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Reno probes release of Waco tape to Congress

The Justice Department is investigating why the FBI gave Congress an excerpted tape of conversations between cult leader David Koresh and a Texas police department as the Branch Davidian standoff began in gunfire Feb. 28.

"I've ordered the investigation, but I don't have the report back yet and I will not comment while I await the report," Attorney General Janet Reno said Wednesday.

At issue are why the tape of the 911 phone conversations was provided, as the Waco, Texas, police released it only for use by a federal grand jury in Texas; why it was excerpted when members of Congress believed it was the first 30 minutes of calls verbatim; who was responsible; and whether any laws were broken.

FBI spokesman Charles Mandigo said an FBI official had given the tape to a House subcommittee staff member.

The congressional panel last week publicly played a 30-minute tape made when Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the cult compound outside Waco. The raid turned into a shootout that left four ATF agents and six adult cult members dead.

After a 51-day siege, Koresh and some 80 other cult members died in a fire at the cult's compound after FBI agents tried to force them out with tear gas.