THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: The Democrats; The Clinton Bus Goes to Texas, A Tossup State

No Democrat has made it to the White House in this century without winning Texas, and today Gov. Bill Clinton went after Texas.

Sweeping from San Antonio to Austin and then heading for Waco in a caravan of buses, accompanied by his running mate, Senator Al Gore, the Democratic nominee relentlessly criticized President Bush’s economic policies in an effort to lock up the state’s 32 electoral votes.

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton, 1993

“My prayers and I’m sure yours are still with the families of all four of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents who were killed in WACO — Todd McKeehan and Conway Le Bleu of New Orleans; Steve Willis of Houston, and Robert Williams from my hometown of Little Rock. Three of those four were assigned to my security during the course of the primary or general election.”


Ex-Official Says President Had No Role in Waco Siege

Webster L. Hubbell, a friend of President Clinton and once the third-ranking official at the Justice Department, testified today at Congressional hearings on the siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Tex., that the President never tried to influence the decision to use tear gas to end the standoff.

At the start of the hearings, which ended their eighth day today, Republicans had hinted that they might unearth secret contacts between Mr. Clinton and officials like Mr. Hubbell, who played a role in the decision to attack the compound. But a panel of current and former officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department who were questioned today gave them no such ammunition.

“I did not talk to the President about Waco prior to the 19th,” Mr. Hubbell said, referring to April 19, 1993, when Federal law-enforcement officers pumped tear gas into the compound in an effort to end a 51-day siege against the Davidians.

Mr. Hubbell said he did update other White House officials during the siege, but he insisted that neither Mr. Clinton nor any subordinate at the White House ever urged him to ratchet up the pressure against the Branch Davidians.

Seated next to him was Mr. Hubbell, once the Associate Attorney General, who resigned in March 1994 and was sentenced last month to 21 months in prison for bilking clients at his former law firm in Little Rock.

It was Mr. Hubbell who seemed to personify how some Clinton officials had been exiled from the inner circles of former friends. When Representative Bill Zeliff, the New Hampshire Republican who is chairman of one of the subcommittees holding the hearings, asked Mr. Hubbell whether he was a golfing friend of the President, he replied, “We play golf together, yes, Congressman.”

Mr. Zelliff then asked, “You do socialize with the President?”

Mr. Hubbell paused before replying, “I used to.”

The most provocative interview in the film is with Wally Kennett, a Davidian who was away during the raid and therefore not involved in the siege. Kennett makes the surprising statement that the BATF was not really looking for an illegal arsenal when they raided Mt. Carmel, but rather, for information stored on a computer.

It was well known among the Davidians that two of their number—Jeff Little and Wayne Martin (Sheila’s husband) —had been conducting an “investigation” into illegal government activities, and storing their findings on a computer.

Kennett notes that the room the BATF agents were trying so desperately to enter when three of them were shot was the computer room. The gun shop was in an entirely different part of the building. (For that matter, most of the guns had been taken to Austin that morning to a gun show—a fact which the BATF acknowledges it was aware of when the raid was mounted.)

It was known by the Davidians that Little had some kind of connection to the government. According to them, he was a computer expert who, before coming to Waco, had worked for the Yamaha Corporation on a secret project to modify a law enforcement software to contain a “trap door.”

This sounds suspiciously like PROMIS, a law enforcement software developed by the firm INSLAW to help prosecutors track cases. INSLAW has alleged for years that that the Reagan Justice Department stole the software. It is also alleged that PROMIS was modified to contain a “trap door,” then sold to various entities worldwide. The trap door would allow the U.S. to monitor all computer transactions made by users of the software. Reportedly, one of the purchasers of PROMIS was the Mossad.

In the article “Fostergate” by Jim Norman (written for Forbes, then killed at the last minute by Forbes board member Caspar Weinberger, only to be published later in Media Bypass), the late White House Special Council Vince Foster was for years a highly placed operative of the National Security Agency. In that capacity, he oversaw an NSA project to install PROMIS—”trap door” and all—in the banking industry.

Later, the story goes, Foster fell victim to his own project. A group of CIA renegades known as the Fifth Column, who had been working to expose government corruption, were using PROMIS to investigate the off-shore accounts of various officials. Foster’s Swiss bank account came under their scrutiny.