'Chain of Command' for Fast & Furious Shirked Responsibility, Accountability

'Chain of Command' for Fast & Furious Shirked Responsibility, Accountability

If the Department of Justice wants employees to respect the chain of the command, they should actually give them a chain of command. It’s been shown how the superiors treated the whistle blowers of Operation Fast & Furious when they went to their superiors, and it wasn’t pretty.

In Part II of Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Senator Charles Grassley’s report on Fast & Furious, they detail myriad failures at the Department of Justice.

Fast & Furious was the ATF gun walking operation that placed 2,000 guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. People have used these guns to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and 300+ Mexican citizens. Hundreds are still missing. No one within the DOJ has been held accountable for their actions. No one.

The committee found that the officials in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) and the Office of the Attorney General were responsible for supervising the ATF. Neither did their job.

Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed Siskel (pictured) was responsible for the ATF and should have reported any problems to his superiors. In his testimony, Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler said Mr. Siskel, along with Mark Michalic, were supposed to identify problems and bring them to leadership “so that something can be done.”

That’s not how Mr. Siskel viewed his role. He insisted, “it was not his job to supervise the ATF, but rather to interface with ATF leadership regarding certain Justice Department policy questions.” This is the reason why he claims to have limited knowledge of Fast & Furious. But correspondence within the ODAG office contradicts him.

Mr. Siskel received briefings on Fast & Furious. His emails included briefings about Fast & Furious and other ATF operations. In one email, Mr. Siskel specifically asked about Fast & Furious. He knew about it. He knew what was going on. He also didn’t know how the Suspect Gun Database worked, despite being a high official in the DOJ.

His excuse? “Others were responsible for providing him with information and bringing problems to his attention.” He left the DOJ five days before Agent Terry was murdered, and no one bothered to ask him what he knew about the operation that armed his killers.

Mr. Grindler tried to point the finger at Mr. Siskel, but Grindler isn’t let off the hook either. He would purposely delegate tasks to subordinates and remain uninvolved until any problem was brought to him. That way, “instead of accepting responsibility for his leadership shortcomings, Grindler instead passed the buck to his underlings.”

ATF officials or Mr. Siskel were responsible for bringing any problems to Grindler. If no one told him about any problems, they could not be addressed. He was second in command and headed the office with authority over the ATF. He didn’t know any of the facts about Fast & Furious. Nothing. 

How can any employee in any workplace be expected to respect the chain of command if there isn’t one? Better yet, how can they expect to go to their superiors when their own superiors don’t want to be responsible?