Friday, August 27, 1999 Published at 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
Waco admission damages Reno
The FBI has now admitted using 'pyrotechnic devices'
The US Attorney-General, Janet Reno, says her credibility has been harmed by an FBI admission over the fatal fire in 1993 at a besieged cult headquarters in Waco, Texas.
The leader of the cult, David Koresh, and about 80 followers, including 25 children, died.
For the past six years, FBI agents have repeatedly and categorically denied that they fired any incendiary devices capable of sparking the blaze that consumed the cult's compound.
The military-type canisters differ from civilian tear gas in that "the military canisters may have contained a substance that is designed to disperse the gas using a pyrotechnic mixture," Mr Collingwood said.
The revelations contradict congressional testimony of high-ranking Justice Department officials including that of Attorney General Janet Reno.
"It is absolutely critical that we do everything humanly possible to learn all the facts as accurately as possible and make them available to Congress and the public," she said.
But she added that she still believed the FBI was not responsible for the deaths.
FBI version of events
Officials, who requested anonymity, said two military tear gas canisters were fired hours before the fire began.
Independent investigators concluded the fire began simultaneously in three places.
Based on information from bugs planted on the compound, the FBI maintains that the Davidians started the fire.
Arson investigators found that gasoline, charcoal lighter fluid and camp stove fuel had been poured inside the compound.
In other developments, the Texas Department of Public Safety told The Dallas Morning News members of the Army's secret Delta Force anti-terrorism squad were at the scene the day the compound burned.
The newspaper obtained a Defence Department document under the Freedom of Information Act that confirmed the presence of the Special Forces unit when the FBI used tanks to assault the compound.
The US military is barred from domestic law enforcement.