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Tag: ATF

IG Report Sharply Criticizes ATF’s Program to Crack Down on Guns to Mexico

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– A Justice Department’s Inspector General report released Tuesday sharply criticized ATF’s efforts to crackdown on gun trafficking along the Mexican border, saying the agency is failing to share information within and outside the agency and with Mexico and is focusing far too much on smaller rather than bigger gun traffickers.

The 152-page report, which focused on ATF’s “Project Gunrunner”, which aims to curb gun trafficking to Mexico, found “that ATF does not systematically and consistently exchange intelligence with its Mexican and some U.S. partner agencies.”

“We found weaknesses in how ATF implemented Project Gunrunner as a multi-agency effort,” the report by Inspector General Glenn Fine concluded.

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Navy SEAL and 2 Others Busted in ATF Sting

softair gun from online catalogue

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Navy SEAL and two other men have been busted in an ATF sting in which they allegedly smuggled illegal firearms, including AK-47 assault rifles, from Iraq and Afghanistan, and sold them to an undercover agent, federal authorities in Las Vegas said Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Nicholas Bickle, 33, assigned to a SEAL team based in Coronado, Calif,  Richard Paul, 34, of Durango, Colo., and Andrew Kaufman, 36, of Las Vegas,  were indicted in the case, the Times reported.

The three allegedly sold 18 AK-47s and 14 other firearms to an undercover ATF agent in  Las Vegas, Durango, and Bayfield, Colo., according to Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. attorney for Nevada.

Authorities said the AK-47s sold for $1,300 each and six handguns for $300 apiece, the LA Times reported.

ATF’s Mark Potter Leaving Philly to Become Assistant Director at Headquarters

Mark Potter/atf photo

Mark Potter/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Mark Potter, head of ATF in Philadelphia, is headed to the mothership in Washington in January to become the agency’s assistant director/chief financial officer, Office of Management.

Potter, who has been with ATF for more than 23 years, has headed up the Philly office for the past 7 1/2 years.

At his new post at headquarters Potter will serve as principal assistant to the Director and oversee ATF’s financial management, human resources, asset forfeiture and seized property, procurement, internal controls and facilities and space management.

Potter says the new job isn’t what he envisioned doing when he entered law enforcement to put away bad guys.

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Breaking News: Virgin Islands Judge Tosses Case Against ATF Agent Will Clark

ATF Agent Will Clark

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Virgin Islands judge on Thursday tossed out the controversial case against ATF agent Will Clark who had been on trial since Monday on charges of murdering his neighbor during a confrontation in 2008.

The Associated Press reported that Judge Edgar Ross tossed the case on a technicality, ruling in favor of a defense motion that proper procedure was not followed in identifying the body of shooting victim Marcus Sukow to the medical examiner.

Prosecutors had accused ATF agent Clark of using excessive force during a confrontation with Sukow, who was involved in a in a domestic dispute that day.  Clark claimed it was self defense and his agency, after conducting an internal review, found Clark responded properly.

The case was dismissed with prejudiced, meaning the decision cannot be appealed.

Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY), who has been a vocal supporter of Clark all along issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying:

“As I have said from the beginning, Will is a hero, not a murderer, and I’m so grateful the Judge looked at the facts of the case and agreed.”

“Our law enforcement officers need to know that they will not be prosecuted for taking lawful actions to protect the innocent, whether they are on duty or off. I’m proud to say that today, justice was served with the dismissal of the charges against Will Clark.”

Rob Snyder, executive vice president of the D.C. chapter of Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA,) fired off an email to members of ATF and other agencies, saying: “Great news: ATF SA WIll CLark had all charges against him dismissed today! This is great news for him personally and for federal lawenforcement as a whole.”

Atty. Gen. Holder Wears ATF Badge and Yellow Ribbon in Support of Agent Will Clark

Holder wearing badge and ribbon/aft webpage

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ORLANDO — ATF agent Will Clark, who is on trial in the Virgin Islands for murder, is getting support from some very high places in the U.S. government.

The ATF posted a photo on its webpage of Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. addressing the annual conference for the  International Association of Chiefs of Police on Tuesday in Orlando and noted that  Holder was wearing “an ATF Badge and yellow ribbon in support of SA Will Clark.”

The website said Holder delivered the speech after meeting with Kenneth  Melson, head of ATF, and the agency’s  executive assistant director William J. Hoover.

Clark shot and killed a Virgin Islands man in September 2008 during a confrontation. The prosecution said Tuesday that Clark used unreasonable force, according to an account in the Virgin Islands Daily News. Clark’s attorney argued it was in self defense.

The incident in question happened on Sept. 7, 2008, in St. Thomas, where Clark was living at the time. He had been stationed in the Virgin Islands to help battle the territory’s problem with gun violence.

According to accounts by the ATF and Rep. Chris Lee, Clark left his apartment that morning and found his neighbor Marguerite Duncan crying and trembling.

“She pleaded for his help, knowing that Clark was a federal agent,” Lee wrote to congressional colleagues in a June 30 letter trying to stir support for his resolution backing the agent.

The woman’s boyfriend, Marcus Sukow, who was naked and supposedly intoxicated, reportedly started pounding on her car hood and throwing large landscaping rocks.

According to Lee, Clark tried calming the man, to no avail. The man allegedly made threats and eventually came charging at Clark with a Maglite flashlight, which is considered a potentially lethal weapon. The agent opened fire, killing Sukow.

An ATF shooting review panel found that Clark acted reasonably in the situation.

Strong Gun Lobby Hurts ATF’s Efforts to Regulate Gun Ownership, Washington Post Reports

atf file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF is operating on a short leash, hamstrung by limited resources to regulate gun ownership, much in part due to the strong gun lobbying efforts, the Washington Post reports.

“Concerns about government regulation of gun ownership have limited the resources available to the ATF, led to strict regulatory restrictions and left the agency without leadership, according to interviews with dozens of former and current ATF officials and examination of thousands of pages of internal documents,” Sari Horwitz  and James Grimaldi of the Washington Post report.

“The ATF is supposed to regulate the gun industry, but many within the bureau say it is the industry that dominates the agency,” the Post reported. “Unlike the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Secret Service or the U.S. Marshals, the ATF must contend with a powerful lobby that watches its every move and fights its attempts to gain resources and regulatory power.”

To read more click here.

Congressman Continues to Apply Pressure on Virgin Islands to Drop Murder Charge Against ATF Agent

Rep. Chris Lee at press conference
Rep. Chris Lee at press conference

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) continued to apply pressure Thursday, holding a press conference near the Capitol in an attempt to get the Virgin Islands to drop murder charges against  ATF agent Will Clark who shot and killed someone in September 2008 during a confrontation.

“Will was doing what his training and his background taught him to do – he was coming to the aid of a battered woman,” Lee said in a statement issued  after the press conference, which was attended by members of the law enforcement community. “I’m pleased to join with a bipartisan group of senators and representatives to call attention to Will’s heroism and question his treatment in this case. America’s brave law enforcement officers need to know they will be supported for courageous and lawful actions to defend the innocent, not prosecuted for it.”

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ATF Creating 7 New Groups to Cut Flow of Illegal Weapons to Mexico

Ken Melson and Dennis Burke/atf photo
Ken Melson and Dennis Burke/atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — ATF is creating seven new anti-gunrunner groups around the country to try and cut the flow of illegal firearms to Mexico.

In announcing the new move, ATF said it was placing the groups “along traditional and newly-discovered firearms trafficking routes and hubs” in Atlanta, Dallas, Brownsville, Tex., Las Vegas, Miami, Oklahoma City and Sierra Vista, Az.

The groups are being created as a result of the 2010 emergency supplemental appropriation for border security. ATF received $37.5 million for Project Gunrunner to halt the flow of illegal guns to Mexico, the agency said.

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