Posts Tagged ‘ATF’

From Katie Pavlich:

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit pursued against the Department of Justice by government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege must be turned over. Obama made the claim on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June 2012.

It’s been a very long road to this point, but now there’s an order to comply.

The documentation DOJ is required to now turn over is a “Vaughn index” of “all requested Fast and Furious materials from a June 2012 Judicial Watch FOIA request.”

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

Of course, the problem is going to be that the documents will all be “lost”.  The DOJ will simply have gone through a dozen hard drive crashes and documents will never be returned or found and will all be “accidentally” destroyed somehow.

Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner’s probably already working over at DOJ.

The Obama DOJ has already shown it will murder people and arm narcoterrorist cartels.  The Obama administration has destroyed evidence over much less than an international conspiracy to murder.  Why would they follow a judge’s order?  And why would any incriminating documents still exist?  They’ve had years now to cover up their crimes and destroy evidence because those seeking the truth are limited to legal means, while the criminals in the White House and DOJ are totally free to commit crimes free of all repercussions.

But they’re still the most transparent administration ever.  Sort of like how Michael Moore is the world’s fittest man.

I guess the blacked-out stacks of pages DOJ sent to the House Oversight & Reform committee will be the closest we’ll probably see, but reminds us again of the thugs in the adminstration we’re dealing with:

That's not a print of Malevich's "Black Square".

Via Breitbart, Eric Holder’s gunrunning ATF is planning to use drones:

Attorney General Eric Holder admitted Tuesday that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was in the process of looking at the use of domestic drones.  …

“Within the Department, the only component that uses these vehicles at this point is the FBI,” Holder explained. “The ATF in the process of working through to see if they want to make use of them.”

And via the Daily Caller, Eric Holder getting mad at being called out for being held in contempt.  Full video of the exchange between TX Rep Louie Gohmert and Mexican-cartel-arms-merchant General Eric “You Don’t Wanna Go There” Holder:

Gohmert is entirely too nice to Holder, and unfortunately seems to try to address a couple too many points as his time runs out.

Remember Fearless Distributing, the ATF’s plan to create crime in Milwaukee?  Or the score of other crime-creating ATF programs in the last year or so?  Apparently just like the ATF’s Gunwalker Operations like Fast and Furious and Castaway, they’re just going to go ahead and never answer any congressional inquiries and simply expect to never be held accountable.

From FOX:

Rep. Darrell Issa has subpoenaed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for information about what he calls a “dangerously mismanaged” program, which originally was launched to get crime guns off the street.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, has been looking into complaints about the program for months. Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

Issa, R-Calif., claimed this week that the ATF has stonewalled him by withholding documents and shown a “complete lack of cooperation.”

“I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena,” he wrote to ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “… The time for hollow promises is over.”

Yup, now is the time for coverup and the media to carry the Obama administration’s water.  For those who say FOX is a conservative news outlet, it’s worth reading how this story is written when it comes to the ATF’s actions.

Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

If you’re not familiar with it, read the Journal-Sentinel article.  There aren’t “missteps” that drew criticism.  The entire operation is based around the premise of creating crime in order to say they fought crime.

Details on problems with the program first emerged last January, when The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on missteps in Milwaukee under the program known as Operation Fearless. In that operation, thousands of dollars in merchandise, as well as several guns, were reportedly stolen from ATF agents.

Again, “missteps”, like this was Chevrolet launching a car with wipers that didn’t work.

Details of other similar operations in other cities later emerged, including claims that one operation was located across the street from a middle school. House committees are now investigating, on the heels of the controversy over the botched anti-gun trafficking Operation Fast and Furious.

And here we get to a big one, and a whopper that somehow exists across the media.  Operation Fast and Furious was not botched.  It did just what it set out to do.  It armed the cartels, got guns to the cartels, blamed American gun stores, and got people killed… and when F&F guns were found at murder scenes, ATF supervisers were practically “giddy” (in the words of whistleblower John Dodson).

There was no “botched” about it.  Fast and Furious worked as intended – just the intentions are so insane that people refuse to accept it for what it was.

When congress began questioning whodunnit, the local ATF guys like Bill Newell gave non-answers, the higher-ups gave no answers, and the paper trail consisted of the DOJ issuing redacted blacked-out non-documents to congress while shredding the real thing:

That's not a print of Malevich's "Black Square".

The FOX story continues, but with watered-down treatment again:

ATF agents, though, have defended the storefront program, saying lawmakers overstate the problem.

“Putting this into context, there were deficiencies with the storefront operations, but there have been many successes and it still remains a viable technique when managed well,” ATF Deputy Director Tom Brandon told lawmakers recently.

The operation in Milwaukee, despite its flaws, resulted in dozens of arrests.

“There were deficiencies?”  The ATF defends it, despite it being a crime-creating program, because people will report it without asking why, and without simply restating what it did and how it did it.

Dozens of arrests are meaningless as a statistic against crime, and dozens of arrests when a fedgov agency is off creating crime being used as a defense is horrible.

It’d be like if the Army said of the My Lai Massacre, “Putting this into context, there were missteps, but we got a body count of 347 probable enemy, so it still remains a viable technique”.

Again, keep in mind this is FOX that’s writing the bland media line about what the ATF did.  Other outlets simply don’t report it at all.

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The only reason this stuff has continued is because the press refuses to do their job.  And the few hard-nosed real reporters left are left hung out to dry for doing their jobs.

Theirs are cruel and tragic.  In addition to being offensive, stupid, destructive to communities, exploitative of the mentally handicapped, and entrapment when they hire felons to work in their phony gun stores.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that in addition to Fearlessly Distributing guns to criminals, the ATF has plenty more violently stupid operations going on:

Agents pressed suspects for specific firearms that could fetch tougher penalties in court. They allowed felons to walk out of the stores armed with guns. In Wichita, agents suggested a felon take a shotgun, saw it off and bring it back — and provided instructions on how to do it. The sawed-off gun allowed them to charge the man with a more serious crime.

In Pensacola, the ATF hired a felon to run its pawnshop. The move widened the pool of potential targets, boosting arrest numbers.Even those trying to sell guns legally could be charged if they knowingly sold to a felon. The ATF’s pawnshop partner was later convicted of pointing a loaded gun at someone outside a bar. Instead of a stiff sentence typically handed down to repeat offenders in federal court, he got six months in jail — and a pat on the back from the prosecutor.

There are all kinds of these storefront operations set up around the country, where the ATF goes in, rents a storefront, sells goods for below cost, then offers to buy stolen items and guns.  It ends up creating crime.

An undercover operation in Atlanta, a smoke shop called ATL Blaze, experienced similar problems. Some defendants came to the store as many as 20 times after stealing weapons and other goods.

Some guns were stolen from police squad cars. ATF agents said in court documents they tried to deter such thefts by paying less for police guns.

The burglaries associated with ATL Blaze caused other problems for local law enforcement. Sheriff’s deputies and local police — unaware the weapons had already been recovered by federal agents — scrambled around to solve the burglaries, spending untold resources interviewing witnesses.

At times, they never solved the case. And the weapons never made it back to the owners.

A Hi-Point pistol stolen from a car just after Christmas in 2010, for example, was still listed as stolen by the Fulton County Police Department when the Journal Sentinel contacted the department last month. ATF agents bought the gun at their secret storefront a week after it was taken.

“If the ATF recovered this weapon, it should be in our system.” said Lt. G.T. Johnson, of the department. “We have not received any notification that it was recovered.”

The lack of communication not only affects the clearance rate for the police department but also is a problem for whoever has the gun now, Johnson said.

Molchan, the state prosecutor in Pensacola, said there were worries at the outset that the sting might encourage more burglaries, but agents in charge concluded the risk was worth it.

“That is one of the concerns that you have going into something like this,” he said. “That is certainly worrisome.”

And it’s not just residents that got hit by the thieves. Anything for a Buck itself was ripped off, just like the agency’s Fearless storefront in Milwaukee. The Pensacola sting was burglarized at least twice, records show.

“I remember hearing that and kind of laughing about it, ‘We got burglarized,'” Molchan said.

Despite those problems, Molchan said he thinks the operation was successful.

“We did accomplish getting the bad guys off the street and incarcerated them,” he said. “Certainly no operation is perfect, but overall we view it as a major success.”

They accomplished creating crime where there was less before they arrived.  They don’t live in those neighborhoods, and yet they worked to destroy local communities, hurt residents with crime, generate more crime, burden local authorities with having to fight the crime they create, and then leave victims of theft still violated by the loss of their property.

One of the larger thefts linked to the operation was that of engagement and wedding rings, worth $15,000, that were stolen four months after the store opened.

“It requires no great thinking to know if you accept stolen goods in a pawnshop … people are going to sell you stolen goods,” said Harris, the professor from Pittsburgh. “You’re asking people who frequent that place to rob and burglarize their neighbors.”

It’s unclear how many of the stolen items were returned to their rightful owners. The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office put thousands of items on display at an open house after the bust and invited the public to come in to claim their belongings. Laptops, GPS devices, tools and jewelry filled the room.

According to local news accounts at the time, just 23 items — not including guns — were returned to 10 people. The sheriff’s office refused to answer Journal Sentinel questions.

But wait, there’s more – ATF agents encouraged local kids who hung out at the Squid’s pawn shop next to a school (for added school zone crime penalties) to play video games to get tattoos:

Glover and Key, both 19 at the time, were regulars at Squid’s. Glover lived right around the corner and spent hours at a time playing video games with Squid and people he thought were store workers.

One day the idea of getting a tattoo came up, Glover told the Journal Sentinel.  Glover said he was reluctant, but that he was persuaded by the guys at Squid’s, who he thought were his friends.

“It was like, ‘Now you guys are honorary members of the club,'” Glover said. “We was young at the time … I was so naive.”

After they got the tattoos, he said agents took pictures and posted them on the phony storefront’s Facebook page and website.

“They humiliated us,” he said. “They were making a mockery of us.”

Glover was ultimately charged with trading an ounce of marijuana for clothing at the store. The charge included selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

Little, who spent eight years as a federal prosecutor in California and a year as associate deputy attorney general in Washington, D.C., said he had never heard of such out-of-bounds behavior by federal agents.

“That’s about as far over the line as you can imagine,” Little said. “The government shouldn’t be encouraging people to permanently disfigure their bodies.”

Little was apparently unaware of Fast and Furious, where the ATF ran guns to the Mexican narcoterrorist cartels with the intent of finding them at crime scenes.

Charles Cooke at NRO did a piece on the Journal-Sentinel story and even got Fast and Furious wrong:

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is probably best known these days for the failure of its disastrous Fast and Furious scheme — a botched initiative that aimed to give American guns to Mexican cartels first and to ask questions later. Under pressure, the administration was quick to imply that the mistake was an aberration.

There was nothing “botched” about it.  The ATF set out to send guns to the cartels and did so.  They intended to send guns to the cartels, and they did so.  The administration made up their own story, but proceeded to hide behind executive privilege when pressed for details and information about who was responsible.

If something is an “aberration” or a “botched sting”, then there’s nothing to hide.  There’s only accepting responsibility for mistakes.  Fast and Furious was no mistake.

Fearless Distributing and Squids and Anything for a Buck were not mistakes – they were all deliberate strategies by the ATF.  The ATF agents above even said they believe they’re doing the right thing by creating crime because then they take “bad guys off the street” – bad guys they enabled, supported, and helped to facilitate.

They hired felons in their stores to entrap people.  They contributed and encouraged thefts and crime.  They kept local law enforcement in the dark while spurring criminal enterprises in their communities.  They took advantage of the mentally handicapped.  They gave guns to felons walking out of their own stores – people they knew were criminals – and did nothing.

The JPFO is right – it’s time to boot the ATF.

From Breitbart:

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) told local supporters at a town hall in his northern Florida district Tuesday night that he and other Republicans are currently drafting a resolution seeking impeachment for Attorney General Eric Holder.

“It’s to get him out of office—impeachment,” Yoho said of the forthcoming resolution, according to the Ocala Star-Banner newspaper, adding, “it will probably be when we get back in (Washington). It will be before the end of the year. This will go to the speaker and the speaker will decide if it comes up or not.”

The local newspaper noted that Yoho and other House Republicans are planning to approach House Speaker John Boehner with the plan shortly.

I’ll believe it when I see it.  That said, like Mulder, I want to believe.

holder hope he goes to prison w crAs usual, though, there’s a fundamental error with so many Republicans:

“Obviously there is a lot frustration with our attorney general. You can name the botched programs,” Cammack (ST: Cat Cammack, Yoho’s chief-of-staff) said. “Fast and Furious has been one of the No. 1 complaints we get in our office and why no one has been held accountable.”

Fast and Furious was not botched.  It did exactly what it set out to do.  The ATF sent guns to the cartels, knowingly.  They had the FBI violate the law so felons could pass NICS background checks, they told their own agents to stand off, and their supervisors were “giddy” when they found weapons at murder scenes in Mexico.  They were all about sending guns to the cartels.  It was used to push for more gun control, it was used to further the 90% lie, it was used to create an anti-gun narrative about an “iron river” of guns going south that just wasn’t so.

It was not botched, it was exposed.

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And as of last month in Arizona, whistleblower John Dodson has been kicked off his CBP liason job:

The federal agent who blew the whistle on the Fast and Furious scandal is suddenly unwelcome at the very Border Patrol agency he sought to protect.

For months, John Dodson, a special agent at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has been his agency’s liaison to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in a local office in Arizona.

He also had been widely saluted by border agents and their families for first revealing that weapons that ATF knowingly allowed to cross into Mexico were showing up at murder scenes on both sides of the border.

One of those scenes was the December 2010 fatal shooting of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, whose family has publicly thanked Mr. Dodson for coming forward.

But Mr. Dodson was abruptly moved aside Tuesday from his CBP liaison role just hours after it was disclosed in The Washington Times that he had sought the help of the American Civil Liberties Union in his fight to publish a book on the Fast and Furious case.

I’d guess there’s more to this.  Also, CBP management and CBP employees are often of two very different minds.

The ACLU is a frequent legal nemesis of law enforcement, intervening in lawsuits over the privacy and rights of people under investigation. The ACLU has raised concerns about the militarization of police units funded by the Homeland Security Department, the parent agent for the Border Patrol.

“Going to the ACLU was seen as a real poke in the eye of law enforcement, along with wanting to do a tell-all book while still on the job. This was viewed by CBP as crossing the thin blue line,” one law enforcement official told The Times.

Again, this is a management decision, not a line agent decision.  I suspect there’s a lot more to this than meets the eye.

That said, the American Communist Lawyers Union is an organization that loathes the Second Amendment, supports the ATF’s mission of citizen disarmament, loves illegal aliens, and generally hates the Border Patrol more than the cartels do.

From Sharyl Attkisson at CBS News:

(CBS News) CBS News has learned of a shocking link between a deadly drug cartel shootout with Mexican police last week and a controversial case in the U.S. The link is one of the grenades used in the violent fight, which killed three policemen and four cartel members and was captured on video by residents in the area.

According to a Justice Department “Significant Incident Report” filed Tuesday and obtained by CBS News, evidence connects one of the grenades to Jean Baptiste Kingery, an alleged firearms trafficker U.S. officials allowed to operate for years without arresting despite significant evidence that he was moving massive amounts of grenade parts and ammunition to Mexico’s ruthless drug cartels.

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The Kingery case was overseen by the same Arizona U.S. Attorney and ATF office that let suspects traffic thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels in the operation dubbed Fast and Furious. The strategy was to try to get to the cartel kingpins, but it was halted after CBS News reported that Fast and Furious weapons were used by cartel thugs in the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry on December 15, 2010. Weapons trafficked by other ATF suspects under surveillance were used two months later in the cartel murder of Immigration and Customs Agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico on February 15, 2011.

The ATF watched him ship grenades and components to Mexico, but did nothing but watch with glee at another chance to prop up the idea that they need more funding and power and you need your rights curtailed… because they’re breaking the law and facilitating weapons smuggling.

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And meanwhile, the ATF is squelching whistleblower John Dodson’s desire to write a book about Fast and Furious, based on the idea that it would be damaging to morale.  Their most recent decision is that they can’t actually not let him publish it, but they can censor the work.

A U.S. law enforcement official familiar with the matter says the Justice Department, ATF and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will review Dodson’s manuscript and, after making redactions to protect sensitive law enforcement information, will clear it for publication. However, federal employee guidelines prohibit Dodson and other active agents from making a profit from their work in law enforcement, the official said.

Pretty sure Darrell Issa already got an advance copy of what the DOJ-approved manuscript will look like:

That's not a print of Malevich's "Black Square".

Not content with undermining and destroying the Second Amendment, the ATF is now targeting the first by trying to hush up whistleblower Jon Dodson’s book on Fast and Furious:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is blocking the main whistleblower in the Fast and Furious case from publishing a book for pay, claiming his retelling of the Mexico “gun-walking” scandal will hurt morale inside the embattled law enforcement agency, according to documents obtained by The Washington Times.

ATF’s dispute with Special Agent John Dodson is setting up a First Amendment showdown that is poised to bring together liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and conservatives in Congress who have championed Mr. Dodson’s protection as a whistleblower.

The way the ATF is trying to do this is by claiming it’s employment outside the agency, and simply rejecting it.

Documents show that one of Mr. Dodson’s supervisors in Arizona, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Carlos Canino, rejected his request July 19 and was backed in the decision by the agent in charge of the office, Thomas G. Atteberry, four days later.

Supervisors ultimately don’t make those decisions in the fedgov.  Requests for outside employment will go up at least to the level of an “agent in charge” of an office, station, or area of operations.

Their rejection made no claims that the book would release sensitive or classified information or compromise ongoing law enforcement proceedings.

Rather, the supervisors offered a different reason for their decision. “This would have a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix [Field Division] and would have a detrimental effect on our relationships with DEA and FBI.”

Given that Canino also testified in front of congress, I’m not sure what his personal opinion on the book would be, but he’s probably also being pressured from above.

The ATF general counsel’s office subsequently sanctioned the decision, all but killing the book project.

“An employee’s supervisory chain may disapprove any outside employment request for any reason, at any supervisory level,” ATF attorney Greg Serres wrote Mr. Dodson on Aug. 29, underlining the word “any” for emphasis. “The Office of Chief Counsel cannot approve outside employment requests in lieu of the supervisory chain’s disapproval.

“Therefore, your request to engage in outside employment is denied,” he said.

Again, to write a book, which will net a paycheck when published, is something that can be denied.  The idea behind this (for other agencies) is that it limits corruption and allows for a CYA by employees as they can show that other income isn’t from being crooked, and it allows managers to determine if an outside job will take too much time and interest away from the employee’s duties.

This, however, is just saying “don’t tell the truth because it’ll hurt our feelings” at best, but more “don’t tell the truth because the ATF is a destructive, corrupt, tyrannical agency”.

And here the story begins to get the basics of Fast and Furious wrong:

In all, ATF officials permitted more than 1,700 semi-automatic weapons to flow through the hands of straw buyers for the Mexican cartels, with many crossing the border.

Senior ATF officials hoped to trace the guns to crimes, then make a bigger case against the Mexican drug lords. The strategy, however, backfired when hundreds of the weapons began showing up at crime scenes on both sides of the border, including at the December 2010 murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

The strategy didn’t backfire.  In testimony to congress, the operation was described to send guns south so they would be found at crime scenes.  That was the whole plan.

The Mexican authorities didn’t know, and Darren Gil, ATF attache in Mexico, didn’t know.  No one in Mexico, whether US or Mexican authorities, knew about the plan to send guns south.  There was no way to interdict the guns, and there was no way to make a case against the cartels.  This is one of the things that left the investigators on Oversight and Reform shocked (even a Democrat or two, before their party line programming kicks in).

The story goes on with a couple more huge lies from the ATF.

The ATF, under new director B. Todd Jones, says it has imposed sweeping procedures to ensure gun-walking doesn’t occur in future cases.

That’s a joke.  Todd Jones was one of the architects of Fast and Furious.

The book dispute with Mr. Dodson, however, is not the first First Amendment controversy to erupt in the aftermath of the scandal.

Last year, Mr. Jones raised alarm in Congress and inside his own agency when he released a videotaped message that warned agencies that there would be “consequences” if agents blew the whistle on wrongdoing outside their chain of command.

The message led to claims that whistleblowing would be chilled, and ATF subsequently clarified Mr. Jones‘ remarks to emphasize that the agency would not interfere with legitimate whistleblowing activities.

Note the key word there “legitimate”.  They’ll decide what’s “legitimate” and what’s not.  And what’s “legitimate” and what’s not is defined as what helps the Obama administration versus hurts it.

The ATF will retaliate.  They already have against most of the whistleblowers, and they will continue to do so.

scorpion and frog