Darrell Issa flexes subpoena muscle after more than a year of ATF stonewalling

Darrell Issa
Photo credit: DarrellIssa.com

After months of stonewalling and what U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., called a “complete lack of cooperation” from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, he subpoenaed records of the bureau’s botched storefront sting operation.

The scheme, hatched by the ATF in an attempt to get guns off the street and match them to crimes, was “dangerously mismanaged” from the start, according to Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to Fox News.

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Issa’s committee has been trying, unsuccessfully, to obtain information on the operation after having received numerous complaints. Fox reported:

Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

“After more than a year of promised cooperation, multiple letters to you, and several unfulfilled document requests, I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena to compel the production of documents relevant to the committee’s investigation,” Issa wrote to ATF Director B. Todd Jones, according to the Washington Free Beacon. “… The time for hollow promises is over.”

The Free Beacon reported:

ATF sting operations first came under scrutiny last year, when the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that ATF agents had set up a false storefront to lure criminals selling drugs and illegal guns.

However, the operation was so poorly managed that its storefront was burglarized and thieves made off with more than $35,000 taxpayer funded merchandise and three guns, one of which was a fully automatic rifle.

Nonetheless, ATF has continued to support the operation.

“Putting this into context, there were deficiencies with the storefront operations, but there have been many successes and it still remains a viable technique when managed well,” ATF Deputy Director Tom Brandon told lawmakers recently, according to Fox.

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