Assn of former ATF agents
From Red's Trading Post comes a report of an association of former ATF agents.
It might be an interesting group. From my observation, ATF has a wide span of agents. I mean, there would be two reasons to join: you like to work around guns, or you hate guns. My contact with ATF in my immediate area has all been good. Inspectors and enforcement that they import from elsewhere -- not good at all. Historically, some offices are good, some are antigun, some honest, some are corrupt.
In my gov't experience, Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement was much the same. Most offices just did their job. Some could get totally out of control. Problem during my stint was that high level managment covered for and sometimes encouraged the latter (I hope that it's changed during the intervening 15 years, but have no data). I think ATF has a similar problem: the high level doesn't sweat about the corrupt or oppressive offices, nor reward the ones that worry about criminals and ignore everyone else.
While I'm on an ex-bureaucrat's roll (and any thinking person who has been a bureaucrat has become at least a small l libertarian): there is actually a MAJOR disincentive for a federale to worry about real problems.
The criteria for being promoting are essentially that you are spending a lot of time on complex issues. Now, making a felon in possession case, of a real street criminal, gang shooter, whatever, is a social good. BUT it's not very complex, is it? Check with local cops, find guys arrested for CCW or whatever who have a felony rap, paraphrase their report, submit to the US attorney. Child's play. So forget about getting promotions. Nevermind that almost everyone would agree that you're doing a good job and creating social good. Cook up a complicated case against an FFL -- get a promotion.
So why not promote the good guys anyway? Because the Office of Personnel Managment every now and then audits an agency, trying to catch them doing that, and if a sufficient number of people have been promoted despite doing non-complex cases, it dings the agency and cuts back on how many higher-level slots it is allowed to have.