I have mixed personal emotions about this publicity. My thoughts and reasoning bounce from one side of my brain to the other. I’ll take the high road and start with the positive.
I am talking about last nights ABC 20/20 program on ATF’s undercover hit men (first aired Friday, March 14, 2014). Here is the link. Be sure to use the “NEXT VIDEO” tab below your video player to see the entire show sequence.
I respect, admire and praise the Agents who were featured in the program. I know two of them personally and can say that they are two of the finest agents that ATF has to offer. I am not sure if I know the others as they were in disguise but it is not risky for me to say that they too are remarkably clever and brave agents.
The ATF Agents who work murder-for-hire cases are heroes to me. They accept these undercover assignments when few others can or will and in doing so serve as guardian angels for the intended victims of murder. They save innocent lives.
Can you imagine a gangster-looking thug approaching you with no warning and telling you, “I have been hired to kill you but, today is your lucky day”? Long pause. “I am an ATF undercover agent pretending to be a hit man. If you will cooperate with me I will catch the person who wants you butchered and do my best to make sure they go to prison for it.”
The program did a beautiful job of capturing the extraordinary lengths that these agents go to and the subsequent battle damage that these operations create on their families. It is a demonstration of how far some ATF agents will go to protect the public from violence.
20/20 also captured how truly heroic our citizenry can be when confronted with evidence that extreme violence is just around the corner for them, and in some cases, their children. For the common man or woman to hear that, and then participate in the investigation is in my eyes, the epitome of courage.
Now for my 180 view. I could match the preceding title by calling this section THE BAD but it would be more accurate to title it…
In 2004 ATF’s Office of Public and Governmental Affairs publicly promoted the most finite details of similar operations I was involved in through television and two books. Five years after that, in 2009, I wrote my own book about those operations titled No Angel.
For nearly three years from when they first learned of it (May, 2007) ATF didn’t offer so much as a peep about my book. After a lawsuit I filed against ATF was accepted in court (2010 – and after multiple attempts by DOJ to have it dismissed) – within two-weeks – ATF and the Department of Justice counter-sued me for No Angel. The basis of their claim: I had allegedly released undercover tradecraft, damaged inter-agency relationships, compromised protected techniques, etc. Mind you, nothing exposed in No Angel in 2009 had not already been publicly revealed by ATF themselves to promote Bureau accomplishments in 2004.
At the exact same time ATF and DOJ were suing me for $500,000+ in alleged damages, ATF was also using No Angel within the walls of the ATF Headquarters building to brag on the “dangerous and life-threatening risks” ATF agents accept to protect the public. That situation is discussed in this video at the 4:20 timemark.
ATF’s Kool-Aid drinking, true-believing, blinders-wearing, defend-at-all-cost-regardless-of-the-truth executives will say these are two different situations. They call it “apples and oranges”. They will say that they did not expose tradecraft, but I did. Unremarkably for today’s ATF, they are wrong on both counts.
ATF is run by hypocrites. The Kings of Double Standards. Above the Law and Above the Ethics bosses who can justify anything they do in their own minds with the encouragement and empowerment of government attorneys who themselves have become the masters of liability manipulation and brainwashing upon the weak souls of ATF shotcallers. ATF’s “leadership” doesn’t run this agency. Lawyers do. Agency legal counsel hides behind attorney-client privilege and tells the Director on down what say, do, eat, drink, sleep and think. I challenge just one person to show me I am wrong.
The public can be the judge. Exposure of tradecraft? They beat me to punch, blamed me for their own exposures and then upped the anti to a level that stunned even someone as jaded as I am in the examination of public corruption.
Good luck and safe travels to all those out there no trying to perfect murder-for-hire investigations. Be careful. Your attorneys (the bosses) and your bosses (the puppets) have put you at risk.