Will the showdown in Burns, Oregon, end with bloodshed, the way similar incidents in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, did in the 1990s?
Not according to Clint Van Zandt. The FBI's former chief hostage negotiator told The Huffington Post on Monday that he'd be surprised if the bureau responded aggressively to the armed occupation of a federal building in Burns. Instead, Van Zandt says officials would be smart to treat the militants in Oregon with "infinite patience."
Van Zandt helped lead negotiations in Waco in 1993, where a 51-day standoff with cult leaders (called "Davidians") ended with the deaths of 76 people, many of them children. The Waco standoff began with a skirmish that killed six Davidians and four agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Van Zandt believes the FBI played into the cult's hand by forcing a fiery, deadly showdown rather than de-escalating.
Waco was a "black eye" for the FBI, according to Van Zandt.
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