ATF Death Watch 23: Circle the Wagons, Shoot the Virtuous

The ritual executions have begun inside the hallowed halls of the ATF, where the echos of jack-booted thuggery reigns supreme. FoxNews reports that ATF whistleblower Agent Vince Cefalu was served with his notice he’d been nominated to the history team last week, a move which Cefalu says is “politically motivated.”

Really?  Who woulda thunk it? Let’s see…with an out-of-control agency, a department head on the sacrificial altar, an administration in deep denial, an a Congressional investigation out for more than just a pound of flesh. What’s the next (il)logical step in the 12-step program for making things worse and maximizing the damage? Um…that would be to round up the Jiminy Crickets of the class and shooting them (metaphorically) at sunrise.

Cefalu told Fox News, “Aside from Jay Dobyns, I don’t know of anyone that’s been more vocal about ATF mismanagement than me.” Um. Yeah. That’ll get you noticed by upper management, Vince. And not in a good way. “That’s why this is happening.” Well lemme add a great big DUH to that sentiment. In other news, water is still wet.

Cefalu’s been speaking out on the Agency That Couldn’t Shoot Straight (irony intended) since December. I’m frankly surprised that it’s taken this long for the ATF to ice the guy. Speaking as someone who once took the opportunity to tell my company that my department head was a clueless, empty suit and his lack of management skills were torpedoing the company – and got “laid-off” for my trouble, sticking your head up out of your cubicle to sound off (no matter how right you may be) is the moral equivalent of a prairie dog, popping up out of his burrow to see what all that noise from a 30.06 is about.

Great move for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, Agent Cefalu. Not so much for your job security. Cefalu can protest his dismissal (I know I would, if I were in his shoes), but he’ll be automatically put on paid administrative leave durring the process.

I’m sure the ATF will try and justify Cefalu’s sacking with claims that he’s some malcontent, trying to cover up his own work-related deficiencies by pointing the finger at others. Oops. Too late. Cefalu’s story has been backed-up by a host of agents who’ve testified to Congress that every whistle he blew was on the money.

But you don’t get in the kind of deep kimchee that Melson and the ATF is in by pardoning your accusers, fessing-ing up, and taking your medicine. You line up the honest ones and shoot them first.

What I find fascinating is not the 24-year agency vet’s firing. (That’s a tragedy for him, his family, and for the rest of the country as far as I’m concerned.) Nope. It’s the colossal stupidity that bureaucracies exhibit when under fire for mismanagement. It’s like there’s some “stupid gene” that mutates in bureaucratic DNA, compelling the higher-ups to make the most damaging moves possible, when they get caught doing something wrong.

Or in the words of Hank Hill (King of the Hill) Just when I think you’ve said the stupidest thing ever, ya keep talkin’.

Cefalu is likely to retain his status as sacrificial lamb (or Judas goat, if you will) for this sordid tale of the ATF Gone Wild. If Congress moves quickly enough (what are the odds) he might get his job back. Hell, I’d likely give him a promotion, and let him assist in the sorting process, to get rid of the bad apples and retain only employees who have some backbone and ethics in their blood.

As far as the ATF, you have only to look back at any one of a couple of dozen political or corporate scandals to see what is going to happen next. And if I were Obama & Co., I wouldn’t be whistling past any graveyards any time soon.