On Thursday, March 9th, the Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing: Reviewing ATF’s Failures in the Death of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata. See footage and information below.
|NOTE: Two officers invited to the hearing, William Temple, special agent in charge of the Dallas Field Division, and Ronald Turk, associate deputy director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were no-shows. House Committee Chairman, Jason Chaffetz has subpoenaed to Special Agent, Temple, and Associate Deputy Director Turk to a hearing or deposition later this month. See my earlier post: Chaffetz subpoenas ATF agents who skipped hearing on death of ICE officer.|
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: March 9, 2017 10:00 am 2154 Rayburn HOB
- Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) failed to appear at the hearing. Invitations to testify before Congress are not optional. Chairman Chaffetz signed subpoenas to compel the attendance of ATF officials Ronald Turk and William Temple later this month.
- ATF took full responsibility for not investigating straw purchasers who trafficked a firearm that was later used in the attack that killed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Jaime Zapata and wounded his colleague, Special Agent Victor Avila.
- The inspector general gave further examples of law enforcement agencies not sufficiently communicating with one another.
- ATF is making an effort to work more closely with the U.S. Attorney in order to improve communications during ongoing investigations.
- Chairman Chaffetz requested that ATF work with the courts to reach an agreement to provide documents to Congress sealed in connection with a tobacco churning case.
- To examine the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General’s (DOJ OIG) recently-released report regarding the firearms found at the scene of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata’s murder.
- To discuss ATF’s cigarette trafficking practices, including the handling of informants and oversight of revenue-generating operations.
- In 2011, the Los Zetas drug cartel murdered ICE Agent Jaime Zapata using firearms linked to two buyers in Texas. ATF had monitored the two buyers trafficking firearms in 2010 but made no effort to further investigate or arrest the buyers until after Zapata’s death.
- In 2011 and 2012, while investigating Operation Fast and Furious and the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, the Oversight Committee and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) inquired about ATF’s failure to investigate and arrest the Texas traffickers until after the death of Agent Zapata.
- DOJ told Congress both matters had been referred to the DOJ OIG. However, when the DOJ OIG released its September 2012 report confirming Congress’s findings from the bicameral investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, the report did not address Agent Zapata’s death.
- At that time, the Oversight Committee and Sen. Grassley formally requested the DOJ OIG investigate the firearms used in Zapata’s murder; the report was recently issued on March 1, 2017, four and a half years later.
Suggested reading on the death of Agent Zapata and what is alleged to have unfolded: Agent Zapata by Mary Cuddehe, Atavist Magazine
Cross-posted on PUMABydesign001’s Blog.