An ATF sting operation called Operation Fearless will now be investigated by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General. This operation in Milwaukee featured a storefront sting effort that went horribly bad. They had merchandise stolen, left behind confidential documents, damaged the building that they were renting, and had an ATF-owned automatic weapon stolen which is still missing.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel investigated it and has a whole series on it.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote to two members of Congress that the Milwaukee sting appeared to raise “significant management issues relating to the oversight and management” of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The issues, the letter said, were especially troubling coming after the agency had promised reforms.
A bipartisan group of congressional members demanded answers after a Journal Sentinel investigation of the sting that revealed an agent’s guns, including a machine gun, were stolen, the ATF storefront was ripped off of $40,000 in merchandise and agents allowed an armed felon who threatened to shoot someone to leave the store. At least four of the wrong people were arrested and three of them charged, including a man who was in prison. The ATF machine gun is still missing.
The ATF promised better oversight in the wake of Fast and Furious, where agents in Arizona encouraged the sale of more than 2,000 firearms to gun traffickers but lost track of the weapons. Many ended up at crime scenes in Mexico and at the scene where a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed. The inspector general’s report on Fast and Furious was sharply critical of the ATF and the U.S. attorney’s office, finding “a significant lack of oversight” by both agencies.
Horowitz’s letter on the Milwaukee operation, called “Operation Fearless,” said the ATF’s internal report on the incident addressed the management issues that concerned him. But Horowitz said his office would still examine the Milwaukee sting, along with other recent ATF operations.
He said he would determine if the Justice Department and the ATF have responded appropriately to the inspector general’s recommendations after Operation Fast and Furious. He gave no timetable for when the review would be done.
You have to wonder if ATF really has become the gang that can’t shoot straight.