Congress Keeps Scolding the ATF for Botching Operations. Experts Say Lawmakers are Partially to Blame

THE TRACE.COM April 19, 2017 – It was another public hearing, another chance for Congress to lecture its least-loved law enforcement agency. On March 9, Thomas Brandon, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,  Firearms and Explosives, testified before the House Oversight Committee about the death of a federal agent in the Mexican desert in 2011. Lawmakers on the committee demanded to know why the ATF hadn’t stopped known gun traffickers before they killed Jaime Zapata, an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent. Why hadn’t there been coordination between federal agencies? Where was the leadership? And why hadn’t the other two senior ATF officials invited to testify at the hearing shown up?  [full article]

THOMAS BRANDON, THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE ATF, IS SWORN IN BEFORE TESTIFYING AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON HIS AGENCY'S USE OF STOREFRONT OPERATIONS IN 2014. [ASTRID RIECKEN/MCT]

THOMAS BRANDON, THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE ATF, IS SWORN IN BEFORE TESTIFYING AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON HIS AGENCY’S USE OF STOREFRONT OPERATIONS IN 2014. [ASTRID RIECKEN/MCT]

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