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ATF Enmeshed in Yet Another Embarrassing Gun-Enforcement Scandal

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives looks more and more like the gang that can’t shoot straight, figuratively speaking. First there were Operations Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious, hair-brained capers in Arizona that resulted in hundreds of contraband firearms moving across the border to Mexico, right under the noses of federal investigators. Agents facilitated the illegal gun sales but failed to track the black-market weapons, and the fiascoes led to congressional investigations and a shake-up of BATFE leadership.

More recently, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has revealed varieties of BATFE incompetence. The Wisconsin paper reported earlier this year that a botched sting in Milwaukee included agents hiring a brain-damaged man to promote an undercover storefront and then arresting him for his work for the government. Called on the carpet in Washington, BATFE officials told lawmakers that the failed Milwaukee sting was an isolated case. Now the Journal Sentinel reports that this just isn’t the case. Agents “employed rogue tactics similar to those used in Milwaukee in every operation from Portland, Ore., to Pensacola, Fla.” Among the findings: