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POLITICS: PennAve

House panel subpoenas ATF for controversial storefront stings

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,ATF,Darrell Issa,PennAve,House Oversight

A House oversight panel has subpoenaed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over a botched gun sting operation.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter Thursday to ATF Director Todd Jones accusing him of “not once” producing “even a single document” in response to four separate requests from several House and Senate panels looking into the matter.

Issa is seeking information about an ATF operation called “Operation Fearless,” which took place in 37 cities across the country including Milwaukee, Wis., and Portland, Ore.

The operation involved ATF agents opening pawn shops in troubled neighborhoods in order to lure in criminals to sell their weapons.

But media reports exposed huge flaws in the program. In one instance, three guns, including a fully automatic rifle, were stolen from an ATF agent’s truck in Milwaukee.

Agents also broke the law by opening the pawn shops across the street from schools and churches and by luring in teens to smoke marijuana and play video games.

ATF agents also hired brain-damaged men to run some of the pawn shops, only to arrest them later, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The agents hired a felon to run the shop set up in Pensacola, Fla.

The operation took place under the watch of Jones, who was hired to help reform the ATF following the widely publicized “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation that allowed U.S. firearms to be smuggled over the Mexican border. One of the weapons was used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

“You were ultimately confirmed as Director with an expectation that you would clean up field operations and end the reckless behavior that has defined ATF in recent years,” Issa wrote to Jones. “The Milwaukee storefront operation in particular is troubling because it occurred entirely under your watch.”

The subpoena is seeking information about ATF policies for conducting storefront operations as well as documents related to storefront stings from 2010 to 2014 in Portland; Milwaukee; Pensacola; Wichita, Kan.; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Atlanta, Ga.

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Author:

Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner