Corrupt Stings: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Exposes Years of ATF Lies

Corrupt Stings: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Produces a Fine Example of Real Journalism. Treat yourself, and read it.

It has been a long time since I read a piece of real, actual investigative reporting. You know, the type of stuff where you know there’s a story, and you know that the powers that be are lying to you, but you fight and dig and search and finally pry out the truth.

This is one of those articles.

I’ll cover in the first comment everything that the MJS had to do and to fight to dig up this report over the course of years. I actually remember reading the first article they wrote, a couple years ago, about the initial corrupt year-long sting in Milwaukee and resulted in increased crime, property damage, and federal machineguns being released on the Milwaukee streets.

At the time, the MJS was told that it was an ‘isolated incident.’ They did not believe it, and they set out to find the truth. They were stifled in every possible way. What the report revealed was, among other things, a nationwide series of stings that:

– As a matter of tactics, deliberately involved mentally retarded persons as pawns, those persons later being arrested and sent to prison for the actions they were manipulated into committing.

– Federal agents convincing (separate) mentally handicapped persons to tattoo the name of the ‘sting operation’s’ storefront on their neck, presumably for fun, then sending them to prison.

– Persons not knowing how to commit a crime, being educated by the federal agents on what to do, and then being arrested and imprisoned for doing it.

– Felons being armed, burglaries being encouraged, underage persons being provided with drugs and alcohol – in school zones.

Honestly, you wouldn’t believe it, and certainly wouldn’t want to believe it, if it weren’t being put right here in front of your eyes.

And this stuff has been going on for a decade. A decade!

It’s not political, it’s not party politics – everyone has been in charge and this still goes on.

What this is, is the corruption that naturally follows unchecked power being given to a federal agency that is unmonitored, unaccountable, unlimited, and deliberately secretive in everything it does.

Some people think that I am a whackado because I don’t trust the federal government. Heh, maybe I am a whackado. But it’s not the federal government per se. What I don’t reflexively trust is authority. And the more authority, the more I distrust it. Unchecked authority I distrust absolutely.

I hope that you will read the whole article. Work like this deserves an audience. I also hope you’ll share it with your friends and families. Not as a political thing, but as a ‘be wary’ thing.

There’s a man in the article who basically says “I don’t have a problem with them doing this, just not in a school zone.” I do not believe that he knew, when he said it, that the thing he reflexively ‘didn’t have a problem with’ was conning a 19-year-old learning disabled kid into tattooing a fake store logo on his neck, then sending him to prison for trading a dime-bag for a t-shirt.

You shouldn’t have the reflex of approval for the acts of government betters. History educates to the contrary. This is but another example.


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One response to “Corrupt Stings: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Exposes Years of ATF Lies”

  1. S/V Danneskjöld says :

    Because I am almost as excited and rejuvenated as a news consumer by the work done to create this article as a I am dejected and ashamed as an American by its content, a small quote from the end referencing what had to be done to put this together:


    In the wake of a flawed storefront sting in Milwaukee, reporters from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sought to examine similar operations around the country. The ATF refused to provide a list of past stings. Reporters discovered the stings, in part, through tips, court records, news coverage and news releases issued by the ATF, the U.S. Department of Justice and local law enforcement. Reporters limited their examination to stings that were publicized since 2010.

    Using the online federal court records system, Pacer, the reporters pieced together the cases and then combed through thousands of pages of documents — indictments and criminal complaints, plea agreements and sentencing transcripts. Where transcripts were not available online, the Journal Sentinel ordered them. In some districts, nearly all documents related to stings were either sealed by judges or unavailable.

    The reporters also reviewed hundreds of pages of state court records, police reports and other records in several states. In addition, the reporters interviewed dozens of defense attorneys, prosecutors, defendants and their families, people who lived and worked near the stings, legal experts and insiders at the ATF and other law enforcement agencies.



    The ATF has refused to release its internal investigation into the failures of its flawed Fearless Distributing sting in Milwaukee. The report has been sought by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and members of Congress since its completion earlier this year.

    The internal review was launched after a Journal Sentinel investigation revealed numerous foul-ups in the operation. For nine months, the ATF also has refused to provide any documents to the Journal Sentinel, which has filed a dozen requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act, including the cost of the operations and rules on agents keeping guns in their vehicles.

    In late November, Department of Justice attorney Anne D. Work affirmed the ATF’s position that its entire internal report on the closed Milwaukee operation should be kept secret and not released to the public. Work wrote that releasing the investigation “could reasonably be expected to interfere with (law) enforcement proceedings.””

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