So what do we say to this? “Close enough for government work”? That ATF is a one stop shop for firearm theft?
The agents are searching for some of their own retired service weapons as well as guns from other federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and DEA.
All of the weapons had been sent to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch in Martinsburg, W.Va., to be shredded, according to court documents and congressional letters.
A longtime guard at the ATF facility has admitted to carting off thousands of firearms, gun parts and ammunition and selling them over several years. Hey those were supposed to go to Mexican cartels!
Christopher Yates, 52, a guard who worked as a contract employee for ATF for 16 years, was charged in federal court in West Virginia. He pleaded guilty in April to possession of a stolen gun and stealing government property.
Yates is set to be sentenced in August. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each count, but is unlikely to get the maximum under federal sentencing guidelines.
The ATF has recovered more than 4,000 guns and parts that had been reported missing while Yates worked there, according to Yates’ plea agreement.
Yates admitted to stealing at least 3,000 slides, a key part of a gun allowing it to fire, from Glock semiautomatic handguns. He also admitted to stealing dozens of guns, including at least four fully automatic machine guns, which are closely regulated by the ATF. HAW! Apparently not regulated very closely once they have them in their hands!
It’s not clear from the plea agreement if all of those machine guns have been recovered. Comforting
Yates told prosecutors that when he was alone at the facility, he stole the weapons and parts and then sold them.
The agency did not provide many details to Congress on the scope of the theft in a letter to senators sent in March and obtained this week by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In the March 28 letter, to U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), then-Acting ATF Director Tom Brandon said he could not say much because of Yates’ open case. By that he of course means he has no frigging idea but isn’t going to very well say it.
Johnson, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, and Peters, the committee’s ranking member, had written a letter in March asking for answers from the agency, saying they had been told about 600 guns and parts were stolen. “About”. Read- have no clue.
“We cannot at this time characterize the scope of the thefts from the Martinsburg facility,” wrote Brandon, who retired from the agency at the end of April.
Less than two weeks after Brandon’s letter was sent, many details of the case were laid out in Yates’ plea agreement filed in federal court in West Virginia.
The agency is still not publicly saying how many guns and gun parts have been taken, only disclosing that the loss was “significant.” Federal agency vague non-answer, check.
On Wednesday, ATF spokeswoman April Langwell noted in an email to the Journal Sentinel that “the total number cannot be released pending the ongoing investigation & recovery operations.” ” We haven’t a clue lol , but we sure ain’t gonna let the masses know that”.
FFLs. Please chime in and tell us if the ATF would accept that as an answer from you if a couple guns turned up missing during one of their friendly visits. Never mind, we all already know the answer to that one.
Asked why the agency did not disclose details to Congress that were in Yates’ plea agreement, Langwell wrote, “The investigation was ongoing and the timing of the release of information was a result of the regular judicial process.” “We have no intention of having to face any accountability because of our incompetence as the gov’s TOP. MEN.” “retirement pensions and dental plans may be at stake!”
Agents have been “running around the clock” trying to find the weapons, which has taken time from other investigations, according to several sources familiar with the effort to find the stolen guns. Sure.
It’s ok though, the world is now safe from bump stocks.
You can read the report on the ongoing complete failure of the ATF’s ability to keep track of the guns in their own possession here and bask in professionalism of some of the nation’s most TOP MEN here.