Sunday, January 24, 2010

ATF continues its downward spiral. . . street agents make cogent suggestions about which senior executive to next throw in the cannibals' pot.

So, when are we going to have the oversight hearings????

From David Hardy at Arms and the Law blog, by way of Pete at WRSA, we have the latest from the dissident ATF agents' blog,

Internal ATF news
Posted by David Hardy · 24 January 2010 09:48 AM

It's getting lively over at A deputy director who gets his "nails done" on agency time, supervisors grabbing the fanciest seized vehicles for their own use, a supervisor who left his government business card at a cat house, a large portion of headquarters flying off to Vegas for the SHOT Show, etc.

He refers to this segment of, entitled "Outrageous, ALMOST unbelieveable WASTE, FRAUD AND ABUSE," posted by ATF agent "Lost in Space."

The bigshots need all that police equipment so when the traffic is backed up on the way home they can drive on the shoulder of the freeway and not take a stop from the troopers. And, that comment wasn't inserted for sarcasm. Word is that some retired supe's have taken uninstalled light and siren packages with them upon exit from ATF and now have them on their personal cars. Imagine how you could impress the neighbors!

The Caddy stories are history repeated, LA style. Years back the Phoenix office siezed a 2-door Mercedes drop top on a drug deal. Phoenix was under the LA Division. Then LA SAC Andy Vita, known in the field as the "Metrosexual SAC" for having his nails done during duty hours [no kidding] and before he became the Deputy Director, a position he unceremoniously left after getting busted out for leaving his business card at a whore house on the Montana/Canada border, ordered the Mercedes delivered to him out here.

In Vita's defense, he did not illegally procure the car, just used his power to rob it from some UC agents who needed it.

So while his agents were hustling cases in their Malibu's and Grand Fury's, Vita was cruising our city in highbrow style.

Now lets look at the converse. Tom Brandon becomes the SAC in Detroit. His first move is to give up the nice SAC g-ride to the field agents and step down to a regular type g-ride. This is probably a small demonstration of why the vast majority of his agents love him. He puts his workers before himself. Servant leadership principles are amazing. We just rarely ever get to witness them at ATF.

To which the ATF agent "abteilung" (Boy, there's a Freudian slip) replied:

Is Cadillac the new GOV of choice for GS-15's? According to the Philly agents I know, SAC Potter got himself a Caddy too. And he's making sure it's getting outfitted with lights and sirens, while the agents can't get any equipment [including trunk locks] for their ARRA cars.

Why does a SAC or ASAC even need a police package?

To which moderator Jumper had this to say:

Most of the 5th floor in ATF took the boondoggle trip to Las Vegas to attend the Shot Show firearms trade show. Would all of them have gone to the same event if it was held in some snowed in Midwestern city? Of course not. I wasn’t about the Shot Show it was about the free trip on ATF’s dime to Las Vegas.

This is not so much the problem as is they did it while an incredible amount of bad business needs their real time attention. Real ATF business, like maybe the survival of our agency! Mr. Melson, seriously, where is your judgment? Do you think no one notices or cares?

Agents are routinely denied travel on investigations but you invite all these people to hang with you in Las Vegas on nonessential business? Did you get ANY bureau business done while you had your team together out there.

What the original post did not mention is that they stayed at the Bellagio Resort. Not Harrah’s or the Trop or the Nugget or something less conspicuous. The Palms must have been sold out. Our ethics training constantly reminds us that the mere appearance of impropriety is not acceptable for government workers. What would you call this? I would love to see what the final tally against our budget this trip made. Add it all up.

ATF has always thrived on the “work first, play second” mentality. I don’t begrudge anyone in ATF a trip. Our job does not have to be one of misery and 100% sacrifice. Take your wives along and enjoy some time away. But, when the real issues at hand are being ignored and stalled and the people we need to fix them are off having a good time it goes against everything that has made our bureau great. Why did all these people need to go to the Shot Show and what was accomplished by it? This tells all of us where our executives priorities are.

Dana Nichols is the ASAC who decided that her personal luxury, comfort and style exceeded the needs of her field agents. When working agents can’t get the equipment they need to conduct investigations and then it surfaces that a self-important ASAC procures a Caddy for her g-ride, what does that say about the priorities of our leadership?

If Chipman (I’m not sure the spelling is right but we all know who this topic is talking about) can personally manipulate the system under the noses of the entire executive staff and grease contractor jobs and overseas assignments, what message does that send to the people who earned and deserved consideration for those posts? It says that it doesn’t matter what you do or even how well you do it, the bottom line with ATF HQ is who you know.

These events are a disgrace and they demonstrate that our leadership could really care less about what the field employees think or how their corruption affects us.

Maybe Melson and Hoover and Chait and Ford and the rest of the Las Vegas all-stars figured out the solutions to our problems while they were hanging out. Are any of the questions I asked here inappropriate or out of line? More on all of this is yet to come.

Finally, Doc Holiday contributed this:


By all accounts, the ATF house is burning down with regards to leadership, our mission and our budget. What is ATF's response? Send an army of Hq and field division people to the shot show in Las Vegas. This raises so many many questions we cannot address them all here. These will be better addressed by the Department of Justice OIG.

1. How many ATF people actually have a vested interest in the shot show or the industries represented. Was it really necessary to send The DD Melson, Exec. Asst to the Director(for which we have none right now) Hoover, ADFO Chait, IOI Director, PGA AD Ford, a score of other HQ personnel, BOTH ASACs from San Francisco and the SAC? Did the head of OST really have a dog in this hunt? Would it not have been better judgment to send a few key integral ATF personnel and have them provide a briefing paper to the others or even Bureau wide? When by all accounts our Bureaus budget will be exhausted by July, can we waste these valuable resources? How many worthwhile mission and training travel requests will be denied because the executive staff wanted a trip to Vegas? Would so many have jumped on the shot show if it were held in Sioux Falls? Who was watching the shop while our key players were kicking back in Vegas?

2. Perhaps if someone would have stayed back in HQ to handle the Bureaus REAL business, the ASAC in Chicago would not be driving around in a tricked out Cadillac that she went back channels to procure with ATF vehicle funds. YES ITS HER G RIDE. Yes she procured it w/o the divisions knowledge through a friend in HQ. We are not sure exactly how many G rides could have been purchased or outfitted for real ATF business but its surely more than one loaded Cadillac. At a time when our EEO's are being denied explosive storage containers,our field Agents are driving vehicle w/o emergency equipment to include Police radios, lights and sirens, she is buying a Cadillac as her G ride for home to work purposes. What makes this most egregious, is that ADFO Chait and the executive staff know,and are unsure how to handle this. Simple, FIRE her, for outrageous misuse of government authority and waste of taxpayer and Bureau funds. Its called misappropriation. We have been advised from numerous sources that the car IS tricked out, so that's something. The procurement official must be removed as should anyone who reviewed this request and signed off on it. How dare her, NUFF SAID.

3. When it was brought to the Bureau's attention that Chipman had tried to grease the skids for former ASAC Stankoweicz(sp), the 5th floor was outraged and tanked the contract offer for someone who had so blatantly and publicly disgraced the Bureau. That did not prevent him from sliding into some other non Bureau contracted position. The problem is, that Chipman has been manipulating the Bureau sponsored contractor to pad the BQL with friends. The net effect is that the truly qualified people are not being considered for the positions. It has also been stated that Chipman has delivered HIS version of the BQLs for these contract positions, demanding his buddies be placed at the top of the list. Yep fraud. That simple. Yep the 5th floor knows.


Skip said...

If your source is correct, this should be on Beck or anywhere mainstream.
I would send this to everyone with an R behind thiere name.

Brian K Miller said...

I passed this along to AG Holder care of

In all honesty though, nothing will change until these agents themselves start reporting times, dates, persons, and events directly to the appropriate authorities.

Until the agents themselves are willing to risk their careers by standing up to their bosses and announcing "enough is enough", the rest of us are just spitting into the wind.

Unknown said...

Kill it. Just.Kill.IT

Pat H said...

Author, university professor, and retired BATFAE agent, William Vizzard wrote the most thorough description of the agency ever. The title is "In the Cross Fire: A Political History of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms".

The reason this is a rogue agency, and always has been, is that it's charged with a duty that is Constitutionally unlawful. That's because the only lawfully illegal firearms in America are stolen property. Since that's true, the agency is and has always been rotten to its core, it cannot be any other than that. No man with the slightest bit of honor and integrity would associate with such an institution.

The current "troubles" within the BATFAE should be viewed with the above in mind.

W W Woodward said...

Like I said on Harvey's blogsite; "It's trickle down ethics."

When the meat at the top is rotten its foul juices contaminate the meat at the bottom.

No one should be surprised that an agency that is in itself anathema to the Constitution would contain unscrupulous individuals within its ranks.


aughtsix said...

BAT FEces.

"Trickle down corruption..." Good'n!

All the poor jackboots, whining about the malfeasance of their highers...


Burn, Baby, burn.

ScottJ said...

On the big Vegas trip I understand from Codrea that some high profile sting went down.

Being close to that could have been a motivating factor for the brass.

Happy D said... Let us be honest you can't clean up shit you can clean it off you can remove it but it is what what it is.
Why they are shit was covered by
Pat H and W W Woodward.

Anonymous said...

We (ATF) have no interest in Gun shows or the Shot Show . . these do not attract criminals and violations would be difficult to attempt anyway. Our heavy hitters use all this as justification to attend to that THEY may enjoy the show and all the new hunting, camping, military and police products. what guy does not want to get away to LV for a few days and look at toys !!