ATF has been slow to produce answers for Congress. Grassley is now accusing ATF of stonewalling.
The press has had a field day. One story after another has appeared in papers and on television stations around the country. None of them good. ATF looks like the stuff it has stepped in.
“The feeling is that somebody was sleeping at the switch, although they had good intentions,” one ATF official told me. “It was not a well thought out plan. I think there’s a lot of finger pointing right now.”
Agents say clearly letting so many guns walk was a big mistake. The goal was too ambitious, the risk too great. Maybe the agency was responding to criticism that it needed to go after bigger fish. That’s still not an excuse.
Regardless, agents say they’ve been left in the dark. The ATF honchos at headquarters aren’t telling them anything. They’ve had to rely on information from the media. Many have been demoralized by the mess.
Plus, it’s caused a strain between Washington and the Mexican officials, who feel that the Americans don’t respect them. Let’s face it: It’s highly unlikely ATF would have let that many guns walk had it known they were going to end up in the hands of American criminals around the U.S.
It was a bad plan. And the Justice Department needs to shoulder some blame since someone fairly high up knew about it and gave the blessing.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
ATF "Official" sez: “It was not a well thought out plan. I think there’s a lot of finger pointing right now.” No kidding?
Allan Lengel, writing at the Federal Law Enforcement blog, Tickle the Wire, says: ATF Needs to Clean the Manure Off Its Boots Now.