Ruby Ridge was a disastrous hostage rescue operation in Ruby Ridge, Idaho undertaken by FBI special agents in 1992, that would become infamous because of the death of a US Marshall, a mother and her child.
In the wake of the three deaths (two innocent parties killed by federal agents) the FBI was harshly, and rightly so, criticised for acting outside their own strict policies and rules of engagement.
Below is a summary of a declassified report from the subsequent director of the Bureau, Louis J Freeh following the incident. It tells of the disaster at Ruby Ridge, Idaho from the perspective of the FBI.
The document opens with a stark admission of guilt on the FBI’s part. He says that the FBI takes full responsibility for both deploying agents who used improper tactics resulting in the deaths and their failings in serving the public by upholding their duties to protect and serve.
Freeh’s Perspective on Ruby Ridge
On behalf of the FBI, Freeh does not object to any of the subsequent investigations into the incidents nor to the settlements paid to the families of the deceased.
He does make a few points which I think deviate from standard public opinion of the debacle:
● He mentions that the FBI partially blamed inaccurate information given to them by local law enforcement agencies. While he recognizes that the FBI is duty bound to gather and rely upon their own intel first and local law enforcements second, he seems to still use this as a scapegoat.
● He also diminishes the overall lack of discipline and proper use of the rules of engagement by placing the blame upon a handful of agents instead of their superiors who are there to uphold standards.
● Freeh also mentions that the HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) were operating under pressure and implies that this should partially eradicate blame being placed upon them. This is contrary to the fact that HRT members and FBI members sign along the dotted line with a premise to always be responsible for their actions in the field, particularly discharged rounds and where they end up.
However, Freeh does go on to admit widespread problems in the FBI and finishes the report with a list of changes which were made or were in the process of being made when the report was declassified.
Amongst dozens of these changes are stricter rules of engagement and changes in how SWAT and HRT are deployed. They also enlisted the help of outside experts from various Universities and outside agencies.
Overall, I think the viewpoint of the FBI and their reaction is one of standard bureaucratic self-protectionism, accompanied by a certain awareness that the report will be scrutinized by the media and general public. They admit guilt, but seem to make every effort to deflect that guilt as much as possible.Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com