Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony:  Randy Weaver (Sep. 6, 1995)

Senator SPECTER. You may be seated, Mr. Weaver, and you may proceed.

Mr. Weaver, you have a prepared statement that will be made a part of the record fully, and you are invited to proceed as you choose and to take your time. As noted, we have a mockup of the Ruby Creek area. We have the door of your house, so to the extent you find it convenient, appropriate to make references to that physical evidence, you may do so.


Mr. WEAVER. Thank you, sir.

Chairman Specter and honored Senators, I would like to introduce you to my daughter, Sara. Two of my daughters are back home. Two of my family members are dead: my son Samuel, and my beloved wife, Vicki.

On August 21, 1992, Federal marshals shot my son Samuel in the back and killed him. He was running home to me. His last words were, "I'm coming, Dad." They shot his little arm almost off and they killed him by shooting him in the back with a 9-millimeter submachine gun. The gun had a silencer on it. He was not wanted for any crime. He did not commit any crime. The marshals killed his dog right at his feet. He only tried to defend himself and his dog.

Sammy was just 14 years old. He did not yet weigh 80 pounds. He was not yet 5 feet tall. The marshals who killed Sammy were grown men. They were in combat gear. They had their faces painted with camouflage. They were wearing full camouflage suits with black ninja-type hoods. They were carrying machineguns and large caliber semiautomatic pistols. They were trained to kill. Two of them were hiding behind trees and rocks in the woods where they could not be seen. The third was around a bend in the trail in thick forest. They were under direct orders from Washington to do nothing to injure the children. They were to have no contact or confrontation with me or my family. They killed him anyway in violation of their orders.

On August 22, 1992, completely without warning of any kind, an FBI sniper shot and killed my wife, Vicki. He was using a .308 caliber sniper rifle with a specially weighted barrel and a 10-power scope. He was using match grade ammunition. He had years of training to kill. I heard him testify at the trial that he wanted to kill. He shot my wife in the head and killed her. She was not wanted for any crime. There were no warrants for her arrest. At the time she was gunned down, she was helpless. She was standing in the doorway of her home. She was holding the door open for me and Sara and for Kevin Harris. She was holding Elishe a our 10-month-old baby girl, in her arms. As the bullet crashed through her head, she slumped to her knees, holding Elisheba tightly so she would not drop her. We took the baby from her as she lay dead and bleeding on our kitchen floor.

Senator SPECTER. Take whatever time you need, Mr. Weaver.

Mr. WEAVER. Thank you.

I am not without fault in this matter. I was convicted of failure to appear for trial on charges I had sold a sawed-off shotgun to an ATF informant named Gus Magisano. He testified at trial under a different name—Kenneth Fadeley. That was probably not his real name either. I was found not guilty of the original weapons charge, and I was found not guilty of every other crime I was charged with, including murder and assault on Federal officers. I was charged with conspiring against the Government, and I was found not guilty of that charge. I was in jail for about a year before and during the trial. I have served time after the trial and am now on unsupervised probation. I faced my accusers at a trial. I faced the FBI, the Marshals Service, the U.S. attorney, a Federal judge and a jury of my peers. I faced the death penalty. I have been accountable for my actions. I now face you Senators to ask that those responsible for the killings of my wife and my son be brought to account for their actions.

If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would make different choices. I would come down from the mountain for the court appearance. I would not have allowed a deceitful, lying con man working for ATF to push me for almost 3 years to make a sawed-off shotgun for him. I would not allow myself to be tempted in a weak moment when my family needed money. I would not let my fears and the fears of my family keep me from coming down. But my wrongs did not cause Federal agents to commit crimes. Nothing I did caused Federal agents to violate the Constitution of the United States. I did not cause Federal agents to violate the oath of their office. My actions did not cause Federal agents to violate direct orders from Washington. My choices did not cause Federal agents to violate State and Federal law. My behavior did not cause Federal agents to violate their own agency policies. Federal agents have admitted to illegal acts. Judge Freeh, the head of the FBI, has made statements to the press that the so-called rules of engagement were unconstitutional. Federal agents have tried to cover up their illegal actions. That was their choice, not mine. I have been accountable for my choices. They should be held accountable for their wrongs. But no Federal agent has been brought to justice for the killings of Sam and Vicki Weaver.

In fact, agents of the FBI have been part of the coverup of what really happened. One, after flunking a lie detector test, has admitted shredding documents that might clear up who authorized the death warrants on my family. I feel I have a right to know. Whether it was officials of the FBI or Department of Justice, the citizens should know who gave the shoot-on-sight orders and who approved them.

The Department of Justice has covered up what really happened by delaying, even now, the official release of two 500-page reports concerning the conduct of Federal agents at Ruby Ridge. What we know about those reports was leaked to the media, but even as we speak, Attorney General Reno and the Department of Justice have still not officially released a single in-depth report about FBI and Marshals Service conduct.

The coverup has its roots in Ruby Ridge, where Federal agents lied by telling Washington officials that the Weavers had ambushed Federal marshals and had pinned the marshals down by firing hundreds of rounds at them. According to their own testimony at my trial it was hiding in the trees when my boy came walking down the trail following his dog. The FBI testified of numerous grid searches of the Y using metal detectors and even using a person who was supposed to have powers as a 'dowser" to find bullets with a forked stick. In all of their many searches, they found only 19 rounds fired: 3 by Kevin Harris, 2 bySam, for a total of 5 by the boys; l byMarshal Roderick, 6 by Marshal Cooper, and 7 by Marshal Degan, making 14 fired by the marshals.

Larry Cooper continued the coverup by testifying at my trial that the first shot was fired by Kevin Harris. He claimed Kevin killed Marshal Degan with a 30.06. Marshal Frank Norris, who was further up the mountain on that day, testified that the first shots were the distinctive sound of a .223, not a 30.06. Cooper testified that Mr. Degan fell over as he was shot and never got up again. That testimony was false. Evidence showed that Marshal Degan traveled over 22 feet, firing his weapon 7 times, before he was killed.

The coverup continued during the trial. My lawyers sought records of the FBI investigation of Lon Horiuchi's shooting of my wife, myself, and Kevin Harris. They sought the records long before the trial began and continued requesting them during the trial. The FBI and the U.S. attorney did not furnish the records until after Horiuchi's testimony was completed and he had returned to Washington. Among the papers given to us late was a drawing made by Horiuchi s owing that he could see people behind the door when he shot my wife. Judge Lodge was outraged and ordered that Horiuchi return for further cross-examination. In a rare move, he also ordered the Government to pay a fine for their conduct in delaying disclosure of that information.

Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who killed my wife, said in a statement given to FBI officials on September 1, 1992, 10 days after he killed my wife, that he went through the rules of engagement in his mind just before the shooting. He decided to shoot to kill be-cause Kevin Harris had a weapon in the vicinity of the cabin. He decided to neutralize Kevin, but the crosshairs of his sight were on the window of the door where my wife was standing. No other sniper fired. To my knowledge, Lon Horiuchi has never been disciplined in any way for killing my wife.

Some say that all of this could have been avoided if I had simply come down from the mountain and gone to trial. When I chose not to come down, I knew that I would be set up at court, just as I had been set up by the ATF. In fact, the ATF spy appeared at trial and admitted to 31 lies while he was on the stand and admitted that he was going to get a monetary settlement from ATF if I were convicted, but he would not get paid if I was acquitted. I was told at my arraignment by Steven Ayers, a Federal magistrate, that I would probably have to forfeit a $10,000 bond if I lost my case. He said it was to pay the Government back for the cost of my court-appointed attorney. That meant that if I were convicted, my family would be left destitute, penniless, and homeless. The only asset we had to pay such a debt was our home on Ruby Ridge. Judge Ayers admitted at my trial that he misstated the law to me. There really was no law that I had to pay the Government back for my lawyer if I lost my case. When ATF officers arrested me for selling the shotgun, they did so by pretending to be a family with car trouble. They knew I was the kind of person who would try to help someone in trouble. It was a cold and snowy day. . They were stopped on a bridge. When I walked up to try to help, several agents jumped me and threw me to the ground. A female agent, posing to be the stranded wife, threw Vicki to the ground with her face in the snow. Vicki had done nothing wrong.

Court officers confused me about the court dates. I was first told my court date would be February 19, 1991. The judge later changed that to February 20 because he did not want court staff to have to travel on a holiday. Another court official named Karl Richins, a probation officer, wrote me on February 7 and told me that my court date was on March 20. When I did not appear on February 19, an article appeared in a local paper quoting Chief Probation Officer Hummel saying that no letter had been sent telling me of the March 20 court date. I provided the Senators a copy of the letter telling me the court date was on March 20.

Even though they understood my confusion and mistrust of the court system, including the mix-up over the court date, Deputy U.S. Attorney Ron Howen obtained an indictment charging me with failure to appear, and a Federal judge issued a warrant for my arrest. There was testimony at my trial that Mr. Howen obtained that indictment knowing that he would most likely have to dismiss the case because of the confusion caused by the Richins letter. Howen admitted that to the marshals, who wrote it out in a memo. The Marshals Service requested that they be allowed to contact me and try to clear up the confusion before any warrant had to be served. Both the judge and Mr. Howen refused.

I wanted reassurance that I would get a fair trial, without all the deception and trickery. I wanted to know that the Government was not going to take away my home, leaving Vicki and my children homeless. I needed to know that the Government would not take our children away from Vicki if' I were sent to jail. I needed to know that my wife and my children were not going to be prosecuted for any crimes. At my trial, I learned from the testimony of Marshal David Hunt that he wanted to give me assurances on all those points, but was prevented from doing so by Mr. Howen. Mr. Howen told him in a letter dated October 17, 1991, that Marshal Hunt could not discuss these issues with me and that these issues were not proper to address unless I agreed to plead guilty to the charges.

Because of our confusion and fear and mistrust, my family made a decision that I would not come down. That decision brought the marshals to my home on the mountain on August 21, 1992. But that decision did not cause the marshals to kill my son and the FBI to kill my wife. That decision did not cause Federal agents to lie and coverup what they had done, leading to further tragedy. That decision did not cause the FBI to send snipers to the mountain with orders to kill my family, to shoot them on sight without investigating what had happened the previous day. When the sniper killed my wife, he had not witnessed any one in my family commit a crime. No sniper or FBI agent on the mountain had witnessed any of my family commit a crime. No FBI agent had even with the marshals that had been involved in the shooting the previous day. The FBI sniper was executing suspects and witnesses. The FBI sniper was judge, jury, and executioner.

I am here today to do all in my power to avoid such tragedies in the future. I want the citizens of this country to learn from our tragedy so that no one else will have to suffer as my girls and I have had to suffer. I am here today to do all in my power to see that all citizens, including law enforcement officer, obey the law. I am here today because there must be accountability for the killings of my wife and son. When high-ranking FBI officials issue death warrants and coverup their involvement, the message they send to police officers all over the country is: It is OK if you can get away with it. Citizens who cannot trust their Government band together in fear. If people in positions of power commit unlawful acts and are not held accountable, then the citizens' fear of the Government is justified.

I ask you to uncover the truth about the Federal agents who have committed wrongs. I ask you to bring them to account before you. I ask you to see to it that those persons who killed my wife and my little 14-year-old son are brought to justice. I ask it for me. I ask it for my family. I ask it for my country.

Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Mr. Weaver.

Mr. WEAVER. Thank you.

Senator SPECTER. Mr. Weaver, you have been consistently referred to as a white separatist. When we met back on May 13 of this year, I asked you what that reference meant, to the best of your knowledge, and I think it is an appropriate starting point for a response today.

Were you a white separatist? What does that mean as you understand it?

Mr. WEAVER. Mr. Chairman, what to me separatist means is a couple different things. No. 1, I am not a hateful racist the way most people understand that, but I believe that if there is separation of the races, scripturally speaking, that is what I believe is right. It sounds like an impossible task and most likely is, but I believe that people of every race should be proud of who they are and what they are. There are good people in every race; there are bad people in every race.

And I have to say that as far as this meeting today is concerned, I am almost totally emotionally overwhelmed that it is even taking place.

And another thing about separation is, when we moved from Iowa to Idaho, we wanted to separate into a remote area to give the children a good area to grow up, and we had had beliefs that, you know, if there ever was a natural disaster or downfall of the Government or whatever, we wanted to be separated from the rest of the world. We did not want to be a part of it. Survival, you might call it. We wanted to separate out and be able to survive, you know, in bad times ahead if there were going to be.

Senator SPECTER.. Beyond that being your own personal view, did you ever take any specific action? Not that you are not entitled to take lawful action, but did you ever take any action to try to implement those views aside from holding those views as your own personal belief?

Mr. WEAVER. Never.

Senator SPECTER. Now, there has been considerable reference made to the Aryan Nations as a possible basis for the action from the Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco Bureau. Would you tell the subcommittee what contacts, if any, you ever had with the organization known as the Aryan Nations? Start, if you would, by describing what you understood the Aryan Nations organization to be with respect to its purpose.

Mr. WEAVER. To this day I am not sure what their total purpose is. We attended—or I should say I had been to Aryan Nations three, maybe four times over a 4-year period, and I was originally invited to go down there by some guy who had claimed to be a friend of mine, and I found out later he was not.

Senator SPECTER. When you say to go down there, what do you mean by that?

Mr. WEAVER. To go down to Aryan Nations to—they have a yearly conference in the summer. They call it their World Congress or something like that. But he said that--

Senator SPECTER. And where do they hold that meeting?

Mr. WEAVER. Where do they have it?

Senator SPECTER. Yes.

Mr. WEAVER. At Hayden Lake, ID. And I went down there to exchange ideas with people, talk to people, and usually ended up arguing with people that attended regularly. But I never joined, did not want to join. I am not a joiner of anything. I have not for a long time.

Senator SPECTER. How many meetings of the Aryan Nations did you attend?

Mr. WEAVER. Four—between three and five over a 4-year period. I did not actually—you know, it was not like Sunday services and all that. It was an annual conference thing.

Senator SPECTER. Mr. Weaver, there was a very extended effort made by Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco to secure your services as an informant. Can you shed any light for this subcommittee on why the Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco unit made such an extended effort to bring you on as an informant?

Mr. WEAVER. Actually, I can only speculate on that. We discussed that a little bit before. You would have to ask Mr. Byerle and Gus Magisano, or whatever his real name is, why. Because from what I heard later, they wanted me to infiltrate, inform on this certain person that I did not know very well, but whenever we ran into each other at the Aryan Nations meetings, he would end up starting an argument with me, usually over religious issues, etcetera. So I could not figure out—you know, to this day it does not make any sense to me why they wanted me to try to go buddy up to this guy when we did not get along that great, anyway.

Senator SPECTER. And what specifically did Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearems do to try to bring you into their informant network? Start, if you will an briefly outline the series of events which led to the sale of the sawed-off shotguns for which you were indicted and tried, and as the court records show, you were acquitted after having made a defense of entrapment. Entrapment is a defense in law which exonerates an individual for conduct if the ideas are planted and instigated by law enforcement officials. But exactly what did happen, factually, with respect to the initial contacts and what did you do as to the sale of those sawed-off shotguns?

Mr. WEAVER. OK. The very first meeting that I went to at Aryan Nations was in 1986, if I remember right, and I was introduced to this Gus Magisano by another man, and he became—well, we became acquainted, and he for the next 3 years, you might say, befriended me. Is that the right way to say it? He acted as though he was my friend and made contact with me several times and tried to talk me into doing illegal acts.

Senator SPECTER. What illegal acts did he try to talk you into doing?

Mr. WEAVER. Well, specifically, He claimed to be a gunrunner, making big bucks, had a good business going. And I shied away from him all the time. I kept shying away from him, and about 3 years later, why, he caught me in a weak moment when I needed some money, and by this time I was—I just, biggest mistake of my life, went ahead and did it. I sold two guns. He showed me what he wanted, what he wanted me to do with them, and I said, yeah, I can do that. He offered me more money than has ever come out in testimony, but—

Senator SPECTER. How much money did he offer you?

Mr. WEAVER. He offered me $700 for 2 shotguns, which I had $250 in the guns, and I was going to make a good profit. But even if I would not have made that much profit, just to sell the guns, I would have took it anyway because I needed—you know, $700 is a lot of money out there at that time.

Senator SPECTER. And after you sold him the sawed-off shotguns, what happened next?

Mr. WEAVER. I heard through the grapevine that this guy was an undercover agent or a Federal agent, and I did not know if I could believe the source that came from. But then I became real leery and wary. I had one more meeting with the guy, and I asked him about it, and he denied it vehemently. But after that, apparently he did not trust me and I did not trust him anymore, and I had no more contact with him.

Approximately 6 months later, I was approached by two ATF agents, Mr. Herb Byerley and Mr. Steve Gunderson. They approached me. They were in civilian clothes, in a Forest Service truck, came up; basically what the said was that we are going to take you to court on six or seven firearms violations if you do not join our team.

Senator SPECTER. And did they clarify what they meant by join-our team?

Mr. WEAVER. I knew—and they knew I knew—what they meant. When I said—

Senator SPECTER. What was your understanding as to what they meant by join their team?

Mr. WEAVER. To go undercover for them for—

Senator SPECTER. Why were they so anxious to have you go undercover?

Mr. WEAVER. I can only speculate. You mean why they would want me to or why they had people do it?

Senator SPECTER. Well, either way. As you have described it and as we will have a further factual basis, the Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco unit went to very elaborate lengths to get you to be an informant. And one of the things that this subcommittee wants to find out is what the purpose of that was and what Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco were really doing in the use of the kind of resources they used. We will get into that in some substantial detail regarding these prolonged contacts which resulted in the sale of sawed-off shotguns in what turns out lo be under a judicial decision, entrapment and improper law enforcement activities. But why target Randall Weaver in Boundary County with this kind of an elaborate process? What are they looking for, as you understand it?

Mr. WEAVER. I can only speculate as to that, sir. I wish they would tell me, to be honest with you. I hope that comes out sometime.

I believe that undercover agents like Gus Magisano do not have a lot of courage, and he knew that—you know, he would go pick on someone like me. He knows that I am not going to come back and shoot his head off. He was not afraid of me.

Senator SPECTER. Well, moving ahead, Mr. Weaver, to a central part of this entire matter, as your statement outlines and as we will go into greater detail, you were subsequently arrested. There was an elaborate procedure for your arrest where they pretended to have a breakdown on the road. And when you were trying to help them, they took you into custody, which showed concern of theirs as to using that elaborate ruse, instead of simply coming and serving a warrant of arrest. We will try to find out what it was for law enforcement to undertake that kind of an unusual procedure.

Then you did not respond to the process, as you have described it, which is a fairly common occurrence for people and it is not unusual not to respond to a summons. When I was district attorney of Philadelphia, we had thousands outstanding, and we tried to serve them, and it is important for people to respond. But that raises the next question as to why in this context on this kind of a charge did the Federal law enforcement agencies mount such a substantial law enforcement effort, with people coming to your home to take you into custody. That is a central question this subcommittee will pursue in some depth.

Obviously, the real answers will have to come from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as to why they proceeded as they did and from the FBl as to why it proceeded as it did. But I think it is important for you to tell this subcommittee, to the extent you can, even though it is speculation, why you were the subject of this kind of law enforcement activity.

That is the end of my time, Mr. Weaver. You are on your own time now.

Mr. WEAVER. Why they came after me, like the ATF even to start with the way they did—you know, have you ever seen the bumper sticker, "They will take my gun away from me when they pry it out of my cold dead fingers?" a one of those on at least one rig when I was up there, which a lot of gun advocates put on their bumpers stickers. Most gun advocates out there, law-abiding citizens, do not really mean what that sticker says. If they believe that bumper sticker and that is the way I was thinking mentally, then I can understand why they arrested me the way they did they did, I would really like to find that out myself. I would love to hear that.

Senator SPECTER. Stay tuned. Senator Kohl.

Senator KOHL. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Weaver, welcome here this morning. Just following up a little bit beyond what Mr. Specter said, why you, and it will take several days for us to find out why you, if, in fact, it made any sense at all. But I would like to pursue getting some kind of a description from you as to what kind of a person you are, what kind of beliefs you hold, simply because it rounds out our picture of Mr. Weaver and his family.

You talked about the Aryan Nations, and one of their beliefs, as you pointed out, is that the races should be separated. You said that you agree with that. Would you tell us why you agree with that and—I am sure you have thought about it—how the races in this country would be separated?

Mr. WEAVER. OK, sir. It cannot happen. You know, the best you can do is go off in a remote area yourself, but my beliefs—you know, I hate being on the hot seat talking about my beliefs, political or religious, whatever. My family has been tore apart partially because of that, and I think my first amendment rights allow me to keep those to myself. I am not trying to be rude.

My wife and I, if you knew us and followed us from the late 1970's, even before that, early 1970's, through 1992, you would see change after change after change after change. We studied and read, and we were, you might say, on a search for, quote, the truth. Our beliefs changed constantly.

Senator KOHL. All right. Well, just to continue that so we get, again, an understanding of where you were and where you perhaps are today. But the letters from your wife, Vicki, and statements made by you at the time that you were arrested indicated that your family would stand and fight to protect you. In fact, right after you surrendered to Federal officials, you wrote a letter in which you stated, and I quote, "Sam and Vicki have always been ready and willing to do exactly what ~they did. What more could a man ask than to be able to say that under fire from ZOG, zionist-occupied government, his family stuck together?" By ZOG, the zionist-occupied government, I assume you meant the Federal Government. Could you explain to us what that was all about?

Mr. WEAVER. That is a long question.

Senator KOHL. Is the Federal Government the zionist-occupied government, beyond what you said in your letter?

Mr. WEAVER. I do not know. That was part of our beliefs at one time. All I have to know, if it is, they are giving me a fair shake now to come forward and tell—you know, bring the facts out about what the Government did wrong. I have been wrong. I have said things that have been wrong. I have done things that were wrong. And I have paid a big, a very heavy price for those things.

Senator KOHL. OK. In an interview you gave to the Waterloo Courier in 1983, you were reported to have said that you were developing defense plans that included developing "a 300 yard kill zone’ around your compound.  What was

Mr. WEAVER. That was a lie. That was a straight-up lie. That reporter at that time, when he left our house that day, he told Vicki and I—Vicki asked him, she said, Well, what do you think? He came in there looking for a bunch of nuts, and when he left, he stood there at the door, and he says, "I don't know whether to feel relieved or disappointed."

Senator KOHL. OK All right.

Mr. WEAVER. And he went and made up his own story.

Senator KOHL. Another incident: Two neighbors who had bought land near your house apparently came to you once to inspect property markers. According to them, the neighbors, they were greeted by you and your son holding rifles. They told law enforcement officials later that you told them that you would shoot Federal law enforcement officials who came on your property. According to them, you said, if they take me I will take some of them with me, and that is why we have guns.

Mr. WEAVER. That is not true.

Senator KOHL. All right. Another letter I have— Mr. WEAVER. Sir?

Senator KOHL. Pardon me. Do you want to elaborate on that?

Mr. WEAVER. Who said that, anyway? Could I ask?

Senator KOHL. This was reported by Ed and Beverly Torrance, apparently neighbors of yours, were neighbors of yours.

Mr. WEAVER. For a very short time. They did not—

Senator KOHL. All right. We’ll, just to go on, I have another letter that was written by a neighbor of yours that appeared in the Bonners Ferry Herald in April 1992. It was written by Ruth Rau. I will just quote a few things. She says, "I have remained silent long enough. I cannot take another article or letter about innocent Randy Weaver and his nice family. I think it is time the truth be revealed. Yes, they have a religious front, and they have deceived many with it. But there is no true substance to it. They are full of evil and lies. Two years ago, we suffered several months of torment and harassment from the Weavers and their friends. Some of the crimes they committed against us were vandalism, theft, disturbing the peace, trespassing, and Randy Weaver threatened my husband's life. Randy once forced an innocent woman's car off the road and threatened her life in front of her small children. He supposedly did this because she had warned someone about what a crook that he was. I guess his belief in free speech does not always apply.

"Another thing I read is that they are not Nazi. Their children used to march back and forth by our house wearing Army jackets with Nazi arm bands, carrying guns, shouting white power slogans, and doing the Hitler salute. They would stop occasionally to draw swastikas and write dirty words on the road. They have been raised to be little Nazi soldiers.”

This is Ruth Rau, not [illegible] she goes on to say that the Weavers, you know, are reprehensible people, according to her experiences with as a neighbor.

Is Ruth Rau a person who is a reasonable person?

Mr. WEAVER. Not to me she is not, but Ruth Rau upset my children several years before that by—how do you put it?  She started and you get the neighbor kids upset with you and how they may come and want to soap your windows at Halloween? Well, she made my kids probably more upset than that. But what she has stated, besides being paid by the Government to help them watch my family—OK? You know, one time she said that I shot over her house and things like that. It never happened, and most of what she said there I have never even—some of it I have not even heard before.

Senator KOHL. All right. On March 5, 1991, you sent a letter to the U.S. Marshals Service signed by every member of your family in which you stated, and I quote, "Whether we live or whether we die, we will not obey your lawless Government." What was that about?

Mr. WEAVER. Right. I cannot remember the exact time that was written, but I believe it was written sometime after the Government had lied and deceived me so many times. And my wife understood it, and my children understood it, and my wife—you know, she was a pretty hard-headed gal. She did not like being lied and deceived. And we figured the Government is not there to treat us citizens like that, and if they are going to do that, then apparently it is a lawless Government. And that is what she meant by it.

Senator KOHL. Let's talk about our Government just a minute. Now, as I think occurred, you finally did go to court. You were basically acquitted and exonerated. The laws of justice rolled on, and just in terms of what you were hauled into court for, you did all right by the American system of justice on that, did you not?

Mr. WEAVER. Absolutely.

Senator KOHL. Does that have some new feelings about our system of justice today?

Mr. WEAVER. It worked for us very well. Yes, sir.

Senator KOHL. Do you perhaps wish that you had allowed it to work earlier?

Mr. WEAVER. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. If I could change, believe me, I would—I would give my life to have my son and wife back.

Senator KOHL. And had you allowed our system of justice to roll on earlier, as reprehensible as what occurred was—and we are here to talk about it. But had you allowed that system to roll on earlier, as most Americans do and are obligated to do, then justice would have been done by you; is that a fair statement?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator KOHL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Senator SPECTER. Thank you, very much, Senator KOHL. The Senator from Tennessee, Senator Thompson will inquire.

Senator THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Weaver, I think one of the questions that people initially ask is what has already been asked and that is why you did not go on down and go to trial to start with? You mentioned some thing that I just want to verify in painting the picture as to why you did not and why, in turn, it led to confrontation and tragedy.

As I understand it and it is your position that in the first place the Government deceived you by entrapping you

Mr. WEAVER. Yes.

Senator THOMPSON. As we all know, the Government can give you an opportunity to commit a crime and if you commit it that is your fault and that is OK, but the Government cannot encourage you to commit a crime when you do not otherwise have the propensity to do that.

And what you are saying is over a period of 3 years they encouraged you to commit a crime?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. And that crime was to saw off the barrel of a shotgun?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. Let me ask you parenthetically, in your mind, why did it not occur to you that these people you were selling these guns to could have sawed those barrels off just as easily as you could have?

Mr. WEAVER. Well, this Gus Magisano was not the type mechanically. Now, sawing the barrel off is easy but if you wanted, he wanted pistol grips and I would challenge a lot of people in this room to make a nice decent pistol grip out of a good butt of a shot­gun and not wreck it and ruin the whole thing.

Senatorr THOMPSON. So it took some ability to do that?

Mr. WEAVER. That is right.

Senator THOMPSON. Second place, you say they deceived you as far as the arrest was concerned. They posed to be people in distress. What happened, you were driving along and you stopped your vehicle, got out into the snow to help what you thought were some people in distress there, is that correct?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. So that is the way in which they chose to arrest you?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. Then you went before the magistrate and the magistrate misinformed you in terms of the consequences if you lost your case, right?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. He basically said if you lost you would have to reimburse the Government for your court-appointed attorney?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. And to you, I assume that meant you would lose the only asset that you had, which was what?

Mr. WEAVER. My property.

Senator THOMPSON. Your property and your cabin?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. So you went away, in your mind, thinking that if you were convicted you were wiped out?

Mr. WEAVER. That is right.

Senator THOMPSON. Did you later learn that the magistrate was incorrect about that?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, I did.

Senator THOMPSON. Then the probation office sent you a letter.

Senator THOMPSON. It had originally been set for February 19, and you received a letter saving it was really March 20, is that correct?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. And then you read in the paper, while holding that letter, presumably you read in the paper where the magistrate or the probation office was denying that they had sent you such a letter?

Mr. WEAVER. That is right.

Senator THOMPSON. Now, what did that cause you to think?

Mr. WEAVER. This just added on to everything we were thinking before, we could not trust anything that was going on.

Senator THOMPSON. So that was the background in which you found yourself in, in determining whether to come down or not

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON [continuing]. And to go to trial?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. You know now that a couple of good lawyers and a good jury can cure a lot of ills, do you not?

Mr. WEAVER. Oh, yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. Then the question arises as to when your son got killed. Why did you stay in the cabin there that extra day with your son lying in the shed there? You have this background that we have just discussed. Then you have, in addition to that, your son having been killed.

Did you know at that time—that is immediately after your son had been killed—that it was law enforcement authorities who had shot him?

Mr. WEAVER. We heard it over the radio what had happened, their version of the story, which about blew our minds, but— Senator THOMPSON. What did you hear as to their version of the story as to what happened?

Mr. WEAVER. That they said that Kevin Harris and Randy Weaver had attacked U.S. marshals or ambushed—whatever they want to say—from a truck while they were surveilling our property up there.

Senator THOMPSON. Was there any truck involved at all in this process?

Mr. WEAVER. No, sir. They admitted that was false themselves later.

Senator THOMPSON. So, in addition, you had that information from your radio?

Mr. WEAVER. Right.

Senator THOMPSON. That they were putting out information.

Mr. WEAVER. They never mentioned a thing about Sam

Senator THOMPSON. They never acknowledged the fact that your son had been killed?

Mr. WEAVER. No, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. Would that have been something that they would have known? I mean he was obviously lying there. Did you subsequently find out that they were in a position to see the act that he had been shot and killed?

Mr. WEAVER. Sir, we went down, Vicki and I went down within 30 to 40 minutes after the initial firing and picked him up off the road and it could not have been more than maybe 60 or 80 feet from where the Marshals were hiding in the woods right there. Vicki and I did not know they were still there. We figured they were gone. Because when we walked down to pick him up, we figured they would probably shoot us, too.

So, when we got there and we sat on the ground with Sam for a minute or two before we started to carry him home—

Senator THOMPSON. And this was a 14-year-old boy?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator THOMPSON. Weighed less than 80 pounds?

Mr. WEAVER. About 80 pounds, 4 foot, 11. Still had a voice of a kid. He had not matured yet.

Senator THOMPSON. Let me ask you about these rules of engagement. You have heard, obviously, about all that, lived with that for a long time. There is controversy about that. I understand from reading the record that you and your children, too, at least your older children, every time you went out of the cabin you were armed in one fashion or another, is that correct?

Mr. WEAVER. Well, we had done that for several years.

Senator THOMPSON. Why was that?

Mr. WEAVER. In the mountains, mountain kids, a lot of them, they will get a gun and a dog like the city kids get a basketball and a bicycle. My children, I taught them, when they turned 8 years old I taught them all how to use BB guns safely; how to use the sights, and they used the BB gun for 2 years and could practice with it whenever they wanted. When they turned 10 they could go to a .22 rifle or whatever and they could progress in the use of firearms.

And out in that area we were right in the middle of grizzly territory, mountain lions, moose. They are very dangerous animals. I always taught my kids, I always told them, I said, if a moose or a bear or anything acts like he wants to give you a hard time never shoot him, because they would never probably be able to kill him with what they had, but fire in the air and the sound, many times, would scare the animal away. Where if they were to shoot and wound the animal they might just continue.

Senator THOMPSON. Did your wife also go armed when she left the cabin up there for the same reasons?

Mr. WEAVER. Sometimes, not every often. My wife actually did not like to shoot that much.

Senator THOMPSON. But she sometimes would—

Mr. WEAVER. Sometimes, yes, she would go armed for the same reasons.

Senator THOMPSON. In fact, when she was killed, was she armed at that time? Did she have a handgun on her at that time?

Mr. WEAVER. She had a .380 semi-automatic pistol that was right down here on her side, under her sweater, which I did not even know she had it on until after I had brought her into the cabin. But she was used to packing a gun. When she went, when you go huckleberry picking out there and stuff like that everybody packs a gun as far as l know when they do that.

Senator THOMPSON. How long did they have you under surveillance; your cabin and your family?

Mr. WEAVER. From what I understand, 18 months.

Senator THOMPSON. Eighteen months. So they would have clearly known that practically every time you left the cabin you were either armed or there was a good chance that you or your wife or your children would be armed one way or another with either a rifle, a hand gun, or a shotgun?

Mr. WEAVER. Right.

Senator THOMPSON. These rules of engagement say that if any— and there is some difference here as to what actually was applicable, and we will get into that later, at the time, whether it pertained to adults or adult males—and it says, under the rules of engagement, "If any adult was observed with a weapon prior to the surrender announcement, deadly force could and should be used, if the shot could be taken without endangering the children.

And so I take it this rule of engagement was put down at a time when the law enforcement authorities apparently knew that if you were outside there, or they could see you inside that you or your wife would be fair game, is that right?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir, yes, sir. In Boundary County, ID, you can pack a gun almost anywhere except a courthouse or bar yet which I did for years.

Senator THOMPSON. So I take it there has been a lot of controversy about this shooting of your wife, obviously. I think the FBI took the position, originally, that that was within the rules and now I think they are backing off of that or what not, and that it was a tragic accident and all of that.

But if I understand the rules of engagement correctly, shooting her deliberately would have been perfectly permissible under these rules of engagement. Counsel, can you verify that? Am I looking at that correctly?

They could have deliberately shot her, standing there in the doorway with that child, because she had a gun on. And maybe she did not know she had the gun on at that time, but she did, in fact, have the gun; she was armed.

Mr. GILMAN. That is absolutely correct, Senator Thompson.

In fact, if you will look at the rules of engagement, as expressed in the tactical operations plan—which we have provided, I think, to the Senate; I could provide a copy now if someone wants to look at that in more detail—not only did these rules specify any armed male, but the last paragraph of that specifically excepted Vicki Weaver from the ordinary rules of engagement; said that the ordinary FBI self-defense-type rules of engagement would apply to everyone except Randy Weaver, Vicki Weaver, and Kevin Harris.

And so when you talk about the shoot-on-sight rules or what we have called, death warrants, Mrs. Weaver was the subject of a death warrant.

Senator THOMPSON. Well, now, I understand that the FBI takes the position that the rule pertained—at the time of the shooting, at the time Mrs. Weaver was killed—pertained to any adult male. Is there any reason to believe that their position is not correct?

I understand that originally the rule was any adult. And they say it was changed to any adult male before the event and I understand that, at least Mr. Spence maybe had some question about that as to whether or not it was changed after the fact. Is there any evidence to indicate that it might have been changed from adult to adult male after the fact so that the position could be maintained by the FBI that this was just a tragic mistake, that there was no intention to shoot her at all?

Mr. GILMAN. I am looking. I have in my hand now a document dated August 23, 1992, which is the Tactical Operations Plan which I believe has been supplied, but I will give it to your person to make copies. This is sets out the so-called modified rules of engagement and let me just read it into the record, if I could. It is item number 4 under G, Rules of Engagement, subpart (a), "If any adult in the compound is observed with a weapon after the surrender announcement is made, deadly force can and should be employed to neutralize the individual."

Subpart (b), "If any adult male is observed with a weapon prior to the announcement, deadly force can and should be employed if the shot can be taken without endangering any children."

Subpart (c), "If compromised by any animal, that animal should be eliminated."

Sub part (d), "Any subject other than Randall Weaver, Vicki Weaver, Kevin Harris presenting threats of death or grievous bodily harm, the FBI rules of deadly force are in effect. Deadly force can be utilized to prevent the death or grievous bodily injury to oneself or that of another."

Now, we know that is the standard FBI policy. But subpart (d) excepts Randall Weaver, Vicki Weaver, and Kevin Harris and specifically Vicki Weaver is excepted.

Now, this document speaks in grammatical tense as though it were written prior to the shootings, but it is dated the day after Mrs. Weaver was shot.

Senator THOMPSON. My time is up. Thank you.

Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Senator Thompson.

We have been joined by the distinguished President pro tempore of the Senate, Senator Thurmond. And we yield to you at this time, Senator Thurmond, for an opening statement. I understand that you have just a few questions that you would like to ask now.

Senator Thurmond has been occupied as the floor manager of the Defense authorization bill. I have asked Senator Leahy if he would mind yielding to Senator Thurmond to not only make his opening statement, but to ask a limited number of questions. He has agreed, so the floor is yours, Senator Thurmond.

Senator LEAHY. In fact, I might say, Mr. Chairman, that prior to arriving I think I was the most senior Member here, but my seniority pales as compared to Senator Thurmond's.

Senator SPECTER. Well, I said, Senator Leahy, the request has been made. It is really not optional. We always yield to Senator Thurmond.


Senator Thurmond. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I want to commend you and Senator Kohl for convening this hearing and for the subsequent hearings scheduled on the tragic events at Ruby Ridge. There are a number of unresolved questions concerning the actions of law enforcement and the policies they followed at Ruby Ridge.

Yesterday I met with FBI Director Freeh and he said he is resolved and determined to restore credibility to the FBI following Ruby Ridge. Even though Judge Freeh was not the FBI Director at the time of the Ruby Ridge incident, he acknowledges responsibility to get to the bottom of this matter, avid has begun to take steps to ensure that there will be no more instance as occurred at Ruby Ridge.

Mr. Chairman, I can think of no reason surrounding this matter that would have justified the rules of engagement followed at Ruby Ridge by the FBI. There is an ongoing criminal probe covering adoption of the rules of engagement and the aftermath. I am hopeful that this probe will bring out all of the facts and that justice will take its due course.

I have nothing else to say at this time.

Senator SPECTER. Thank you, very much, Senator Thurmond, thank you. We will now turn to the Senator from Vermont, Senator Leahy.

Senator LEAHY. Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, I have noticed a number of the questions I might have asked have been answered. But I was struck, as I believe Senator Kohl and others were, when you said at one point, Mr. Weaver, and I think I am quoting you correctly, that you, "are totally emotionally overwhelmed that this hearing is taking place." Would you elaborate and tell me why you said that?

Mr. WEAVER. It was not too long a time ago hat I never believed this was going to happen. I could not believe it. I appreciate this very much. My family appreciates it. Many people in this country appreciate this, believe me. I will thank you for myself and them, too, if I can.

Senator LEAHY. In fact, Mr. Weaver, you have a situation where the jury found you were not guilty of the most serious charges brought against you and obviously the jury listened to you and listened to the persuasive arguments of your attorneys.

We now have an active criminal investigation ongoing into questions of obstruction of justice by people in the Government. We have obvious public attention to the events about which you are testifying through these hearings. As you, yourself, have said, it gives you faith in your Government.

It seems to me it is almost ironic had you had that faith to begin with, would it be safe to say, perhaps none of this would have happened?

Mr. WEAVER. Can I quote my dad, and he was quoting his dad? He said the Government is just like a garden and once in a while it needs to be weeded. You know, we have got citizens. There are good citizens, bad citizens, good people in Government and bad ones, and hopefully this is going to help weed some of the bad from the good.

Senator LEAHY. You had a post office box that the court used to correspond with you. Was that your post office box?

Mr. WEAVER. What was that again, sir?

Senator LEAHY. You had a post office—I am trying to sort of walk the dog back a little bit here. You said you had a post office box that you got your mail in and when you had the court matters that is where the court mailed to you. Was that your own post office box?

Mr. WEAVER. Our post office box was at Naples, ID, about 6 miles away, yes, sir.

Senator LEAHY. Did you check it very often?

Mr. WEAVER. I never checked it for 18 months.

Senator LEAHY. But that was where the court was supposed to contact you?

Mr. WEAVER. Either that or by telephone, I guess.

Senator LEAHY. But did you have a telephone in your cabin?

Mr. WEAVER. No, sir.

Senator LEAHY. You spoke of the man who asked you to alter the shotguns, to shorten the barrel and fix them with a pistol grip. You said after 3 years you needed money so you went ahead: $700 for 2 shotguns that you had about $250 invested in. Did you offer to sell him any guns beyond that?

Mr. WEAVER. No, sir.

Senator LEAHY. Did you ever tell him that you could sell him four or five guns a month?

Mr. WEAVER. I probably said that because it sounded like such a good deal and at the time I thought I will keep this good deal going, but I changed my mind shortly after that.

Senator LEAHY. Well, when you said that to him you were willing to go forward and make more guns at those prices?

Mr. WEAVER. It went through my mind.

Senator LEAHY. Now, did that remain in your mind until the time you started hearing rumors he might be a Federal agent?

Mr. WEAVER. I cannot remember when I changed my mind, sir. But at the time, I was just interested in the $700 to get groceries for that week, groceries and a few other things.

Senator LEAHY. How did you make your living prior to that time?

Mr. WEAVER. Working off and on logging, felling trees, running skidder, ranching horse, cattle, sheep, dairy ranch, working tree nurseries, whatever came along at different times.

Senator LEAHY. In answer to questions by Senator Thompson, you had spoken of the fact that most people carry guns out in the woods in these areas. There is no law against that in Idaho. Actually Idaho's laws are very similar to Vermont's laws. They, I think, restricted people from carrying a weapon into a courthouse or into a Statehouse and that is about it.

Let me ask you, is that a pretty accurate mockup of the area around your cabin? You have seen it before today?

Mr. WEAVER. Excuse me, sir?

Senator LEAHY. You have seen this mockup before?

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator LEAHY. Does it seem pretty accurate to you?

Mr. WEAVER. It is pretty close. Yes. They did a real good job whoever did it.

Senator LEAHY. Now, you said your wife was carrying a .380 semi-automatic pistol with about a 4-inch barrel?

Mr. WEAVER. It was probably like a 2 1/2-inch barrel.

Senator LEAHY. It is a small—

Mr. WEAVER. Small sidearm.

Senator LEAHY. Now, the FBI agents were approximately how far away from your cabin?

Mr. WEAVER. They say about 200 meters, I believe.

Senator LEAHY. So about 600 feet, a little over 600 feet, 650 feet.

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, sir.

Senator LEAHY. A .380 is not much of a threat at that distance, is it?

Mr. WEAVER. I believe that—no.

Senator LEAHY. I mean you are really talking about a weapon that loses accuracy once you go beyond the distance of this hearing room, are you not?

Mr. WEAVER. When they shot her, sir, the only thing she had in her hand was my baby.

Senator LEAHY. I understand. But even if she had been standing on the front steps with a gun in her hand and pointing it toward them that weapon is not much of a threat at that distance?

Mr. WEAVER. No, sir.

Senator LEAHY. That is the point I am making.

Mr. WEAVER. No, sir.

Senator LEAHY. However, we also had the door, window, and the shade there. Is that pretty accurate the way it looked at the time of the shooting?

Mr. WEAVER. Oh, you mean like the curtains and everything?

Senator LEAHY. Yes.

Mr. WEAVER. I would have to—I, personally, I could not remember. I figured they were open part way. I cannot remember exactly where they were but I am positive they were open part way. One of my daughters thought she believed that they were tied back in the center like the wife used to do it and she released them later.

I, personally, believe that they were open enough that Horiuchi knew she was standing there. I believe that without a doubt.

Senator LEAHY. Again, standing there or anywhere else, a .380, relatively small hand gun, that is no threat at that distance.

Let me ask you about when you said your children, your wife, yourself carried guns because of concern of animals. In talking with your children and wife, among yourselves, was that the only reason you carried guns when you left your cabin?

Mr. WEAVER. It was just a real habit that we had. To this day I believe that, you know, a man should be able to pack a weapon. I am a gun advocate. But I believe in self-defense.

Senator LEAHY. Was there a discussion among your family that that self-defense might include more than mountain lions, grizzly bears, moose?

Mr. WEAVER. Only in the case of a natural disaster, people would need food. We had a lot of storage food up there. I taught my kids that the day may come when all heck breaks loose, there might be hungry people coming up there who would want to take their food. It has happened in many countries before during wartime and all that.

Senator LEAHY. But you are talking about an apocalyptic breakdown circumstance?

Mr. WEAVER. Oh, yes, sir.

Senator LEAHY. Did you also talk about there may be Government agents coming there?

Mr. WEAVER. I taught my children only in self-defense against anything, animal or people, or in the case of animals if they were going to shoot an animal they eat it. My children were taught never to point a gun at anybody. I did not tell my children, hey kids, if a Federal agent comes up here and starts shooting, no, no, sir. I would not do it. I love my kids too much. I love my family. I would never tell them to start anything with anybody.

Senator LEAHY. Would you be willing to demonstrate for us how you remember the curtains were at the time of the shooting?

I want you to show where you thought the curtains were, but then I want you to show the angle of the bullets between the window and the curtain.

Mr. WEAVER. Show the what now?

Senator LEAHY. There is a bullet hole in the window.

Mr. WEAVER. Right.

Senator LEAHY. There is a bullet hole that is in the curtain.

Mr. WEAVER. Yes, that probably is right there. So that has got to come over a little further there. That much, no, a little more.

Senator LEAHY. So, depending on which angle you go, you could move that back and forth, you could actually move that curtain a few inches either way and it would be in line with the—~—

Mr. WEAVER. I see what you are saying.

Senator LEAHY. If it was closed, would it even reflect the hole in the window?

Mr. WEAVER. What do you mean, sir, reflect?

Senator LEAHY. Well, close it, close the curtains.

Mr. WEAVER. Oh, they are closed, OK. I thought you meant the door there.

Senator LEAHY. Does the hole in the curtain even appear to be in line'?

Mr. WEAVER. No, sir. And from what I understand, a weekend or so ago, when I was up there with ABC was the first time I got up to where they said the sniper was. He was shooting straight through this door.

Senator LEAHY. OK.

Mr. WEAVER. So that bullet hole or that curtain where the hole is had to be at least right there.

Senator LEAHY. OK, thank you.

Mr. WEAVER. You are welcome.

Senator SPECTER. Thank you, very much, Senator Leahy.

Randy Weaver testimony continued (2nd of 2 pages)

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