Maybe we should rethink the whole ‘us vs. them’ thing
I’m a former ATF agent. Sipsey Street was recommended to me as a ‘must read’ by another former agent. Before you write the two of us off as ‘them’, hear me out.
Kay Kubicki wanted to put the real bad guys in jail. Like most of the ATF agents I have known through the years, she was very sincere and passionate about that. As a young agent in Chicago and then Detroit, she certainly had plenty of opportunity. Kay believed in ATF’s mission. That mission was supposed to be to put the worst of the worst violent criminals away. However, by the time she was promoted to a group supervisor, she was beginning to realize something. The real bad guys were running the agency.
It was around this time that I came to know Kay. I, too, had wanted to be an ATF agent, and worked toward that goal. I didn’t even get through the interview process before I fell into an typical ATF scandal. This particular one involved a high ranking official who couldn’t manage to keep his penis in his pants while working. At that time, this man was the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) in Kansas City. He was notorious within ATF for molesting women whenever he had the opportunity, and “interviewing” applicants seemed to be a specialty of his. Of course being a SAC, he was never held accountable in any real way. ATF would just transfer him to a new region whenever another women complained. When it comes to ATF, being in the wrong place at the wrong time can alter your life quickly, drastically, and almost always horrifically. I was 23 years old.
In order to coverup for this sick SAC, ATF’s highest ranking officials met and conspired to discredit me (this was the judge’s verbiage in the litigation to follow). Not only did they attempt to keep me from becoming an agent, they trumped up a pre-employment background investigation that would ensure I would never be able to get any job that required a background check. They knew that with this SAC’s very long and perverted history, they would have to discredit me down to my very toes in order to have any credibility within the field.
By the time ATF finished with me, Hannibal Lector had started to look almost harmless in comparison. As a side note, many of the very same high ranking officials who tried to destroy me and all my witnesses, went on to direct that infamous raid in Waco Texas. These officials lied to congress about the raid and the inevitable ATF cover up. The very same things happened with Fast and Furious. ATF is consistent with it’s scandals and subsequent coverups if nothing else.
I was blessed to have had the support of some good and honest agents. And when I say “support”, I mean the kind of support where these agents knew how high up within the agency this coverup went, and knew ATF would come after them with the same viciousness they go after anyone who crosses them, whether that person is an FFL just trying to run a business, a citizen, or an employee. By the way, after years of litigation, every one of the agents who supported me was either fired or suspended within days of their testimony. They were then forced to go into litigation with an agency that bragged it had “unlimited funds to litigate” them “indefinitely”. I guess that’s what you do when you have access to taxpayer money and no accountability. And at ATF, telling the truth against the bureau is the most egregious sin an employee can commit. The highest level of retaliation is reserved for these folks.
Shortly after my job “interview” with SAC Sicko, word spread quickly throughout ATF...the real bad guys were at it again. And as is always the case when these scandals hit, employees choose sides. Most sided with the agency because the price was just too high to do otherwise. I understood. There were several who not only sided with the agency, they jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to gain favor for future promotions by lying. Many times while they were under oath. But there was a small percentage who stood up for me for no other reason that it was the right thing to do. This was the point at which my path crossed that of Kay Kubicki's.
Kay, who was a group supervisor in Detroit at the time, heard my story through ATF’s very efficient grapevine. Since she now understood who the real bad guys really were, and she never had the ability to turn her back on an injustice, she helped me. Kay had an incredible mind along with a keen sense of justice and the tenacity of a Pit Bull. She used every resource she had to gather documents for my case, coordinated witnesses, and worked tirelessly with my attorney. Because it was ATF, Kay was fired of course.
The first two things she did after being fired were to go into litigation with ATF in an attempt to get her job back and to go to law school. Even before Kay graduated law school, she had started representing ATF employees in the administrative arena. Then as an attorney, she took on the cases of the most victimized employees. These cases typically involved those who had been fired, most with families to support, and who had no money with which to pay an attorney. No one has ever fought corruption within the government harder than Kay. Predictably, when she died she was in financial ruins. That she died of a massive stroke was also predictable. Her career choice was certainly stressful.
Shortly after I won my first case against ATF, a large group of us went on “60 Minutes” to tell our stories. The show eventually helped several of us win our cases against ATF. That was 20 years ago. Today the federal government has gotten so much bigger, so much more powerful, and so much more out-of-control, it no longer gives a rat’s ass how much the public knows about the nasty things it does. Winning a battle, any battle, against the federal government was always difficult. Today it is close to impossible. I believe that the best chance we have of taking our government back is to stand together. I don’t think we have the luxury any longer of standing only with those we view as “us”.
Some say that anyone who would work for ATF deserves whatever ATF does to them. After all, if anyone is a ‘them’, wouldn’t it be an ATF agent? My argument would be that we all awaken at different ages and for a wide range of different reasons. It’s what we do from that point on that speaks to who were are. I’ve always wondered when those, who stand firmly in the ‘us vs. them’ mentality, got their enlightenment. Were they born with it? Did they awaken in 1st grade? Second grade? High school? College? I would also argue that the awakened public needs the ATF insiders as much as the insiders need the public’s support. I don’t know of one ATF scandal within the last 25 years that wasn’t brought to light by a whistleblower, or at least affirmed by one. And you can believe that no ATF whistleblower ever escaped unscathed. That ATF will always viciously retaliate is a known fact before a whistleblower ever stands up to do what is right.
Had Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea had the ‘us vs. them’ mindset, Fast and Furious would likely be only a movie.