We all remember the BATFE's 'Operation Fast and Furious'. So far, its 'score' includes two dead Federal law enforcement officers, several hundred dead Mexican nationals, and who knows how many lives ruined by their loss. Now it looks like at another arm of the BATFE went so far as to fund their operations off-budget, evading Congressional oversight, by creaming off the profits from an illegal cigarette marketing operation.
Working from an office suite behind a Burger King in southern Virginia, operatives used a web of shadowy cigarette sales to funnel tens of millions of dollars into a secret bank account. They weren’t known smugglers, but rather agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The operation, not authorized under Justice Department rules, gave agents an off-the-books way to finance undercover investigations and pay informants without the usual cumbersome paperwork and close oversight, according to court records and people close to the operation.
The secret account is at the heart of a federal racketeering lawsuit brought by a collective of tobacco farmers who say they were swindled out of $24 million. A pair of A.T.F. informants received at least $1 million each from that sum, records show.
The scheme relied on phony shipments of snack food disguised as tobacco. The agents were experts: Their job was to catch cigarette smugglers, so they knew exactly how it was done.
There's more at the link.
Would someone please tell me why the BATFE should not be designated a rogue agency, out of control, and the entire damned operation shut down once and for all? It seems to be a living definition of Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy. If President Trump is looking for ways to cut costs in the federal government, I suggest that 99 New York Avenue, NE in Washington DC would be an excellent starting point.