Sunday, August 9, 2009
David Olofson's Revenge: An Open Solicitation for Documents Related to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
ATF Bureaucrat dressed up as himself for Halloween.
Cockroaches hate the light.
So, too, do federal bureaucrats, especially ATF bureaucrats, for they have more slip-shod operations, misuse of taxpayer funds and sheer, bloody misconduct to hide. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests can often disclose inconvenient facts, but more often they are successfully stonewalled. ("Document? What document? Cannot be found, silly peasant.") Even requests for exculpatory material when a man is on trial for an alleged federal felony which will decide where he gets to spend the rest of his life are often ignored or short-circuited, contrary to law.
However, there is one constant about bureaucracies other than their universal aversion to the antiseptic quality of light -- they ALL proceed by paperwork, hardcopy or electronic. Documents, policies, procedures, personnel files, case records -- these are the lifeblood of a bureaucracy. It cannot function without them.
It happens that I was recently clued in to an excellent source on the ATF: the reports of the Congressional Research Service. These reports are available to every Congressman and Senator. Occasionally, the rest of us get to see them when they are leaked by one of the 535 elect or one of their staff.
Here is one from last year, leaked to the excellent website, WikiLeaks, which is an analysis of the ATF's budget and operations. There is another such annual report due now. It strikes me that this could be an excellent hobby for someone with connections to a congressional staffer -- download, print out, pdf file, post on the Internet and otherwise get these documents out into the public domain where they can be analyzed by experts in the Second Amendment community.
In addition to this year's copy of the Budget and Operations report, it would probably be of interest for someone to obtain and post CRS's report by William J. Krouse, entitled Gun Control Legislation, CRS document RL32842, dated 27 May 2009 as well as Gun Trafficking and the Southwest Border by Vivian S. Chu and William J. Krouse, dated 29 July 2009 (CRS document R40733).
There are, of course, other sources of ATF documents that are of interest. For example:
** The controversy over whether or not the ATF has written testing procedures.
(Summary: they do, but they variously admit it or deny it, depending upon the federal case they're testifying in without ever having to actually SHOW the procedures themselves.)
This question could be settled by the leak of the paper trail of such procedures. And material like this could come from a variety of places. (Years ago I had an acquaintance who used to regularly raid the trash dumpsters at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He is now long since dead, but it was flat amazing what he found.) Other documents released by the discovery process lay in the files of various law firms all over the country. By themselves, unanalyzed by scholars of ATF arcana, they might mean nothing to the lawyers or clients who possess them, BUT, collated, read and analyzed by industry representatives, 2nd Amendment experts, students of the ATF and attorneys? It is obvious that the ATF tells different and wholly inconsistent lies depending upon the case they are testifying in. The Friesen case threatened to expose the lack of integrity and consistency of the National Firearms Registry. That is why Doug Friesen got to settle, and "pay $50 and pick up the garbage."
** I've got some old dog-eared copies of these documents from the early 90s that I would like to see recent updates on:
ST-5095 Surveillance: Training Manual of the Department of the Treasury, FLETC Office of General Training, Enforcement Operations Division. Also,
ST-5100 Undercover Operations, and
ST-5050 Informants, and
ST-5020 Execution of a Search Warrant
These are ATF training manuals, not super-secret operational details with agents' names on and addresses. They are not classified, yet the ATF would prefer that you, the taxpayer, not read them. There are reasons for that, not all of them just or benign.
You see, if you KNOW of a document's existence it makes it easier to request through the FOIA process, courtroom discovery, your Congressman's office, or other, less conventional means. All agencies have training materials. Hence, all agencies have LISTS of training materials. Can some lawyer, federal legislator or deep cover operative send me an ATF internal list of publications? That would be most helpful.
In the mean time, I remain WikiLeak's biggest non-donor fan.
I am looking forward to more ATF leaks posted there, so Three Percenters, get busy. Just call it "David Olofson's Revenge." (And thanks and a tip of the boonie hat to Agent Jody Keeku for the inspiration.)