At the time of the Waco incident, the official White House line was that President Clinton had barely been aware of the handling of Waco: that had all been handed off to Janet Reno. There were those skeptical of the claim that a President would blindly hand off his foremost domestic crisis to an Attorney General who'd been on the job only a few weeks, and was his "third pick" at that. There were suggestions that the real chain of command lay through the nominal Associate Attorney General, Webster Hubbell, a close Clinton friend, to Vince Foster, another Clinton friend in the White House. There were even suggestions that Waco might have played a role in Foster's suicide. (Alright, I know, I know.... I don't have to get involved in that stack of issues!) Until very recently, however, there was no proof to rebut the official line.
The first bit of evidence came as President Clinton attempted to wiggle on yet another of his problems. When interviewed by investigators regarding a campaign financing investigation, he was asked about his meeting with Indonesian businessman James Riady on April 19, 1993. Clinton told investigators that he could not remember the meeting very well because he was so distracted by the final assault on Waco. He told the investigators he should have refused to allow the gassing, but instead "I gave in to the people in the Justice Department who were pleading to go in early, and I felt personally responsible for what had happened, and I still do." (Reuter's news service, July 25, 2000.)
Further evidence came when, in February 2001, Linda Tripp--who had, in between talking to a certain intern, been Vince Foster's secretary--talked to the Larry King Show:
KING: Let me name same people and your thoughts back on them. Vince Foster?
L. TRIPP: Oh, a wonderful man.
KING: Did you know he was depressed?
L. TRIPP: Let me relay a little story to set this up. Vince Foster... was dignified, decent, caring, smart. When Waco happened, that's when I first knew that Vince was falling apart.
KING: How so?
L. TRIPP: I was with him -- well, we had CNN all the time, not to plug, but it was always on in the White House. And a special bulletin came on showing the atrocity at Waco and the children. And his face, his whole body slumped, and his face turned white, and he was absolutely crushed knowing, knowing the part he had played. And he had played the part at Mrs. Clinton's direction. Her reaction, on the other hand, was heartless. And I can only tell you what I saw.
KING: How do you know they were involved in this? I thought this was a Reno action of which Janet played and felt very sorry.
L. TRIPP: This was...
L. TRIPP: Foster, Mrs. Clinton, Webb Hubbell, Janet Reno.
Most recently of all, I received through the FOIA suits an FBI agent's "home video." On it is a segment showing an FBI SWAT leader briefing his team, and relating the content of the command briefing he had just attended. As he notes, this information comes directly from the top level of command at Waco. [To save space, I've just compressed the soundtrack.]. He makes it clear that the decisions are being made from the White House, through "Hubbell, Hummel, whatever his name is," and that the new adminstration is reluctant to have the "first military, paramilitary, bloodshed domestic, on American soil," be "something of this magnitude."