Watchdog: Accountability

Darrell Issa subpoenas ATF over botched storefront sting operations

|
Politics,Congress,Watchdog,Michal Conger,House of Representatives,ATF,Fast and Furious,Darrell Issa,Inspectors General,Accountability,Justice Department,Firearms

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a scathing subpoena Wednesday to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over a series of botched undercover operations that left a wake of destruction behind them.

ATF ran sting operations posing as pawn and clothing shops in at least six cities across the country. The stings were first exposed in January 2013 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Since then, ATF Director B. Todd Jones promised to cooperate with Issa's panel but has not turned over any of the documents the committee requested more than a year ago.

"I write to express my disappointment with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives's complete lack of cooperation with the committee's investigation into ATF's dangerously mismanaged undercover storefront operations," Issa said in a letter to Jones.

"I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena to compel the production of documents relevant to the committee's investigation," Issa said.

Instead of getting guns off the streets, ATF agents created markets for stolen goods and weapons, let felons buy arms, recruited mentally disabled people to help find guns but then prosecuted their recruits, and damaged the properties they rented, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Jones was appointed acting ATF director in 2011 by Attorney General Eric Holder in the wake of the Fast and Furious scandal.

He was then appointed to the post permanently by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2013.

Issa said in his letter that Jones was sent to ATF to "end the reckless behavior that has defined ATF in recent years."

But the undercover operations exposed by the Journal Sentinel cast doubt on how well Jones has accomplished that goal, Issa said.

"The Milwaukee storefront operation, in particular, is troubling because it occurred entirely under your watch," Issa said.

"It is surprising that failures such as Operation Fearless in Milwaukee occurred despite this enhanced oversight from ATF leadership, and these operations call into question your leadership at ATF," Issa said.

Jones has until March 31 to turn over the requested documents, including plans, reports and communications related to the operations.

The Department of Justice's inspector general also recently announced it is investigating the matter as well.

View article comments Leave a comment