In the final assault ending the 1993 siege of a compound in Waco, Texas , in which 76 people were killed, the FBI fired 40mm M651 CS and Ferret CS rounds into buildings containing adults and children as part of their strategy.

On 19 April 1993, President Clinton stated that he had been informed by Attorney General Janet Reno that:

the tear gas [CS] had been tested and would not cause permanent damage to adults or children

Putting aside whether it had been tested on children prior to Clinton's statement, is it true that the use of CS tear gas (used in the concentrations at Waco) would not have permanently harmed children?

  • 4
    @Oddthinking: Right now I am in doubt what actually is being asked here; 1) can CS be harmful or not; 2) could CS be harmful in the specific circumstances that the statement was about; 3) did President Clinton say the truth (as he knew it) or lie in his statement. I realized the ambiguity only after I found the linked factoid, and lost interest. In such circumstances I drop the factoid in a comment so someone else could expand on it.
    – DevSolar
    Nov 28, 2018 at 14:17
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    Please choose one of the approaches - it is unfair on the answerers not to know which you would accept. Generally, we avoid making the questions about the claimant. (1) If it is notable, then many people believe it, not just Clinton. (2) Clinton said that Reno said that tests showed that the CS was safe. Clinton would still be right if no tests were done or tests were done and were wrong, or tests were done and were right, just as long as Reno said it.
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 28, 2018 at 15:41
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    @DavePhD: Clinton did not use CS gas. He neither came up with the idea nor with the amount used. What he did was authorize the plan others came up with, and told him would be "safe". I understand that it is common to contract statements like that, but I think it's unfair in an investigatory context like this.
    – DevSolar
    Nov 29, 2018 at 8:27
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    Is the core question whether CS gas is bad? If so, why is the Waco incident even relevant. CS is widely used and mostly in situations uncomplicated by deaths from fire and shooting. The people of Waco had far more deadly things to worry about. And plenty of civilian protests are suppressed with CS which would surely produce less conflicted data on its effects.
    – matt_black
    Nov 29, 2018 at 10:08
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    And what @DevSolar said: Clinton did not use any CS gas; he was not there — on-site — to shoot canisters or drive vehicles. Agents of authorities under his administration used them. Sure, he was at the time the highest authority for all federal agents, but that does not means that same as to say that he — personally — deployed the gas.
    – user32299
    Nov 29, 2018 at 11:42


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