ATF Leadership Not Ignorant Of Gunwalking

In his opening statement, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) revealed that the upper management of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was intimately aware of what was going on with Operation Fast and Furious.

The documents can be found here.

George Gillett, Jr. was the ASAC of the Phoenix Field Division. When he saw that he was going to be thrown under the bus, he became a whistle-blower. The impact of that decision can be seen in the documents which I assume he furnished the Committee. As I said back in April, Gillett becoming a whistle-blower was the equivalent of a John Mitchell, H.R. Halderman, or John Ehrlichman rolling over on Richard Nixon during the Watergate Scandal.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moments ago in his opening statement at today’s hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released three e-mails detailing the intimate involvement of ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Acting Deputy Director Bill Hoover in Operation Fast and Furious:

• The first e-mail from March 10, 2010, to Operation Fast and Furious Group VII Leader David Voth indicates that the two most senior leaders in ATF, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Deputy Director Billy Hoover, were “being briefed weekly on” Operation Fast and Furious. The document shows that both Melson and Hoover were “keenly interested in case updates.”

• A second e-mail from March 12, 2010, shows that Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix – scheduled for a mere 45 minutes after his plane landed.

• A third – and perhaps the most disturbing – e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was very much in the weeds with Operation Fast and Furious. After a detailed briefing of the program by the ATF Phoenix Field Division, Acting Director Melson had a plethora of follow-up questions that required additional research to answer. As the document indicates, Mr. Melson was interested in the IP Address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. With this information, Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants.

Rats Leaving The Sinking Ship

On Friday, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office released a letter sent to ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson. In the letter was a somewhat shocking revelation – that Assistant Special Agent in Charge George Gillett was now claiming whistleblower status and had been talking to Grassley’s and Issa’s staff.

Now, a second agency employee has chosen to disclose that he has had protected contacts with Congress. George Gillett, through and in conjunction with his legal counsel, is cooperating with this investigation. Mr. Gillett is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Phoenix field division, and Committee staff’s direct contacts with him are an essential component of our inquiry. He has articipated in two preliminary meetings jointly with Senate Judiciary Committee staff and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee staff. As you know, retaliation for such communications is prohibited by law.

Gillett, as ASAC of the Phoenix Field Division, has been deeply involved in Operation Fast and Furious from the start. If anyone had access to all the secrets, it would be Gillett who reportedly had the day-to-day oversigtht of Operation Fast and Furious in Arizona.

To emphasize the importance of Gillett becoming a whistleblower, let me put it in terms of the Watergate scandal. Gillett coming forward is the equivalent of a H. R. Haldeman, a John Ehrlichman, or a John Mitchell going to Sen. Sam Ervin’s Senate Watergate Committee and rolling over on President Richard Nixon. All three of those men went to prison rather than divulge what they knew.

Vince Cefalu, a veteran ATF Agent who has suffered at the hands of ATF management for criticizing them, had this to say in the L.A. Times about Gillett and his role.

..said Gillett would be able to provide crucial information on who approved the operation. He will also be able to say to what degree ATF supervisors deliberately allowed guns bought by known “straw purchasers,” acting on behalf of Mexican drug cartels, to be “walked” into Mexico under the eyes of ATF agents in an attempt to arrest higher-level suspects, Cefalu said.

Gillett “has the key to all the skeletons in the closet. You can rest assured he’s going to be pointing the finger at everybody but himself,” Cefalu said. “I should also add that I’m disgusted by the fact that only to protect himself is he coming forward. We came forward when we didn’t have to, and we’ve taken a beating for it. He’s coming forward with a lawyer, and he’s going to glide through it with some kind of immunity.”

The L. A. Times also reported Gillett’s attorney Peter Noone as saying “that Gillett had received death threats before making the decision to cooperate.” The agents seeking reform at CleanUpATF are scoffing at that and have this to say about Gillett and his being a “whistleblower”.

George Gillett is no Whistleblower.

Whistleblowers are people who know of corruption or criminal acts and for moral and ethical reasons risk their careers and reputations to report that to higher authorities. George Gillett has used his power to destroy Whistleblowers.

John Dodson and Darrin Gil are Whistleblowers. Gillett is what is known in the world of criminal investigations as a snitch. He is a rat who only cooperated and came forward with information after his own ass was on the line. Don’t be mistaken, it was for no other reason.

Do not for a single second use the names of Dodson and Gil in the same sentence with Gillett. Gillett does not deserve the respect or honor of trying to do the right thing.

George Gillett is a corrupt, lying, evil hearted government employee who hides behind a badge and a gun and an GS-15 title. If one person out there whether you be in favor of CleanUpATF or against it can dispute that claim then post up your response and I ask the Webmaster to allow it to stand.

Gillett represents everything bad about ATF management and carries himself with the smug arrogence of knowing that he will always land on his feet because he is protected by his bosses. If nothing else, he is smart and knows exactly how to play the system and exactly how long he can ride the train before he has to jump off.

Gillett has been allowed to destroy careers and reputations while Bill Newell and ATF headquarters protects him. He has become known as the most retaliatory supervisor in ATF history and trust me, that takes a voluminous amount of retaliation to carry that title.

As I said in the title of the post, rats leaving a sinking ship.