Deputy AD tells Phoenix field employees Issa/Grassley probe “a political move”? Whistleblower website calls for special prosecutor
“Whether they appoint a Special Prosecutor or not, and they should, nothing will change under this Acting Director or the permanent Appointee, unless and until they gut the Executive staff of all who either ignored or gave counsel to our past 5 Acting Directors,” CleanUpATF Moderator Iceman writes. “I do not care if B. Todd Jones is Abe Lincoln reincarnated; if he continues to seek or even take counsel from those with SO many failures of the last 5 years, he will be doomed to fail just as his predecessors have. “
Jones is the new acting director—and a part-time one at that– appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to oversee the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the wake of former acting director Kenneth Melson’s reassignment.
“More importantly,” Iceman continues, “if he does not hold the senior leadership accountable, and that starts by removing Hoover, Chait, Newell, Gillett, McMahon and Voth from any management positions, F and F WILL happen again. It will take another form but it will happen again.”
Strong words. But why should we heed them when they come from an anonymous source?
Recall the genesis prompting initial outreach from this correspondent to the then-Democrat controlled House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform back in September, 2009. Recall how Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars first became aware of a connection between “Project Gunwalker” and the Brian Terry murder. Recall that whistelblowing agent Vince Cefalu is a co-founder of Clean Up ATF.
The track record for corroboration of allegations that initially surfaced on that website is unparalleled, and that Iceman is trusted as a moderator tells us much. That veteran agents fear retaliation for coming forward with the truth tells us more.
Poster lancebone1967 weighs in:
Jones has been in place for 2 weeks and… nothing. No moves or even communication with the field. A failed attempt to make opening remarks was ruined by bad IT and no one heard what he said except those in HQ. No message to the field? He said in his radio interview that he had been discussing his position with DOJ for months so there should not be this delay in action while he gets the “lay of the land”. If he is going to maintain the past executive staff then he brings nothing to the table that Sullivan and Melson haven’t. If he is going to listen to the same advisors and attorneys as his predecessors then his success will also be the same as theirs. I am personally already disappointed that he did not come in and at least make a couple quick changes to send a message. There has been no message from him. Mr. Jones if you decide to listen to Hoover, Chait, Loos, Rubenstien and all the others that have been on the inner circle for the prior directors your legacy will be that of a failure. The old crew of trusted advisors are as much to blame for ATFs condition as the now gone directors. If you will not listen to your field employees you are doomed. Melson and Sullivan trusted the current executive staff and they turned their backs on the agents. Ask Melson and Sullivan how that worked out for them. PS: Town Hall meetings are a joke. They are a dog and pony show. They are counterfeit. They are done only to put out rah-rah bs and make the HQ people feel good about themselves for connecting face to face with the little folk. No right minded agent is going to ask a single tough or controversial question with every manager in their division breathing down their necks and ready to retaliate. Just stop the bs and make some decisions. Lead from the front please.
Group regular Corny gives us insight into the leadership mindset:
Acting Director B. Todd Jones, how can this be? This week Deputy Assistant Director – West Mark Potter makes an advance visit to the ATF Phoenix Field Division for Director Joneses town hall visit next week. He addresses the entire group of field employees and tells them that the congressional investigation by Grassley and Issa into Fast and Furious is just a political move? Hmmmmmmm? Just a political move? Is Potter drinking from the same water fountain in headquarters that Newell and McMahon use? Has Potter lost his mind to make a statement like that at ATF Phoenix? Don’t forget that Potter is the Great Retaliator and destroyed many careers of good ATF agents and for those who forgot, go look at the OIG report on Truscott’s removal – Potter is the “Homework SAC”. He is now in the same position that McMahon had during Fast and Furious. A statement like ‘just a political move’ makes me think we were better off with McMahon, as sad as that is. These guys are incapable of staying out of their own way.
Member reddog shares this concern and more:
Potter’s comments show how disengaged Potter is from the field. This may have been the single most stupid thing he could do. His first official act under Jones and he embarrasses the man. Potter’s words whether they be a slip or intentional show the attitude of all those executives who defend ATF’s corruption or turn their back to it when they see it. Utterly ridiculous for Jones to send Potter out with that message. If Jones leaves Potter in place as someone who represents ATF’s headquarters attitude toward the crimes our executives have committed then he needs to go to. This is 100% unacceptable to the field employees. Potter arrived in Phoenix as an advance for Jones and what he says on Jones behalf as Jones DAD then Jones owns it. Potter will do what Potter and all the dirty executives do – I guarantee it – “I didn’t say it”, “It was taken out of context”, etc. This is easy to figure out Mr. Jones. Do your ask your own questions of the people who were there and ask simply, did or did not Mark Potter say this on his visit to the division. Mr. Jones do what all the others before you couldn’t do, get rid of people like this who embarrass ATF and embarrass you. Do something about this Mr. Jones, do something about the corrupt people in ATF’s senior management, do something about the criminal and unethical SAC’s or don’t waste our time. Instead of a town hall to Phoenix how about you spend that time cleaning this place out? No one in Phoenix needs to see you what we need is for you to do is take some action.
Regular Cool Hand adds this:
Regarding Potter. Okay…let’s see. In Atlanta, an African American and a female supervisor stepped down under his command…and a Latino supervisor was black balled through his good ol’ boy network…hmmmm…and then he was promoted to SAC in his home State of Pennsylvania. Now he’s a DAD in field operations. A pattern is a pattern is a pattern Mr. Jones. Ol’ Mark is a huge fan of diversity. Good luck with your trusted advisor.
Moderator Doc Holiday gives us further insights:
Mark Potter should have accepted the CFO/Management position as he has NO skill or track record regarding managing field operations. Mark Potter is a politician and nothing more. He bought a Cadillac with tax payer dollars. He tanked two of the BEST supervisors in the Bureau in Atlanta out of complete narcissistic ego driven reprisal for them exposing his incompetence. He used government resources to do the former Directors nephews homework and has never placed a dynamic or aggressive ATF program on the map during his entire career. Then he couldn’t accept the bean counter job in DC because he didn’t like it but his “personal issues” subsided as soon as he was offered the job he liked. THEN he has the audacity to state publicly that the Congressional investigation into our executive leaderships actions across the board is just POLITICS? “Our hands were tied in responding”. B……T Mark. Our leadership, YOU and Yes men like you cowered in the corner. We could have stepped out front, released all the documents to lawful authority and accepted responsibility instead of spinning and protecting corrupt managers. To those paying attention, get ready for Fast and Furious 2 if Mark Potter remains a DAD. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but it will happen.Its either that or NOTHING enforcement minded will occur out of fear and self preservation.
Agent Cefalu weighs in with a caution:
Remember, Mr. Jones didn’t appoint Potter, or assign McMahon to IA or any of the other outrageous actions that have gotten us where we are. Let’s see what Mr. Jones’ selections are and who he surrounds himself with. That will be the real indicator of business as usual or not.
Fair enough. But reddog has a reminder of his own, one those interested in the truth should remember and use when political and media Obama administration apologists bemoan lack of resources as justification for “Project Gunwalker”:
Just so we are very clear – ATF group 7 had more than enough assets in place to accomplish the mission at hand (interdicting firearms). There has been a lot of talk that we did not have the man power to accomplish the mission. I would beg to differ – I wish I had the man power that the Fast and Furious had in my day to day mission.
And just so we are clear—The initial comment from Iceman that this article began with was a response to the following position issued by the CleanUpATF webmaster:
Whereas overwhelming evidence establishes that substantial acts of wrongdoing may have been committed by senior Officials of the United States Government, including persons such as Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Ronald H. Weich, Dennis Burke, and others acting for or on behalf of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Kenneth E. Melson, William J. Hoover, Mark Chait, William G. McMahon, William D. Newell, George Gillett Jr., and others of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and possibly other officials within the Obama Administration, CleanUpATF.org hereby respectfully requests that Congress should enact and empower, on behalf of the American people and pursuant to 28 C.F.R. PART 600, one or more Special Prosecutors, who shall be timely responsible for:
1.Fully investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding “Operation Fast & Furious”, “Project Gunrunner”, “Operation Castaway”, and any other related federal law enforcement activities as Congress should deem appropriate, and;
2.Determining whether any federal, state and/or international regulations, laws, statutes, treaties, agreements or other binding conventions were violated, and;
3.Determining which officials and/or employees, whether elected or appointed, of the U.S. Government, had substantial knowledge of, or should have had knowledge of, the activities resulting in any such violations, and;
4.Determining which officials and/or employees, whether elected or appointed, of the U.S. Government, were materially responsible for planning, approving and/or otherwise enacting any operations or activities leading to such violations, and;
5.Determining whether any such officials and/or employees of the U.S. Government may have engaged in improper activities aimed at “covering-up”, obstructing, frustrating, obfuscating, minimizing or preventing efforts by Members of Congress to conduct lawful oversight inquiries, and/or designed to evade rightful accountability for wrongful acts by such officials or employees;
6.Insuring that any officials and/or employees of the U.S. Government who committed substantial acts of wrongdoing are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
7.Issuing a comprehensive Report of Investigation and Recommendations to the Congress and American people.
The words of those inside ATF who are desperately committed to having the truth come out provide the most powerful rebuttal to those who are abetting the cover-up by trying to redirect the argument to support an agenda of suppression, deflection, cover-up and smearing.
And ask yourself why more politicians and “Authorized Journalists” aren’t demanding the same thing, including demanding the answer to why career agents feel compelled to post under screen names. And why arrogant management still feels secure enough to dismiss a Congressional investigation of an international criminal conspiracy to field operatives as “a political move.”
Does anyone seriously think a DAD made that talking point for the troops up by himself?
- CleanUpATF thread quoted from in this article
- A Journalist’s Guide to ‘Project Gunwalker’ Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five and Part Six for a complete list with links of independent investigative reporting and commentary done to date by Sipsey Street Irregulars and Gun Rights Examiner.
Note to newcomers to this story: “Project Gunrunner” is the name ATF assigned to its Southwest Border Initiative to interdict gun smuggling to Mexico. “Project Gunwalker” is the name I assigned to the scandal after allegations by agents that monitored guns were allowed to fall into criminal hands on both sides of the border through a surveillance process termed “walking” surfaced.
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