Posts Tagged ‘Fast & Furious’

From a little while back, something I’m reminded of due to Paris, via HotAir:

The gun used during the attempted terror attack on the “Draw Muhammad” event in Texas may have been bought from the Arizona store linked to Fast and Furious. Los Angeles Timesbroke the news yesterday which also included the nugget that Nadir Soofi’s purchase was known by the federal government (emphasis mine).

Soofi’s attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.

The terrorist bought his gun from Lone Wolf Trading Co. in Arizona.  Lone Wolf was one of the gun dealers the ATF instructed to sell guns to the cartels.

The tapes Issa and Grassley refer to were recorded by Andre Howard, owner of the Lone Wolf Trading Co., after he suspected the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was lying to him about the guns they recruited him to sell to buyers of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Papers reporting this story still refuse to get Fast and Furious right.  The ATF told gun store owners to sell guns to people they knew were illegal buyers – illegal buyers they knew would send guns to Mexico.  The ATF did not have anyone in Mexico to intercept the guns (they did during Operation Wide Receiver in 2007), they simply sent guns south.

But at least the papers are getting the same answers that greeted actual reporters before:

The FBI so far has refused to release any details, including serial numbers, about the weapons used in Garland by Soofi and Simpson. Senate investigators are now pressing law enforcement agencies for answers, raising the chilling possibility that a gun sold during the botched Fast and Furious operation ended up being used in a terrorist attack against Americans.

Among other things, Johnson is demanding to know whether federal authorities have recovered the gun Soofi bought in 2010, where it was recovered and whether it had been discharged, according to the letter. He also demanded an explanation about why the initial seven-day hold was placed on the 2010 pistol purchase and why it was lifted after 24 hours.

Asked recently for an update on the Garland shooting, FBI Director James B. Comey earlier this month declined to comment. “We’re still sorting that out,” he said.

“We’re still sorting that out” is the same answer as “it’s still under investigation so we can’t talk about it and the investigation will remain open forever so we will never talk about it”, which was the standard claim the DOJ used to avoid answering any questions about Fast and Furious, except for the ones covered up by the use of Obama’s executive privilege.

Wonder why he got to purchase guns that he shouldn’t have?  Look no further than the FBI’s involvement assisting the ATF in Fast and Furious, where people who would’ve been denied under NICS (National Instant Check System) and now allowed to buy a firearm were allowed:

In the latest chapter of the gunrunning scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious, federal officials won’t say how two suspects obtained more than 360 weapons despite criminal records that should have prevented them from buying even one gun. …

When asked about the breakdown, Stephen Fischer, a spokesman for the NICS System, said the FBI had no comment. However, an ATF agent who worked on the Fast and Furious investigation, told Fox News that NICS officials called the ATF in Phoenix whenever their suspects tried to buy a gun. That conversation typically led to a green light for the buyers, when it should have stopped them.

The ATF was greenlighting criminals to buy guns.  Not something new, but with the terrorist Soofi, it’s a new twist.

Of course it’s a new twist that will result with “no comment” and “ongoing investigation” stonewalling.

It seems I have to do this every time a gunwalker story comes up, but Fast and Furious wasn’t botched.  It did exactly what it set out to do.  It sent guns to the cartels, it “proved” the “Iron River” lie, and it implicated US gun culture as something that needed to be targeted (mind you there are additional reporting requirements now for gun purchases in CA, AZ, NM and TX).


Operation Wide Receiver used the common law enforcement tactic of “controlled delivery” in which the illegal sales of weapons were allowed to take place, the movements of the weapons were closely monitored and the end purchasers were then apprehended. It involved gun-tracing, not gun-walking.

Under the “controlled delivery” of Wide Receiver, agents didn’t just write down the serial numbers and let the guns disappear as in Fast and Furious. They closely and physically followed the guns from American dealers to straw purchasers to Mexican buyers.

Most importantly, Wide Receiver was run in close cooperation with Mexican authorities, who were kept in the dark on Fast and Furious.

In contrast ATF agents involved in Fast and Furious have testified that they were ordered not to track the weapons and in cases where interdiction was possible they were ordered to stand down and actually watch the weapons walk.

ATF Special Agent John Dodson has testified how in one instance guns were sold to known illegal buyers who took them to a stash house. Against orders from his superiors, Dodson kept the stash house under surveillance and when a vehicle showed up to transfer the weapons to their ultimate destination, he called for an interdiction team to move in, seize the weapons and arrest the traffickers. His superiors refused, and the guns disappeared without surveillance.

Fast and Furious, the gift from Obama and Holder’s ATF that keeps on giving.

Sharyl Attkisson, for those who don’t know of her, is an old-school journalist.  She finds a story and she pursues it, and no amount of political rhetoric and denials will dissuade her if she has a story.

She pursued Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, just to name a few – and all because there are stories there that a good reporter would want exposed.  And they’re also stories that the Obama administration does not want exposed, because despite most of the media acting as a propaganda arm of the Democrat party, ultimately some people will hear and listen when they hear the truth – especially in contrast with handwaving and absurd denials.

sharyl attkisson

Her computers were hacked by some shadowy most-likely-government entity a while back.  I remember it coming up last year and writing about it thenTwice last year, in fact.

Now she’s got a book out and she’s elaborating.  The people in her story are mostly written about under pseudonyms for their own safety.

She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

That “laying the groundwork for possible charges” is because someone buried classified documents deep in her computer.

Next big moment: Attkisson gets her computer checked out by someone identified as “Number One,” who’s described as a “confidential source inside the government.” A climactic meeting takes place at a McDonald’s outlet at which Attkisson and “Number One” “look around” for possibly suspicious things. Finding nothing, they talk. “First just let me say again I’m shocked. Flabbergasted. All of us are. This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America.” That’s all coming from “Number One.”

The breaches on Attkisson’s computer, says this source, are coming from a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA).” Attkisson learns from “Number One” that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the “intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”

To round out the revelations of “Number One,” he informs Attkisson that he’d found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she’d never know they were even there. “Why? To frame me?” Attkisson asks in the book.

Media meta-reporter Erik Wemple (who’s so impressively attuned to everything news about news that he even asked me a few questions once) wrote several pieces on Attkisson’s encounters with electronic surveillance.

The first discusses computer intrusions as “worse than anything Nixon ever did”, and introduces us to “Jeff”, “Number One” and “Jerry Patel”, all of which are pseudonyms for various computer experts.  And in the first and into the second, we’re introduced to Don Allison of KoreLogic, who also diagnosed Attkisson’s computer, and is not protected by a pseudonym, but is behind a nondisclosure agreement for the time being.

And then there’s Wemple’s third piece, which talks about the strange case of a “spare” wire.

…By November 2012, writes Attkisson, disruptions on her home phone line were so frequent as to render it unusable: “I call home from my mobile phone and it rings on my end, but not at the house. Or it rings at home once but when my husband or daughter answers, they just hear a dial tone. At the same time, on my end, it keeps ringing and then connects somewhere, just not at my house. Sometimes, when my call connects to that mystery-place-that’s-not-my-house, I hear an electronic sounding buzz,” reads one passage in “Stonewalled.” She also alleges that her television set “spontaneously jitters, mutes, and freeze-frames.” The home alarm, too, “sounds at a different time every night” and when she checks with the alarm system, it indicates that there’s “trouble with the phone line.”

Phone, TV and computer service chez Attkisson all run on Verizon’s FiOS service. “Jeff” asks to inspect the exterior of the house in a check for anything suspicious. He finds a “stray cable dangling from the FiOS box attached to the brick wall on the outside of my house. It doesn’t belong.” “Jeff” says the cable in question is an “extra” fiber-optic line that could be used to download data and then send it off to another spot.

Attkisson takes a picture of the cable. Then she calls Verizon, which tells her that it’s not something they would have installed; they refer her to law enforcement. Attkisson doesn’t feel its a matter for the cops, and in any case Verizon calls back to say that they want to have a look for themselves as soon as possible — on New Year’s Day, no less. “Yeah, that shouldn’t be there,” the Verizon technician tells Attkisson.

Attkisson is a sensible, common sense reporter who follows leads to write reports of real life events.  She is neither Kolchak nor Mulder.

At one point, Attkisson gets a visit from pseudonymous “Terry,” who has “connections to the three-letter agencies.” “Stonewalled” takes it from here:

Terry tells me of a conversation he’d had with my husband back in 2011. He’d noticed a white utility truck parked up the street by a pond. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all,” he tells me now, shaking his head. . . . “I didn’t like it because I recognized the type of truck and the type of antennae it had. And if you look” — he points up the street — “there’s a direct line of sight from where it was parked to your house.” My husband, who once worked in law enforcement intelligence, had on several occasions in the past couple of years mentioned the presence of nondescript utility trucks parked in our neighborhood — trucks that were working on no known utility projects. Neighbors noticed, too. Ours is a small community filled with people who pay attention to such things. Some of them worked for the three-letter agencies.”

That’s the kind of thing that would make other reporters at least a tad intimidated, if not a bit paranoid.  Of course, if she lives in a neighborhood full of cops and retired spooks, this might be the amateur hour Obama G-men trainees trying to stake out people whose lives are Tom Clancy novels.

Jazz Shaw and Mary Katherine Ham have been following the story at HotAir as well, with their own opinions on the hacking and journalistic intimidation, as well as reminding us of James Rosen’s encounter with the Obama administration.

My feelings remain much the same as they did last time.

Maybe it’s as a result of too much X-Files, Shadowrun and Project Twilight in the 90s, but I find this government spying stuff is damn creepy.  From the NSA’s massive computer and phone data mining to electronically targeting reporters, it’s like 90s conspiracy-themed entertainment has become 2009-present reality.

I’m sure there’s a pop-culture scholarly way to compare Nowhere Man and The Net to current events, but it’s less fun than it is disturbing when you think about it for too long – even if Attkisson and her three-letter agency neighbors are precisely the kind of people who are adept at navigating that kind of world.

Eric Holder’s calling it quits.

And congress is still proceeding with looking into Fast and Furious, now years later.

The contempt of Congress case against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — the first sitting Cabinet member ever to face such a congressional rebuke — will continue even after his resignation takes effect, but it’s unlikely he will ever face personal punishment, legal analysts said Thursday.

Mr. Holder, is expected to announce his resignation later Thursday, and Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the timing is not accidental: A federal judge earlier this week ruled that the Justice Department will have to begin submitting documents next month related to the botched Fast and Furious gun operation in a case brought by Judicial Watch.

“I don’t think it’s any coincidence he’s resigning as the courts are ruling the Fast and Furious information has to be released,” Mr. Fitton told The Washington Times.

It’s not a coincidence.  He’s quitting so he can dodge criminal charges that would stick.

Last month’s news:

A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to provide Congress with a list of documents that are at the center of a long-running battle over a failed law enforcement program called Operation Fast and Furious.

In a court proceeding Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson set an Oct. 1 deadline for producing the list to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

He’s quitting so the Democrat-held senate can force a successor through, just in case the Democrats lose the senate in the mid-term elections.

He’s also quitting so that he won’t be in office and thus will be eligible for presidential pardons.

holder fucks

He stonewalled long enough to slither out of office, but no doubt his successor will be a miserable leftist as well and Holder will be back as a consultant or advisor or in some other role where he can continue his schemes.

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".

From Politico, a glowing retrospective on what a wonderful angel Eric Holder is and how everyone who questions his actions is racist.  Fast and Furious has been rendered a footnote to the left.

Holder, people close to him say, isn’t much hurt by the criticism over Wall Street, Gitmo, KSM or even the leaks; he remains confident that his decisions ultimately reflected the priorities of his boss. The same cannot be said for the 2012 vote by the GOP-controlled House to hold him in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over emails and documents linked to the Fast & Furious operation—a Justice-led gun sting that resulted in the death of a veteran Border Patrol agent in 2010. The vote was unenforceable. But no other sitting Cabinet member had ever faced a similar rebuke, and it remains the sorest of subjects with Holder.

Holder views the vote as emblematic of Republicans’ disrespect for Obama and himself, and he thinks that race is one, but not the only, factor in their attacks. Two people in his orbit told me he has described appearing before congressional committees as an experience akin to staring at a hostile “wall of Southern men.” (For the record: All of the 22 Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are white, 21 are male and more than half are from Southern or border states).

“It was all about politics and had nothing to do with law enforcement,” insists former Holder spokesman Matt Miller. “They wanted to get his head.”

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, ICE Agent Jaime Zapata, and hundreds of Mexicans are dead because of Holder’s ATF.

fast and furious 2010 massacre teens

No one has been held accountable for those hundreds of deaths since Holder simply chose to stonewall.  The left said nothing about Fast and Furious until Holder was held in contempt, and then started lying about it and protecting the Obama administration and the “survivor” Attorney General.

Holder is so disgusted with Rep. Darrell Issa, the aggressive California Republican who chairs House Oversight, that aides find it hard to keep Holder sitting still during the necessary prep sessions. Holder often commiserates about his grillings, via text messages and email, with a group of supportive African-American journalists and public figures, including Rev. Al Sharpton; Juan Williams, the NPR commentator turned Fox contributor; former CNN analyst Roland Martin; Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post; NPR’s Michele Norris; and her husband, Broderick Johnson, a White House aide—a cadre that often encourages Holder to push back harder than his more cautious in-house advisers.

Issa, in a 2012 letter to Holder, denied any other motives than “legitimate Congressional inquiry” and accused Holder of stonewalling to prevent a “co-equal branch of government” from performing its “Constitutional duty.” Members of Issa’s committee have shown no signs of backing off either.

This is what Holder sent to the Oversight & Reform committee:

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

Thousands of pages of redactions with no information.  Lies upon lies upon lies, and Holder is mad because someone dares to hold him accountable for the actions of his department and the coverup he has engaged in.  Holder, a racist, screams “white people!” if someone questions him.  Holder’s feelings are hurt because he was called out for the hundreds of dead Mexicans and two US agents killed by his operation.  Yet the left’s violent ideological blinders only allow them to see Holder’s hurt feelings in a vacuum, as though nothing has happened.

The entire Politico piece can be best summed up with: “Holder is good.  Republicans are racist and hate him for no reason.  Everything else is a lie.”

The facts of the past are entirely rewritten by the left.

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.

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.