Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Chairman on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, didn’t like it when two ATF agents that had been subpoenaed for a hearing into the 2011 murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Jaime Zapata made a conscious decision to not show up.
Their superior, Acting ATF Director Thomas Brandon, who did make the hearing, had given them the option of attending or not, in violation of an invitation that was not intended to be optional. As a result, they were given subpoenas for depositions and rescheduled for a hearing before the committee as well. In the second video, of the events in the first hearing in which the two agents no-showed, Chairman Chaffetz is upset, so much so that his hand is shaking as he prepares the subpoenas.
The exchange on Wednesday, April 5th, the first video below, was at times quite heated. The evasive supposed public servant is Ronald Turk, associate deputy director and chief operating officer at ATF. He attempted to justify not appearing for a hearing into the murder of ICE agent Zapata that has dragged on for five years. It’s an investigation that is tied to former Attorney General Eric Holder and his gun running operation, Fast and Furious, which was directly linked to the murder weapon. You’re not trying to hide anything, are you agent Turk?
He pretends to get his feelings hurt when the Chairman presses him as to upon what basis he decided to ignore the request to appear. After Chaffetz tells him he should be ashamed of himself for his lack of respect, he interrupts, saying sir, I would say, if I may, because you’re questioning my honor now…” Chaffetz interjects, “Yeah, I am.”
Turk says he doesn’t appreciate that, was just following orders and that he’s a good soldier. Good soldiers don’t hide the truth on a murder for five years but that question wasn’t addressed in the video. Turk tells Chaffetz he could name eight people with whom he discussed not showing up, so Chaffetz asks for the names, right there on the spot. He gets five and still demands the other three be forthcoming.
Turk accuses Chairman Chaffetz of wanting his fifteen minutes of YouTube fame. That’s not the best idea either for a career government official in a Republican administration, particularly one who has been in cahoots with Eric Holder in the concealment of facts related to a murder and gun running operation.
ATF as an agency is a prospect for elimination under the budgetary streamlining of the Trump administration. The prospects for avoiding that were not in any way enhanced by the Wednesday exchange.
The first hearing, in which the pair initially no-showed and their arrogant, Acting Director, superior below:
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