Gun Rights Examiner has obtained a copy of a January 20, 2011 email from Barry Orlow, Associate Chief Counsel (Field Operations and Information) for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, calling top management’s attention to a January 19 column posted by this columnist, “Open Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee staff on ‘Project Gunwalker’.”
Written to inform the committee of whistleblower allegations and to arrange for their protection, the ultimate goal of the open letter was to prompt a full congressional investigation.
Orlow was named by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa in July for sending intimidating warning letters to witnesses about what they could not talk about, with the result that “at least one witness wanted to back out of testifying to his committee after receiving the letter.”
His January email (see column sidebar photo) was addressed to ATF Deputy Director William Hoover, Assistant Director in Charge of Field Operations Mark Chait, and Deputy Assistant Director of Field Operations William McMahon, and copied to ATF Chief Counsel Steve R. Rubenstein, as well as other Bureau attorneys.
Rubenstein was recently identified in another Sipsey Street Irregulars/Gun Rights Examiner exclusive advising then-ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson that whistleblower allegations posted on the CleanUpATF website would be subject to repercussions under authority of ATF Orders and Standards of Conduct, resulting in Melson indicating he would turn the information over to Internal Affairs for investigation.
In his email, Orlow wrote:
You may well be aware of this, but I wanted to make sure. Attached is what purports to be an “Open Letter to Senate Judiciary staff on ‘Project Gunwalker’.” The letter states “ATF employees are looking to come forward to provide testimony and documentation about guns being illegally transported to Mexico, with management cognizance” and that In order for these people to come forward, they require whistle-blower protection.”
Also receiving a copy of the Orlow email was Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars, who originally reported the gunwalking allegations on CleanUpATF and their link to the murder of border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Vanderboegh’s reaction:
Very illuminating. This very early email demonstrates something that our sources have been saying all along. Even when the rest of the media and the political class were as yet ignorant of the Gunwalker Scandal, the gunwalkers themselves, the upper management types of ATF and DOJ, were monitoring — and acutely aware of — every tiny development in the story as reported by Gun Rights Examiner, Sipsey Street and CleanUpATF.org. They exhibited all the tension and straining of senses that a burglar does right after he breaks a window and makes too much noise. Did anybody hear? Is anybody paying attention? Will somebody call a cop?
And who were they afraid of? A few — very few — dissident ATF agents and lowly gun rights bloggers who, by Internet standards, were hardly noticeable or noticed. Yet, even at this early stage, we were apparently living in their heads rent free, all expenses paid.
They had broken the window, somebody they couldn’t control had noticed, and were now in the process of calling the cops. No wonder they were paying attention to you.
They still are.
Armed American Radio was actually the first place the core of the GunRights Examiner/Sipsey Street Irregulars exclusive on ATF straw buying/gunwalking was disclosed. In a conversation Sunday evening with host Mark Walters, this correspondent shared a statement crafted by Mike Vanderboegh:
The U.S. government used ATF employees to buy weapons with taxpayer money and walk them—without help from straw buyers.
Click here to listen to that interview. And apologies to Jay Dobyns—I was exhausted after a long drive and a longer day that would not end until Mike and I posted our hot breaking news, and had a brain freeze on pronouncing your last name.
- 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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