Ruby Ridge: U.S. Senate Criticism

The Hearings

From September 6 to September 14, 1995, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings relating to the Ruby Ridge siege.

Questioned about his extreme racial views, Weaver admitted he was a white separatist: "I'm not a hateful racist as most people understand it. I believe that if there is separation of races, scripturally speaking, that's what I believe is right."

As reported by the Associated Press:

"On Aug. 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,'" Weaver said.

On the killing of his wife, Weaver said, "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."

His voice broke as he described his wife slumping to the floor, their 10-month-old daughter still in her arms. Weeping in the audience was his oldest daughter, Sara, who also was to testify.


"If I had it to do over again, knowing what I know now, I would make different choices," Weaver said. "I would come down from the mountain for the court appearance."

Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who killed Weaver's wife, refused to answer the Senate panel's questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. Horiuchi's lawyer recommended that Horiuchi not testify because an Idaho prosecutor was considering criminal charges against Horiuchi.


On December 21, the U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee on terrorism released its report on the Ruby Ridge standoff between Randy Weaver's family and the FBI. The panel concluded that FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi's shot that killed Vicki Weaver was illegal and violated her civil rights.

The panel criticized FBI Director Louis J. Freeh's "questionable judgement" in promoting Larry Potts after reprimanding him for his role in the incident. Potts and four other top FBI officials were suspended while a federal criminal probe investigated the destruction of documents related to the incident.

The focal point of the Senate's criticism is the FBI's "Hostage Rescue Team," which originally only operated in foreign countries, is overtly militaristic and aggressive, and is used in situations where there are no hostages to be rescued.

The panel also criticized the U.S. Marshals service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for their roles, saying, "While Randy Weaver made mistakes, so did every federal law enforcement agency involved in the Ruby Ridge incident."