Grassley Fires Back

In response to the giant middle finger from ATF, Grassley present the evidence his office is in possession of. The evidence indicates that ATF has been telling border dealers to proceed with suspected straw sales, and report information on the guns and buyers to ATF. This represented approximately 769 firearms, only 103 of which are now accounted for.

“In addition to these specific weapons, the indictment of Avila and other references approximately 769 firearms. Of those, the indictment refers to the recovery of only about 103 weapons. So, where are the other approximately 666 weapons references in the indictment? Why did the ATF not seize them?”

There is documented evidence that the gun that was used in the murder of CBP Agent Terry is one of the guns ATF lost track of. Grassley also smacked down Holder for stonewalling him:

The Justice Department’s reply asked that Committee staff stop speaking to law enforcement personnel about these matter. However, if not for the bravery and patriotism of law enforcement personnel who were willing to put their careers on the line, this Committee would have been forced to rely on nothing more than rumors in the blogosphere and a Justice Department denial to resolve these allegations. We need more than that. To be an effective check on Executive Branch power, we need cold, hard facts. We sill seek them from whatever source is necessary.

Unfortunately, the Justice Department’s letter suggested that my attempts to seek information about these matters might be politically motivated. I understand the Department needs to “protect … law enforcement personnel … from inappropriate political influence.” However, there is a difference between inappropriate political influence and appropriate holding officials accountable to the American people.

He goes on to note that the family of Agent Terry deserve answers, and encourages Holder to “come clean.” I’ve said before, when our opponents argue there’s not enough funding for ATF, because the evil NRA has seen to it that they are kept underfunded, that the reason ATF is on a short leash is because they have incompetent enforcers of our federal gun laws. I have no doubt there are many fine employees and dedicated workers in the organization. Indeed, the whistleblowers here would be among those, but the agency has suffered under poor leadership for years. That’s not our doing. It’s cultural, and it’s been that way since the moonshine business dried up for them in the 1970s.

Hat Tip to David Codrea’s site for the Grassley Document.

8 thoughts on “Grassley Fires Back”

  1. Go Grassley! He hits his opposition with… oh, it’s simply the truth. Funny how that can be so damning sometimes.

  2. This is a good argument against term limits. Grassley has a lot of experience, and enough time to learn where some of the bodies are buried.

    Term limits would have turfed him out a decade or more ago; but left the bureacrats of AFT untouched.

  3. Good point about some agencies never managing to outgrow the cultural biases from their foundational days. A recent case in Minneapolis where the FBI invested significant resources–manpower and money–in infiltrating a group of aging hippie peace activists (really? Flower Power is the big threat these days? E.L.F., sure, but self-styled “peace marchers”?) is another illustration of long-term attitudes not adjusting to changing circumstances.

  4. They say to get a really big change of attitude through, the holders of the old opinion basically have to die off. The ATF bureaucrats in a position to set policy started in the 70s and 80s; when the attitude waws very much “you’re lucky to have a pea-shooter.” And probably their deputies are chosen for holding that opinion.

    Not a lot to be done about that, given civil service rules. There is no real carrot we can give the opponents of freedom in the DoJ – and Congress has to wield the stick.

  5. The problem is that the only way to wield the stick would be:

    1. Dissolve the ATF entirely — or at least remove firearms and explosives from their purview. (I haven’t been aware of major ass-hattery involving tobacco or alcohol from them in years. Of course, the “Smokes and Booze” cops would need a LOT fewer agents. . . )

    2. Transfer ALL firearms and explosives LE and tech functions of ATFE to FB, except tax evasion.

    3. Transfer ALL firearms and explosives tax functions over to IRS (in other words, the guys who enforce the excise and NFA taxes get ZERO say in defining the taxable items.)

    4. Set a legislative wall between the tax functions transferred to Infernal Revenue and the LEO/technical functions sent to FBI. Make the wall as high as the Clinton-era counterterrorist LEO/Intelligence wall.

    5. Legislatively blackball all existing ATFE personnel from working in the firearms or explosives functions of the IRS and FBI for at least 10 years from the date they last worked for ATFE. Allow AFTE agents to transfer to any equivalent federal LEO capacity that IS NOT involved in firearms or explosive laws, by and large.

    And while you’re at it, transfer FBI HRT to the US Marshalls and prohibit FBI from creating a replacement SWAT-type team. . . If FBI needs a door-kicker team, the Marshall’s Service is just a phone call away.

    You can break up the dysfunctional cultures without mass firings that will invariably include some very good officers — you just have to disperse them to the winds and keep them from re-establishing their old culture with a new department name on their business cards. If a currently employed ATFE firearms cop is a good cop, he can be a good cop working counterfeit $20’s, chasing Medicare fraud, or investigating mafiosi. But if you let the ex-ATF agents migrate over to teh “new” untainted “gun cops”, they will just bring that old Revenooer culture with them.

    Even at its most violated, the inherent culture of the FBI is by and large, “Dudley Do-Right in a suit”. Even the BAD FBI agents see that as the standard. The ATF culture has always been (since even before they had a firearms balliwick) that of crusaders, fighting ultimate evil, with moral realtivity thrown in as “justified” by the seriousness of the mission. Their cultural mindset is apparantly, “Whatever it takes to stamp out the infection. The fact that the suspect is INTERESTED in such things is proof of guilt.”

  6. Well, Grassley is wielding the small stick. He’s threatening to harass the bureaucrats by pulling them up to Capitol Hill during their workday and grill them on-camera. He can also effectively harass the high-end GS-scale policy-makers by getting them to commit their statements to public record in their own names.

    What you suggest isn’t a stick, it’s the death of the agency with the “healthy” organs being transplanted out. A Congress could do it, as long as no agent was forced out of government totally and the President agreed, but I don’t think even this Congress will, and the current president won’t agree.

    I agree that the “crusader” mindset needs to be pulled up root and branch. I just don’t know if it can be done by means other than attrition, with assistance from congress-critters.

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