FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Surprise outcome. Incompetent ATF accepts incompetence as the norm
While nearly everyone is familiar with Operation Fast & Furious, the failed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) scheme to create facts that would lead to gun control laws in the United States, fewer are familiar with a similar program run in Milwaukee, WI called Operation Fearless. Where Fast & Furious was a combination of maliciousness and epic incompetence that has led to the deaths of hundreds of people, including a US Border Patrol agent, Operation Fearless is a veritable clown car stupidity. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which broke the case last year:
Members of both parties in Congress have been calling for accountability since the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported problems in Operation Fearless in early 2013.
The investigation found agents used a brain-damaged man with a low IQ to promote the operation and then arrested him; allowed armed felons to leave the store; arrested four of the wrong people; paid such high prices for guns that people bought guns from stores and sold them to agents for a profit; and failed to secure the store, resulting in the operation being burglarized.
Special Agent Michael Aalto, the lead undercover agent, had his guns stolen, including a machine gun, which has not been recovered.
Not surprisingly, Operation Fearless was not limited to Milwaukee. It mirrored similar operations in Albuquerque, NM, Pensacola, FL, Portland, OR, Wichita, KS, and other cities.
In any sane organization the people who dreamed up this stunt and managed it would be fired and anyone working on it without objecting would be subjected to career-ending disciplinary action. The reason is simple, no one involved in Operation Fearless had the intelligence, integrity, or commonsense to be allowed to possess a badge, gun and the right to kill fellow citizens. But we are talking about the ATF here. The Journal Sentinel set out to find what the ATF had done in response to this egregious pseudo-investigation:
James Burch, the ATF’s assistant director for governmental affairs, wrote that seven special agents involved in the Milwaukee sting were reviewed.
The ATF’s Professional Review Board proposed a reprimand for one agent and issued a “memorandum of caution” — the mildest action the board can take — to three others.
The agent who faced a reprimand ultimately received the less serious memorandum of caution. That decision was made by an ATF official whose name was not included in the letter.
The other three agents whose actions were reviewed received what’s known as a “memorandum of clearance” — clearing them of wrongdoing.
Naturally, the guy running the operation received a promotion:
The congressional members asked about Bernard “B.J.” Zapor, who was in charge of the ATF’s St. Paul Field Division in 2012 during Operation Fearless. The Milwaukee office falls under the St. Paul division.
As the Milwaukee operation was winding down, [ATF Director B. Todd] Jones promoted Zapor. The two had worked closely in St. Paul, where Jones was the U.S. attorney.
Zapor has since retired but it is obvious from this that the ATF deliberately ran ill-considered “sting” operations throughout the United States and regularly used mentally retarded people as the central figure, though one wonders why the ATF had to go outside its own ranks because all evidence indicates that agency has a policy of hiring and promoting them to the highest levels.
The time has come to either shutter this agency for incompetence and malfeasance or bring in a director whose charter is to clear out the rot and pay him based on the number of people he fires.