ammunition to the FBI, the Army's official documentation indicates that it may have been provided; (8) DOD said that the Department had no record that any high explosive ammunition was fired at any of the ranges at Fort Hood during the period the FBI was present; (9) what physically happened to the military items provided to the FBI was not the focus of GAO's earlier report; (10) however, GAO was told that the term consumed, noted next to the ammunition items in documentation provided to GAO during its review, was used to indicate that the materials that the Army provided to the FBI were no longer in its inventory; (11) the notation did not necessarily mean that the ammunition was fired at the Fort Hood ranges; (12) also, a notation on another document shows that the FBI was granted permission to take away any unused ammunition from the firing range; (13) DOD officials said that it is unlikely that the FBI would have fired the high explosive rounds at the Fort Hood range since doing so would have damaged the range; and (14) GAO sees no need to change any of the information in its report on the military assistance provided during the Branch Davidian incident.

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