« Killing the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs | Main | Apocalypse. Wow. »

September 30, 2013

Cigarettes... They Are Hard To Keep Track Of

And don't try to pretend that this sort of thing doesn't happen to you all the time:

The report examines the ATF’s performance of income-generating undercover operations (so-called “churning” investigations). The ATF appears to have conducted these operations in a manner inconsistent with its own policy. According to the report, none of the 35 requests for undercover churning operations was reviewed and approved by ATF’s Undercover Review Committee, as required by ATF policy. In addition, 33 of these 35 investigations did not comply with other ATF requirements governing requests for and approval of churning authority.

The ATF respectfully disagrees with certain of the findings of the Inspector General’s report. It contends, for example, that it is unable to account for only some 447,218 cartons of cigarettes rather than the 2.1 million cited in the report.

That last item made us curious, so we hied our Bad, Heteronormative Self over to the IG report to see what additional context could be found:

After learning of our findings, ATF’s Deputy Director ordered ATF forensic auditors to conduct a separate reconciliation of the disposition of cigarettes from two of the largest cases in the OIG’s 20 case sample, as those two cases included the substantial majority of the 2.1 million cartons of cigarettes we could not reconcile.

The ATF told us that it reviewed every single Report of Investigation (ROI) from these two cases to see if it referenced the disposition of cigarettes, even if the ROI was not referenced in the case management log. The ATF stated that during this review, it found a limited number of unexplained deposits associated with the two investigations and assumed that those deposits were related to the sale of cigarettes and then estimated the number of cigarettes that were likely sold given the amount of the deposit. Using these methods, the ATF review arrived at a significantly smaller amount of unreconciled cigarettes than our audit.

In other words, they lost track of the cigarettes. But surely they were more careful with taxpayer money:

According to ATF, [a] confidential informant was allowed to keep more than $4.9 million to cover his business expenses. However, we found that the more than $4.9 million covered more than just the business expenses related to ATF activity, including 100 percent of the confidential informant’s total business operating overhead. In addition, the confidential informant attributed about $2.37 million to “commissions” for the sales that he made.

In an interview with the OIG, the confidential informant stated that the “commissions” were not actually expenses, but profit that he retained.

Given the healthy profit margin, we are surprised that more American companies aren't lining up to help the federal government crack down on crime!

If all this sloppy accounting worries you, fear not. We're sure the feds will take much better care of the taxpayer dollars used to implement ObamaCare.

Posted by Cassandra at September 30, 2013 06:25 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


I wonder if those cigarettes went to the same place those Fast and Furious guns went?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at September 30, 2013 10:17 AM

Well don't look at me!

My wife would *kill* me.

Posted by: Barack Obama at September 30, 2013 10:19 AM

Don't try this at home kids. You need a badge to break the law and walk away.

Posted by: spd rdr at September 30, 2013 12:19 PM

Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at September 30, 2013 12:25 PM

So let me get this straight.

When challenged about not knowing where 2.1mm cigarettes went, the ATF's answer is: "That's OK, we don't know where a bunch of money came from either. So that makes it better!"

Only a government agency could see an error in stuff leaving and an error in stuff coming in and conclude that the two mistakes offset and not compound the problem.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at September 30, 2013 01:12 PM

This is beyond government idiocy. When I worked at Onslow Beach I was responsible for maintaining and accounting for over a half million dollars worth of government equipment, supplies and property. I was subjected to two inventory inspections a year to verify that all my stuff was accounted for either visually or disposed of through the DRMO system -- for which I had to supply the appropriately signed and dated paperwork. Even after Hurricanes Bertha and Fran and Tropical Storm Josephine blew threw, I was responsible for digging up all the that had been buried under four feet of sand and visually accounting for everything for my scheduled inventory that following October. Believe me, my ass was in a sling when I couldn't locate the ATV that the Beach Detachment stored under the E9 house, until we found it buried under four feet of sand a mile and a half away in TLZ Bluebird. I had to account for the linens, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, televisions, microwaves, furniture, everything that was inside the trailers and cabanas when the tidal surge covered the strip of land that is Onslow Beach with over six feet of water. My paychecks were held for over three weeks until, finally, someone got the bright idea that maybe, just maybe, some of that stuff was never going to be found due to ....
wait for it......
the hurricanes.
Seeing shit like this go by on a daily basis now with Xerxes minions makes me wanna puke.

Posted by: DL Sly at September 30, 2013 01:30 PM


Do you have a badge? Well alrighty then.

Posted by: Barack Obama at September 30, 2013 01:55 PM

When challenged about not knowing where 2.1mm cigarettes went, the ATF's answer is: "That's OK, we don't know where a bunch of money came from either. So that makes it better!"

Yu-Ain, you ignorant slut :)

Don't you understand? They used the money they didn't keep very good track of to estimate the cigarettes they didn't keep very good track of!

That makes it scientific.

Posted by: Cass - Confirmation Bigot-in-Training at September 30, 2013 01:57 PM

That's Dark Lord Peasant.
Badges? I don't need no steenkin' badges....I have the cookies!

Posted by: DL Sly at September 30, 2013 02:53 PM

Well don't look at me!

My wife would *kill* me.

Well, I gotta agree with Michelle on this one.

We wouldn't want a bunch of Mexicans or a border agent dying from lung cancer from smuggled cigarettes, now would we.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at September 30, 2013 04:24 PM

"Well don't look at me!

My wife would *kill* me."

That's actually where I thought this post was going when I read the title.

Posted by: DL Sly at September 30, 2013 04:51 PM

Hi Sly, On the boat I was the 'Controlled Medicines Bulk Custodian,' which meant that I had to store most of the narcotics and pure ethanol kept on board for emergency medical situations. While rare (as we carefully screen submariners for physical health, a serious situation sometimes arises, and for us there is no stand by helo for a ride to shore.

*Every* G** D*** month a separate three officer "Bulk Medicines Review Board" would drop by and count *every single* GD pill, ampule and drop of ethanol, and carefully cross check my log of items issued to the 'Doc,' previous month's inventory, current inventory, and any receipts or destructions (*all* of which were personally observed by at least two members of the three officer board; huge hassle).
We were nucs, and though a little tedious, simple counting and double checks are routine for us.
Yet . . . we not only did the required checks, *very* carefully, we also carefully documented all of the actions of me, the Doc & the board.
Plus I was audited annually by Squadron.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at September 30, 2013 09:50 PM