Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Fire in the 'gloryhole!'" Pervert Vander Werf connected to Gunwalker scandal? Is Gunwalker even bigger than anybody ever thought?

Graphic of ATF "Gloryholer" Russell Vander Werf found at the ATF agent's own website,

2009, December. Russell Vander Werf, Director of Industry Operations (DIO) for Houston ATF (responsible for overseeing inspection of all federal gun and explosives licensees in the area), was arrested while in New Orleans, after damaging a hotel room in Metairie, LA. Damage consisted of disabling the fire alarm and replacing a bedroom door with a piece of plywood with a circular hole cut in the middle, wrapped in gray duct tape (known as a "glory hole)". The hotel manager had received a call reporting numerous young men entering and exiting the room and "sex noises" coming from the room. Vander Werf admitted that he put the plywood on the door and disabled the fire alarms. ATF confirmed Vander Werf was in the New Orleans area on official business. It has been confirmed that on or about Valentine's Day, 2011, Russell Vander Werf is being reassigned to ATF Headquarters in Washington. -- Wikipedia.

Robert Farago writing at The Truth About Guns reports ATF Glory Hole Agent Still Drawing Pay, Pension, Benefits. His source is this thread from Farago writes with outrage that ATF Headquarters favorite "gloryholer" had been spending the last year with full pay and benefits at home -- as a GS-15 that's not chump change. Unfortunately Robert did not read far enough. Later on in the string, ATF agent All Eyes On You writes:

It has been confirmed that Russell Vanderwerf is being reassigned to 99 New York Ave. The decision was apparently made a week ago and ATF Management doesn't want it announced, because they think they can move him without ya'll noticing?! Why so secretive? What else is going on with this puke?

And later he comments:

A paid move from Texas to DC with GS-15 pay, for a Deputy Chief spot. A DIO to a Deputy Chief sounds like a promotion to me. Disciplinary action? No way. He's a GS-15 supervisor, that'll never happen.

"What else is going on with this puke?" I think I have a clue -- Project Gunwalker. What was his job in Houston? "Director of Industry Operations (DIO) for Houston ATF (responsible for overseeing inspection of all federal gun and explosives licensees in the area)."

And recall that although the ATF is pretending that the Phoenix/Tucson offices are the crux of the Project Gunrunner prosecutions that it was Carter's Country in the Houston Field Office's area of operations which is on the record as having been told to proceed with suspicious sales. Recall also that even though Vander Werf was busted in late 2009, we know from the Fast and Furious documentation that the whole encourage-dealers-to-cooperate meme was being being worked at least back that far.

Okay, so Texas is a border state. But what if this is bigger than anybody ever thought? What if this is not about exaggerating the border problem, but the entire problem of criminal access to firearms all across the country?

But based on a rumor and a hunch, I decided to stop by a couple of Birmingham area gun stores yesterday and ask around. I had this question:

Have you ever called in a suspicious sale that had passed the NICS check but still seemed hinky and been told to go ahead with it?

At the first one, I had a counterman tell me yes, and then when I asked for more detail, the owner told me he was wrong and that he wasn't going to say anything further. He darn near ordered me out of the shop.

At the second, though, the owner wasn't there and the counterman and his partner both filled me in on their experiences. Yes, they said, it had happened more than once. Two instances stood out: one on a buy of four semi-auto AKs to some folks who wore gang colors and one on some Glock pistols to to a Hispanic girl accompanied by a couple guys with MS-13 tattoos. It just didn't make sense to them. The buyers did not know that they had passed the NICS checks. They could have been put off for further investigation. It just didn't make sense.

And that was just two gun stores. Two out of two I surveyed. In Birmingham, Alabama, far from the southwest border.

So what if this is more than anecdotal? What if Gunrunner is far more widespread than has been previously thought? What if it is just the tip of the spear of a policy to ENCOURAGE the circulation of firearms to gangs all across the country?

It strikes me that ATF headquarters may have very good reason to take an obvious disciplinary case deserving of firing and hold him close, pay him for doing nothing for over a year and then to promote him to ATF headquarters.

And that reason is the Project Gunwalker Scandal.

I have a suggestion for all Three Percenters out there. Stop in your local gunshops, wherever they may be, and ask them the same question:

Have you ever called in a suspicious sale that had passed the NICS check but still seemed hinky and been told to go ahead with it?

Ask them on condition of anonymity and report back to me here. Just give me towns or counties, nothing specific enough to get the dealers in trouble. What we need right now is more anecdotal evidence of this behavior on the part of the ATF. Of course if you find someone who is willing to go on the record to Senator Grassley or the House of Representatives you can pass that on too to my email address,

And watch out for "gloryholers." They might be your tax dollars at work.


j said...

Maybe the REAL secret to this story is, WHO was on the other side of the 'glory hole'? Mebbe Rahm? Barney? Bayrack???

PS - WHY did the s.o.b. disable the fire alarms?
The lunatics really are running the asylum. Time to get them out.

Anonymous said...

I can see why the hotel was more angry about the fire alarm than the glory hole...

The ATF does, afterall, have a reputation for burning people alive inside of buildings.

CowboyDan said...

"WHY did the s.o.b. disable the fire alarms?"

Just a guess that the fire alarm was seen as a smoke alarm. Some units are both smoke and fire detectors.

If RV and the boys were smoking in the room, they wouldn't want to draw the attention a smoke alarm would draw, particularly if the smoke was from something that was not tobacco. Maybe grass, maybe crack, maybe ice. Who knows or who really cares? Was he the only one arrested, or was he one of several?

I wonder if the Metairie Police Department ran a tox screen as part of their arrest process. That could be an interesting piece of paper to put eyes on, eh?

Carl Bussjaeger said...

"WHO was on the other side of the 'glory hole'? Mebbe Rahm? Barney? Bayrack???"

Judging by the original reports, a better question might be, "Who wasn't? ANother question might be, "The ATF declined to comment on this back when, on the grounds that it was part of an ongoing investigation. You mean Vanderwerf was on the job when he was... er, on the job?"

I wondered about the fire alarm bit, too. My guess was the thick pot smoke might've set it off otherwise.

Anonymous said...

This almost sounds like the ATF mutts are arming the gangbangers around the country with preapproved NCIS buys.. that could be seriously scary if it turns out that way.. I dont even wat to imagine the "whys"

Anonymous said...

I am an FFL in Arizona, only deal with small sales (no retail shop) and repairs. Never had a weird sale to report, have been provided NO direction from ATF. Posted Anon so i am not linked to my google profile and my FFL

Alessandro Lallis said...

Spring break starts next Monday. Looks like I know what I'll be doing; hitting up Middle Tennessee gun stores and asking this question. If anyone in the area would like to come along, post about it here.

Anonymous said...

This story is hard to swallow.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

In these rough times of high unemployment, it's good to know that there will be "available openings" at BATFE's DC office.

Anonymous said...

It's a double edged thing. Some jump at the first hint of something that might put them in jeopardy and make a call, some don't. Gun dealers and gun shop owners are not monolithic on that. The only thing that tends to be a constant is that most do what the b-foo ask them to do and try to keep their noses clean. Seen both sides of that, personally, as a law abiding person.

People are walking a line between getting licenses revoked because of profiling and getting licenses revoked because they didn't. THAT is the reality. Shame, but it's true.

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

By the way, saw this, in a story about Delia's Gun Shop, in Philadelphia:

Delia said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) sometimes tells him to keep selling to known straw purchasers so that they can be caught in the act. He complies because he's confident the ATF is keeping a close eye on these people the entire time.

I wonder if he saw the Sharyl Attkisson piece on CBS, and if he's still "confident the ATF is keeping a close eye on these people the entire time."

otterhauser said...

Before going off the deep end of conspiracy thought, my guess is that any ATF-inspired law breaking would be for the purpose of creating NUMBERS, not revolutionary armies. A bunch of armed Mexicans is NOT going to be able to take over the US. But lots of traces showing weapons originating in the US--that results in power (money) for the ATF and numbers for gun-grabbing groups like Bloomberg's "Mayors." The media and the Democrat party (if there's really a difference) use such numbers to legitimize new anti-gun legislation.

Anonymous said...


I believe you are referring to the Feral Bureau of Incineration, not the BATFECES.

Anonymous said...

Yes, been wondering what ever happened to VanderWerf, shouldn't be surprised he's still on the payroll.

As to supplying bad actors with ATF's 'weapons of choice', what better way to gin up hostility to gun ownership in general. Grow the problem posed by the bangers then rush in with the 100% gun ban solution.