In Stalling for Time, the FBI's chief hostage negotiator takes readers on a harrowing tour through many of the most famous hostage crises in the history of the modern FBI, including the siege at Waco, the Montana Freemen standoff, and the D.C. sniper attacks. Having helped develop the FBI's nonviolent communication techniques for achieving peaceful outcomes in tense situations, Gary Noisier offers a candid, fascinating look back at his years as an innovator in the ranks of the Bureau and a pioneer on the front lines.
Whether vividly recounting showdowns with the radical Republic of Texas militia or clashes with colleagues and superiors that expose the internal politics of America's premier law enforcement agency, Stalling for Time crackles with insight and breathtaking suspense. Case by case, minute by minute, it's a behind-the-scenes view of a visionary crime fighter in action.
The dramatized account brings the tragic events of the deadly Waco siege to life. Noisier (Michael Shannon) plays a pivotal role in the series as he tries to actually talk Branch Dravidian cult leader David Forest (Taylor Kitsch) into surrendering without further violence.
He was present at Ruby Ridge when the standoff went rogue, resulting in the deaths of the target’s wife and son. Now, he was again at another siege at the Branch Dravidian compound in Waco’s Mount Carmel, and he was growing increasingly frustrated with the feds’ lack of interest in a peaceful and respectful negotiation.
In the end (in both real life and the series) 76 Branch Dravidians, including 25 children, lost their lives inside the compound on Apr. Throughout the entire ordeal, 82 Branch David ans died and 4 ATF officers were killed.
Towards the end of the series, Noisier breaks down crying, and it's clear he feels like a great failure had occurred. Like his character, Noisier remains critical of the more aggressive and sometimes absurd tactics taken during the infamous siege.
“It just made us look so stupid and foolish,” he said, adding that the move only confused the Branch Dravidians. Additionally, Noisier explained that David Forest eventually caught on that he had no influence over the tactical team's actions.
While the FBI defended itself publicly in the incident's aftermath, “internally there was a clear unambiguous recognition that the negotiation team and the strategy we were pursuing was proper and that the aggressive action taken by the hostage/tactical rescue team and approved by the on scene commander was not the way to go,” Noisier told Oxygen.com. He said that the on-scene commander and tactical team leader ” really had their careers end because of Waco and were nudged into retirement shortly thereafter.
Even though he remains critical of his former peers at the FBI, he still blames the Branch Dravidians for the fatal conclusion of the standoff. He also said he also didn’t do as much negotiating with Forest as depicted; rather he led a team to do most of the direct talking.
While Noisier said he thinks the FBI was treated fairly in the series, he doesn’t feel the same way about the Branch Dravidians’ depiction. “I think they painted too positive or sympathetic of a picture of Forest and his followers,” he told Oxygen.com.
“In real life David Forest was a far darker sinister manipulative narcissistic guy.” “Every single day in the negotiations we gave him an opportunity to lead his people out and do the right thing, and he consistently chose not to do so,” he said.
However, the real Noisier told Oxygen.com that he thinks the Branch Dravidians purposely set the building on fire. “Independent fire investigation verified that it was started at multiple points inside at the same time.
He noted that tear gas is used by cops quite frequently, and it has started some fires but said it’s a pretty rare occurrence. “The notion that the big old bad FBI just wanted to go in there and kill everybody isn’t true,” Noisier told Oxygen.com.
Gary ran negotiations for the first 25 days of the 51-day Waco standoff. He was removed after his bosses thought he was an “impediment to those who wanted to take a more aggressive role,” he told TIME.
The Waco miniseries is based off Gary’s book, Stalling For Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator, as well as David Thoreau’s Waco : A Survivor’s Story. On the final day of the siege, Gary watched Mount Carmel go up in flames from FBI’s headquarters.
The siege and the resulting fire on April 19, 1993, led to the deaths of 76 Branch Dravidians, including leader David Forest. “I got more angry than I had ever been in my life.” Even though he doesn’t agree on certain aspects of Waco with survivor David Thoreau, they both know there’s a lot to be learned from the tragedy.
Gary openly admits there was tension within the FBI during the Waco standoff. “There was the negotiation team that wanted to basically engage in dialogue and convince them to come out to share with the world what they thought about things.
And there was a part of the FBI that wanted to force them out, to tighten the noose as it were, to exert increasing amounts of pressure. Gary became a Senior Vice President with Control Risks, an international risk consultancy that assists clients in managing overseas kidnap incidents, according to his website.
Gary also consults independently and speaks at law enforcement conferences and corporate gatherings. Many viewers have wondered what happened to Gary Noisier, the FBI agent who led the hostage negotiations between the Branch Dravidians and the U.S. government.
In 1993, a 51-day standoff took place at the Mount Camel compound in Waco, Texas between the FBI/ATF and religious cult, the Branch Dravidians. Upon the FBI’s suspicion that the group, led by David Forest, was illegally stockpiling weapons, a timeline of events led to a tragic fire that killed 76 members of the Dravidians, including its leader and 20 children.
Originally a Paramount Network miniseries that debuted in 2018, Waco is now streaming on Netflix, and viewers are wondering about what happened to the hostage negotiator who became the liaison between Forest (and the Branch Dravidians) and the U.S. government. Although the series makes it appear as though the FBI agent was involved with the siege the entire time, it turns out that wasn't true.
According to a 2018 interview with Time, Noisier was removed from the case 25 days into the standoff because other members of the FBI thought of him as an “impediment to those who wanted to take a more aggressive role.” Noisier also pointed out that the agency called him into headquarters on the final day to watch the tragedy on the monitors. According to his official website, Noisier retired from the FBI in 2003 after a 30-year-long career, including 23 years as the chief of the agency’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, the Critical Incident Response Group.
A significant focus of his career was directed toward investigating Middle East hijackings in which American citizens were victimized. In that capacity he was heavily involved in numerous crisis incidents covering prison riots, right-wing militia standoffs, religious zealot sieges, terrorist embassy takeovers, airplane hijackings, and over 120 overseas kidnapping cases involving American citizens.
He continues to Consult independently and speaks at law enforcement conferences and corporate gatherings around the world. He has appeared in numerous television documentaries about hostage negotiation, terrorism, and kidnapping produced by the History Channel, Nat Geo, WE, Discovery, TLC, A&E, CNN, CBS, BBC, American Heroes Network, and others.
After almost 8 years in hardback, Penguin Random House has decided to release my book in both paperback and audiobook (which I was able to record). The Paramount Network had announced the production of a mini-series on the 1993 Branch Dravidian siege based in part on Gary Noisier’s book “Stalling For Time, My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator.” Actor Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire) will play Gary Noisier in the program.
Gary Noisier, a thirty-year veteran of the Bureau, has written a landmark work that’s both a nail-biting thriller and an exposé of timely importance. “Crisis Negotiations requires experience, a cool head, the ability to think on your feet in the face of extreme threat … and Gary personified each and every element.