An undated internal “Quick Hits” problem identification analysis forwarded to Gun Rights Examiner by an insider source yesterday points to “poor management,” an “unfair disciplinary system” that includes “retaliation,” and “ethical violations” from the Chief Counsel’s office among the issues requiring management resolution.
The document, represented by the source as the result of meetings between Deputy Director Thomas E. Brandon and a “working group” that took place earlier this year, accuses Counsel of “inhibit[ing] leaders from doing the right thing” by having “too much involvement in all bureau processes,” and among its solutions recommends “Do not tolerate ethical violations from Counsel” and “Establish transparency wherein counsel cannot mask activities, records, etc. with ‘privilege.’”
“Poor management has killed morale,” the document admits, recommending that the concern that “management takes care of management” requires the bureau “Punish managers commensurate with their level of responsibility…higher position + intentional malfeasance = greater discipline and accountability.”
Among related problems specified were an “unfair disciplinary system…disparity of discipline between management,” and, significantly, “retaliations.”
Inappropriate actions by Chief Counsel are no surprise to long-time readers of this column, who will recall that office advising then-Acting ATF Director Ken Melson of disciplinary actions that could be initiated against a CleanUpATF whistleblower, or another instance where they alerted ATF management to the Gun Rights Examiner article that put Senator Chuck Grassley’s staffers on public notice about the need to provide whistleblower protection for agents wanting to come forward with Operation Fast and Furious information.
This new document containing admissions of many of the things reported and alleged outside the bureau should be of interest to those investigators, insider advisers to this columnist, insist, particularly because of the anticipated testimony of the Justice Department Inspector General, initially scheduled for September 11, but now perhaps to be postponed if the report currently under draft review is delayed—something advisers have cautioned to watch out for, and a concern seemingly confirmed in a story filed yesterday by The Los Angeles Times that cited a letter from the IG.
“I think that as a basis for the oversight hearings that we have been promised but not yet seen, this is wonderful stuff,” one adviser told Gun Rights Examiner about the Quick Hits document. “ It shows that Brandon and Company are willing to reform and provides a template for questions by the Congresscritters that would get to the heart of the matter. Indeed, an honest performance by Brandon at such a hearing may be the only thing that can save the institution. I found the criticism of CC Office to be magnificently spot on.”
“This could be real fodder for the hearings,” another agreed.
“I hate to say it, but Brandon and [Acting Director B. Todd] Jones own this sh…,” another cautioned, adding to the possibility that this document could be something management has put out and allowed to leak for reasons of self-protection.
In a related development, a source tells Gun Rights Examiner that “double-dipping” former Assistant Director William McMahon is now in the Philippines, leading to speculation as to what House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa’s options are, now that a figure he says “will probably be referred for criminal prosecution” is out of the country, and whether those who authorizing that may in fact be obstructing justice.