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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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December 9, 2013 - 6:53 am

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that its investigation of the secretive Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has turned up an operation that — get this — targets brain-damaged people and uses them to set up storefront sting operations. Those storefront sting ops have turned out to be rogue ops full of sketchy, dangerous tactics and outcomes.

Concerns about planning and oversight of undercover operations date to at least the late 1990s when the ATF was part of the Treasury Department. Discussions were held by top officials not only from Treasury but from the Department of Justice and others in hopes of bringing ATF investigations in line with other federal agency standards.

“It was a source of frustration for everybody,” said Rory Little, a former longtime federal prosecutor who participated in the meetings.

Nearly 20 years later, many of the same problems exist.

Butbecause much of the agency’s work is done secretly, the public hasn’t known.

Problems with storefront stings surfaced publicly earlier this year when the Journal Sentinel followed up on a tip from a Milwaukee landlord that the ATF had damaged his building and left behind sensitive documents revealing details about undercover agents and their operation.

The newspaper’s investigation found the operation, dubbed Fearless Distributing, was marred by far more than the landlord knew. A machine gun and other weapons had been stolen from an agent’s car, the storefront was burglarized, agents arrested the wrong people and hired the brain-damaged man, who had an IQ of 54, to set up gun and drug deals.

The machine gun has not been recovered.

Members of Congress from both parties demanded answers, sparking an internal investigation by the ATF and a review by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General. Eight months later, the ATF has not released its findings and the Justice Department investigation is not complete.

We’ll only get anything out of DoJ if the problems go no higher than the agency itself. Or, if the administration can manage to come down on the ATF without jeopardizing its own Fast and Furious cover-up.

So, this will get buried.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (4)
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Well, in a way, it shows that the department is trying to be efficient and save the taxpayers (i.e., Republican voters) money, since brain-damaged individuals are easy enough to locate from the Democrat voter registration lists. Of course, they still have to weed out the dead, the Disney characters, the duplicates and the cattle first.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Stasi and NKVD got nothing on BATF(Excuses).

Remember that, first and foremost, BATFE is a TAX agency, like the IRS.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hell, why stop at abolishing the BATF?

There's a whole alphabet soup of federal agencies that are counterproductive, starting with the IRS, NSA, EPA, DHS, DOE, HHS,......abolish them all and let the states take over whatever functions are really helpful.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
How much could we cut the federal budget if we simply eliminated ALL federal gun control, alcohol, and tobacco laws at the federal level and left it up to the various states as to how they would address those issues?

If a state wants to allow 16 year olds to smoke, then so be it. It would be up to the citizens of that state to either say yay or nay to such a proposal.

Same with alcohol and firearms.

ALL states have some sort of laws on their books on all of those issues, so it's not like there will be no laws at all - it's just that these subjects are then placed beyond federal reach and handled far more directly and at less cost by the states.

The only exceptions I would consider, and even this leaves the bureaucracy too much leeway, would be the issues of interstate activities such as buying and selling arms across state lines, and international activities such as import and export licenses.

Still, it would be an excellent start and likely achieves far more good than bad if the BATFE were to simply be eliminated as an agency and any law enforcement elements (such as their bomb squad) rolled over into some other existing agency like the US Marshall Service or the FBI.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
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