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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 31, 1995

July 31, 1995

Dear Chairman Zeliff:

I am writing in response to your comments on "Meet the Press" regarding the President's involvement in events at Waco. Your comments were nothing short of irresponsible, intent on creating a story without any news and alleging a scandal without any basis.

The facts relating to the President's involvement in the decision to end the siege at Waco are a matter of public record. The President has never shied away from, indeed has repeatedly acknowledged his knowledge and ultimate approval of that decision. Respecting and giving due deference to the judgment of the FBI and the Attorney General, the President accepted their recommendation in a discussion with the Attorney General on April 18. Prior to that time, the President learned of the proposal, expressed his confidence in the Attorney General, but also noted a desire to review any decision of this kind. All this is spelled out in the Justice Department's Report on Waco, specifically at pages 108 and 241-48.

I am distressed that you would go on national television, recite nothing other than these facts, but then suggest that you are exposing hidden misdeeds. That is a disservice to the American people. Statements such as these undermine your stated goal of holding open and honest hearings to review the facts and make credible policy recommendations as to how to avoid such tragedies in the future.

Sincerely Yours,
Abner J. Mikva
Counsel to the President