18 September 2001 Assessment of Waco, Texas FLIR videotape
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Abstract
The FLIR video recorded by the FBI on 19 April 1993, records the final assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and the fire in which some 80 members of the sect died. Attention has focused on a number of flashes recorded on the videotape. The author has examined the 1993 videotape and the recorded videotapes of the re-enactment conducted at Fort Hood, Texas on 19 March 2000. The following conclusions have been reached: 1) The flashes seen on the tape cannot be weapons muzzle flash. Their duration is far too long and their spatial extent is far too great. They are almost certainly the result of solar energy or heat energy form nearby vehicles reflected toward the FLIR by debris or puddles. 2) The FLIR video technology has a very low probability of detecting small arms muzzle flash. 3) As a consequence of 2) above, the absence of muzzle flash detection on the FLIR tape does not prove that no weapons were actually fired during the final assault. Indeed, there is ample evidence (not presented here) that the Davidians fired at the federal agents, but none of their muzzle flashes are detectable on the videotape.
© (2001) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Donald S. Frankel, "Assessment of Waco, Texas FLIR videotape", Proc. SPIE 4370, Targets and Backgrounds VII: Characterization and Representation, (18 September 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.440088; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.440088
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