Darrell Issa subpoenas the ATF over their stonewalling on rogue storefront tactics

posted at 6:01 pm on March 20, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Hey, remember Operation Fast & Furious — the hyper-shady Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives gunwalking operation in which federal agents deliberately pressed American gun store owners into selling untraceable guns to known Mexican drug cartel middlemen, the best possible explanation for which could only have been gross negligence and widespread incompetence? The only thing “botched,” as the media so often titles it, about that episode was that the Obama administration got caught, but the both the ATF and the head honchos at the Justice Department dismissed the whole thing as a poorly coordinated mistake and assured us that such a thing would never happen again.

Which I guess means House Oversight Chairman is just being a crazed partisan blowhard again, am I right? Nothing to see here, people.

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.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has been investigating this story and it garnered national attention back in December; the conspicuously weird gist of it is that the ATF has been opening small stores in poor communities across the country, ostensibly a fronts to try and get criminals with guns and drugs off of the streets, but in at least four cities they ended up baiting locals into committing crimes in the process and then arresting them for it — some of whom were mentally disabled.

ATF Deputy Director Tom Brandon insists that, “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” — which doesn’t explain why they haven’t been fully cooperative with Congress’s attempted investigation. Why are the implications of the operation supposedly so very dire that you can’t even let Congress in on what the real deal is? If there’s no smoking gun here, why don’t you just prove it? Why, why, why is the Obama administration constantly, aggressively insisting that they absolutely have nothing to hide, but then turning around and acting like they very much do?


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Waste of paper.

hawkeye54 on March 20, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Why, why, why is the Obama administration constantly, aggressively insisting that they absolutely have nothing to hide, but then turning around and acting like they very much do?

Because they do have something to hide.

Optimus Prime on March 20, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Geez, why doesn’t anybody believe the SCOAMF Administration anymore?

NOMOBO on March 20, 2014 at 6:06 PM

It’d be kind of neat if States started telling the Feds “Sure, we’ll get right on that” … and then do nothing.

Kinda like the “in contempt” Attorney General is doing.

What? Yellowstone National Park can’t have permits for fracking because its Federal land? “Sure, we’ll get right on that”.

Ruckus_Tom on March 20, 2014 at 6:10 PM

The reason they were doing it in the inner cities is the same reason they were doing it in Mexico. To create chaos and blame it on easy gun access, thus showing the 2nd amendment to be responsible for all those needless shootings.

I bet every inner city that had one of those operations going was located near another precinct with harsh gun laws. “See, that easy access in Milwaukee is making Chicago a killing field!” Same with DC, New York and so on.

DanMan on March 20, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Somebody in the private sector screws up this badly and they’d be looking for a new line of work… but the ATF agents involved will no doubt be rewarded for their incompetence and retire with full pension benefits. Your tax dollars at work.

Hill60 on March 20, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Sorry to be such a cynic, but I think Issa periodically subpoenas stuff to support his fundraising. This is a farce that will go nowhere, like all of Issa’s investigations.

Cicero43 on March 20, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Oh good. Another hearing. Maybe this one will lead to something, huh.

crankyoldlady on March 20, 2014 at 6:18 PM

I do believe the big, black hole runneth over with Darrell’s subpoenas…

hillsoftx on March 20, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Every state has an agency to regulate Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms/Explosives.

BATFE… SHUT.IT.DOWN.

jffree1 on March 20, 2014 at 6:27 PM

“… ATF has been opening small stores in poor communities …”

This starts out sounding racist

J_Crater on March 20, 2014 at 6:29 PM

Sorry to be such a cynic, but I think Issa periodically subpoenas stuff to support his fundraising. This is a farce that will go nowhere, like all of Issa’s investigations.

Cicero43 on March 20, 2014 at 6:18 PM

I’m not sure it’s his fault. He’s doing his job. Other people are supposed to go on from there. There used to be a system.

crankyoldlady on March 20, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Fred Phelps dead.

Let’s send some Marines to his funeral.

fogw on March 20, 2014 at 6:34 PM

He’s doing his job. Other people are supposed to go on from there. There used to be a system.

crankyoldlady on March 20, 2014 at 6:32 PM

He’s compiled the evidence and testimony for anyone that cares to act on it.

hawkeye54 on March 20, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Issa should simply issue subpoenas as a first course of action.

He should have figured out long ago, the 0bama regime is simply lawless, and not to play the nicey-nice comity game.

Rebar on March 20, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Issa, R-Calif., claimed this week that the ATF has stonewalled him by withholding documents and shown a “complete lack of cooperation.”

One would think the ATF would have the common courtesy to take the time and make the effort to develop an elaborate a detailed set of lies to tell congress and the public, like the NSA has done.

VorDaj on March 20, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Tired of hearing about Issa; call me when he has some results, some *indictments*, and some a$$es in jail.

Midas on March 20, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Issa is the Obama of Congress.
Lots of jive, bluff and big talk with no action or results.

albill on March 20, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Issa is the Obama of Congress.
Lots of jive, bluff and big talk with no action or results.

albill on March 20, 2014 at 6:58 PM

When the Justice Department is corrupt, there ain’t a lot he can do.

John the Libertarian on March 20, 2014 at 7:11 PM

BATFE related:

“…an April 12, 2013 letter from Debra S. Satowiak, Chief, Firearms and Explosives Industry Division, to Jason Davis, attorney for Ares Armor Metal Works, LLC, advised that a Federal Firearms License is required for “a business premises at which, for a fee, it makes available a computer numeric control (CNC) machine, tools, equipment, and instructions to persons who bring in castings or raw materials for the purpose of creating firearms.”

I don’t know what the legal basis (if any) there is for this claim by the BATFE. It appears that BATFE is very unhappy at recent developments that make it far easier for an average person to build a perfectly legal rifle for personal use outside their control. This entire situation reeks of an initimidation campaign and an effort to effectively re-write the law to suit BATFE’s notions about what should be legal as opposed to what is legal.

novaculus on March 20, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Erika, here are some photos for your next Venezuela, post Evil Clown, post:

Pics of the Day: The ‘Joys’ of Socialism

Resist We Much on March 20, 2014 at 7:35 PM

All things Issa: Prepare to be unamazed.

chuckfinlay on March 20, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

I think it’s Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, and Vice Curious now.

ATFEVC.

Axe on March 20, 2014 at 8:06 PM

novaculus on March 20, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Its game over for that attitude when I go to Sears and pick up a new “contractor” table saw and a new bench-top cnc for the same money. And that’s leaving rapid prototyping out of it.

Axe on March 20, 2014 at 8:09 PM

. . . cool stuff on YouTube about knocking those up.

And programmable laser cutters.

Neither here nor there.

Axe on March 20, 2014 at 8:16 PM

Add ATF to the list that includes IRS, HHS and EPA – time to DEFUND all of them!

GarandFan on March 20, 2014 at 8:20 PM

BATFE legal assertion ( I can’t call it an argument) supposedly justifying its position that the renter of CNC equipment is engaged in the manufacture of firearms and must be licensed at page 86.

I think this exposes the real agenda here. BATFE is desperate to exert control over the process of rifle building by citizens over which they have no legal jurisdiction whatsoever. They are trying to cope with technology that is moving faster than they can regulate. They tolerated citizen rifle builds as long as it was a difficult and expensive process. Now modern technology has made it relatively easy for the average citizen to build his or her own rifle, with a plastic receiver no less, completely outside BATFE control. They can’t stand it, and they’re trying to find a way to justify asserting jurisdiction over the process.

In the case of Ares Armory, it’s also pretty apparent they’re pissed the owner exposed them for trying to extort the customer list and standing up to them with a pre-emptive lawsuit.

novaculus on March 20, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Why, why, why is the Obama administration constantly, aggressively insisting that they absolutely have nothing to hide, but then turning around and acting like they very much do?

Because they do have something to hide.

Optimus Prime on March 20, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Which is why they’re hiding it.

Which is why Lois Lerner always takes the Fifth Amendment.

Which is why Eric Holder changes the rules. Voter suppression by asking for photo ID’s is BAAAAAAD, but it’s OK for Black Panthers to intimidate lil’ ol’ ladies in Philly.

Because American voters were stupid enough to elect a Chi-town rabble-rouser President, and are surprised when he acts like Mugabe and Hugo Chavez. He don’t need no stinkin’ Congress–he got a pen and a phone! Let it be written, let it be done!

Steve Z on March 20, 2014 at 9:03 PM

You know, what is a “crime gun”?

If someone sells you a “crime gun” that can be absolutely proved to have been used in a felony, will a jury convict any one based solely on the fact that somebody sold that gun to an ATF agent?

No, of course not- there would be no way to provide an undeniable connection between the gun crime and the seller of the “crime gun”. Not like there is a freaking paper trail for handgunz in da hood, yo.

What a ill-conceived excuse even for gun grabbers.

Pless1foEngrish on March 20, 2014 at 9:11 PM

In the case of Ares Armory, it’s also pretty apparent they’re pissed the owner exposed them for trying to extort the customer list and standing up to them with a pre-emptive lawsuit.

novaculus on March 20, 2014 at 8:58 PM

Youtube gear reviewer “nutnfancy” did a 40 min interview with Ares Armory owner Dmitry. It is in his youtube feed. Worth a look, because there is a lot of disinformation going around about what happened in that raid.

Murphy9 on March 21, 2014 at 6:22 AM

Yeah Issa, let’s have another investigation, where you get no results. Still waiting on Fast & Furious and IRS gate.

kjatexas on March 21, 2014 at 10:26 AM