The exhibit features items and information from some of the most high profile cases, including J. Edgar Hoover’s desk, the Unabomber’s cabin, and a picture pained by serial killer John Wayne Gacy. There is also information about how journalists worked with (or against) the FBI to obtain information.
A portion of the exhibit is dedicated to the coverage of the tragedy in Waco involving David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. On Saturday, I was able to meet reporter Vicki Mabrey and FBI hostage negotiator Byron Sage. Both were on the scene during the Branch Dividian conflict. They talked about the conflict and answered questions for the Newseum’s “Inside Media” program.
Mabrey said she left her home with only four days of clothes. She was gone for 51 days. Sage said he left with three days of clothes.
Mabrey says the network ended up sending more than 12 reporters to cover the conflict. Just a few days before the crisis ended, there were only a few correspondents still on the scene.
Both Mabrey and Sage said they were astounded when flames engulfed the compound. Mabrey says she first saw the flames while gathering information in an RV the network rented. Her live report is featured in the exhibit. Sage says shortly after the conflict, a gag order was placed on the FBI. He says this was a mistake because it allowed many false rumors and speculation to taint the actual facts of the Branch Davidian case.
The exhibit is on display through June 2009.