John Diedrich and Raquel Rutledge of the [Milwaukee] Journal Sentinel start their investigative report on the ATF’s storefront sting program with a story that had my blood boiling but good, fueling my borderline hatred for the entirely superfluous band of arrogant fascists manning the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Check it out . . .
Aaron Key wasn’t sure he wanted a tattoo on his neck. Especially one of a giant squid smoking a joint.
But the guys running Squid’s Smoke Shop in Portland, Ore., convinced him: It would be a perfect way to promote their store.
They would even pay him and a friend $150 apiece if they agreed to turn their bodies into walking billboards.
Key, who is mentally disabled, was swayed.
He and his friend, Marquis Glover, liked Squid’s. It was their hangout. The 19-year-olds spent many afternoons there playing Xbox and chatting with the owner, “Squid,” and the store clerks.
So they took the money and got the ink etched on their necks, tentacles creeping down to their collarbones.
It would be months before the young men learned the whole thing was a setup. The guys running Squid’s were actually undercover ATF agents conducting a sting to get guns away from criminals and drugs off the street.
The tattoos had been sponsored by the U.S. government; advertisements for a fake storefront.
The teens found out as they were arrested and booked into jail.
What kind of monsters would entice innocent (or even not-so-innocent) youth into a government-sponsored criminal enterprise, convince them to permanently disfigure their bodies, expose them to danger and then destroy their lives in return?
The same bastards who blackmailed gun dealers into selling firearms to Mexican drug thugs, who used them to murder U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who had a Border Station named after him for his trouble.
OK, so, it gets worse. A lot worse.
Earlier this year when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel exposed a botched ATF sting in Milwaukee — that included agents hiring a brain-damaged man to promote an undercover storefront and then arresting him forhis work — ATF officials told Congress the failed Milwaukee operation was an isolated case of inadequate supervision.
It wasn’t . . .
The Journal Sentinel reviewed thousands of pages of court records, police reports and other documents and interviewed dozens of people involved in six ATF operations nationwide that were publicly praised by the ATF in recent years for nabbing violent criminals and making cities safer.
Agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employed rogue tactics similar to those used in Milwaukee in every operation, from Portland, Ore., to Pensacola, Fla.
The story goes on to detail other agents’ heinous tactics at other stings, also involving mentally challenged citizens. Damage to property without compensation (as above)? Check. Entrapment? Nothing but. Like convincing a rube to saw off a shotgun and then bring it back. The ATF also offered “sky-high” prices for gun, creating a black market for stolen guns. I repeat: they created crime so they could punish those involved. How many innocent people were victimized as a result?
The Journal’s report is comprehensive and damning in the extreme. The ATF is saying nothing about any of it. In fact, they’re refusing to release any information about their storefront operations.
The bottom line is clear: the ATF is a profoundly, fundamentally corrupt government agency that routinely breaks the law and endangers public safety. It should be disbanded immediately and its responsibilities reassigned to the FBI.