Members of Congress from both parties Wednesday called for an investigation into the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ storefront sting in Milwaukee, an operation plagued by problems such as an agent’s machine gun being stolen and burglars ripping off $35,000 in merchandise.
Among those delivering sharp rebukes were lawmakers who led the congressional probe into ATF’s flawed Fast and Furious operation in Arizona, where agents encouraged the sale of more than 2,000 firearms by gun stores to traffickers but lost track of the weapons. Many ended up at crime scenes in Mexico.
“The Journal Sentinel story reads more like an accounting of the Keystone Cops instead of a federal law enforcement agency,” U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “I’ll be asking the ATF questions because if the operation was handled as badly as it was reported, it puts yet another major stain on the agency.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), chair of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, said he would be investigating the matter.
“News of the botched ATF Milwaukee operation is extremely concerning,” he said. “The Obama Administration wants to pass new gun laws and give new responsibilities to the ATF, but the agency has been inept at enforcing the laws that we already have.