On CleanUpATF.org yesterday, experienced ATF street agent Vince Cefalu issued a damning indictment of his own agency in the Project Gunwalker and other scandals.
We (the field) have formally, officially and sometimes unofficially attempted to encourage Director Melson, DD Hoover and their predecessors to restore the integrity of the agency. We have asked them to demand leadership from our executives, and to control and reign in Chief Counsels Office and corrupt and unethical practices. So here we are. Mr. Melson can no longer pretend to be in charge or have ANY say so in our Agency's future. Mr. Traver sits silent as if he has NO IDEA any of this is going on. So what happens? EXACTLY what is supposed to happen, Congressional oversight.
1. Fact: Mr. Melson chose not or was told not to respond to a U.S. Senator with DIRECT impact on our agency's future.
2. Fact: The allegation Sen. Grassley references is not false and Mr. Melson and Newell have publicly admitted it in their press conference. We did know, we didn't "interdict" or prevent this from happening. We NEVER let guns walk. That has been our mantra since we became a Bureau.
3. Fact: ATF DIDN'T make every effort to "interdict" these guns or they WOULD HAVE been interdicted. We have been interdicting guns for 40 years. We know what that is Mr. Melson. PS, we don't withhold information regarding potential guns hitting the streets from our sister agencies. Not even if they are MEXICAN. Those guys are going toe to toe with the worst we've ever seen and you don't TRUST them? Stop the "legal word games". The nature of a straw purchase makes it inherently illegal if we have information regarding the purchaser (which we did). Stop acting or attempting to convince Congress or the public that because at face value a person is not prohibited that we CANT do anything because this particular gun is not contraband. There are a bunch of successful trafficking groups in Atlanta and New York that DO interdict guns everyday. Its called doing our job.
4. Fact: No Project Gunrunner doesn't focus on straw purchasers, THAT IS THE POINT.
5. Fact: We will not dismantle entire organization without the Mexican LE help, but they can hardly help with Newell and Gillette hoarding their intel EVEN from our own people. The grandstanding needs to stop.
6. Fact: ATF and Mr. Melson have totally retaliated against ANY agent who demands leadership, NOT JUST IN THIS MATTER. Do the math. Release the DSZ disbursements. Exposes the smoke and mirror bad faith mediations and the wasted MILLIONS of dollars of DOJ money spent defending your indefensible abuses against SA Jay Dobyns and others.
7. Fact: Senior managers scoff at your training, have been found to have violated serious mandates regarding whistleblower reprisals and EEOC retaliations and you DO CLEARLY NOT understand the importance of accountability.
8. Fact: if it's confidential information, then why is Newell and Melson holding press conferences to tout it?
9. Fact: the standing policy about not releasing information apparently did not apply when Congresswoman Giffords was shot. That's right, there was no evidence of governments malfeasence or misconduct in that situation.
10. Fact: you do not look forward to briefing the Senator or you would have. That would first require that you become aware of the case and be granted access to our case files.
11. Fact: the fast tracking of Newell to Mexico before the Senator can provide the necessary oversight and perhaps make corrections to at best a flawed management practice and at worse GROSS negligence is a testament to exactly what we have collectively said about the Agency's institutional arrogance.
The agents of ATF do have integrity. They do love this agency. And we WILL cooperate with ANY member of U.S. the Congress who is in the performance of their lawful and elected duties.