1/23/14 | by S.H. Blannelberry
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has got some explaining to do before Congress regarding the agency’s use of “rogue tactics” that seem to both defy common sense and endanger public safety.
Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Judiciary Committee announced that they plan to look into storefront sting operations in Milwaukee and in other places around the country (Portland, Oregon; Wichita, Kansas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Atlanta, Georgia; and Pensacola, Florida) that employed questionable practices.
But they’re not alone. The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, will also review the agency’s controversial crime-fighting strategies.
Among the list of debatable strategies was tricking mentally disabled people to execute their plans for illegally purchasing firearms, only to later turn around and arrest them, as Guns.com previously reported.
The ATF also used such goodies as video games, pot, alcohol and provocatively dressed, flirty female agents to entice unknowing underage teens into participating in their operations, only to bust them later for the same activities that the undercover agents encouraged. In addition, many of these operations were being held in so-called “safe zones” near schools and churches.
“I feel misled,” U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “This has risen to a level of concern that it demands real answers from the senior-most people at ATF and the Department of Justice.”
Chaffetz was sharply critical of the decision by Portland agents to persuade two 19-year-olds to get tattoos on their necks to promote the logo of the faux storefront.
“What right-minded adult sits up and says, ‘Yeah, that sounds like a good idea?’ Come on. Have some common sense along the way,” Chaffetz said. “No doubt the work is difficult and you are diving in deep with nefarious characters, but there needs to be a little adult supervision in the room.”