Clint Van Zandt
Facing Down Evil (Lecture)
Clint Van Zandt talked about his book Facing Down Evil: Life on the Edge as an FBI Hostage Negotiator, published by Putnam. In the book he wrote with Daniel Paisner, Mr. Van Zandt recounts his 25-year career in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The author, one of the originators of the FBI’s Hostage Negotiation Program, details his involvement in the Oklahoma City bombing, the 1985 seige of the Covenant cult, and the Ted Kaczynski Unabomber case. After his presentation he responded to audience members' questions.
In Facing Down Evil, Clint Van Zandt recounts his 25 years of service ... ending his career as chief hostage negotiator, and a supervisor in the bureau's above oral science unit.
Upon retirement he started van zandt associates, and international threat and risk assessment group. Mr. Van zandt is a regular contributor to the Abrams report and has weekly column on MSNBC.com.
I also wanted to make announcement that dr. Van zandt bought this dvd protecting from predators seen dron phil, and for anyone who has a signed copy of his book today will get a free copy of this dvd.
So now please join me in welcoming clint van zandt.
Well, hi, good afternoon, and of those you that are like myself, live in Fredericksburg, I appreciate your coming out today.
We are going to run for about an hour, I want to talk to you about my book and talk to you about a lot of other things too we are going to have q and a segat the end everything you wanted to know about hostage as you were sayings terrorism if I don't know I will make it up you can look up the answer and see if it is really true when we get done; okay.
First of all, my thanks to Fica, just introduceed me borders for host this event is obviously, for c-span for coming out, filming it particular a credit to fredericksburg that they want to come doubt something in our town we appreciate that.
You know, also, there was article in the paper the other day from mike freelance store mike is a heck of a guy I appreciate him writing that. For those of you don't have know her, many you have may be friends and some who I haven't met, let me intermy wife, over to my right, and your left mike, wife diane who joined me today. [applause]
Dine someone who shared this adventure we all call life, and I appreciate her sharing that with me. You know, I'm here to talk about my book today, but the reality is everybody's life is worth a book. And every such book is really worth reading. The challenge is just finding time to write your own personal book and I think that is all of our challenges. My thanks goes out too, to my ghost rider dan pasner a real pro's pro he worked with me helped me get over challenges of taking these vignettes take theseed a ventures taking the stories, that I'm able to tell in our book, and put them in a digestible form to dan and to my publish putnam I am just very grateful. Now, how does a book come on about is part of it. I had a number of requests since I left the FBI in 1959 people said you know, you ought to write a book you ought to do something that would be very interest, they would come and a couple publishers said oh, you got to do is take six months off, and write a book maybe nine months, well, you know for someone who has a total independent income maybe they could do that. But you know that is not the case at least with diane signed idea taking time off just didn't work so that went through a few intervals we thought about doing it we thought not about doing it. Back and forth and then after about the third request, it came up again I thought how am I go doing this, I met tom clancy a couple tiles, and, I called friend said how do you I get ahold of tom, tom's phone number I called, tom clancy up I said, what do you think I ought to do he said hey, he said you, ought to do a book, he said let me give you the name of my agent in new york city, call him tell him that I told you to call. Well that is that is not a bad intro when tom clancy sent you there. So, I was able to do that. Through tom, and worked with agent in new york eventually said that is a good idea let's do a book you got to write up an idea what the book is going to be about. Then give it to me I will go out and sell your book. And we did, and we sold the idea to putnam, and then immediately the agent who bought my book left putnam. Within two or three months I hope that had nothing do with the book but she right away anyway. The next person who came in then you've got go and resell them, personally on your book so I did that. Then she died. Before we could get the book published. And then I got a third agent who was relatively new to putnam but he jumped right in, and we were able to do this. You know some people are a able to knock out a book in a month, or two, and what you see here is a product overall about three years. So, you know short of war and peace there is probably not a book that took any longer to put together, and get published than this one was, but anyway I was gled able to do it.
My first book, that I did a number of years ago was called the dynamic processes of crisis negotiation, this was an academy book I hooked up with two on the college professors said we need to do this book, talk about crisis negotiation so we did this book it is an edited book, it is really a book by academics, for students.
But you know it is the great thing when you are a college professor, you can write a book like these two guys did with me, and then make your students buy it so you know the books that we were able to sell. Were sold to the students and their clarkes but, nonetheless it was good advent tour start out, to get into the area, of writing a book, I have also got handouts that I'm going to give you at the end facts or called protecting children from predators, something near and dear to my heart last year I was in FBI say it down with two different families held their hands cried with them told them that their child who had been kidnapped a15u89d murderered would never be coming home, one of the worst experiences I ever had if my life tried to do it multiple times. So, we produced a dvd that we givlg with a book protect children from predators it is basically me spending 45 minutes with you telling you what you need to know, to protect your children, grandchildren, nioces nephews those who lived in fredericksburg you know what we went through with the list sisters, and these are have been taken from us by just terrible predators, so, please when you get this dvd share it pass it around, if we you and I working together, can save a child, can save 10 children, that is what we have to do. My book, talks about my origins, I grew up in a small steel town gran city illinois just on the other side of the river from st. Louis missouri, I mean this was a blue clar town, and blue collar guy came from that town, at the basic premise in that town was that you grew up, you went through high school, you went to work in the local steel mill, you worked there, and if you lived till 65, you were lucky. And you got some pension, you took with your social security, and you went on in life. And that was a very noble thing to do. I mean my grandfather my father worked in the steel mill it was just understand is that what you do. You know, sometimes you have a dream, sometimes you really have a dream in life, my dream always was to work for the fbi, now, many of you, in fact everybody out here is obviously younger than I am but doubt remember what it was like, I do. Before television it wasn't that I was born before television, it was this my parents didn't have the money to buy a television so radio was something that I really grew up listening to and I had this old this great big metal cabinet radio filled of tubes I would split at night turn that thing it would let me travel all over the world I mean greated a ventures, because it wasn't television where they acted it out. You had to have it in your mind you had to visualize theseed a ventures, I remember different stories would you listen to the lone rang greenhornet but FBI and war and passes, that was my favorite story, gman out, working for j. Edgar hoover fighting the bad guys, now, I worked for j. Edgar hoover I never saw him wear a dress, okay? Never saw him wear a dress. I've never spoken to anyone who ever saw j. Edgar hovger wearing dress that say in jest but I also say it in honesty. The man was dead for 25 years, before those stories started to come out about him so, I don't believe them. Those stories I don't believe the people who say it. And everyone I have ever talked to before they can't substantate that. He stay with the FBI longer than he should have? Probably. Probably. He didn't have a sucshin plan when left the fbi, he didn't know who was gikt over may not have cared but the if -- FBI is just a great organization, again, I wanted to do this since I was kid I was peter pan, I got to fly. I really, really did. I got to do what I wanted to do, from the time I was in fourth grade or fifth grade, now it was circuitous path I will be first to admit that I bounced around high school was a challenge, for me, college, I stand before you, as someone who flunked out of college not once but twice. Okay, twice, I couldn't get it down. All right. I just didn't get it. I wanted to play ping-pong I wanted to play cards. I probably wanted to drink and chase women and things like that. Before I really wanted to study. So I had to I had to get my act together, and in my case, it took me going into the military. I also stand howard frankland you -- before youing as probably the only arm intelligence acknowledge a frent vietnam era became an army intelligence agent without a college graduate. When 27 I knew I might be drafted, during the vietnam conflict I went to I worked for the fib ai year after being bounced out of college, as gs2 clerk gs2, that is low than whale you know what you don't get any lower than gs2 in federal government that is what I did because it gave me an intro into the fgi gave me chance to get in talk to agents that the time only men, because jay edgar hoover wag still director obviously subsequently women who were agents find out what they really got to do. Then I went into the went into the military, and FBI agents that I knew said well if you are going into military, you goukt into army intelligence, so I went and volunteered said I would bike -- like to be agent aernl intelligence they said where did you go to college siu I hadn't graduated but I had gone I went to college, they said well fine, and I took the kpams and tests everything, and I was recruit I had came into the military, I finished basic twibt army intelligence school and about 8 weeks through, I was called into an office, at fort maryland army intelligence school was they said we've been going over your records you don't have a college degree. I said I never said I did. They said yeah but you said you worked for the FBI you had gone to college both of which were true.
I said I just never finished.
They said well, we don't know what to do with you. I said well am pacing all the tests yeah. I said well, what is in the problem then? And you know normally army and intelligence, are two words that really don't go together, okay. There is real contradiction in terms. And they said well, yeah that makes sense so why don't you come on in, so, I came in military intelligence, I did a combat tour in vietnam, hit one by a a grenade and bloodied up a little bit. But it was a good it taught me lot I learned a lot I grew up, and I think military helps a lot of us group at the time I saw lot of death destruction, and I left military, and, then I had incentive, I had met my wife dine, when I was I came back from vietnam, and then I went to chicago, in 1968, with army intelligence just in time for the democratic national convention, and I found myself in another war zone, I went from vietnam to chicago, and just uniforms were different, otherwise the same, and I met I met die, and we were married I went back I had incentive to get through college, then you know then I had responsibilities I had grown up, and I was also able to fulfill my dream I got go to the FBI it just amazing, peter pan I could fly I could actually fly and it was great. But you know when I got into the FBI my first year there as agent, in rome georgia I made a hundred individual arrests a hundred hands-off handcuffs on arrests new agents may go through entire career and never make modern a dozen arrests, but I was there at the right time, the right place, a lot of experience. And that was fine. But there had to be modern that, you know, once you get what you want in life, then it is what do I do next where am I going to go next? And the FBI was just starting in the two different programs, one the hostage negotiations program and one psychological profiling program. And there I was, vietnam veteran a young FBI agent, undergraduate degree in psychology, and it seemed to be a good fit. But what I thought was you know after vietnam, I saw enough death and enough destruction, that there has got to be a way there a has to be a talking cure, we see today and I saw in 1966, 1967, when I was in vietnam, you can goals to guns and bullets and bombs. I've seen individuals, I've seen countries not have any way to resolve conflict except going to guns and bullets, and there is a need for that sometimes but it doesn't have to be. It doesn't have to be. And when I had the chance to get into the FBI hostage negotiations programs that seemed a good fit because it seemed like something I could take what I had learned from vietnam in military, what I had learned from the negotiating with my wife you know another challenge, but, having learned those things, and then take my academic background take what the FBI had to offer, and put that into practice, find a way top resolve conflict, without going to guns and bullets. Now my book talks about guns and bullets too. There are times 85% of the time you have a trained hostage negotiator when he or she comes into the as you were saying, we are normally going to resolve it going to talk that person out, 85% of the time. But is there that 15% of the time, that you are not going to get someone out of that si that is when you need men and women, who are ready to suit up, whether we call them s.W.A.T. Or hostage rescue team whatever it is, they are a critically function and without those men and women you we couldn't do what we did, part of my strength was in negotiator was realizing that even though I was negotiateing I was talking I was trying to get the bad guy suicidal individual to come out, I knew behind me, was backing me up this organization, I knew the organization not only the FBI not only police departments, but men and women who were willing to put their life on the line, if they had to. To resolve a situation to save a hostage, and it allows you go in from a position of strength, and that's what you always want to do. You want to negotiate from a position of strength. A hostage negotiator, my daughter and son-in-law give -- live up north of boston a son-in-law a great fisherman, and, diane and I will go out on the boat with him sometimes, and he is not like I was when I was a kid I had a cane pole a string little hook on the end, campbell's soup can of worms and dirt they would take out there. And that's how I fished my son-in-law, he's got this massive tackle box, and he opens its up he's got lure after lure flies, weights everything probably cost 10,000 dollars what he has in that tackle box but it is there. And as a fisherman he knows if the fish don't hit on the first lure the second lure the third he doesn't say well, I'm not going to kaecht fish he keys change lures that is what a hostage negotiator has to don't you have to be a fisherman you have to have multiple you see qloj cal lures if I tried one thing and it doesn't work or another thing it doesn't work karnt say well that is it I give up I'm going home. You can't do it when a hostage negotiatesor you are really the tip of the spear thid realize that many times I would be only person there, many times there would be 500 or a thousand people backing me up. But what you said as negotiator many times made a decision helped to determine whether people were going live or die, and there's part of that that is very exciting and there's part of that says that's a tremendous responsibility, when you are talking about a human life whether you are talk one or hundreds, which was the case we ran into at times. With my initial training as a hostage negotiator first time I ever had to put that to play was in rochester, new york. And wasn't a hostage situation initially we were going to arrest fugitive, and one of the things you always do you go to the fugitive's mother hos poem home I remember myself another fibib acknowledge get on to this house we knock on the door, and this very large woman let's us in the house we come upstairs second floor, apartment it is in rochester, new york it is get beg to wintertime it is getting to be cold I said you know excuse me ma'am clin van dant fib here to talk to you about your son we've got a warrant your son wanted for murder a warrant for his arrest I need to talk about it. Flipped out. She wigged out on me immediately yelling, and scream, and ricocheting off the walls, and she dashes in the kitchen grabs knife off the counter, and she swings it at us puts the knife to her throat she has is going to cut her own throat, I'm standing there and saying I do jump in to this or not? You know, somebody with -- when I was FBI acknowledge get oning through training school, they said we're going to touch you defense against somebody with a knife. I thought o this is going hand-to-hand this is going to be all this stuff, I remember this instructor in old FBI academy guynamed jim gump lives here in town, and, jim says okay, today I'm going each teach you defense against someone who comes at you with a knife. So we are all young agents sitting there listening, he says I'm to go tell you in three words, shoot the bastard! And I thought that makes sense. That makes a lot of sense, I'm not going to let somebody carve me up with a knife. So here I've got this woman with this knife and she is swinging it around and coming at us, I thought okay clint you are a trained negotiator, you've been to vietnam, you have made a number of arrests in the fbi, but how am I going to take on this 275-pound woman who has wigged out has knife just as soon with me or her? I never switched into the talking cure so quickly. And talking to her and moving up, and seeing that knife coming around and she is waving it and everything else, I got reached out and I grabbed her wrist and I was just able to turn her hand take the knife out, throw it into the kitchen sink, and said you know we got to sit down we need to talk about this. I said my job is to make sure your so he doesn't get hurt. My job is to make sure nobody injures your son my job is to give your son the chance to come and in resolve this without anybody getting hurt. And as a negotiator, you have to talk with a voice that is lower, and softer, and calmer than the person you are dealing with. If someone is yelling and scream being talking very loud it doesn't do me any good to match them because all that does is raise their stress and anxiety level what you want to do is bring that stress and angslyity level down, so this is one of the cases where I got to practice that, and set this woman down explained to her what was going on how we could help her son she said well I'm going to freeze. And where did this come from she said I don't have any money and I can't pay my electric bill for the winter I need heat. So I have gone from someone going to kill herself to somebody who needs heat. I said I can handle that picked up the phone called the power company I said must have a fund for someone who is quasi-indigent they said we do I said well I'm FBI agents I have a candidate here, and if you don't help me stick is going commit suicide. They helped me amazingly enough they left her power turned on, and, I talked to her explained to her what the situation was give mur her my business card three days later her son called me he said, I understand you helped my mom. I said yeah I did. And he said understand you are look for me for murder.
I said that's correct. He says what do you want me to do? I said I want you to come on in, and tell me where I can meet you, he says well I'm down in florida. Right now. I said okay where are you? He said well I'm in this bar, sitting here I could hear it in the background I said stay right there, I called my mi office FBI I said, there is a fugitive sitting in bar you might want to scoop him up for me. Which two agents stealfully walked in tapped him on the shoulder if I cani went away but all of that all of that took place because of the application of just knowing how to treaty people knowing how to act with someone. Part of the responsibility of FBI agent police officer treaty people with dignity. Any time you make an arrest, whatever agency you represent, you always treaty person with dignity you don't want to treaty them like they are a der that you have shot and them up alook what I got. I wouldn't want greeted like that, and most fugitives don't want to be treatyed like that I arrested a guy one time for stealing cars and taking him across state line a man named howard dennis kelley. And at the time, I arrested him, treatyed him right. Helped him through the criminal justice system he went way to jail for a while. But I treatyed the guy right. A few years later, we get all-points bulletin in FBI office in new york saying armored car had just been robed two men a father, father-son team robbed the armored car, and no one knew where they were, and as I'm reading through this bulletin, I see the name of one of the armored car robbers is howard dennis kelley. I thought, I know who that is I arrested that guy before it is the guy I had arrested and his father of course he had done three years came out and went from stealing cars to robbing armored cars, I guess that was a natural progression, so I said I think I know something about this guy and in town, so we went we identified old girlfriend's house, we went to the old girlfriend's house talked to her, andlo and behold we found howard dennis kelley had been there, and when he saw I guess us driving up, he and his father had grown -- gone across the street sbroeng house taken hostages, a husband and wife who in the house were holding them at shotgun point, threatening to kill them. And unless we did certain things, now a negotiator when you have a crime situation is -- criminal situation usually things people want money, transportation and they want a promise that you won't arrest them. As a geshtor I always try not to lie. Now sometimes use what are called tactical expressions okay you kind of, stretch the truth I never wanted to be caught in a lie because if I got caught in a lie somebody might die. So in this particular situation, these guys this father-son team barricaded in a house holding this couple shotgun point threatening to kill them, and I'm across the street set up a command post we are calling in on the phone, and I'm calling and calling and letting that phone ring the phone rings and rings and nobody answers. And we keep calling, and knew day has gone to night and just like you see the lights that are set up here while we are doing this presentation, these lights were set up now around this house, it takes on this surreal type of look you've got realize, it is the summertime it is rochester, new york, this is a happening, okay? I mean just like, you all came out to join me today, can you mauj, a hostage barricade situation in your neighborhood? Well, not just one, or five or 10 but a few hundred people come out. And they are all lined up around the police cordon looking in trying to see what's going on. A police officer comes up to me as I'm calling on the phone he says clint he said, the police chief says this can't go on much longer he says, we are going to put we are going to start pumping gas in the house shooting tergas see if we can drive them out. I said you know I really don't want to do that yet I said I'm not he said well we are going to do it I said give me one more chance, so I ran outside, there on the street was a police car parked right in front, and I reached in and I grabbed the microphone flipped it on pa, brought it back now, when you are in a as you were saying like that knowing people who have guns you great yourself, between the car, and where bad guys are in my case try to slide over I've got engine block in front of the can you shoot through door but shooting through engine block kind of hard all of these things go through your mind how not to get shot at were many I going to say at the same time I got the pa system howard kelley howard kelley this is clint van zandt with FBI I need to talk to you howard kelley howard this clint van zandt you I know was honest with you before pick you the phone talk to me, all of a sudden neighbors all around the phone going, neighborhood watching going, no howard don't pick up the phone, don't talk to him. I thought o swell the bad guys with guns neighbors whacked out police want to fill the house with gas, and you find a lot of times you are not just negotiateing with bad guys you are negotiateing with cops FBI the neighbors everybody else at the same time. So many in I'm calling and calling, and again this police officer slides up and he says clint we are going to fill the house with gas right now. And as soon as he said that somebody yelled my name kind of tund around, and police officer said they have just picked up the phone inside the house. So I turn around I run back in to the command post pick up the phone, I said howard this is clint van zandt he says hi clint how you doing hi howard how you doing like old home week he says, you know I'm not going back to jail. He said I've been in jail once I'm never going back to jail. He said it is going to have to be right here right now. I thought oh, here we go again, you know it is howard, doesn't have to be like that, again, you are the fisherman you are trying to come up with those multiple psychological lures you've got everything going around you've got surreal atmosphere, and yet, you want to talk with that voice that is lower, and slower and you want to give this guy a vance chance to resolve the situation without anybody getting hurt negotiations go on for a while, we are talking back and forth I'm talking to him, I get his father, I've got them both by the phone, they listening. I say, part of it is I wanted to get them to both by the phone, if you've got somebody talking, usually they are not killing people, and that is what you want. You want somebody talking to you. Sop as we are talking, back and forth, a a police officer whispers to me says clint I got to talk to you, I said okay what's up and he said the hostages just snuck out of the house, I said that's cool. So I said howard I said how all is in that house with you he says well my dad and I our two hostages, I said it sounds like four. Down a head count for me? And he came back and he said you son of a gun, you I said hey, they ran out what can I say I said you know you guys were busy talking to me. So as we continue to talk howard said let me get back to you let me see what we're going to do about this, the next thing I know I heard this commotion a block away. Howard kelley has taken a suitcase now in armored car robbery they got a little bit less than a million dollars, he took a suitcase, he stuffed it with a quarter of a million dollars, he snuck out the backdoor of the house got through the s.W.A.T. Teams got through the lights, and he is running through a neighbor's backyard about 11:00 at night, and nobody knows where he is going why he is running, and it is like holy cow this guy it's going away well, thank goodness rochester, new york, women are still smart enough to hang their clothes on clothes lines, all right? Because this guy is running through this backyard, as hard as he can, and he doesn't see this clothes line that hits him just about neck high, and I think he does about 180 degree flip. Falls on the ground, didn't have a samsonite suitcase when he picked himself up all he had was that he handle of the suitcase in his hand the money in the bag was there. So he gets up and he keeps running, and he zbiged when he should have zag and he ran into about a 250 pound police officer who kind of went boom. And just bounced him on the ground again. So they called me they said okay clint we got him in custody. So now, allive got this father left in the house, a and I said, his name was howard also, interestingly enough. So I said okay howard, we've got your son he says no you guys killed him I know you killed him I'm going to die going to die right now I thought why does everybody want to die tonight? This is not a good night to bilittle big man tomorrow another day is a good time to die I said you don't have to I said, one of the things that is crucial in a hostage situation is to know the background of your adversary know who they are. I knew that howard like myself now, was a grandfather. I knew that he had children, and grandchildren, and I said howard, I said you've got children, right.
He said why he that's true I said you know what, you don't have the right to die. You don't have the right to deprive your children of their father I said I don't care what your problem, you don't have a right to take awayp that father of those children, I said, woet what you borrowed money from armored car no big deal you know we got most of the money back it is I said we can work this out.
He says what do you want me to do I said well, you know I want you to leave the guns inside I want you to come out, and now this is where the challenge comes many times between the negotiateors and s.W.A.T.
All right now again, I wouldn't want to do a situation without a s.W.A.T. Team there, FBI hostage rescue team. But you got to know you are on two different tracks there are a lot of people they look at negotiateors where the social worker wimps okay? And, the s.W.A.T. Team the tactical team as far as as we are concerned, are the knuckle dragon gorillas so somewhere in between is a reality. So this guy s.W.A.T. Team says kay clint we want him to come outside, we want him on his knee as we want his feet crossed behind we want his hands behind his head and then we are going to cuff him. I said I don't know if I can sell that to this guy he said you are going to tell it okay okay I said howard this is what you got to do come outside neil down he says I'm not doing that. You are not going treaty me like that I will die right here I said you are right we're not going treaty you like that I says you are going to leave the guns inside, you are going to come outside you're going stand there, and then we will take you into custody, and s.W.A.T. Guy glaring at me like you son of a gun you just screwed up our whole arrest plan I said I got do it I got silt then he says the only way I'm coming out if you are out there to take my surrender. Well, you don't want to get in the way of the s.W.A.T. Team they got much bigger guns down the okay. Much bigger guns, they are much better at -- at seizing someone, and making an arrest than I am. And I know that is going on. So we had to make a deal. I had to make a deal to the s.W.A.T. Team and a basic deal the basic premise was I will walk out, I will walk outside and stand there, the guy inside the house now is going to walk out and he is going to come this way. But now woet what if he goes for a gun what if he does something else how you doing to do that make a deal with sniper say I'm going to come outside but I'm going to walk straight there and stand, and have him come toward me. If he goes to guns if he comes up with a gun or a weapon, I'm going to move to my right, that will be your right, too, zplek okay I'm going move to my right and I'm going to get out of your way and you in to take the shot take the shot but I don't want to been in the way, well, he came out, just what we asked him to do. Stood, s.W.A.T. Went over put cuffs on him. And the situation was resolved. There is always a epilogue to it. We get the bag of three quarters of a million dollars we take it back to the FBI office. And it is like 2:00 a.M. In the morning now, and we counted it once, we counted it twice we counted it three times we got three different amounts. We are what are we going to do with this?
My boss say, we got go home get some sleep he said what are we going to do with money I said well I'm going to put it in a safe well the safe was under my desk you know, wasn't a safe just a whole hole under my desk I take three quarters of a million dollars in a bag I throw it on under my desk everybody goes home, and the next day we come back we count the money and armored car company shows up say well we are here to get money, I said okay, I said, we figureed that you know we are missing about a this toand -- 1,500 dollars we got everything else I want you to sign they said no, we are not going to sign receipt we're taking the money we will count it sloent tell you how much there was, I said I tell you what, I'm going to put money in a bank 5 1/2% in my name before give you this ploen and you tell me how much there is there so this guy calls armored car company they say, take whatever amount van zandt says is there they took the money took it away in a situation was zboen.
There are some light situations that happen, too. We had an individual wanted for rape at shotgun point, who was traveling across country he he sloent wound up in this little southern motel. And when he was in there, for whatever the reason, in the middle of the day, he took two women hostage. Turned out to be the two made that were working in -- maids working in there, but doesn't make any difference if this guy was black, white, green yellow but he happened the be african-american in this case. And he said when we got him on the phone andstarted talking and he said I've got two white hostages in here. So we said okay we understand that. So I said to the police, are we missing two women any place around here? And they said well, we got two maids that we can't find but he said they are not light they are black. And I said you know what this is the south. And this guy is telling us that he has got two white well because he thinks if weep thought there were two black women we would would come crashing in there and shoot him I said that is not going to happen but I said, that is a legitimate fear that he appears to have. So I said okay, on who do you have in there he says well I got these two he kept referring to themeoe these women with the b-word, this b, and that b, and on and on and on, so I'm talk to being the police negotor I said we have to personalize this we have to get him to stop using the b-word. And calling by first names, one was ann one was sue. I said we got to say okay, benn, you are the hostage taker we know you've got two women, he is firing a shotgun fires a couple of shots out the window and it is but going way over everybody's head so it is not he is shooting high, he is not shooting low. So he got our attention, but he didn't shoot anybody. And I said you know we said benn wait a minute wait a minute. We know you've got two women in there but they are ann and sue how are you and ann and sue doing tell me how you are by the way how about ann and sioux he said ann and sue were doing okay so within about a half hour we got him calling the women by their first name now, which is something you want to do as a kboeshtsor, if the negotiator if hostage taker can almost make the hos taijs nonhuman if he can make you and I sound like at least in his mind, that we don't count, then he has the ability to kind of take-away life take-away the value that we have as human socks if I can make him recognize they are humans by calling them by their first name, I think I can reduce his stress and anxiety level, so half hour 45 minutes later, he is calling them ann and sue so I said good you know we are getting this guy out and in a little bit not a problem. So just keep talking. Well in about 30 minutes the police negotiator says chribts we've got real problem, I said well, what can be the problem things are going good he said you know you told us to personalize negotiations, to call the two hostages by first name. I said sure he says well is he doing it.
Well, of course he is doing it.
He said no me to wants to marry one of them now. And I said okay, we can do that. He said I don't know his crazier you or the hostage taker right now I said no no no, we are going to do this I said, we are going to have a wednesdaying we're going to do this I said you had a pastor on scene while ago didn't you he said yeah in case we had to talk the guy out in case he wanted to talk to somebody with religious background I said get the pastor back. We are going to do a wedding ceremony by the telephone.
So we get the pastor back, and we said okay, we are going to do ceremony, fortunately this woman one of the maids went along with so it on the phone I'm I've got this great you had a tape, of the wedding ceremony on phone. So you've got the pastor saying, we are gathered here together in the eyes -- and he goes on he says, do you benn take sue -- I do do you sue, take benn.
Yeah I guess so by the power kbrin vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. And I said wait a minute, wait a minute, before you can consummates the major, you have to sign the major certificate.
Now he said wait a minute wanted for rape at shotgun point going sign major certificate, said this guy wants to do one ming thing right in his life maybe before he dies that is to get married I said he will it. I said, tell him as the come out and sign the marriae certificate before can he physically consummate the major so we tell him that, and low and behold the door of the motel opens, here comes the one maid the maid of honor; right?
The maid of honor is coming out, carrying shotgun and here arm and arm comes the fugitive, and other maid arm in arm they come out, obs tensebly to sign marriage certificate of course police jump him thump him arrest the guy I said we've got to tell this woman what happened that make sure she knows she is not married. And it was basically, I didn't have a whole lot going on today he didn't seem like that bad a guy so --
You know, whatever it takes to survive.
Okay whatever it takes to survive, and, somebody sent me a nice fraip london the following week and it said shotgun wedding takes place in the united states.
So you know, you do what you have to do, and in these situations to get them resolved. I talked a little bit in my book facing down evg bill waco.
I as we evil, about waco called a week, week 1/2 into the situation had transferred from hostage o negotiations unit to behave oral you seeen unit doing psychological profiling full time got the call guy at FBI headquarters said we want you to take over negotiations, I said you know mike I really don't want to do it. I said, waco is a train wreck. I said there are things that are wrong with that, I said I don't feel good about waco at all. And I really don't want do be part of it. Well, you know you got realize when FBI agents you are part of a paramilitary organization, so this was sunday afternoon and he said I understand just what you said clint can you be there monday morning, and I said well you know I can be there monday afternoon so I flew to waco, and took over as a managing the hostage negotiations program there. Made some changes, in the team structure and things like that, but, again, and really when I talk about differences and hostage negotiations a and s.W.A.T. Hrt, those dhifrns been resolved the FBI has learned the hard way but at the time, we had two different plentalities there were those from the -- menities from tactical side believed waco o could be resolve fundamentals you put enough pressure on branch out davidians david koresh, 8, 5 90 men women and children if you put enough pressure on them that eventually the emotional glue that held them together would shatter, and that the branch davidians would come running out and surrender. It was my position, that you know how nuclear bomb works any know just enough to be dangerous. But I know that a nuclear device you have an implosion, and then you have an explosion. And I said that's what if we put pressure on the davidians, they will implode and explode you got to realize david koreshing is someone who -- koresh has having physical contact with children under the age of 13, david koresh was someone who told men inside branch davidian compound they o could no longer have physical contact with their wives, only david koresh could have contact with the women. One particular night, koresh said I want to speak to a christian FBI agent there were a lot of FBI agents there, of a lot of different religious per seions, I was there running the team, managing the team when you manage a team you take a step back. You don't enter into negotiation but some members of the team said chribt we you think ought to talk to koresh tonight you are a christian can you talk to him. So one particular night, david koresh gets out his bible, he is on the phone, I get out a bible, I'm on the phone, and for two, two and a half hours we go back and forth, through the bible together, david koresh telling me where the bible gives him the right to have sexual contact with prepubescent lit girls, I said david I don't see, you are you know, let's look at before and after I said doesn't that say in the scriptsures at all. Ep says, brother clint if you can imagine what it is like having cab call you brother chribted he says brother clint do you know who I am I had a lot of ideas I said, david ohow low do you think you are he said I'm the christ. And I said david I will tell you what -- what we may agree or disagree on lots of things you are not jesus christ. I said my readings of the bible says if you are, you would do anything you had to go out and rescue one loss it's sheep you are talking about the death of your entire flock. I said why don't you come on out now, realize we had 850 -- 853 individual discussions with the branchdidians, 853 team is we had them to come out without anyone being hurt, 853 times they turned us down. I said david, you know, why you don't come out we can resolve thoig this together he said no brother clint I come out, and you are going to put me in jail with bubba. And he says I know what bubba is going to do to me, you got to realize his philosophy he is in texas, he is believed to be a child molester, and he thinks he is going to be put in jail with a general popgs, and when you get in jail you have var you various rung the bottom rung child molester cots have had way with kosher I said we've got your private room I wanted to say suite but I didn't want to go that far I said we've got your own private room that you are we are going to put you in he says no brother clint I'm not going to do that so negotiationwise we kept trying the branch davidians to surrender come out, the tactical team, did what they had to do did what they believed to be correct they believed if they would put more pressure on if they would eliminate some of the vehicles, other things around davidian compound that could get their hands on, that it would be a better tactical situation, now, sometimes, those two just don't go on -- arm in arm, sometimes the think atakes and negotiation philosophy don't go arm and arm, today's FBI they do. At that time, it was entirely different. I wrote a position paper about two weeks a week 1/2 before the fire at waco. Psychiatrist and I wrote it together I said david koresh's matter of plan for information of FBI headquarters is that he wants to use the children now realize, david cor woesh send us out videos, they would be a video about every week kids -- send us a video of sim have ito sitting there with two, three children on his leap would talk to us on video. Well I would watch those videos, night after night because I was trying as negotiator I wanted to get inside david koresh's head wanted to understand what made him tick. But I also got to know every one of those children. I knew them by name I knew them by sight I knew every one of those kids in that compound. And the position paper that I wrote I said david koresh's master plan that he wants fibi to assault the compound to save the children, when we do, the branch davidians will blow it up, they will burn it to the ground, and they there will be a mass suicide. And FBI we will be held responsible for that. Don't let us getting caught in this trap. This snare what I called it don't let us be getting caught in this snare. A decision was made to go tactical. And you know I couldn't guarantee that if I talked I might still be talking today in the branch davidians could still be in that compound I mean I was asked what do you really want to say I said I would like to put a 16 foot chain link fence around the entire branch davidian compound. I would like to have one gate out front, and that is it. I would like to send FBI home, I would like to send atf home cnn, everybody else home take away the circus atmosphere, and just conduct straightforward negotiations, and I would like to send davidians a video I would like to show them picture of a motel, down the road. And say that honestly say that we the FBI have rented the entire motel, and we are going to move all of the davidians and their families in to motel we will pay the bill, until this is resolved in the courts where we should be fighting, not guns, not FBI agents against citizens but in the courts. And I wanted to give the davidians a picture of tomorrow. Not the finality of that day. And the decision was made. That is probably he not a good idea. And the decision was made to fill the branch davidian compound with gas, and I remember many talking to one watch tactical commanders, and we were talking about they are going fill dade -- davidian compound with tear gaes said that will drive them at you out I said I don't think so I think -- said I think the davidians too tightly laced together I remember lim standing there with his finger and he was punching it in my chest. And he said if it wasn't for you, negotiateors we would have had them out of there the first week. I didn't believe that. I didn't think that was the case but I'm not a soothe sair you know I'm not sitting here saying I got all the answers to the world because I have made mistakes been part ms, I said I just I don't think the gas is going to work. And when that day came, and the wind was blowing, ta he 25 miles an hour that windswept hillside in waco, texas, and those 85 men women and children were inside that compound, the FBI put started inyeking injecting gas in one of the negotiateors dealing branch davidians this is not an assault if I'm inside of a house and you are pumping it full of tergas I might think maybe it is an assault. I night think it is. Might think it is is a watched more and more gas go and then, the fib ahead to sibted for more gas because they expended all the gas still hadn't driven davidians out we had listening devices inside just a couple, one of the things I did was the davidians want milk for children I wanted to giving them milk somebody get bought gallon containers of milk we're going to give it do them.
I had we want listening device in so long story short we borrowed a very sophisticated listening device from another secret government agency has three letters in its name whose name I won't repeat here, a and we boiled this device and we were able to insert it between the layers of cardboard. And we took cardboard box and I took about 30 or 40 half pintsf milk them in all the cardboard box I sfiged if we gave davidians a container with gallon cartons they will just pick up milk take it joind if we gave them box with little cartons, I could get that listening device in which we did it was huge compound it was little listening device we couldn't hear have a whole lot but on the dap that the FBI injected gas into that compound we could hear on listening device the davidians expect to each other words to effect should we light the
Did david say light fire should we light fires now then we had aircraft overhead it had flare capability had the ability infrastructure red to look down, we saw three different spots, where fires started within that branch davidian compound inside. Now, I'm here to till as honestly as I can, the FBI did not start the fire.
Branch davidians in my total belief set the fire inside that compound. But I mean I was part of the fbi. We poured some of the emotional kerosene on that fire by the way we handled that situation. I'm standing here as responsible as anybody else is for what happened that day. And I am sorry we lost children at that time. And when that fire when those fires started, and that 25-mile-an-hour wind just whipped that compound whipped it and I'm out there, and you know, you could feel the heat off that compound and, we had FBI s.W.A.T. Team hostage rescue team they were out there armored vehicles many of those men, left the protection armored vehicle to rescue branch davidians who ran from the fire, who didn't want to be rescued, and those agents exposed themselves massive amounts of gunfire that came from the davidian compound to FBI fbi never fired a shot back never fired a shot back, and those men exposed themselves to save the lives of people who didn't want to be saved. Buts that building burned, and burned, and there was part of me that just prayed that those underground tunnels we had been sold about were really there. That those children those precious little children had run underground some place, and when that compound was reduced to ashes, and we went out, a and there were no tunnels. There were 85 dead bodies. There were men, women and children, and you know as adults, we can make a decision, if we choose to take our own life it is a terrible choice. But if we choose that as an adult, we choose it. But if we choose it for our children, if we make a decision we are going to take the life of our own child and in this case, every one of those children with every potential in the world to grow up, to be changers to be decent human beings to change the situation and make the world a better place, never had chance to do it. They never had chance do it. Now, I think the fib after that obviously they took a lot of heat rightfully. So we were part of it we were part of that I think the FBI learned a terrible lesson. When you lose human life like that, you learn a terrible lesson.
Unabomber Case Involvement
I retired from the fbi, in 1995. And I had been I had left the FBI about three, four months ago three or four months after july 1995. And I get a call from a woman and she says I understand you are retired FBI agent hostage negotiator profiler I said yea imshe said can you look at handwritten documents, and suggest if whoever wrote these letters wrote another document I said sure that is I do that all the time I've got, I was very fortunate had very good team worked with me psychologists sikcologists psycholining wifrts all men and women far brighter than I am far better than I am and who fortunately chose work to with me I said we can do that the said I'm going to send typed copies two hand written laerts you are want you to compare to another document I've been retired if you are months, I mean I'm working at a small desk in my living room, I'm kind of expanding I have taken over the living room I'm spilling into the dining room, and diane is saying wait a minute we are running out of house you no he house becomeing they office. And I said yeah, we can do this analysis I said, send me the letters she sends me typed cop yoefs handwritten letters one is three, four years old one six years old I side kay gift to your letters, what do you want me to compare them against is the said buni bombers 35,000 word manifesto. Well, you know I had been an agent been a losstage negotiator was in a profiling unit we worked this case for about 18 years, and until 9/11, it was the most extensive the most expensive case ever in the annals of law enforcement in the united states. 18 years and we still didn't know who this unknown individual was. Who were placing and sending bombs around united states, killing and maiming people whenever he wanted to. And of course, this was the individual who said if you don't publish my manifesto I'm going blow up an airliner full of people. So within the FBI big decisions back and forth do we publish his manifesto in the nicepaper but if you do a aren't you going to get every copycat in the world who says hey how my manifesto you know I want the see mine, what do we care about buni bomber I got my own we organized barth and forth behave oral science units said we think a good idea somebody will probably recognize the right -- writings 35,000 words you got to there has to be something in there is that recognizable. So many I thought what are chances here I'm sitting here work ng in fredericksburg in my living room, sitting there, comparing documents together but, you know those however know the term billable hours, all right, I could pick up a couple of bucks doing, so it was something sure I said we can do that, so I got copies and I sent them to the other members of my team psychiatrist a psycholinguist and myself first thing I do is eliminate the person as writer you look for the differences between these two letters and the unabomber manifesto so we say whoever wrote these didn't write it don't worry not same person we couldn't find any. We couldn't find the differences, so you think, this is interesting so then we start to do the comparison back and forth well you know, if you watch what's the most popular show on tichbltv right now, csi;
Csi notwithstanding all the whizbang electronic devices they have one of the a bigis premsis is fingerprint we ne a good fingerprint examiner if they have 8, 10, 12 points comparison between unidentified latent fingerprint and between my known fingerprint they can match them together say to exclusion of everybody else in the world I did it. Of course we have dna. That to the exclusion of everybody else in the world we can say bill clinton did it but that is that is another story we will talk about that another time.
So we know that fingerprints well when you do linguistic analysis not exactly the same you are finding similarities we found more and more and more similarities. So I wrote a report, to our client and I said, "60, 70% two guys working with me said 80% but I you know I'm cautious I'm a conservative FBI acknowledge so interest said, 60, 65% whoever wrote these two letters, and whoever wrote the unabomber manifesto is same person you need get to the FBI and tell them right away. And this woman was a bright woman she says I hear what you are saying I will do what I got I thought, I tell you what, I'm going to go find the two guys who wrote there is book with me, who are both very good at linguistics gearing do it all over again, and we did the whole thing all over did comparison all over again, and the two guys and came back said 85%. Whoever wrote these two letters and whoever wrote the unabomber manifestoing is same guy I sent my client a second report I said, this is yours free, not chargeing for it. Get to the FBI right away. She said I will do what I have to do. Well I had only been out of the FBI 6 months a guy said he would blow a plane out of the sky so I kind of went to a back channel to the fibib say said tell you what I don't know and I didn't I don't know who the name of my actual client, but if you don't hear within a week or two that there has been hyde cakes made on unabomber get to me, and I will help my client surface and tell you what's going on, well, when you leave FBI you really leave, I mean it is like you leave on a friday on monday morning, they say clint who? You know, when you are gone you are really gone, they move on without you very quickly. Sop in this particular case, a couple months ago had gone by now was end of 95 we were into first two or three months of 96 I get a call one night. And a man attorney up in washington, d.C., he says you don't know me clint my name so and so he said I'm the attorney representing the david kazmir family he -- kas zingski family david kazinski is brother of ted, and he you are analysis your analysis led o david go to FBI fbi confirmed that his brother ted is in fact the unabomber, and he is going to be arrested tomorrow morning. And we are going to do a press conference to kazinski family I said I'm glad we helped he said you don't understand when we do press conference, if asked who did analysis I'm going name you. This is a 50 to 55-year-old white male, than likely has a doctorate degree. He is single. He has never been married. He is living out in the west in some rural type of environment. He doesn't like society. He doesn't like people, and he will bomb. That was our analysis. So when the morning came from the press conference and the attorney said "And the person who did the analysis who helped david cazincski identify his brars unibomber was clint. She said how long is it going to take for what?
I said for what?
She said for the media to find me.
That the particular time the phone starts to ring, and it is abc news initially found me. And for the next three weeks every news organization in the country found me, wanted to do interviews. There is one particular night we're taking phone calls skpk and forth and it was exciting at time. I have done about 3,000 television interviews now so it's not so exciting. But back then it was all brand zmumt I was getting calls to do dateline and "Nightline". I did nbc news and in this particular case my son john, who is here with us today, he said gee, dad, this is really cool. And I said yeah, but you're really cool when you do the "Larry king." five minutes later larry king calls. A producer for larry king said we'd really like you to be on our show tonight. And I said I'm doing these other programs and I really appreciate your invite. He said I'll tell you what. He said our special guest tonight is ted kennedy. He said. But we would be willing to bump ted kennedy if we you would come on our show. Tell a conservative F.B.I. Agent you can bump ted kennedy and go on the larry king show, I said yeah, I'd like to do it. I go on the larry king show that night and we're sitting there and larry king says clinton clint, what would you do if aid bomb? Just off stage were two of my sons. They're sitting there off stage and larry king said what would you do if you think you have seen a bomb?
What do I know about bombs, if there is wire sticking out. No no.
I said well, you look. If it's a plastic explosive that may be melingt or coming through. No. What do you do if you think you have a bomb inside said well, you look to see if there is too much postage. Bombers don't want to have a bomb sent back for insufficient postage. So they put a lot of stamps on that. So I said you look to see if there is too much stamps. He said no what do you do if you think you have a bomb. And my two sons think it's the funniest thing because larry king is busting my chops skpim looking at larry king with that deer in the headlight look. My kids are laughing and I said well, you could have your kids open it first. Years later people called me and said hey, would you really have your kids open a bomb first. And in some cases yes. We have covered a lot of ground.
Is there any questions that I can answer for you on any issues concerning hostage negotiations, profileing, nancy grace, whoever it might be. If you have any hands, I'd be glad to answer them for you. She said did I have to send the book to the F.B.I. First? When you leave the F.B.I. , you sign a document indicating that you will submit any book you write for prepublication view of. And review. And I had to take a draft of that and send it to the F.B.I.. And they don't edit for content and say gee, you said a couple of things about the F.B.I.. F.B.I. Is a great organization. They send me a retirement chuck every month and I greatly appreciate that and want to keep it coming in. They did review and came back and said I had not given up my state secrets. So they loud me to publish it. I think that's only right to do when you sign it you have to do what you say you are going to do. Anybody else? Yes, ma'am.
Have you done any work with the --
Have I done any work in the ramsey case. When the case first broke, "Newsweek" sent me a coup of the -- copy of the letter, the ransom note that was found inside the house and they said I'd like for you to do a psychological profile of the writer.
We said whoever wrote this letter is likely a white white-college-educated female. She knows the ramsey household. She knows ramsey. The letter was written after the fact. It was possibly probably written after jon bennett was dead and written to focus the attention of authorities in another way. Some people say it looks like you're suggesting patsy ramsey did it. I'm telling you the demographics that I believe are consistent with the writer. When you look at the ramsey letter, there is one particular -- part of it that says is delivering the ransom payment be sure you get plenty of rest tonight because this is going to be very and you want to have plenty of rest so you can carry this out tomorrow. " is a guy going to tell you that? Did my dad ever say to me, son, be sure you get plenty of rest tonight. It's a get to bed. Get some sleep. But when you see that nurturing, that caring, nurturing language, that's more consistent normally way woman than a man. When you see the letter constantly refer to jon ramsey. If I were going to kidnap someone and this lady and gentleman sitting here in front of the me, if I wanted to get your attention, you would write the letter to you because I know you would make your husband get going, write the checks and get your kid back. That's who you want to impact. Least within my family diane has no problem getting my attention. So she can do that very easily. And I think most wives have that capability. So when this case broke, when the ramsey case, when john mark carr was identified three or four weeks ago and the media frenzy started, I was talking to -- some of you may know you have a contractal relationship with skmbs nbc, and they said they have just arrested skmib looked at the background of this guy and I said I don't think so. First day he was identified I laid in bed all night and I said it doesn't fit. I can't fit this guy into being the one that would do something like this. And I kept telling the media, show me that this guy has ever been in boulder, colorado in his life. Show me that he newt name jon bennett ramsey prior to december 25, 196 and I'll be I'll believe that he had something to do with it. Otherwise we have some delusional wacko looking for 15 minutes of attention and I'm afraid the d.A. Is going to get bit very hard on this one. And we watched and I kept saying well, the district attorney's got to have a magic bullet sniff her pocket and something that we don't know about. And problem was we never saw that. And when the D.N.A. Doesn't match, it's like the late great johnnie cochran said in the o.J. Simpson "If the glove don't fit, you maust quit." and in the case of kmashg, we don't know if that is the person who had anything to do with her death. And number two of course it didn't match. So all mark carr did was basically jerk her chain for about two collective weeks, get a free plane ride, sit in business class and now he's probably going to go to jail in california fire few years. We have to be careful about jumping on the band wagons. Show me the evidence that links somebody to a crime and I'll tble. But until that point, nos, I don't believe it. Anybody else?
Do you think this latest event with nancy grace is going to indicate further intrugss by the media and is there going to be a backlash?
I hope there is a backlash against the media. When I was a kid there was this tv show on called "Get smart" and you would see maxwell smart and they could have would have this covin violence soiles that would come down so salt lake conversation. Of course, it never worked. But as an F.B.I.
Agent for 25 years, I know you want to have a chance to do the investigation without anyone inserting themselves. I think the problem in this most recent case, this kidnapping, this missing child case down in florida is that when I saw the -- when I saw the interview that nancy grace did, I saw this fragile 21-year-old woman. You have got to realize this is someone who has in experience with the media who is on the hornsses of a divorce, who is challenged trying to raise a child. And I guarantee you if someone had anything to do with the disappearance or death of their child, they are a potential candidate for suicide. That would have been an extremely delicate interview as an F.B.I. Agent that I would have donei would have been nurturing, caring, soft because I would have known how fragile that woman was. And when I saw that interview and that young woman, the 21-year-old mother said well, the F.B.I. Asked me not to say anything else and nancy continued to hammer her. Why vunt take a polygraph. I thought she doesn't owe that answer to me, to nancy grace or to anybody in the media. You don't owe a thing to the media. Someone says tell me why, it's none of your business. That's why. I choose ton tell you, that's why. And now, is nancy grace responsible for that young woman's suicide? No. But I guarantee you that we have to treat people like human beings. We have to treat them like we want to be treated, like we want our daughter to be treated. That's the way we need to treat somebody else. We don't need perry mason-type interviews on television where someone is trying to crack should be and get them to confess. Once somebody says the police or the F.B.I. Told me not to talk to you, that's it. That'st I'm done. You are doing what you are supposed to do and what the police said. And to take somebody