Inside information from BATFE
1. Deputy Director Edgar Domenech just got a government "golden parachute" out. It's impossible to sort out the internal politics involved, but he'd been demoted and said it was a result of exposing wasteful spending by the prior director. (GIven the byzantine politics of ATF higher levels, it's hard to sort out who is a whistleblower and who's back-stabbing, except that a lower level agent is always doing to be treated as the latter. Report fraud, waste, or abuse as a street level agent, and you're toast. Do it as a high enough guy to get WashPo coverage, and you have a shot).
2. The ATF director has just been given a report from the Inspector General that is pretty devastating. MAJOR screwups, their internal affairs refusing to check out complaints about those, etc.. So now offices are being told to generate favorable publicity, quickly, because this is going to get out sometime soon.
Well, hell. Do I even want to know what ATF offices mean by generating favorable publicity?
Posted by: Saladman at October 16, 2008 11:02 PM
I'm guessing this "favorable publicity" isn't going to take the form of "hey look we fixed the problems already, no need to get excited!"
Posted by: Jim W at October 17, 2008 12:06 AM
Sounds like a prescription for another Waco.
Posted by: Gregg at October 17, 2008 12:15 AM
hide your kittens
Posted by: straightarrow at October 17, 2008 06:55 AM
Yeah...Waco came to my mind as well...
"Let's get some headlines..."
Posted by: Lachenal at October 17, 2008 08:53 AM
Any chance a President McCain (or President Palin) would disband the ATF once in office?
Posted by: JJR at October 17, 2008 09:54 AM
Not a chance in hell, I'm afraid.
Posted by: Jdude at October 17, 2008 11:02 AM
JJR, I think attrition is our only hope.
Posted by: straightarrow at October 17, 2008 07:36 PM
A number of years ago - maybe 30 or so - a friend and military compadre, who started as a Pa. State Trooper, decide to go Fed. He ended up at Customs (had some neat, esoteric adventures!) but with a stop over at ATF. One evening over cocktails I asked him about his sojourn there and why he had left.
He said that within two weeks at the "Bureau" he could see how head-up-its-ass FUBARed the organization was from top to bottom. And, he figured that, if he stayed, he was headed for sure death and/or dishonor (knowing this guy, I'm sure he was more fearful of the latter), so he bailed.
Whoever came up with the saying, "'Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms'is a bettter name for a convenience store than a government agency" hit the nail. And, what's the deal with the bureau's internal politics being the "BIG story?" As for publicity, when was the last time you saw any news releases about ATF's booze or butts enforcement?
Posted by: C. Cox at October 18, 2008 01:40 PM
During the early Clinton years, an author friend agreed to receive some FG-42 magazines that one of his friends, who had one of the few registered FG-42's, had ordered from overseas, because the friend would be out of town when they arrived.
He received a visit from the BATF, when he turned to put his dogs away, the BATF agent walked in his front door. When he asked about a warrant, the ATF agent claimed he didn't need one. Friend then threw said agent out at gunpoint. After shaking a bit, he called a buddy on the local PD to ask what he should do (also called his lawyer). PD buddy knew the local BATF office, called them, they knew nothing about any active investigations, so arrangements were made to have an off-duty officer, who liked the genre of books the author wrote, spend some time at authors house.
Several hours later, the ATF agents returned, with warrant in hand. They looked at the officer kicked back on the porch reading a book, then confronted author and his lawyer, showing the warrant. Which was effectively blank, with just a judge's signature, and they had driven all the way to the state capitol to find a judge to sign it, instead of going to the local Federal courthouse (they were from the ATF office in the capitol). Lawyer agreed that they would open any door/drawer/container in the house that the ATF wanted to see, but that they would hold the ATF agents personally liable for any damage done.
No FG-42 or even "assault weapons" were found. However, the author had an Enfield rifle with all of the proper accoutrements in a closet, and claimed they were confiscating it. When asked why, the agent claimed it wasn't registered. The lawyer then asked the local cop if the state required registration, to which the officer replied "No Sir". As the agent headed down the porch steps, the lawyer informed him that he could be held personally liable for taking property without legal grounds for doing so, at which point the ATF agent threw the rifle at the author's face. By the time the author blocked the throw, the local cop was standing behind the agent with a drawn gun, asking if the author wanted to press charges for assault with a deadly weapon. Author asked if he had to decide immediately, to which the cop responded that he did not, so author told the ATF agent "Sweat, pig."
As a result of some FOIA requests, author/lawyer obtained a copy of a memo that had been sent to all ATF offices encouraging them to develop "high profile" cases which could be used to publicly justify new gun control laws, including the "assault weapons" ban. Sadly, the author has moved since then, and isn't sure if he still has a copy of that memo. Btw, he was audited by the IRS for the next several years.
So the BATFE being interested in some "good publicity" scares me.
Posted by: James at October 18, 2008 11:30 PM
How many little wacos would make good publicity? There IS an alternative media now, and after previous murder of people, children, and pets there is PLENTY of outrage.
Of course, the political climate on our fast track to communist (since the other word is blocked) hell somewhat counterbalances that.
You know what, on further reflection with the mainstream media dominating politics, playing cheerleader for tyranny they'll have all the good publicity they want. Facts don't seem to matter much anymore.
Posted by: Tom at October 19, 2008 05:01 PM