ATF Agent John Dobson
The officials at Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) appear to have added books as an imminent threat to safety. Agent John Dobson has reportedly been blocked by the ATF from publishing a book on Operation Fast and Furious. Dobson blew the whistle on the disastrous operation that led to sale of 2,000 guns to Mexican drug cartels, including one used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010. The reason? The book would embarrass the ATF.
Dodson’s book, titled “The Unarmed Truth,” provides his account of trying to stop the operation and is scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster. He submitted the book for review and it should not have been a problem since much of the operation has been made public through congressional and media reports. However, he was reportedly told by Greg Serres, an ATF ethics official, that any of his supervisors at any level could disapprove outside employment “for any reason.” Serres is quoted as saying “This would have a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix Field Division and would have a detremental effect [sic] on our relationships with DEA and FBI.”
Adam Taggart * Peak Prosperity ~ We invited Bill Black to return to explain whether the level of systemic risk due to fraud in our financial markets has improved or worsened since the dire situation he painted for us in early 2012. Sadly, it looks like abuse by the big players has only flourished since then.
In the U.S., our regulators have publicly embraced a “too big to prosecute” doctrine. We are restraining, underfunding, and dismantling regulatory oversight in the interest of short-term stability for the status quo. Which, as a criminologist, Black knows with certainty creates an environment where bad actors will act in their self-interest with assumed (and likely real, at this point) impunity.
If you’ve ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you’ve ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or “drug paraphernalia” in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.
Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who’s ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a “record” financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.
The banks’ laundering transactions were so brazen that the NSA probably could have spotted them from space. Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC’s Mexican branches and “deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows.”
This bears repeating: in order to more efficiently move as much illegal money as possible into the “legitimate” banking institution HSBC, drug dealers specifically designed boxes to fit through the bank’s teller windows. Tony Montana’s henchmen marching dufflebags of cash into the fictional “American City Bank” in Miami was actually more subtle than what the cartels were doing when they washed their cash through one of Britain’s most storied financial institutions.
Though this was not stated explicitly, the government’s rationale in not pursuing criminal prosecutions against the bank was apparently rooted in concerns that putting executives from a “systemically important institution” in jail for drug laundering would threaten the stability of the financial system. The New York Times put it this way: