One of the more interesting aspects of the Gunwalker scandal: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) thought they could get away with it. Participating U.S. gun dealers and ATF agents on the ground warned the Bureau’s higher ups that the excrement would hit the rotary air circulation device when—not if—drug thugs used one of the ATF-enabled guns against an American. (Hundreds of Mexican tortured and lives lost at the end of an ATF-enabled gun barrel not being such a biggie.) Either the ATF was too drunk on their own power to think Operation Fast and Furious through or they convinced themselves that they (and their alphabet soup of co-conspirators) could keep a lid on any “issues” that arose. My money’s on hubris. They thought they were above the law. And they might just be right . . .

The ATF has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico.

All three have been heavily criticized for pushing the program forward even as it became apparent that it was out of control. At least 2,000 guns were lost and many turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and two at the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

The three supervisors have been given new management positions at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. They are William G. McMahon, who was the ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West, where the illegal trafficking program was focused, and William D. Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who oversaw the program out of the agency’s Phoenix office.

This is such a stunning development that even the LA Times, thus far a cheering section for gun control in general and the ATF in specific, is astonished. You can feel their frustration in a single declarative sentence that stands apart from the text like a pointed finger and shouted j’accuse!

No cartel leaders were arrested.

Well exactly. And that’s because the ATF had no intention of arresting any cartel leaders. They are, after all, our friends. Well, some of them are. The ones that wet the beak of the Mexican government, even as the Mexican government wages a life-or-death battle against the former military men who’ve formed Los Zetas. With the help of the CIA.

The CIA’s involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, which armed the anti-Zetas cartels, may account for Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson’s closed door testimony to the Congressional committee investigating Operation Fast and Furious. In any case, the program’s “lack of success” indicates that F&F squared with The Company’s hidden agenda.

That analysis squares with the oft-retold account of ATF jefes high-fiving each other when Mexicans submitted trace data on Bureau-enabled guns. First, the story from the agents’ perspective.

[David] Voth supervised the crew of ATF agents under the operation. As they questioned the wisdom of allowing illegal purchases, he countered that because the weapons were turning up at Mexico crime scenes, cartel leaders had to be involved. He told his crew members they were “watching the right people.”

His agents did not buy it.

“Whenever we would get a trace report back,” said Agent John Dodson, Voth “was jovial, if not giddy, just delighted about that: Hey, 20 of our guns were recovered with 350 pounds of dope in Mexico last night. … To them it proved the nexus to the drug cartels. It validated that were really working a cartel case here.”

Dodson’s take is half right. The ATF chiefs were giddy because the Bureau-enabled guns were used against the enemy: Los Zetas. Or maybe not. Maybe the CIA simply filled the ATF chiefs’ heads with a bunch of BS about national security. The men whose real job is checking firearms purchase forms were caught up in the danger and intrigue of the spy game. We’re playing high stakes poker now boys! Hubris.

Post-facto, after the death of a U.S. Border Patrol Agent by a “rip crew” firing an ATF-enabled rifle, the Bureau believes it can get away with conspiracy to murder. Equally, it believes that it can manipulate the press and politicians to cover its tracks and continue its [literally] remorseless crusade for power and indulge its penchant for jack-booted thuggery.

To that end, the Bureau is busy mounting a charm offensive. Offensive being the operative word. The only thing worse than an agency accused of gun smuggling plying journalists with taxpayer-funded guns and ammo: the way the journos jumped between the sheets with the murderous feds. Check this from thenewsherald.com:

When I interviewed a special agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in early June about a bomb scare in Trenton, I never thought I would get to spend a day learning about the ATF’s daily work.

But that is exactly what I had the opportunity to do Wednesday at a media range day.

It started a little after 9 a.m. at the Canton Township Police Department shooting range. I pulled up and immediately saw a large ATF truck, a helicopter and shooting targets . . .

It was an amazing experience. I fired two Colt M4 Carbines (no, I didn’t know what they were before the event). I actually had a bit of accuracy and the gun didn’t get heavy until the end.

After I got done shooting, I watched some of the other reporters take their shots, with ATF agents standing close by. That was the first time during the five-hour event that it hit me that these guys do some tremendous things that, as a reporter, I hadn’t noticed . . .

I looked back at the story I wrote about the bomb scare in June, and I now have a completely different perspective.

The risk level is so high. The work is so exhausting. There is so much behind-the-scenes work done to keep us as safe as possible that we don’t see.

I’d like to thank Bill Temple, assistant special agent in charge, along with Donald Dawkins, public information officer, and the whole ATF team.

Not only do I want to thank them for playing a part in teaching me how to aim and shoot a gun properly (talk about an intimidation factor), but for the experience in general. The media range day was one of the greatest things I’ve experienced as a reporter.

And my final thanks to them is for all the dedication they have to their work.

Barf. Erica Perdue should trade her press pass for a Colt M4 and be done with it. ‘Cause anyone who believes in journalistic integrity is done with her.

A federal agency that breaks the laws that it is empowered to defend, when a U.S. citizen and dozens of Mexicans die as a predictable result of this transgression, when the men in charge of that agency promote the men responsible for the carnage, that agency is not my friend. No matter how generous they are with their toys. Strike that. Especially if they’re generous with their toys.

At the same time, the friends of the ATF (e.g., The New York Times) are also subverting journalistic standards and launching a what’s the-opposite-of-charm-offensive offensive on the man who initiated a Congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious: Republican Representative Darrell Issa.

As his private wealth and public power have grown, so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.

It’s a factually-challenged smear piece revealed as such by blog.heritage.org. Who knows what inspired it: the usual left leaning journalistic bias or a behind-the-scenes push by an embattled federal agency trying to do whatever it can to stop the drip drip drip of revelations threatening to destroy the careers of the men and women sucking on the taxpayer tit.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the ATF is a law unto themselves. As in outside U.S. law. Again. Still. Make no mistake: the ATF is beyond reform. The Bureau must be disbanded before they have a chance to continue this otherwise endless loop of criminal behavior. Acts which endanger the rule of law in the United States of America, and the sanctity of all parts of the U.S. Constitution.

8 Responses to ATF Death Watch 57: The Wages of Sin

  1. Henry Kissenger delicately called it government’s “upward failure” mode. In the Army we were a bit more blunt — “f*ck up and move up.”

  2. Lorem nocentem, punit innocentem, laus qui non involvit (promote the guilty, punish the innocent, praise the uninvolved). That’s the government way.

  3. You’re looking at the “tactics of mistake” (Sabatini) in action here. You make a mistake, so you make another trying to cover up the first. And so on….until you fall on your butt. The denial by the DOJ of victim rights for the parents of the Border Patrolman killed by Gunwalker is another instance.

  4. Isn’t there a guy, named Patrick J. Fitzgerald who might just be of service here? As I recall, he was involved in putting the squeeze on some others, during the Bush administration (and he didn’t seem to care how he did it). If he could get Scooter Libby on nothing, he should be able to really get some results here. I think they call it an Independent Council, or Special Prosecutor, something like that, can take anybody down.

  5. good god…. every time TTAG provides updates on this debacle its seems to of gotten more corrupt, as these three stooges will now be making decisions at a higher level, which frankly scares me…..almost as much as the complete disregard for the life of the American public servant who died as a result of this.

  6. The story keeps getting better and better with no sign of holding the decision makers accountable. If all the agencies involved conspired to provide weapons used in a/several murder(s), why have conspiracy charges not been handed out? Oh…I forgot, the AG would have to do his job and he is busy trying to keep his name out of it…..

  7. And that’s because the ATF had no intention of arresting any cartel leaders. They are, after all, our friends. Well, some of them are. The ones that wet the beak of the Mexican government, even as the Mexican government wages a life-or-death battle against the former military men who’ve formed Los Zetas. With the help of the CIA.”

    That, right there, exemplifies the problem with sentence fragments. By the time one gets to the end of the paragraph, a reader not already familiar with your views cannot easily determine who you mean to say the CIA is helping or has helped. I imagine you think fragments help “punch up” the tone of your writing, and you’re right; however, unless you use use them only with care, they also subvert your attempt to convey your meaning. Understand, I am complaining about a point of your written style only because I am interested in your opinions.

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