How ATFE treats agents who pursue bad guys
I've got a copy of a Justice Dept Office of Inspector General report on a case--can't post it because it gives names and addresses, and I haven't the pdf editing capability to delete them. But here's a summary:
ATF agent goes deep undercover, pursuing some genuinely violent bad guys. I'm talking outlaw biker gangs, prison gangs, that manner of thing. The report doesn't say, but I assume it took years. It's not like you can look up the Aryan Brotherhood or Mexican Mafia in the telephone book and send a membership application and wait for their magazine to tell you about their illegal activities. He got in, built some cases. Prosecutions result and his cover is of course blown (you can't testify under your alias).
He runs into a member of one of the groups, and they tell him outright that the group has their eye on him, will get even, he is dead meat, etc.. He requests from his supervisor an emergency transfer. With one of those the person and family are moved immediately, to a good distance, and given new identities (down to a credit history under their new names, so no one can trace them that way).
His supervisor handles it as an ordinary, voluntary, transfer. As in, it'll take weeks for approval, if we do approve, you can be transferred nearby, no new identity. In the meantime other reports are coming in. An informant who shared a cell with a prison gang leader reports that he saw a list of men marked for "hits" and noticed the agent's name on it. Etc., etc.. It becomes apparent that not one, but two groups well-known for killing people are both out to kill him.
The transfer is not modified. It's still voluntary, agent is in one duty station and would like to move to another for personal reasons, and HQ will process when they feel like it.
Maybe prison gangs have their own bureaucracy ("as district chief, I can approve ordinary hits, but hits on LEOs have to be approved by the regional director") but he survives long enough to get his transfer. An ordinary transfer, no new identity, etc.. (And he probably paid for the moving expenses).
The IG report of course faults the agency for how it was handled. But I suspect the folks who bumbled it and came close to getting their guy killed suffered no more than temporary embarassment, and that the agent will be regarded by his superiors as a pain in the neck for having complained.
Would the cost of the move and the identity switch come out of the district's budget? It might have broken their budget.
On the other hand, the emergency move might have made the supervisor look bad, since the move would put paid to the lies the supervisor was telling in his reports.
With the gripping hand, never trust a bureaucrat. They only think of themselves.
Posted by: Anonymous at October 15, 2008 10:13 AM
Maybe they figured he was being wussy for requesting the transfer...
Posted by: Jim at October 15, 2008 12:13 PM
Don't be too hard on those poor bureaucrats running the ATF. They were probably too busy trying to figure out how to burn more women and children alive to worry about real criminals.
Posted by: Anonymous at October 15, 2008 02:29 PM
The agency got what it wanted, prosecutions and convictions.
If the dedicated agent who put his life and probably the lives of his family on the line by doing everything the agency required of him ends up dead as a result, he will get a government paid funeral, the wife will be presented a flag, and the agency will find a less expensive replacement the same way they found him.
Posted by: W. W Woodward at October 15, 2008 06:50 PM
Woodward has it nailed. Gosh forbid an agent inconviences the agency!
Posted by: ParatrooperJJ at October 16, 2008 05:48 AM
To be absolutely honest, I don't care what happens to this agent. I don't care that he is being abused by his agency. I don't care if he suffers the direst consequences of ATF's perfidy.
I really don't. He worked for them. He helped and/or approved at least tacitly of the agency's activities against innocent citizens, else he would not have stayed employed there. So, I don't care.
However, his family should not suffer and steps should be taken to remove them from harm's way.
\But as for him, I really don't care.
Posted by: straightarrow at October 16, 2008 01:19 PM
Yet the FBI would go to great lengths and expense, along with armed bodyguards and identity change, for Mob-guys-turned-informant, so that they can get the higher-up or the whole shebang.
Tell me there isn't something inherently wrong with sleeping with the enemy. When you lay down with dogs, you're gonna get fleas.
Posted by: OrangeNeckInNY at October 16, 2008 02:28 PM
He should request a lateral transfer...to the FBI.
Here's one ATF agent trying to actually do what most people think the ATF is supposed to do (but doesn't, actually). Maybe he thought he could reform the corrupt system from the inside, lead by example, etc. Instead, he needs to cover his backside now. Definitely picked the wrong 3 letter agency to work for.
Posted by: JJR at October 17, 2008 10:08 AM
Word is that after the report you reference came out his house was set on fire and ATF stood back and watched it burn down. Waaa, waaa, waaa.
Posted by: stompedon at October 17, 2008 11:13 AM
Hey, work by the fascist, die by the fascist.
I am not a "law and order" type. I get all warm and fuzzy feeling every time I hear about a federal law enforcement officer getting shot.
Posted by: pierre at October 19, 2008 11:50 AM