As a three-episode documentary series we can only describe as equal parts bewildering, intriguing, solemn, and heartbreaking, Netflix’s ‘Waco: American Apocalypse’ is simply unlike any other. That’s because it features interviews with not just Branch Davidian cult members but also former federal officials to really shine a light on the 1993 51-day deadly standoff between the two groups. Amongst them was Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Hostage Rescue Team Sniper Christopher “Chris” Whitcomb — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about him, here’s what we know.
Who is Chris Whitcomb?
It was back in early 1986 when Chris Whitcomb had initially applied for a position within the FBI upon feeling the need to do more in life, unaware that his world would turn upside down in March 1987. After all, the stable, married man went straight from being a Speechwriter and Press Secretary for Congressman Silvio Ottavio Conte in Washington DC to undertaking a gurgling training program. The entire thing was both exciting as well as tiring for him, yet he did so well at every step he managed to gradually rise up the ranks and became a part of the elite Hostage Rescue Team in 1991.
Though the truth is, HRT is where Chris truly proved his mettle by distinguishing himself as an Assaulter, Explosives Expert, Sniper, and Tactical Helicopter Operations Officer in nearly every situation. Thus, it comes as no surprise that in his six years as a team member, he was awarded numerous accolades, including the FBI’s Medal of Bravery for exceptional courage in the line of active duty. This recognition speaks for itself, but it’s imperative to note the fact he was involved in high-profile cases such as the 1992 LA Riots, the 1992 Ruby Ridge case, and the 1993 Waco Seige helped as well.
Chris then reportedly took advantage of his Master’s degree in Education to evolve into an Interrogation Tactics trainer for new agents and international law enforcement officers at the FBI Academy. As if that’s not enough, he even penned an innovative training protocol called Integrated Case Scenario during this period, which continues to be a big part of the curriculum for new agents. However, this elite’s final assignment before retiring in 2001 was much different — it was to serve as Director of Strategic Information Management at the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Group.
In other words, knowing it was time for him to move on following 15 years of service, Chris not only mentored upcoming agents but also oversaw crisis-specific planning as well as management. Yet this information command position was arguably the most traumatic for him since it involved working through weapons of mass destruction, terrorist threats, and exotic criminal investigations. The prime example: the February 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing in New York City (much before 9/11) or the October 12, 2000, USS Cole suicide bombing by al-Qaeda in Aden, Yemen.
Where is Chris Whitcomb Now?
Considering Chris Whitcomb’s incredible FBI career, one of the first things he is often asked is how many individuals he has killed, but he has always carefully refrained from throwing a set number out there. This is because he believes our already violent society might end up glorifying his actions, which would do more harm than good, especially since each situation was literally kill-or-be-killed for him. “I’ve seen many of these books where people come out and say 97 confirmed kills and things like that,” the former agent once said.
Chris continued, “Law enforcement’s very different than military operations. I remember when I first went to the FBI Academy, an instructor came out and said, ‘Look here’s a gun, we’re going to teach you how to shoot it, we’re going to teach you how to clean it, how to wear it, all of these things, but we can’t teach you what it’s going to be like after you actually use the thing.’ And he talked to us in very personal terms about what happened the first time he shot someone, and it was, it was a very traumatic thing, it was a very traumatic thing from him…”
He added, “I really stay away from that because of the personal toll; it’s a very, very different thing than most people think.” Coming to Chris’ life following retirement, he actually penned a memoir titled ‘Cold Zero: Inside the Hostage Rescue Team’ in 2001 prior to delving into the world of fiction writing. In fact, he published his debut novel ‘Black’ in 2005, immediately followed by ‘White’ in 2006, both of which reportedly did very well despite him being a still-growing, first-time author.
Furthermore, in 2007, Chris Whitcomb co-established Watch House International to offer secured infrastructure development in over 30 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The former CEO of this organization even continues to speak internationally on security/crisis-resolution matters, all the while writing on a freelance basis for several global publications.