While Congressional and public attention is focused on Monday’s revelation that taxpayer money was used to purchase several, AK-style firearms that were subsequently allowed to “walk” into the hands of suspected gun runners, there are two key details to this story that should not be overlooked.
First, according to Congressional sources, the case reported Monday about taxpayer money being used by an ATF agent working undercover to directly purchase guns is apparently not a Fast and Furious case but a separate case. More about that in a moment.
Second, and more important, the name of former Phoenix Group Supervisor David Voth with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is dead center in this new development. Voth is the man who infamously sent the following message, first noted by this column on March 4, to his unhappy subordinates in Operation Fast and Furious back in March 2010:
“I don’t know what all the issues are but we are all adults, we are all professionals, and we have a (sic) exciting opportunity to use the biggest tool in our law enforcement tool box. If you don’t think this is fun you’re in the wrong line of work – period! This is the pinnacle of domestic U.S. law enforcement techniques. After this the tool bag is empty. Maybe the Maricopa County Jail is hiring detention officers and you can get paid $30,000 (instead of $100,000) to serve lunch to inmates all day…We need to get over this bump in the road once and for all and get on with the mission at hand. This can be the most fun you have with ATF, the only one limiting the amount of fun we have is you!”—e-mail from David J. Voth, group supervisor, Phoenix Group VII
It is this type of in-house office politics — some call it political thuggery — for which the ATF has become infamous, critics assert. And where is Voth now? According to the Los Angeles Times back in July, he’s now got a cushy job in Washington; a “lateral transfer” out of Phoenix to become branch chief of the agency’s tobacco division.
And agent John Dodson, the man who beefed about this operation, and later became a whistle blower? Because of his reluctance to blindly go along with the gun buying scheme unless he had a signed letter from Voth to the firearms dealer, and because of his continued questioning of the operation, he was moved out of Phoenix, taken off the Fast and Furious investigation, and sent to agency Siberia in Tucson. Human Events columnist John Hayward writes about it today. He calls Fast and Furious “the Obama administration’s bizarre effort to arm murderous Mexican drug cartels with American guns…”
Over the weekend at the 26th annual Gun Rights Policy Conference — attended by my colleague Dan and Mike Vanderboegh at Sipsey Street Irregulars, who tipped this column to their about-to-break blockbuster — many activists who attended wonder when someone is going to lose their job and face prosecution.
Voth was an on-the-ground team supervisor for the operation, and last month he was moved to Washington to become branch chief for the ATF’s tobacco division.—Los Angeles Times
Today’s revelations put Voth right in the middle of this fiasco, where not only does it appear taxpayer funds were used to buy guns “off the books” under Voth’s instructions, but also allowed to enter the illegal gun pipeline after Voth allegedly ordered ATF Special Agent John Dodson — who did the buying as per Voth’s instructions — to let the guns go.
According to documents obtained by Fox News, Agent John Dodson was ordered to buy six semi-automatic Draco pistols — two of those were purchased at the Lone Wolf gun store in Peoria, Ariz. An unusual sale, Dodson was sent to the store with a letter of approval from David Voth, an ATF group supervisor.
Dodson then sold the weapons to known illegal buyers, while fellow agents watched from their cars nearby.
This was not a “buy-bust” or a sting operation, where police sell to a buyer and then arrest them immediately afterward. In this case, agents were “ordered” to let the sale go through and follow the weapons to a stash house.
According to sources directly involved in the case, Dodson felt strongly that the weapons should not be abandoned and the stash house should remain under 24-hour surveillance. However, Voth disagreed and ordered the surveillance team to return to the office. Dodson refused, and for six days in the desert heat kept the house under watch, defying direct orders from Voth.—Fox News
But the Dodson purchase, under Voth’s orders, was done under a different case number than the Fast and Furious investigation. Fast and Furious’ case number is 785115-10-0004, while the case involving Dodson’s gun buy is numbered 785115-10-0020. They can be viewed at this Fox News link.
A minor detail? No, a major one, because it shows that Fast and Furious was evidently not the only questionable operation mounted in Phoenix under Voth’s watchful eye. We now have two identifiably separate cases that apparently put guns into the wrong hands deliberately. This no longer appears to be a “botched” operation so much as it looks like these guns were deliberately allowed to make it into criminal hands, critics assert.
A week later, a second vehicle showed up to transfer the weapons. Dodson called for an interdiction team to move in, make the arrest and seize the weapons. Voth refused and the guns disappeared with no surveillance.—Fox News
Senator Charles Grassley had documentation about this back on March 3, when he added a redacted case report as an attachment to a letter mailed to Attorney General Eric Holder, the first of many complaining about lack of cooperation from the Justice Department toward Grassley’s inquiries. A source close to Grassley’s inquiry confirmed Monday evening to this column that Grassley knew at the time what he had, but was careful about how to proceed. Now six months later, the gloves are coming off.
In a related development, CBS News is reporting that Kevin O’Reilly, the National Security Council member whose name came up as a recipient of Fast and Furious information months before the White House claims it knew about the operation, has been posted conveniently out of the country right when congressional investigators want to interview him.
In the midst of this new revelation, the Drudge Report, which apparently ignored information supplied by Codrea earlier, found reason to make this issue its headline story for a while, but linked its banner headline not to Codrea or Vanderboegh’s columns, but to the story reported by Fox News. To the credit of Fox News’ William Lajeunesse, he named Sipsey Street Irregulars for breaking the story. Lajeunesse has been tracking this story like a bloodhound, and has broken several updates of his own.
Codrea and Vanderboegh do not get enough credit for originally digging out the Fast and Furious scandal. True, Codrea did receive the Second Amendment Foundation’s Journalist of the Year award over the weekend at the Gun Rights Policy Conference (humbly presented by this column, which has one of its own from a previous year hanging on the wall), and both men were recognized by Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership Saturday night in Chicago.
But virtually all the “major” news agencies claim to have “broken” the story one way or another several months ago., in their own way. Fair enough.
What isn’t fair, however, is for Drudge to treat this pair so poorly. This column is reminded of how Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were initially treated by other news agencies when they were breaking stories about Watergate.
Anyone remember how that turned out?
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