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No New Undercover Agents for ATF


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#1 Retired Agent Jay Dobyns

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 11:26 AM

I considered it my honor to meet those young agents.  Everyone of them was squared-away, dignified and what I hope to see in our future.  They were really fun to chat with and as best I could tell, none of them were drinking anyways.  I know because I offered to buy each of them a drink and they all declined.  They were all full of energy, excitement and high hopes for their futures.  They each took the time to introduce themselves to Pat Kelly and tell him where they were assigned.  I made it my point to tell them what a privilege it is to carry an ATF badge and that they had joined the best agency in federal law enforcement.  I was proud to see 'my' agency being passed to such a cool group of young men and women.  What they witnessed that night went far beyond policies and procedures.  They saw a group of vets who truly love, respect and admire each other, long after their days in the sun had passed.  I hope their individual take-a-ways was that in spite of the bullshit we all face on this job, what endures is the friendships.



#2 BeenThereDoneThat

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 08:04 AM

About ten years ago I was talking with a Group Supervisor.   He told me that he was seeing an alarming trend of hiring and promoting special agents with strong bodies and weak minds.  It seemed amusing at the time.  I thought "No way!".  Surely we have learned from our mistakes.

 

However, Retiredwithintegrity made an astute observation that ATF/DOJ is using "training" to indoctrinate Yes-Men.  The new Agents may never see the big picture; they will know "what", but will not know "why".



#3 GoodWorker

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 08:43 PM

It appears ATF Managers no longer want Special Agents that can make decisions, think on their feet or do real undercover work.  Case in point, during the weekend of January 16 – 18, 2015,I was present at a celebration of life for the Godfather of ATF Undercover Pat Kelly.  This celebration was held at Pam#1 just outside of FLETC (Any real Street Level ATF Agent knows the location).  Among those attending were some of the finest ATF Undercover agents that I have ever worked with: Jay “Bird” Dobyns, Vincent Cefalu, Billy Queen, Carlos Baixaudi, just to name a few.  During the festivities about 5 newly hired agents entered and once they were determined to be ATF Agents, our host Bob Hammer, explained to them what the celebration was all about.  Bob then took them over to meet the celebrities and historical legends of ATF.  Each shook the hand of Pat Kelly, Bird, Billy, Vincent and Carlos and many others present that were the backbone of ATF’s Undercover Training.  Those new agents probably will not know for a long time what an honor they had that evening.  Then a FLETC Instructor (Not an ATF Instructor) approached the new agents and told them they needed to leave.  The newly hired agents explained to those of us “retired” ATF Agents that just that day they had been given a lecture and training , that prohibits them from “drinking or association with active ATF agents” while going through training.  You could see the look of fear on the faces of those newly hired agents, obviously in fear of losing their jobs, as they made their rapid exit from Pam’s.  I was embarrassed for those new agents and disappointed at an agency I was so proud to have been a part.  I think most everyone that performed undercover work, or was the backup or support for those brave souls that did so, over the past 30 years will agree, we learned the technical and legal aspects of the job at CIS or NAT, but learned what would keep us alive, and how to do the job though their attendance at after hour classes at Pam#1, through their association with those who actually did the job.  I know I learned more by having a few beers with Pat Kelly at Pam’s than I ever learned in a classroom.  It is apparent that the “new” ATF Management is afraid of agents that actually want to do the job, or agents that have some street smarts or as my old training officer called it “Grit”.  What they want is those that have pretty degrees to hang on the wall, “work” 9 – 5 and follow management’s directions without question or deviation even when those directions are wrong.  ATF “leadership” apparently no longer wants active agents to really “know” the new hires or their interest, motivations, goals, or grit.  When new agents are not allowed to hang out at Pam’s after hours “classroom” ATF might as well dissolve itself, and turn the mission over to the FBI.  You know the folks who can’t make a decision on the street without calling headquarters. 
     

RetiredwithIntegrity, that was a very insightful observation and you are right that the trainees did miss out on a great learning opportunity because of the policy. 



#4 Retiredwithintegrity

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 01:44 PM

It appears ATF Managers no longer want Special Agents that can make decisions, think on their feet or do real undercover work.  Case in point, during the weekend of January 16 – 18, 2015,I was present at a celebration of life for the Godfather of ATF Undercover Pat Kelly.  This celebration was held at Pam#1 just outside of FLETC (Any real Street Level ATF Agent knows the location).  Among those attending were some of the finest ATF Undercover agents that I have ever worked with: Jay “Bird” Dobyns, Vincent Cefalu, Billy Queen, Carlos Baixaudi, just to name a few.  During the festivities about 5 newly hired agents entered and once they were determined to be ATF Agents, our host Bob Hammer, explained to them what the celebration was all about.  Bob then took them over to meet the celebrities and historical legends of ATF.  Each shook the hand of Pat Kelly, Bird, Billy, Vincent and Carlos and many others present that were the backbone of ATF’s Undercover Training.  Those new agents probably will not know for a long time what an honor they had that evening.  Then a FLETC Instructor (Not an ATF Instructor) approached the new agents and told them they needed to leave.  The newly hired agents explained to those of us “retired” ATF Agents that just that day they had been given a lecture and training , that prohibits them from “drinking or association with active ATF agents” while going through training.  You could see the look of fear on the faces of those newly hired agents, obviously in fear of losing their jobs, as they made their rapid exit from Pam’s.  I was embarrassed for those new agents and disappointed at an agency I was so proud to have been a part.  I think most everyone that performed undercover work, or was the backup or support for those brave souls that did so, over the past 30 years will agree, we learned the technical and legal aspects of the job at CIS or NAT, but learned what would keep us alive, and how to do the job though their attendance at after hour classes at Pam#1, through their association with those who actually did the job.  I know I learned more by having a few beers with Pat Kelly at Pam’s than I ever learned in a classroom.  It is apparent that the “new” ATF Management is afraid of agents that actually want to do the job, or agents that have some street smarts or as my old training officer called it “Grit”.  What they want is those that have pretty degrees to hang on the wall, “work” 9 – 5 and follow management’s directions without question or deviation even when those directions are wrong.  ATF “leadership” apparently no longer wants active agents to really “know” the new hires or their interest, motivations, goals, or grit.  When new agents are not allowed to hang out at Pam’s after hours “classroom” ATF might as well dissolve itself, and turn the mission over to the FBI.  You know the folks who can’t make a decision on the street without calling headquarters. 
     






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