For six years, hundreds of containers of evidence relating to the federal government’s raid on the Branch Davidian compound have sat in an Austin storage room, protected by the Texas Department of Public Safety and rarely seeing the light of day.

Requests from the public and the media for access to that evidence – which includes videotapes, photographs and audiotapes that may paint an unflattering picture of the government’s conduct during the 1993 raid near Waco – have typically been met by confounding replies from federal and state officials.