Sharyl Attkisson of CBS, reports that “heads are beginning to roll” two years after the fast and furious scandal came to light. I would argue that heads aren’t rolling until we see these guys in orange jumpsuits….hundreds of people are dead because of this…
William McMahon, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) official who was in charge of field operations during the controversial operation, has been fired, according to his attorney Mark Zaid who told CBS News “we will be appealing the decision.”
Other ATF managers reportedly face similar fates, and announcements could be made soon, though neither they nor their attorneys would confirm it. They are: Mark Chait, who was ATF’s assistant director for field operations; Bill Newell, who was ATF’s Special Agent in Charge of Phoenix; and George Gillett, Newell’s second in command. Chait’s attorney David Laufman stated in an email: “Mr. Chait has not been advised of any adverse finding or recommendation by the Professional Review Board at ATF, and any such action would be utterly without merit.”
Another key Fast and Furious figure who’s leaving the Justice Department today is Attorney General Eric Holder’s chief of staff Gary Grindler. Grindler was faulted by the Justice Department’s Inspector General for not informing Holder about the “significant and troubling” link between ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, and rifles found at the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry on December 15, 2010.
In announcing his departure this week, Holder made no mention of Fast and Furious, and said Grindler “has demonstrated time and again his good judgment and an ability to make the tough – and correct – decisions.” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who led the House investigation into Fast and Furious, said Grindler’s “departure from the Justice Department is warranted and long overdue.”
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which neither the Justice Department nor ATF would confirm, two other Phoenix-based agents have been recommended for disciplinary action: David Voth, who led the team that conducted Fast and Furious; and the lead agent on the case Hope MacAllister. According to the Wall Street Journal, they would receive demotions, reprimands and/or transfers.
The managers recommended for termination, according to people familiar with the matter, are Mark Chait, former assistant director for field operations; William McMahon, who oversaw field operations in the Western U.S.; William Newell, former chief of the ATF’s Phoenix office; and George Gillett, the No. 2 official in the ATF’s Phoenix office.
In addition to dismissal, the officials’ security clearances would be revoked if the recommendations are accepted, according to the people familiar with the matter, a move that could hurt their future job prospects.
David Laufman, attorney for Mr. Chait, said “any adverse finding or recommendation by the PRB would be utterly without merit.”
Mr. Newell’s attorney, Paul Pelletier, declined to comment. Peter Noone, Mr. Gillett’s attorney, also declined to comment, saying he hadn’t received official notification.
Mr. McMahon has been the subject of criticism from lawmakers because he took a leave from his ATF post to take a global security management job for a bank, pending his planned retirement later this month. ATF officials took the additional step of dismissing Mr. McMahon last week, according to officials familiar with the matter, though that move is subject to appeal.
“Mr. McMahon was unfortunately the victim of a politically charged football match over an operation that was officially sanctioned,“ said Mr. McMahon’s lawyer, Mark S. Zaid. “As a result, he was terminated less than a month shy of achieving his 25-year pension. He’ll absolutely be appealing that decision.”
The two other ATF employees subject to disciplinary proceedings are David Voth, an ATF Phoenix supervisor who rejected complaints from agents about the operation, and Hope McAllister, a lead agent in the operation. Mr. Voth would be demoted to a street agent and Ms. McAllister would be subject to a reprimand and a disciplinary transfer to another ATF post.
Mr. Voth’s attorney declined to comment. Ms. McAllister didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. An ATF spokesman declined to comment.
Yes, it’s probably best for these attorneys not to comment…
Mr Voth, sometimes referred to as “the Omelet Man”, made this infamous statement to Agent John Dodson when he complained that letting guns walk was going to get people killed.
“If you’re going to make an omelet, you’ve got to scramble some eggs.”
He may or may not lose his job over this.
FYI, it should be noted that the DOJ’s initial reaction to the scandal was to promote key supervisors Voth, Newell, and McMahon and bring them to Washington DC:
The ATF has promoted three key supervisors of a controversial sting operation that allowed firearms to be illegally trafficked across the U.S. border into Mexico.
All three have been heavily criticized for pushing the program forward even as it became apparent that it was out of control. At least 2,000 guns were lost and many turned up at crime scenes in Mexico and two at the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona.
The three supervisors have been given new management positions at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. They are William G. McMahon, who was the ATF’s deputy director of operations in the West, where the illegal trafficking program was focused, and William D. Newell and David Voth, both field supervisors who oversaw the program out of the agency’s Phoenix office.
Bill Newell was the one who sent Fast and Furious information to then-Director of North American Affairs for the National Security Council Kevin O’Reilly with the caution “You didn’t get these from me,” that O’Reilly was removed from the country to a State Department assignment in Iraq, and that, even with his return, the White House Counsel will not allow him to testify to the Oversight Committee, and he has refused to cooperate with the Office of inspector General.
Why does Kevin O’Reilly get to skate in all of this?